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Photo by: Kadi-Liis Koppel

Photo by: Aron Urb / Visit Estonia

Who is who in Estonian music

Add to Favourites Your favourite!

By Noora Karppi  •  25.03.2019

Estonians usually start to sing before they learn to talk, and music is something very dear to the whole nation. To honour Estonian music and musicians, we want to introduce you to some of the artists and bands that local radio stations and the public cannot get enough of. Find the ones that suit your taste and create yourself a new playlist.

 A pro-tip: if you want to see some of the edgiest and trendiest acts live on stage, head straight to Tallinn Music Week, a showcase festival taking place this week (25.-31.03.2019) all around the city.  

Lenna – SIA

Lenna is a singer-songwriter who rose to fame as a member of the local teen-pop sensation, Vanilla Ninja, in the beginning of the 2000s. Lenna's personal style is pop-rock. She's an incredible artist, who is loved not only for her individual work but also for her surprising collaborations with other local top musicians. In 2019, Lenna won the title of Female Artist of the Year at the Estonian Music Awards. 

Lenna "Kolm korda"


nublu - Eminem

Dubbed as mumble rapper (mõminaräppar) by the Estonian media, nublu's career started on SoundCloud in 2017. A year later, this notoriously media-shy (and, throughout the most of his career, anonymous) rap sensation was already filling the hottest venues in Estonia. nublu's simple beats, surprising rhymes and relatable, somewhat ironic lyrics have enchanted the whole nation - even so much so, that at one point, the newcomer simultaneously owned the first six positions within the Estonian top 10 chart. At the Estonian Music Awards 2019, he won the title of Male Artist of the Year. 

nublu "Öölaps"


Ewert and the Two Dragons – Coldplay

People who are fans of Coldplay usually also like Ewert and the Two Dragons, if not the best, for sure, one of the top names of Estonian indie-rock scene. Charismatic singer Ewert Sundja is our very own Chris Martin and these two bands could do amazing things performing each others' biggest hits. Ewert and the Two Dragons has gained recognition outside Estonian borders and is one of the few local acts that has sold out Saku Suurhall. In 2019, the band won Album and Group of the Year at the Estonian Music Awards. 

Ewert and the Two Dragons "Journey"


Liis Lemsalu – Christina Aguilera

In 2011, when Grammy awarded star Christina Aguilera was coaching singers in the first season of the Voice, gorgeous Estonian singer Liis Lemsalu won the Estonian version of the Idols. She is a popular performer and has claimed her spot among Estonian stars. Liis won the title of Female Artist of the year in Estonian Music Awards 2018. On the most popular TV-show in Estonia, “Su nägu kõlab tuttavalt”, Liis dressed as Christina Aguilera and performed Xtina's hit song Dirrty.

Liis Lemsalu "Hingata"


Erki Pärnoja – Steve Vai

Talented guitarist Pärnoja is part of ensemble Ewert and the Two Dragons and published his first solo album "Efterglow" in 2017. He won the hearts of Estonians, and the title of Male Artist of the year at Estonian Music Awards 2018 with his impressionist guitar riffs and instrumental skills. Who knows, maybe he'll win Grammys too, like his American colleague Steve Vai.

Erki Pärnoja "Doors Dance"


Trad.Attack! – Of Monsters and Men

Trad.Attack! has done the same for Estonian folk music what Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men did for indie-folk music a few years ago. Trad.Attack! has brought new life to traditional Estonian fold music and was awarded the title of the Best Group Performance of the year at Estonian Music Awards 2018.

Trad.Attack! "Lubadus"


Tommy Cash – Kanye West

Tommy Cash makes “post-Soviet-rap” and was titled as the “Kanye East” by Vogue. Born (and raised) in Tallinn in 1991, the rapper is of Estonian, Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh descent. By combining music and visual aesthetics, Cash makes the rules up as he goes and isn’t afraid to be controversial - in fact, his style is considered so intriguing that his music videos will be featured side by side with Rick Owens' costumes at the upcoming exhibition in KUMU, headquarters of the Art Museum of Estonia. Not surprisingly, Estonian Music Awards 2019 chose Tommy Cash’s video “Little Molly” as the Best Music Video of the Year. 

Tommy Cash "Little Molly"


Karl-Erik Taukar – Ed Sheeran

Karl-Erik Taukar is Estonian sweetheart and musician. When Ed Sheeran has been awarded several Grammy Awards, Karl-Erik Taukar cleaned the table at the Estonian Music Awards in 2017.

Karl-Erik Taukar "Need read"


NOËP – Martin Garrix

An Estonian artist that one should definitely keep your eyes on, is NOËP (Andres Kõpper). NOËP plays electronic indie-pop and has already performed on different stages around the world, including the main stage of the Weekend Festival Baltic in 2017 that has featured acts like Martin Garrix, Alan Walker, The Chainsmokers and Armin Van Buuren.

