Breaking out with Estonian music

03. juuni, 2011

In 2009, Bedwetters released their debut album under Swedish label “I Can Hear Music”. Besides Estonia, singles from the album received airplay in Sweden, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania. The music video for the track “Long.Some.Distance” was #1 on MTV Baltics and was aired on MTV Sweden and Finland as well. During the last couple of years, the band has been performing at the festivals and clubs in Sweden, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.

In autumn 2010, Ewert and The Two Dragons signed a deal with Latvian label I Love You Records. The second album for the group, and their first international album, will be released at the beginning of 2011.

IIRIS is also currently negotiating recording and publishing deals.

What does it take to break an Estonian artist abroad?
“I would like to start off by saying that an event like Tallinn Music Week has gotten us so much nearer to the dream of breaking an Estonian artist into foreign markets – the very heavy door to the music industry has been opened for Estonian acts, and for the first time we are considered cool enough to play with,” describes Toomas Olljum, owner of Made In the Baltics Management.

Here’s where the work really starts. Helen Sildna and the entire TMW team has managed to get the attention of the hottest players in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, so that at the beginning of every spring, Tallinn is flooded with industry professionals coming here to check out the “Estonian sound”. How can we take advantage of that?

It always starts with a song. “If an artist does not have the songs that labels want to release, that radios and TV want to play, and people want to listen to – then no agent will pick you up and put together a tour, and to cut a long story short – we have no
business. I’m not the first one to quote this legendary saying that “first get your songs right and then get a haircut”,” explains Olljum. Fortunately, young Estonian musicians have understood that three chords are not enough any more, and the level of professionalism is growing rapidly.

“On a more personal level, I think that so far I’ve only just prepared myself for all the work that lies ahead. The future will bring us international albums by Iiris, Bedwetters and Ewert & The Two Dragons. There are also young songwriters on the roster who will be taking part in international song writing camps and writing international hits by 2013,” adds Olljum.

If we want music exports – we must start to educate and support young managers, booking agents and so on. “And don’t expect an overnight success. At the end of the day, a new era in Estonian music has definitely begun, a lot has been done, but a lot needs yet to be achieved,” concludes Olljum.