Last Saturday, Laura and the Lovers (pictured) won the second semifinal in Lithuania with Little by little, a song by Swedish producer Billy Butt and Melodifestivalen veteran Bobby Ljungren. Esctoday.com interviewed Billy and Bobby and came to the conclusion that the Swedish duo has more plans in the Baltic states.
Bobby Ljungren – 4 songs in Melodifestivalen 2005
Throughout the years Bobby Ljungren wote 19 songs for the Swedish national selections. This year he contributes to Melodifestivalen 2005 with no less than 4 songs: Att älska dig for Shirley Clamp, Rain for Josef Özer, Du och jag mot världen for Fredrik Kempe & Sanna Nielsen and My No 1 for Papa Dee.
Ljungren's greatest achievements include a double Melodifestivalen victory. In 1995 he wrote Se på mig for Jan Johansen, which ended third at the Eurovision Song Contest. Some years later, Jill Johnson sang his song Kärleken är, finishing 10th at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998. Recently Ljungren was also responsible for Alcazar's Melodifestivalen 2003 hit Not a sinner, nor a saint.
Lithuania: Laura and the Lovers – Little by little
Besides Sweden, Bobby Ljungren also tries his luck in Lithuania – with success. Together with Swedish producer Billy Butt, Ljungren wrote the song Little by little, which won last Saturday's Lithuanian semifinal. Ljunberg and Butt submitted the song, performed by Laura and the Lovers using their international pseudonyms R. Young and B. Nielsen.
Billy Butt confessed us that he has a special love for Lithuania and the Lithuanian people. In 2003 he met the representatives of a Lithuanian record company and together they produced the song In your eyes, that was sung by Amberlife in last year's Lithuanian selections. “The song 'Little by little' was originally intended for Amberlife too,” reveals Billy Butt to esctoday.com. “But after last year's voting scandal in the Lithuanian final, the Lithuanian record company didn�t want her to participate anymore this year. So we found Laura Cepukaite and I invented the group name 'Laura and the Lovers'. We recorded the song in Stockholm in November last year. We believe that Laura is a great singer and she has the possibility to make it. If she would win the Lituanian Eurovision Song Contest selections, she will have all of Europe at her feet.”
When asked for his view on the Lithuanian music industry, Butt points out their weakness. “The music industry in Lithuania is very interesting and exciting. It's a small country but with a lot of talents such as Amberlife, Kuchinskas, B'avarija, Geltona and Mango. The problem is the lack of knowledge on how to launch those great artists abroad. Lithuanian music definitely has a great potential, but they must learn from their mistakes like those quite boring entries that Lithuania has previously sent to the Eurovision Song Contest.”
Latvia: Ksenija – In the heat of the night
But there is more… Billy Butt also produced another Swedish entry in this year's Latvian selections. “It�s my love for the Baltic States that has brought me there. I�m travelling to Riga today (17th January) in order to prepare everything for this event.” The song In the heat of the night was composed by the Swedes Tommy Kaså and Kenneth Wennman and the Latvian writer Ugiz Tirgitz. The song will be performed by the 17 year-old Latvian singer Ksenija Jakunina in the first semifinal of Eirodziesma 2005.
Esctoday.com kindly thanks Bobby Ljungren and Billy Butt for their reactions.