It’s safe to say that Macedonia has not had their fair share of luck in recent years of Eurovision. Since Kaliopi’s dramatic and emphatic “Crno i Belo” entered in 2012, the Balkan nation has failed to reach the final, making it six failed attempts in a row. That’s not to say that Macedonia is not taking the contest seriously — quite the contrary in fact. In both Kiev and Lisbon, the country produced some of the most loved songs of the year — studio-wise that is. But with sub-par staging failing to match the brilliance of the songs, it meant that Macedonia weren’t able to snap their streak, despite sending some quality entries.
Macedonia is a country long overdue of at least a top 10 finish, especially after sending some of the biggest names in their country. There is an old saying originating from the Balkans: “If you ever end up in Macedonia, do not sing and do not dance – you will be upstaged”. It is a country of many talents who definitely deserve some justice after years and years of bad luck. So let’s have a look at a few names with the talent and charisma to break the spell.
1. Magdalena Cvetkoska
One name which has been circulating among fans for some time is Magdalena Cvetkoska, often stylised as Magdalena ENA. Born in the city of Tetovo, Magdalena was just eight years of age when she competed in her first musical competition and later won a competition organised by the Macedonian broadcaster, M2. This, coupled with the help of famous songwriter Darko Dimitrov, who has produced iconic Eurovision entries such as “Ninanajna” or “Lost and Found”, kick-started her professional solo-career. Since then, she has been all over the place as a composer, as a lyricist and above all a singer. While she hasn’t been to Eurovision as of yet, she was one of the writers behind Macedonia’s Eurovision 2013 entry and Dimitar Andonovski’s entry in Skopje Fest 2014. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to see her take the reigns herself.
Many stars of Junior Eurovision from a few years back are gradually becoming eligible to participate in the adult version of the contest. A few, such as Nevena Božović or the Tolmachevy Sisters, have already made that leap and hopefully Anja Veterova, better known now as ANNIA, will join that list too. Anja competed in the 2010 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with the kid-friendly “Eoo Eoo”, which has since become one of the most viewed songs on the channel and often earns a spot on the Top 10 most watched videos of the month. A few years later, she burst onto the Balkan music scene with a record label with the biggest music channel in the former Yugoslovia, IDJ Videos. Her style is fresh, modern and current and would definitely fit the recent trend of quality entries that the Balkan nation have been sending to the contest.
3. Manil Velioski
It’s become commonplace these last few years for Macedonia to release a modern and current entry, only for it to tank at the live show with lackluster staging. As a result, it might be time for a slight change in strategy. The Balkans became famous in the naughties for spiritual and moving ballads along the lines of “Lane Moje” or “Reka Bez Imena”. Taking a leaf out of this book and going the traditional route could catapult Macedonia back into the final. One singer who could do this is the young folk singer Menil Velioski. Menil rose to fame in the Balkan region by participating in the Serbian show Neki Novi Klinci (Some New Kids). He has a strong and bold voice, quite advanced for his age. This, combined with Balkan music, could be just what FYR Macedonia needs to return to the Eurovision final.
4. Vasil Garvanliev
Vasil Garvanliev, born and raised in Macedonia, has been active in the world of music and artistry since the age of 7. For the past two decades, he has been based in numerous locations all around the world, such as: Chicago, Milan, London and Toronto. But now Vasil has returned to his homeland of Macedonia to try and focus on his solo career and continue his journey to stardom. As of yet, the Macedonian baritone has only released one song, “Gerdan”, but it is definitely a statement piece, showcasing Vasil’s style and vocal capabilities.
However, Vasil is by no means a one-trick pony, stating that his musical journey has been quite a diverse one. Starting from a child pop star, to a soloist at the Chicago children’s choir, to leading roles in opera productions, to a back-up vocalist for some of the world’s greatest stars — he has been all over the place. Summing up his online biography, Vasil writes: “Music is my way of life, I haven’t had the easiest path so far. Every time I was to step out into the spotlight, life put up a big wall in front of me. I want to sing so that I can share my truth and my story with as many people through the power of my voice.”
5. Natasa Malinkova
Next up on our list is someone we picked for our wishlist back in 2015, Natasa Malinkova. We know she’s keen for Eurovision – she tried to represent the country in 2011, but only placed 11th in the National Final. That hasn’t set her back, and she’s kept releasing new tracks and “Daleku Od Tebe” is one of her most prominent. It’s a special song, with rapping provided courtesy of Snoopy MC (and no, it’s not one of Snoop Dogg’s many aliases). This urban ballad may be roughly 70% rap, but you can still discern Natasa’s wonderful voice. Known for her strong and powerful vocals, if she were given the right song she’d surely storm the Eurovision leader board.
