Kerli Kõiv (born February 7, 1987), known by her stage name Kerli, is an Estonian pop singer who is best known for her appearance in the 2004 Eurolaul competition. In the event, she performed the song “Beautiful Inside” and accumulated 3,638 points overall in the judging and televoting processes. Her total points would only allow her to finish in 2nd place, however, with Neiokõsõ winning the event. Kerli also competed in the 2003 Swedish Melodifestivalen, finishing 7th in the second semi-final.
A former classmate of Kerli at Elva High once described her as “the only one who dared to be different.”
Even when the media in Estonia labeled failure as “Kerli Syndrome” Kerli felt no resentment towards her home country. She told Neon Limelight 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….it was called the “Kerli syndrome.” This term in Estonian press that was called “Kerli syndrome” that meant failure. So the young artists were like, ‘I don’t want to be like Kerli and go get signed and go to America and have nothing out.’ They just didn’t know that I was actually working on a project the whole time. It’s like when you’re caught up in that little bubble and you don’t really know that taking and going to a larger place just takes more time. I guess they’re slowly turning around now and understanding that I really was doing something here.”
In 2006 Kerli signed a contract with Island Def Jam records and her debut album, titled Love Is Dead, was released on July 8, 2008. Kerli also has a self-titled EP available only on iTunes that includes the songs “Walking On Air,” “She’s In Parties” and “Love Is Dead.” The music video for “Love Is Dead” was released by Universal Music Group on February 29, 2008, and the music video for “Walking On Air” premiered on MTV Overdrive on May 20, 2008. Starting mid-July of 2008, “Walking On Air” has been getting minimal rotation on Top 40 stations. “Walking On Air” was also the free “Single of the Week” on iTunes for the week of July 21st, 2008.