From Belgrade to Stockholm and beyond, Sanja Vucic does not slow down. On Saturday evening Serbia’s Eurovision 2016 singer and her band ZAA performed in front of tens of thousands people at the Demofest music festival in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Every year Demofest, one of the best-known festivals in the Balkans, brings together renowned musical artists like Mando Diao and Dub Pistols, but also lesser-known acts who compete in an organized “demo band” contest for the chance to be heard and win a recording contract.
Long before Eurovision propelled Sanja into the European spotlight, her band ZAA took part in the demo band competition in 2009. They placed third and walked away with recording gear worth €1000, which helped them professionalize and take their career to another level. At this year’s Demofest press conference, which you can watch below, they described it as the most crucial turning point in their career.
“We are very happy and excited,” Sanja said in a behind-the-scenes interview before the performance. “The rest of the band has some really great memories of this festival. Demofest is an important point in the band’s history, and I’m really glad that I can be a part of it.”
Sanja also spoke about her experiences as ZAA’s lead singer.
“Joining this band was a dream come true for me, my rock-and-roll dream that I’m still living. Even after that whole Eurovision madness I came back to my original wish, so I’m still here, sitting with you.”
ZAA took the stage at 23:30 with their song “What About”, the title track from their 2014 album. The crowd started dancing immediately to the rhythm of ZAA’s colourful reggae-inspired melodies. Naturally Sanja charmed the audience with her powerful vocals and compelling onstage persona.
The setlist continued with the group’s other hits, including “Good Things”, “We” and “Unconditional Love”, as well as several covers. The final song, “Irie & Kool”, literally had the audience jumping to its catchy beat.
Sanja’s participation wasn’t a selfish move. In fact it has helped raise her band’s profile, too. The audience included plenty of fans who only discovered them after Sanja’s participation in this year’s Eurovision, where she received 12 points from the televoters from Bosnia and Herzegovina.