6. Viktorija Loba
Born in the Russian town of Taganrog, Viktorija Loba moved to Macedonia with her family at the age of eight. The blonde beauty already has plenty of exposure to the Eurovision bubble, first experiencing it at the tender age of 15. Along with Marija Arsovska she represented Macedonia at the inaugural Junior Eurovision in 2003. The duo may have only placed 12th, but Viktorija went on to become a fully fledged pop star afterwards. She’s picked up awards across the Balkans and Russia. She even made a bid to enter the adult contest in 2015, but finished seventh behind Daniel Kajmakosk at Skopje Fest 2014. Maybe 2019 could be her year?
7. Tatijana Stefanovska
Sending Balkan divas is something which has definitely proven to be a success for Macedonia in the past. Elena Risteska, Karolina and Kaliopi all produced memorable and iconic entries for the Balkan nation. Going back to what Macedonia has done best, could provide some much awaited success for the country and hopefully propel them into the top 10. Enter Tatijana Stefanovska who brings some Balkan cougar realness. She was our choice for Macedonia in 2016 but she deserves another shout out here. Her music represents her country well and she could excel at Eurovision if she sticks to what she does best. Macedonia was one of only three countries to sing entirely in a language other than English in 2016 and Tatijana could continue that trend, which is something that the contest would benefit from.
Renata Kalevska, better known by her stage name, Rennata, could be somewhat of a stand out on the list as someone whose career is more focused around songs in the English language – she’s thinking global y’all. She burst onto the scene a few years ago and has since grown bigger and bigger with her most recent song “Queendom” serving attitude, empowerment and drama. Rennata is no stranger to a competition. In 2003 she competed in the Macedonian national final for Junior Eurovision Song Contest. While she was ultimately unsuccessful, it did not stop her from developing her artistic career in her home country and abroad.
She has competed in numerous competitions throughout Europe and was one of the first artists in the region to gain a VEVO certified YouTube channel as well as a contract with MTV. While singing is definitely her focal point, Rennata is a prominent campaigner for social welfare and for raising awareness among youth around issues of sexual assault and consent. She is a fierce social activist and a fierce musical artist and would be a great choice for Macedonia at Eurovision.
9. Aleksandra Janeva
Our penultimate act is someone who is relatively new on the Macedonian music scene – Aleksandra Janeva. This blonde bombshell from the Balkan nation earned a name for herself after taking part in the prestigious Macedonian music festival MakFest in 2016. Since then her career has exploded. Around a year ago, Aleksandra signed with the Bulgarian record company Facing The Sun, who work with some of the biggest names in the Bulgarian music industry, such as Gery-Nikol and TITA. She’s released a few songs with the help of her label, one of which was a duet with Natasa Malinkova, but has also worked independently, publishing music on her own channel. Her music is current and on-trend and with the right backing and help could push Macedonia high up the scoreboard.
10. David Temelkov
Currently based in Croatia after being signed to HIT records, David Temelkov is serving face and voice straight from Macedonia and the Balkans. David earned notoriety after auditioning for the former Yugoslavian version of X Factor, where he performed “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal. Almost instantly David earned applause from the audience and was met with faces of joy from the judges. Ultimately, David’s performance was halted, not because one of the judges did not like it, but the complete opposite.
Tonči Huljić, the judge who stopped the track, stated: “We’ve heard enough. This world is full of good singers and artists. But for me it is important when someone’s voice is unique; and your voice is unique”. The rest of the judges continued to shower him with accolades and ultimately thanked him for coming to the audition. Long story short, David would be the full package for Macedonia; a killer voice, a killer look and a killer personality. With the right staging and production, who knows how far he could go.
Bonus from the rumour mill
We couldn’t fully complete this article without having a quick look at who is circulating in Macedonia’s rumour pool for this edition. A few days ago, fans were pointed in the direction of an Instagram post made by former Macedonian entrants in the Eurovision Song Contest Next Time. The post, which doesn’t disclose too much information, simply had a picture of one of the band members on a treadmill and the quote “Se sprema za na Evrovizija” (“Getting ready for Eurovision”). This set fans ablaze with many speculating that Macedonia would be selecting the former entrants to represent the country once again.
However, given the plethora of rumours circulating around the fandom, we reached out to the Macedonian delegation to discern what was going on. Unfortunately, for those of you holding out on our first returning artist, it won’t be Next Time, at least not this year. The whole post was just a ruse and prank played by the pair meaning that we’re basically back to square one with Macedonia.
Poll: Who would be your favourite to represent Macedonia
Those were 10 potential singers to represent FYR Macedonia at the 64th Eurovision Song Contest. What do you think about the list? Is there someone else you think we should include? Let us know down below and be sure to leave a vote in our poll!