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It's probably safe to say that Kerli is Estonia's most famous pop star. At the very least, she's well on her way to putting her hometown of Elva (population: 5,000) on the pop music map, although her international fame didn't always seem so imminent. Kerli (born Kerli Kolv in 1987) just missed winning not one, but two, talent contests: the 2001 Eurolaul, which determines the Estonian representative to Eurovision, and Swedish contest Melodifestivalen in 2003. But persistence apparently pays off (if you're a cute, blonde dance-pop diva with a dark, goth-y edge, anyway) because in 2006 Kerli managed to swing an audition with L.A. Reid, who signed her to Island Def Jam almost on the spot. A self-titled EP in 2007 was followed by her debut, 2008's Love Is Dead. The videos for her debut's title track and the single "Walking on Air" were put into rotation on MTV, properly rendering Love Is Dead one small step for Kerli, one giant leap for the would-be pop stars of former Soviet Republics.
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