Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl will represent Slovenia at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with their song “Sebi”. It’s a transcendental, new-age entry. Sitting just outside the bookies’ top 10, many view it as a potential dark horse.
Zala and Gašper were one of ten competing acts in Slovenia’s EMA 2019 and went up against numerous heavyweights. But the duo stole the show, advancing to the superfinal and pipping Raiven to victory. After breaking a two-year non-qualification streak in 2018, Slovenia seems to be sticking to the right track.
As we draw closer to Tel Aviv, we have compiled a list of 10 facts you need to know about Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl. So without further ado, let’s do this!
1. They met on Instagram
Formed in 2017, Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl are relatively new to the world of music, especially compared to some of the seasoned artists taking part this year. The duo first met on Instagram where Gašper stumbled across Zala and her covers. At the time, Gašper was searching for a vocalist for the song “Valovi”. Upon hearing Zala’s soft ethereal voice, he knew he had found the right singer. At first, Zala was credited as a featuring artist. However, as of April 2018, the duo as we know it today formed and signed a contract with Universal Music Slovenia.
2. They’re award winners
Despite the collaboration being just more than a year old, Zala and Gašper’s talents have not gone unnoticed by the Slovenian music industry. In 2018, the duo won the Zlata Piščal Award for best song of the summer in recognition of their debut single “Valovi” (Waves). Subsequently, Zala and Gašper produced even more songs in the genre, solidifying their position within the music industry and earning them hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
3. They have a longtime history with music
According to their official Eurovision profile, Zala’s involvement in music began with covers of popular hits. This gradually developed into writing and composing pieces built around the musical philosophy of soft and gentle narration. Gašper, on the other hand, started his musical journey playing the guitar as a youngster.
4. They’re known for their artistic imagery
Browse Zala and Gašper’s Instagram and you’ll notice that the duo have an affinity for creating artistic imagery, be it with filters, colours, or backgrounds. One noticeable and reoccurring theme is a poly-art fox head, which often appears in their live shows. The fox, coupled with its intricate shapes, gives the band an otherworldly and unique identity in contrast to the rest. Usually, it’s Gašper who wears the headpiece. However, here’s a post with Zala trying it on.
5. They have a Czech connection
Gašper’s music connections extend beyond the Slovene borders. As his talents blossomed, the music took him to the capital city of the Czech Republic — Prague. There, while working at Faust Records, he studied to become an audio producer and composer. After two years, Gašper embarked on a quest for inspiration and travelled across Europe by bike. It was during this time he began work on his debut song.
6. They’re animal lovers
Much like fellow Eurovision singer Srbuk, Zala and Gašper have a deep affinity with the animal kingdom. You’ll see all kinds of animals and creatures to admire on their Instagram. With not much else to say, take a look at some of Zala and Gašper’s furry friends.
7. They love the outdoors
Once again, Instagram gives an insight as to what the two like to get up to in their free-time. Besides making music, art and photographing animals, Zala and Gašper love to explore and enjoy the world around them — hiking, running and sometimes just relaxing in their surroundings. The two also like to incorporate mother nature into their indoor posts with potted plants and foliage making regular appearances.
8. Their discography is growing
“Sebi” is the pair’s fourth single. They previously released three tracks — “Valovi”, “Baloni” and “S teboi” — all in 2018. In February 2019, all four were nicely packaged into an EP called Štiri. One local reviewer commends “Gasper’s exceptional production of electro-pop sound, wrapped in Zala’s gentle vocals and melodies”.
9. They won EMA with one of the biggest margins ever
Slovenia’s national selection has an illustrious history, dating back pretty much to the country’s first participation. EMA has seen numerous changes in terms of how the contest is run, with almost every year seeing a different format coming into play. Nevertheless, the show often produces nail-bitingly close photo finishes with just a matter of votes separating the victor from the runner up. However, that wasn’t the case this time around. While Zala and Gašper may not have won the first round of voting, coming in second, they absolutely dominated the public vote in the super-final. The duo earned an incredible 72% of the vote, beating Raiven’s number about three times over.
10. They revel in each other’s company
Finally, it may come as no surprise to some of you, but the Slovenian duo are a couple. If their intimate performance at the national selection was not enough to convince you of their connection, be sure to take a look through their Instagram. Snaps of the couple are in great abundance. It will definitely warm your heart to see the two so happy. They’re in love with each other and doing what they love.
Are you excited to see Zala Kralj and Gašper Šantl perform in Tel Aviv? What do you think of their past achievements? What do you hope to see on the Eurovision stage? Let us know in the comments below.