Kerli Kõiv

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Kerli Kõiv (born 7 February 1987), usually referred to mononymously as Kerli, is an Estonian singer and songwriter. Born in Elva, Estonia, Kerli entered multiple singing competitions before being signed to Island Records in 2006 by LA Reid. In 2007, she released her debut self-titled extended play and in 2008, released her debut studio album, Love Is Dead, the latter of which charted on the Billboard 200. The lead single from the album, Walking on Air, charted in many countries and was also featured as the iTunes Store's Single of the Week where it was downloaded over 500,000 times, a record at that time.[1] In the years following, Kerli was featured on Almost Alice with the song Tea Party and she began to abandon her alternative rock sound and started to adopt a more electronic and dance-influenced sound, as can be heard in her 2010 single Army of Love.

Following the release of Love Is Dead, Kerli began production on a second studio album which became her second extended play Utopia, released in early 2013, where it became Kerli's second release to chart on the Billboard 200.[2] Two promotional singles from the EP, Army of Love and Zero Gravity, were released prior to the release of the album's first official single, The Lucky Ones. All three songs entered the top ten of Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart; two of them peaking at number one. Two songs which were co-written by Kerli for UtopiaSkyscraper and I Feel Immortal — were later recorded by artists Demi Lovato and Tarja Turunen, respectively. Kerli's version of I Feel Immortal was later released on Frankenweenie Unleashed!.

In 2013, Kerli performed twice on the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars; Vibe called the performances a "major milestone in the EDM world."[3]

In November 2013, Kerli left Island Records and signed a record deal with Ultra Music.[4]

In 2016, Kerli returned, after a long break, as an indipendent artist, with the tracks Feral Hearts, released on February 19th, then Blossom, on April 28th, and Diamond Hard, on July 27; her second studio album was supposed to be released on September, but, with a video put on her YouTube channel, she announced that it will be pushed back in early 2017. [5]

Early life

Kerli, Sister and Mother

Kerli (middle) with her sister Eliisa (left) and her mother (right)

Kerli was born in Tartu County, Estonia in the municipality Elva, with a population of 5,000 during the Soviet occupation of Estonia which ended when she was four years old. Her mother was a social worker and her father was an car mechanic.[6] Her parents separated when she was 16. Kerli stated when she wrote Supergirl, a song about domestic violence from her upcoming album, she "put [herself] in [her] mother's body and said things that [she] wished that [her mother] would've said to her dad when [she] was little". Her younger sister, Eliisa Kõiv is also a musician and competed in season three of Eesti otsib superstaari (Estonia is Searching for a Superstar which originated from Pop Idol). Her great-great-grandmother, nicknamed "Beautiful May" for her beauty, was a maid to a duke in Germany, with whom she had a baby. As a child, she studied ballroom dancing for eight years, practicing five days a week.[7] She was first introduced to music by her kindergarten teacher when she told her mother that Kerli had "nice pitch" and that she was interested in taking her to various singing competitions. At 8 years old, Kerli gained interest in classical music and as there was an absence of music in her early life, she only possessed one cassette by Bonnie Tyler. She was also a big fan of The Spice Girls. She began writing stories, mini books, and poems at the age of 10 to escape from her "abusive" household to an "imaginary world". Despite being discouraged, Kerli dropped out of school at the age of 16 to pursue her musical career.



In 2002, Kerli competed in the singing competition Laulukarussell in the age group category 13–15 and on May 18, won with the song Bridge over Troubled Water. Also in 2002, she lied about her age to enter the Baltic song contest Fizz Superstar, as the minimum age was fifteen. She ended up winning the contest, gaining a singing contract to Universal Sweden. She was later dropped as the person who signed her was fired. Later, the media in Estonia labeled failure as "Kerli Syndrome". Kerli has stated she feels no resentment towards her home country, as she told in a 2008 interview: “No, I don’t feel any resentment. For a while, because I left Estonia and Estonians didn’t hear anything about me so all these Estonian young singers were like… I guess they’re slowly turning around now and understanding that I really was doing something here.

Kerli was later signed to an independent label founded by the person who was previously fired from Universal Sweden but the label went bankrupt. At the age of 16, Kerli moved to Stockholm where she competed in Melodifestivalen in 2003 but was eliminated in the second semifinals. In 2004, she was the runner-up in that year's Eurolaul – a televised competition that determines the song that will represent Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest – with her song Beautiful Inside.

While in Stockholm for two years, she worked with numerous producers and due to lack of money as the contracts she had gained previously were unsuccessful, she ate nothing but rice for three months when she lived in an abandoned house during winter and slept on a cot. At the age of 18, she moved to the United States where she continued to perform and write songs, ultimately getting an audition with L.A. Reid, who signed her to Island Def Jam Music Group in 2006.


Young Kerli

On October 17, 2007, Kerli released a self-titled EP. Her first studio album Love Is Dead was released on July 8, 2008.

2010-14: Utopia EP

On March 19, 2013, Kerli released an EP called Utopia.

2015-16: Kerli becomes independent

She come back to Estonia as an indipendent artist. On February 19, 2016, she published her new single Feral Hearts.


Main article: {{{2}}}

  1. Kerli - A biography. Paradigm Talent Agency.
  2. [[[:Template:BillboardURLbyName]] Kerli Album & Song Chart History]. Billboard.
  3. Vibe. Twitter. Retrieved on April 16, 2013. 2013-04-15. Wrap Party: Pretty Lights Movie, Baauer Harlem Shakes At Coachella, Mark Knight’s New Video. Vibe. Retrieved on 2016-02-26.
  4. Kerli X Ultra Music!. Retrieved on November 18, 2013.
  5. Album update on Youtube. October 8, 2016. OfficialKerli.
  6. Formspring: "Does it annoy you that you're constantly being accused of being an Illuminati? I couldn't take it. How do you handle it?" (August 16, 2010).
  7. Formspring: "Have u ever taken dance classes?" (May 17, 2010).

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