Kerli Kõiv ([ˈkerli ˈkɤ.iʋ] (About this soundlisten); born 7 February 1987), better known mononymously as Kerli, is an Estonian singer and songwriter.
Born in Elva, Kerli entered multiple singing competitions before being signed to Island Records in 2006 by LA Reid. In 2007, she released her debut self-titled extended play and in 2008, released her debut studio album, Love Is Dead, which charted on the Billboard 200. The lead single from the album, “Walking on Air,” charted in many countries and was also featured as the iTunes Store’s Single of the Week where it was downloaded over 500,000 times, a record at that time. In the years following, Kerli was featured on Almost Alice with the song “Tea Party” and she began to abandon her alternative rock sound and started to adopt a more electronic and dance-influenced sound, as can be heard in her 2010 single “Army of Love”.
Following the release of Love Is Dead, Kerli began production on a second studio album which became her second extended play Utopia, released in early 2013, where it became Kerli’s second release to chart on the Billboard 200. Two promotional singles from the EP, “Army of Love” and “Zero Gravity”, were released prior to the release of the album’s first official single, “The Lucky Ones”. All three songs entered the top ten of Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart; two of them peaking at number one. Two songs which were co-written by Kerli for Utopia — “Skyscraper” and “I Feel Immortal” — were later recorded by artists Demi Lovato and Tarja Turunen, respectively. Kerli’s version of “I Feel Immortal” was later released on Frankenweenie Unleashed!.
In 2013, Kerli performed twice on Dancing with the Stars; Vibe called the performances a “major milestone in the EDM world.” In November 2013, Kerli left Island Records and signed a record deal with Ultra Music.
In 2019, Kerli’s second studio album Shadow Works was released.
2015–present: Eesti Laul and Shadow Works
On 5 November 2015, it was revealed that Kerli composed a song for Eesti Laul 2016, Estonia’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. In 2015, Kerli left Los Angeles and returned to Estonia, where she spent nine months with no running water and only her music-making gear to keep her company, where she produced her first independent album.
Her single “Feral Hearts” was released digitally worldwide on 19 February 2016. The music video for “Feral Hearts” was released the following week on February 25. “Blossom”, the second single from her second studio album, followed with a video on 28 April and the song’s release on iTunes the next day.
On 26 June, Kerli released the song “Racing Time”. She explained that it was one of three songs written for the 2016 film Alice Through the Looking Glass. She had previously contributed to the Almost Alice concept album for the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland. However, the songs were not included on the latest movie’s soundtrack. On 27 July, she released the third single from her upcoming sophomore studio album, “Diamond Hard”, along with its music video.
On April 22, 2016, Kerli was featured as a vocalist and co-wrote a song on British artist Katy B’s ‘Honey’ album (Rinse/Virgin EMI). She co-wrote and sang the hook on “I Wanna Be.”
On 8 November 2016, it was revealed that Kerli would compete in Eesti Laul 2017, with the song “Spirit Animal”. She reached the final and finished second in the competition. She was later announced to be representing Estonia in the OGAE Second Chance Contest 2017 with “Spirit Animal”, held in Warsaw. On 24 April 2017, Kerli and Illenium released their collaboration song “Sound of Walking Away”, included in Illenium’s second studio album Awake (2017).
By late 2018, the original second studio album, including the 2016 singles, was announced to be scrapped. To replace it, on 12 November 2018, it was announced that Kerli’s new album, which was a brand new project, will be released on 22 February 2019, with three singles being released prior the album. The first one, titled “Savages”, on 30 November 2018. “Better” was released as the second on 18 January 2019, and “Legends” followed as the third on February 8, 2019. The album cover and the track listing were revealed on November 30, along with the pre-order of the album on iTunes. It was also announced that only two videos from the three singles would be released, one being “Savages” and the other is yet to be announced. The music video for “Savages” was released. The album, titled Shadow Works, was released in 2019.