On August 5 Croatians celebrated their Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day. Watching them eat loads of yummy food and sun-soaking on Croatia’s beautiful beaches, we are feeling seriously nostalgic about the days the Balkan nation competed in Europe’s biggest song festival. For now, a Croatian return seems unlikely. Public interest is the lowest it has been in years, and Croatia’s state broadcaster HRT simply doesn’t care for anything Eurovision, as we saw with its recent withdrawal from Junior Eurovision.
But for now, we can dream – BIG! Here is a list of 10 singers that are currently at the peak of their popularity inside (and outside) Croatia. Surely they could drag HRT into the Grand Final…
We promise not to repeat any entries from 2013’s wishlist!
She started her career as the lead singer of Croatian vocal and dance group Perle, which attempted to represent Croatia at Eurovision in 2001 and 2002. Subsequently she joined a number of klapas in various music festivals. In 2012, she switched to a more commercial sound, and saw some of her colleagues turn their back on her. Today she is one of Croatia’s favorite “guilty pleasures”, and her singles often chart. Haters gonna hate, but her summer tour includes some big gigs in Germany and Slovenia. This can only mean two things: Douze points from both countries (Croatia would be happy to receive any at all).
Damir made the finals of the Story Supernova Music Talents reality show on Nova TV, which aired in late 2003. After the show, he and two other former finalists formed the band Sasa, Tin and Kedzo. However, in the summer of 2005 they decided to split and pursue their own careers. Damir is mainly known for his brilliant covers, which include Loreen’s “My Heart is Refusing Me“. He won the Grand Prix of Slavianski Bazaar in 2010. You can hear his husky vocals in this dark and edgy video for his 2015 song “Kada ljubav stisne zube”.
Mystical, edgy, psychedelic, dark – Nina Kraljic works all of it. The first winner of The Voice of Croatia, she slayed in the contest, having won in the final with 65% of the vote. Soon after that she signed with Universal Music Group – and that’s where her debut single – “Zaljuljali smo svijet” – was born. She was once rumoured to be a potential representative of Croatia at ESC.
His several attempts to win the Croatian national selection were very crash and burn, but this singer and the winner of “Dancing with the Stars” deserves another chance. His good looks and bubbly personality would win over scores of Eurovision fans. His repertoire spans happy-go-lucky songs and some serious balladry. To add icing to the cake, he is a restaurant owner. He can finish what Aarzemnieki of Latvia half-baked in Copenhagen (read: get in the final).
Iva is another newly-discovered singer. Her breathy vocals secured her third place in this year’s X Factor Adria. Initially she didn’t make the cut during the bootcamp phase, but her rendition of Zeljko Joksimovic’s Eurovision 2012 song made him reconsider. She definitely knows how to persevere.
He debuted in 2012 with his single “Atom” – a teenage love song which compares love to the subject of chemistry. Today the 17-year old has a massive following on social media, and his passionate fans (mostly girls) ambush him on every corner. And yes, he is a big fan of Eurovision! He even covered Eurovision 1990’s winning song by Riva. He is currently attending the high school of contemporary dance in Zagreb – so prepare yourself for some dance moves if he takes to the ESC stage.
This lady is pretty much an institution in Croatia! She has been singing since the 1960’s and is known for her strong jazz/rock voice and indie style, which is a rarity in Croatia. Her unique fashion sense has led to comparisons with Lady Gaga – and some even blamed the new pop queen of stealing Josipa’s fashion ideas. Born on the Valentine’s Day, she is the definition of a romantic. She devotes every lyric and performance to her late husband Karlo Metikos, who was also an esteemed artist in 1960’s. In June she even released a new single after a two-year hiatus. Eurovision could be a great platform for her to showcase some of her new material.
The son of a former basketball player, he finished as a runner-up at Dora – the Croatian national selection for Eurovision – in 1997 and 1999 — and came third in 2001. However, he is most notable to Eurovision fans as a co-author of “Neka mi ne svane” – the song which brought the country fifth place and its second best placement ever. Fun fact – the singer Danijela Martinovic is his soon-to-be-wife. This year he won the Grand Prix of Splitski Festival with his entry “Moje zlato”, which was also named the most played song in July by the Croatian Phonographic Association. Can his husky vocals take over Europe too?
Silente, which hails from Dubrovnik, formed in 2013 and became a household name after releasing the song “Terca na tisinu”. They signed to Aquarius Records and received some big music awards, including best newcomer on two occasions. Their alternative pop-rock sound could do well at Eurovision.
Vatra formed in now distant 1999 as a rock band, but over the course of time their rock sound has become more indie and pop. They signed to Dallas Records – a well-known Croatian record label. Their song “Tango” won four categories at Porins 2014: best group performance, best recording, best production and song of the year. Vatra’s “Tango” also spent a record breaking number of weeks in the official HR top 40 chart of Croatian Institution of Music. The band’s lead singer Ivan Decak is one of the coaches on The Voice of Croatia.
Okay, this is a little bit over the top, but New Zealand’s biggest export has a Croatian mother. Her original sound would climb the scoreboard (think Loic Nottet) and Lorde would set an example to other singers to never forget their roots. How lovely!
Who is your favorite from the above? Do you have any other suggestions? Feel free to comment below and to vote in our poll.