Interview: The Ludvig

I will exaggerate, but The Ludvig (real name Jēkabs Ludvigs Kalmanis) took the Latvian music scene by storm. And he’s quite young – the age of sixteen.

Last year he participated in some local musical contests and won them. But this year he released his first original composition – dreamy, but catchy pop song “I’m in Love With You”.

The song got 2nd place at the Latvian national music contest “Supernova” where the song that will represent Latvia at this year’s Eurovision contest was selected. Even though The Ludvig didn’t win national contest, he got recognition and boost to do what he really wants – make music.

The Ludvig writes honest and beautiful music, in his own words, to which everyone can relate to. He has exceptional, strong and mature voice. His sense of music is polished and distinct. These qualities listener can hear and feel not only in his original songs, but also cover versions that he places once a week on Youtube.

Me and The Ludvig come from the same small Latvian town of Talsi. I decided to invite him to take a walk through the town and talk about his musical preferences and his future perspectives.

How it all started with you and the music?

The Ludvig: I finished Talsi music school as trombonists. At that time, I didn’t even sing or play piano. I did have piano lessons some 20 minutes a week, but I didn’t specifically learn to sing. So I started to play piano and sing the way I wanted.

I composed my first songs at the age of 11 with two of my best friends. We practiced in the garage. At that time, I also took guitar tutorial courses that were available on Youtube. So me and my friends got together on weekends and we made some music that we performed to random girls on the mobile phone. One of the songs we recorded was cover version of “Shake up Christmas” by Train.

You are studying in on of the prestigious music schools in Latvia – Riga Cathedral Choir School. What are you studying there?

I take classes in Musical theatre program. That means I learn not only how to sing, but also how to dance and act on stage. I chose the program because it suited my musical interests. Musicals combine a lot of genres – classical music, rock music, jazz, even rap and hip-hop.

What were your musical influences when you started to compose?

At first, my greatest inspiration was Ed Sheeran and his first album. It sounded like he was making music for himself. That’s a wonderful album and it inspired me to compose music and lyrics to which everyone could relate to.

And what are your musical preferences today?

I really like The Weeknd. His roots are from Ethiopia even though he’s from Canada. I like that he uses Ethiopian language in his songs. I might borrow this idea and include some Latvian phrases in a song that’s been written in English. But at the same time I listen to classical music. My favorite composition is Claude Debussy’s orchestral transcription of Erik Satie piano piece “Gymnopedie No.1”.

So far you have recorded only one original song and some cover versions. When we could expect an album?

Soon, but I don’t know the precise date yet. I have some demo versions of the songs and I work really hard to polish them so I could release an album. Right now I feel that music making is the only thing I can do. Knowing that it’s easier to keep things done.


The Ludvig on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

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