NOËP "Rooftop"


Daniel Levi – Bruno Mars

Daniel Levi and Bruno Mars are happy musicians, who spread good mood and joy. Catchy tunes and smiles fill venues where Daniel Levi or Bruno Mars perform.

Daniel Levi "All I Need"


Terminaator – Guns N’ Roses

Terminaator and its frontman, Jaagup Kreem, are the Guns N’ Roses and Axl Rose of Estonia. Terminaator first came together in 1987, heavily influenced by Guns N’ Roses. In the 1990s Terminaator had one hit after another and the band has been part of the Estonian rock scene ever since - without exaggerating, every Estonian has at least one memory with a Terminaator song playing in the background. 

Terminaator "Täna"


Ivo Linna – Robert Plant

Ivo Linna is the grand old man of Estonian rock and only one year younger than his English colleague Robert Plant, lead singer of legendary Led Zeppelin. Ivo Linna was the lead singer of the most popular Estonian rock bands in the 70’s and 80’s. He is a popular performer, continues to make music, and is loved and recognised everywhere in Estonia.

Ivo Linna "Saame kokku"


Koit Toome – John Legend

Koit Toome was born in Tallinn in 1979. His career in music started early when he was just 16. Koit Toome talented singer, songwriter, musician and actor – just like John Legend. Mothers and daughters love these two.

Koit Toome "Kaugele siit"


Ott Lepland – Michael Bublé

Ott Lepland has won people's hearts with powerful ballads. Besides a penchant for ballads, he and is Canadian colleague Michael Bublé also share the same charming, boy-next-door looks.

Ott Lepland "Kuula"


Maarja-Liis Ilus – Céline Dion

Talented Maarja-Liis Ilus, simply known as Maarja, has been one of Estonia's favourite singers for several decades. In 1984, when she was just four years old, she already performed the main role in a musical film. Maarja-Liis is a popular musical theatre actor, singer and performer, best known for her performances at the Eurovision Song Contest and amazing vocals, just like Céline Dion.

Maarja "Tulilinnud"


Smilers – Aerosmith

Estonian rock band Smilers has made 15+ studio albums and dozens of hits during its quarter-century-long existence. One of the best known local rock ensembles has performed probably on every stage in Estonia and they still have the motivation and energy to go on, just like their "big brothers" in Aerosmith.

Smilers "Asi on maitses"


Getter Jaani – Selena Gomez

Getter Jaani and Selena Gomez are both former child stars who are now creating successful careers as singers. The transformation from cute and innocent childhood fame to grown-up stardom isn’t always easy, but these two made it happen.

Getter Jaani "Something Good"


Elina Born – Beyoncé

With her self-confidence and positive attitude, Elina Born is the Estonian Beyoncé. She rose to fame when she participated in the Estonian Idols competition in 2012. Elina sings in both English and Estonian and represented Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest (2015) with Stig Rästa with the super-catchy "Goodbye to Yesterday".

Elina Born "Enough"

2 Quick Start – Bad Boys Blue

2 Quick Start is the king of 90s disco and dance music in Estonia. Just like Bad Boys Blue, their glory days may be in the past, but the public still loves them, and any song from 2 Quick Start is guaranteed to fill the dance floors. Their recent 25th-anniversary concert was a huge success, almost filling the entire Saku Suurhall, an indoor sports arena. 

2 Quick Start "Nii kuum on tunne"


Ariadne – Ariana Grande

Ariadne is a singer from the new generation and for the new generation. She resembles Ariana Grande in sweetness and style.

Ariadne "Take it Slow"


Jüri Pootsmann – Sam Smith

Jüri Pootsmann won the Estonian Idols' competition in 2015. After that, his star has shot to the highest top of Estonian musicians. Jüri represented Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 with a song that would suit perfectly for a new James Bond movie. Sam Smith performed the James Bond title song for the movie “Spectre”.

Jüri Pootsmann "Play"


Tanel Padar & The Sun – Foo Fighters

Raunchy guitars, drum solos, ragged voice and fan hysteria connect these two rock bands. Though Tanel Padar has now started his solo career, The Sun, is still part of Estonian rock history.

The Sun "I Don't Care"


Kerli – Lady Gaga

Kerli is an internationally successful Estonian artist. Born and raised in South-Estonia, she began her singing career in 2002. She rose to international fame with the hit song “Walking on Air” in 2008. She walks her own path and doesn’t feel the need to please others. Kerli is also one of the authors of Demi Lovato's hit song “Skyscraper”.

Kerli "Savages"