November 18, 2019

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It is always a privilege to speak to some of the most entertaining individuals in the music industry and this is because, some professional personnel can end up teaching about things which might not have been heard of before hand. Some acts do not require a lot of introduction due to the fact that they are already extremely well known with a stunning background in this evening and this is the case with the next interviewee who has already represented his country as a singer, a songwriter and a host when the music competition moved there a couple of years back. I am speaking about Željko Joksimović whose talent seems to grasp the attention of quite a hefty amount of people around the whole continent who are proud to call themselves fans of the artist. He was chosen internally by the Serbian broadcaster, RTS and will be hoping to bring back a result which will stun the nation, one which will be extremely favourable putting the country where it should have been in recent years.

Looking through your biography, one can easily note that success has come to you at a relatively early stage in your career by virtue of finishing at the top of the competition during the 'First accordion of Europe', a festival held in Paris, France. This would be the beginning of a masterful career which would also see you win in other countries throughout the years. Just two years after graduating from the University of Belgrade with a degree in music, you were offered your very first recording contract with a privately owned label. Most of the records released became hits in a number of countries which used to make up the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. What were your thoughts when given such an opportunity to release your material and did you always have creative control over the published songs?

I was very proud and happy when I was appointed to be Serbian presenter for this year Euro vision Song Contest. It is unique and beautiful responsibility to be at the Eurovision stage once again. If I understoodyour question, about the creative process during making this year Song for Baku, the answer is yes, of course that I had creative control during whole process of making off. The text for the poem was done by Marina Tucakovic and Milos Roganovic for Serbian and Ljilja Jorgovanovic for English version. They all are very respective authors but we did everything together. To be honest with you, this part was very important and we spent a lot of time for right words for the composition that I made.

Serbia and Montenegro made their respective debut in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004 and their selection was conducted publicly through a showcase entitled 'Evropesma' which was contested by twenty-four participants, from both sides of the country. At the end of the evening, there was a general consensus between both the jury and the voters at home that 'Lane Moje' would be the best representative on such a joyous occasion and thus, you were sent to the event where you qualified first in the semi-final before missing out on victory to Ruslana and her song 'Wild Dances'. What do you recall of the experience eight years ago and would you have done anything differently?

I am still having having beautiful memories of Istanbul till today along with the way that Lane Moje had been presented. It was my first time at Eurovision Song Contest and it felt like big flow, everything that was happening there was amazing. Yes, from this point of view, I would probably do something different, but in the same time I think that in that case maybe I would not be here this year.

Despite the performance in 2004 being the only one as a soloist, you would return to the Eurovision Song Contest on a further two occasions, starting with 2006 having presented the song 'Lejla' performed by Hari Mata Hari for Bosnia & Herzegovina which finished in third place. It was a great experience surely, one which gave you the courage to pen yet another track in the form of 'Oro' sung by Jelena Tomasevic which would rank in sixth position. Both the songs had particular sounds which are very traditional but what were your thoughts about the respective results and what inspires you to write such songs?

The song 'Lejla' as well as song that I made for Jelena are still very popular songs so therefore I am proud of them. You can always say that they could be better in the final rankings, but that is it, we can not change it now. My inspiration comes from life itself, it is not easy to explain in words how it is happening. It just happens and then you start that creative process, and repeat it for million times.

Following the split of Serbia & Montenegro, it seems that Serbia has become a commanding nation in music by virtue of going onto win the Eurovision Song Contest on their first try as an independent nation noting that Marija Serifovic managed to top the leader board with the song 'Molitva'. Many people still comment that it is one of the most beautiful songs ever to be presented at the renowned competition and one of the reasons for that is surely the fact that it was performed in Serbian. This language seems to be highly regarded but what makes it such a special one in your opinion?

