She won The Voice of Lithuania under the tutelage of two-time Eurovision contestant Donny Montell. And now Monika Marija returns to Eurovizijos Atranka in 2019 with the goal of following in Donny’s footsteps to Eurovision.

The Lithuanian beauty — who is now a coach on The Voice Kids — recently sat down with our Kevin Lee to discuss her stunning ballad “Criminal”. Just hours after the official music video dropped her fans were lighting up the comments section on YouTube, describing it as all kinds of fabulous.

Monika says the dramatic song stems from her personal experience of hurting someone.

“The main idea is that people think that the real criminals are the murderers, the thieves, the people who do real crimes,” she says.

“But I think the biggest crime is to hurt another person and to leave a scar in his heart, in his memories. I have done that myself, I can admit it, and even to this day, it hurts me, thinking about what I have done to other person.”

Last year, Monika participated in Lithuania’s national selection with “The Truth”, which was given to her by Erica Jennings. Erica, the writer of the song, decided not to participate in the contest. Everything happened on short notice and Monika made the decision to participate only two days before the fourth semi-final.

“It was a really difficult decision for me to make, and I said no the first time. But then my producer, he said, ‘Okay, I understand that, I’m not pushing you, but maybe we should rethink it and weigh the pros and cons’. So in the end, I said ‘Okay, we should do it’. I learned a lot and I managed to go to the final which was perfect and I’m really happy about that.”

Now competing with her own song, Monika may feel inspired to push harder.

“I feel more comfortable, more in my own comfort zone,” she says. “Last year I could slip a little bit. If something went wrong I could say ‘oh, it’s not my song, I have a right to do that.’ But now I have to have guts to prepare it as perfect as possible, because it’s my own. I have to show the highest that I can.”

“Keep the Light On, have hope for yourself”

Last month, Monika published a new single called “Light On”. Like “Criminal”, the song also has a back story. Two years ago, Monika contracted a blood infection. Her blood levels rose so high that the doctors said it may be impossible for her to survive.

“I was laying there in a glass box, completely sterilized, I didn’t have anything of my own. Not my clothes, not my cell phone, not any single thing. And my sister could only visit me like 20 minutes or half an hour a day.”

She added: “I remember laying there in the bed and thinking, if I make it through this, one more day, one more hour, I can deal with anything in my life. Absolutely anything.”

And luckily she did get through that. And that is how the single “Light On” was born.

“After two weeks or something, I actually made it out and it was incredible. So I said, I’m gonna start living now. So the song is actually about that. Just to keep the Light On, have hope for yourself, don’t turn off your passion for living. Every time I sing the song, I think about that and just how happy I am to manage my life today and just have a prospect to my future.”

A coach on The Voice Kids Lithuania

In 2017, Monika participated in The Voice of Lithuania and chose Donny Montell, Lithuania’s 2012 Eurovision representative, as her mentor and eventually won the whole contest.

So it is only natural that she is now one of the coaches on The Voice of Lithuania Kids, alongside her old mentor Donny Montell.

“He was my mentor more than a year ago, so that has kind of ended now and we have to move forward. And it’s going to be a really interesting game now that we are both coaches and we’re both rivals. It’s really interesting sitting in a chair next to him because he’s saying, ‘Oh, you learned everything from me.’ And I’m like ‘Yeah, but I have everything you have, then I have my own stuff so I’m like double power’.”

What do you think about the song “Criminal”? And who is your favourite from Eurovizijos Atranka? Let us know in the comments down below.

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Peter
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Peter
Adam
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Adam

This has potential, but let’s wait until the live performance and stage show.

Brooklyn
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Brooklyn

Eh! Boring af

Jack
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Jack

Sorry, boring one…

Nolerb
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Nolerb

Does anyone else think this is a poorly recycled UNDO?

Rainer1
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Rainer1

This song is really criminal. Criminal boring. But at least, one almost naked man=1point. The best so far from lithuania

Colin
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Colin

By far my favorite Lithuanian song and among the best of this season. This big dramatic ballad could be the right recipe to draw different audiences in. It’s very dynamic and not ”boring”, yet also sentimental and showcases her beautiful voice.

Apple
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Apple

The song isn’t something I normally like, but she gives it so much life