Eurovision.tv: Ines, can you first of all reflect back to the year 2000 when you represented Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. How was the experience for you and can you share with our readers how your career has progressed to date since then?.
Ines : "Stockholm was a great experience, and of course we were very pleased with the fourth place. This raised my profile in Estonia and the song Once in a Lifetime was a huge hit in Estonia. The main thing is now, for the last four years I have been writing my own songs and growing as an artist and a songwriter. The music I recorded beforehand was, lets say more schlager pop style. It's now more important for me to express more my soul and heart and write my own lyrics. I feel like I am making the first real steps as an artist and songwriter. My last album was made in December 2007 and that was mainly my own songs arranged by my band and my brother."
Eurovision.tv: It was also reported that you have been spending a lot of time in New York City, was this for development further of your career? What kind of work have you done there?
Ines : "Well my boyfriend lives in New York, so it was kind of logical for me to move there too. I have done some studying, some acting and taken some vocal lessons there too. I am actually backwards and forwards between Estonia and New York. I have been back in Estonia for the last four months working on the album and I will stay here until April and then move back to New York."
Eurovision.tv: You did attempt the Estonian Eurolaul selection again for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 and 2007. You were the big favourite to win with the song Iseendale in 2006. How much of a disappointment was finishing in second position and missing the ticket to Athens?
Ines : "First of all, one piece of advice. Never expect that you are going to win the Eurolaul song competition!. You never quite know what the people are going to like. We really liked Iseendale a lot and myself and the band believed in the song very much. we obviously hoped we would win but never expected it. In fact we were happy with the second place. We got lots of publicity and the song was played a lot more on the radio stations than Looking through My Window, the song which won by Sandra. So it didn't turn out as a disappointment, it proved a very successful experience."
Eurovision.tv: Is Eurolaul, the Estonian selection for the Eurovision Song Contest still considered the biggest Television show of the year? From an artists perspective, is this still the best place to showcase themselves and launch a potential hit?
Ines : "It is still the biggest show, so many people watch it. A very high percentage of the population compared with other countries. Of course it's not the only place to show your music, writing music and releasing albums is very important in Estonia. I now have released a total of four albums, and right now the new single is getting a lot of airplay on the radio."
Eurovision.tv: Estonia enjoyed some very successful results at the Eurovision Song Contest, particularly in the early 2000's when you participated. This has drastically changed however in recent years with Estonia failing to make the Final since 2003. What do you think are the reasons behind this?
Ines : "I think it becomes more difficult every year to predict the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, or indeed even the chances of a country to qualify from the Semi-Final. There are so many countries taking part now and with the Semi-Finals it makes things a lot more complicated. The more participants the more difficult it is to qualify for the Final."
Eurovision.tv: Finally Ines, this evening the Estonian public chose the group Kreisiraadio and their song Leto Svet to represent Estonia in Belgrade this year. Novelty acts have been relatively successful in the Eurovision Song Contest of late, what do you think would be a success for Kreisiraadio in Belgrade?
Ines : "I really hope that the other countries will understand that it is a joke. It could of course happen that we Estonians are the only ones who get the joke!. If they do it could score very well I think."
Many thanks to Ines for taking time at the after party to speak with Eurovision.tv.