It is good song, presented in right moment for Eurovision and it is still hit. The Song language is very important and we had big dilemma nowadays about the language for the song “Nije ljubav stvar” or as in English version “Synonym”. After long talks we decided to stick with Serbian as many people just think that you can explain your emotions better on your native language

Serbia started off extremely well in the Eurovision Song Contest but lately, their results have somewhat reached the mid-table having even faced non-qualification back in 2010 after Marko Kon and Milaan failed to make it through to the finals of the competition with the song 'Cipela'. Nevertheless, there has been renowned vigour by the broadcaster by inviting some of the most notable songwriters to present singers and songs in a public competition yet this time round they decided to make an internal selection coming up with your name noting that the public had been asking for your return for quite some time. What do you think went wrong in recent years and how do you intend to change that course?

Eurovision Song Contest is a live competition and it has its ups and downs. You also had several well-known composers in recent years. The things are not so black and white as it might seems. I strongly believe that my composition this year as well as some others are very strong and quality compositions that will raise the course that you were talking about. For the Eurovision Song Contest the most important thing is definitely the Songs that will be presented and the organization of the event that I believe that will be fantastic this year.

The importance of the Eurovision Song Contest within Serbia has been proven time and time again with astonishing viewing figures published by RTS, the respective broadcaster. Apart from taking part both as a composer and a performer, you have represented the country as a host of the event when it came to Belgrade, Serbia back in 2008. Looking back through the years, did you believe that you were going to get the nod to host such a prestigious showcase and on a slightly personal note, did you know that you would end up becoming the life partner of your co-host, the beautiful Jovana Jankovic?

It was my pleasure. I think that Eurovision gave a special image to whole my career. I love to say that Eurovision gave me a lot personally as well. I am willing to give something back to it this year and I think that with the song “Nije ljubav stvar” I will do something good.

A couple of weeks ago, the anticipation to listen to the song that you will be presenting at the 2012 Eurovison Song Contest was silenced when you released the track 'Nije Ljubav Stvar' which is a track which fuses the elements of the traditional pop culture along with balkan elements. Throughout the years, you have worked with a number of lyricists though you have chosen to work with Ljilja Jorgovanović this time round. What could you tell us about the choice of this song and the team behind it and how should the people expect it to be presented during the semi-final of the esteemed music event?

Ljilja made lyrics for English version and Marina Tucakovic together with Milos Roganovic done the text for Serbian version that will be presented at the stage on May 24th. I have big and very experienced group that will join me in Baku. The names are Ksenija Miloseevic, Olga Vulovic,Milos Nikolic, Dusan Alagic, Dragan Krstic. Some of them were with me during my Eurovision Contest in the past and you have to believe that we shall all made fantastic show, a new one which you will enjoy.

Would you like say anything to your fans and our readers at

Thank you for supporting Serbia and my song. I wish Kurt Calleja and his song 'This Is The Night' all the best during the first semi-final and hope that we shall together meet in finals in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Published in Interviews

Like in the previous years, SVT is making four preview shows featuring all the 39 countries participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest which will be held on the 25th, 27th and 29th of May respectively.

These shows started on April 27th till May 18th. There are five experts reviewing the songs weekly. The show is hosted by Melodifestivalen producer Christer Björkman. Last April 27th and last night, these five experts voted for all of the 17 songs participating in the first Semi-final.

These are the results:

19 Points to Latvia
18 Points to Portugal
18 Points to Albania
16 Points to Iceland
16 Points to Moldova
16 Points to Malta
13 Points to Greece
13 Points to Slovakia
13 Points to Belgium
13 Points to Belarus
12 Points to Russia
09 Points to Bosnia & Herzegovina
09 Points to Finland
09 Points to Poland
08 Points to Serbia
04 Points to Estonia
03 Points to FYR Macedonia

The five experts are none other than: Lena Philipsson (2004 Swedish Eurovision representative), Kayo Shekoni (singer, former member of Afro-dite, 2002 Swedish representatives), Rennie Mirro (musician), Thomas Lundin (Eurovision expert, TV host ) and Marie Serneholt (singer, former member of A-Teens). You can watch the latest show here.

Note that the reviews for the second semifinal will start as from May 11th and will take up till May 18th.

Source: SVT

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