Kerli’s Trip Through Wonderland

By Zuzanna Skwiot

“Love is the only thing that matters,” says Kerli, an Estonian artist who recently performed at Chicago’s three-day festival, Lollapalooza.

And she applies that motto to both her life and her music.

When she began writing her upcoming album, to be released this fall, she looked for inspiration in everything.

“For my first album, I was waiting for inspiration to come to me,” she says. “This time, I went out and looked for it.”

That included traveling, hiking and much time for yoga.

“I worked on my spirit a lot,” she says. “I always think one step at a time and I always come out as a winner.”

Her debut album, Love is Dead, was released when she was only 21 years old and she hasn’t slowed down since.

Now 24, she has several accomplishments under her belt.

She recently performed at Lollapalooza, an opportunity she deems “amazing,” appeared on the soundtrack for Johnny Depp’s 2010 animated movie, Alice in Wonderland, and even wrote Demi Lovato’s latest single, Skyscraper.

“I originally wrote [Skyscraper] three years ago for my own album,” she says. “But my version doesn’t hold a candle to her song. She definitely made it her own.”

And she took her songwriting skills to her own album. Co-writing each song on the album was not enough – she is also producing the album.

“I am in a center place and I am constantly doing more on the album,” she adds.

With this album, she is hoping to make a drastic departure from the dark undertones from her debut album.

“My first album came from a dark place,” she says. “This new one is really focused and almost a concept album.”

Her inspirations? The early 90s and European culture.

She is, after all, a native Estonian. Though she currently resides in Los Angeles and spends most of her time there, she still maintains strong ties to her home country.

“When I go back to Estonia, I’m treated normally,” she says. “I take the bus from the airport a few hours to my house.”

She even will be performing at a private party for the Estonian president.

When reflecting over her career thus far, she is both humble and appreciative.

“It’s been amazing,” she adds. “I’m kind of on a trip.”