SpainEurovisionInfo has had the pleasure to get to interview Elina Nechayeva (Tallinn, 1991). Nechayeva, or Netšajeva in Estonian spelling, is a professional opera singer who rose to fame after competing in the third edition of the talent show Eesti otsib superstaari.

Hi, Elina! First and foremost, we’d like to thank you for spending some of your precious time on us and to congratulate you on being the Estonian representative for Eurovision. How are the preparations for Lisbon going? In which aspects has your life changed since you won Eesti Laul?
I think having to deal that all the extra attention – it is not something I am used to and sometimes it can be a little negative. So that is hard to adjust to.

Your entry is quite remarkable for bringing a drop of diversity into the contest. How was La Forza conceived? Could you explain us what’s the meaning behind the song?
Last summer I met Mihkel Mattisen and Timo Vendt after they heard me singing at my friend’s wedding and they thought it might be nice to do some interesting music together. They wrote the song especially for my voice and I really liked the melody. Then me and my friend Ksenia wrote the lyrics and we sent the song to Eesti Laul, and you know the rest!
La Forza is about real love that enlightens our way, gives us wings, takes us to the sky and gives us a real power so that we can even move mountains. It’s about universal love – love for children, love for parents, love for nature. It’s all these kinds of love.

Now, let’s get personal. How would you describe yourself as a person? Do you have any special childhood memories related to music? One must admit your training differs quite much from the one received by other contestants this year. How did you become the artist you are today?
I would describe myself as a very happy, caring and loving person. Everything I do, I do it with love!
I went to sing in a choir when I was four and one day I understood that I had the loudest and highest voice in the choir. Then I got to sing some solos and I really enjoyed being on the stage and performing, and that’s how I decided I wanted to be a singer. Since then I have competed in a few competitions and gained my masters degree in classical performing and now I’m a professional opera singer!

Going back to your Eurovision experience, have you listened to any of this year’s entries? If so, do you have a favourite? And what do you think of Spain’s song Tu canción?
So far, my favourites are from Georgia and Denmark. I love the voices of Iriao and think they sound beautiful and I think Rasmussen’s Viking anthem is really cool. I have only heard most of the songs just once, but I remember that the Spanish song was very nice and full of feelings of young love and passion between the two singers. I liked it.

Estonia hasn’t had its best results in the previous years. However, Estonian songs have been popular among the Eurofandom for a while. What does it mean to you to represent Estonia on its centenary? Do you feel any kind of pressure to satisfy what Europe expects from your country?
I don’t actually feel any pressure – I just want to do my best. I am a professional singer, so this is my work. This is what I do every day, I sing and I’m an artist and I do it always with all my love and passion. So I will do my best and I will give all my love to the audience – I am already collecting the love from all over Europe!

Have you had the chance to reach any former Estonian representative for advice? If you have, what have they told you?
I have spoken to many of them, the advice has been that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that I should enjoy it. It’s not easy because it’s an exceptionally busy time and you can get very tired, so it’s very important to know how to use your energy to enjoy the time while still giving your best. They also told me that there is a lot of press and attention so it’s a great opportunity to feel like a real international star for a little time!

On a lighter note, have you ever followed the Festival before? Do you have any Eurovision song that you feel the most connected to?
I have watched Eurovision ever since I was a little girl. I cannot say I have followed it as closely as so many of the fans I have met, it is beautiful how passionate you are! So I would say my favourite previous Eurovision song is the one that gets stuck in my head the most – Euphoria by Loreen.

We’d like to know more about your schedule for the oncoming months, how will you promote your entry? Are you working on any other project besides Eurovision?
I have not had any time to go to any promotional parties due to my existing work as an opera singer. However, I did get to take an opera master class in New York with a very famous opera coach called Kamal Khan. He has helped me add extra power to La Forza, so I think the audience will be extra happy!

Let’s imagine for a moment that you had the chance to pick a superpower. Which one would you pick and what would you use it for?
I think I would like to fly. When I was a child I wanted to be an astronaut so I think that being able to fly is definitely something I would love to be able to do!

Finally, we’d like to thank you again for accepting this interview and, once more, wish you lots of luck in Lisbon. Do you have any kind of greeting or message for SpainEurovisionInfo’s readers?
Thank you! My message is that in our society we should talk more about real love and real feelings. We need to be here and now – not in our smart phones but really here, connecting with each other and giving love. Love is the greatest power of all. This is what La Forza is all about and I hope you enjoy my song.