Katerine Duska will represent Greece at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with her song “Better Love”. It’s a contemporary radio track which has drawn comparisons to Jess Glynne, Annie Lennox and Florence + the Machine.
Greek broadcaster ERT chose Katerine through an internal selection process, which the network hopes will return the country to the final after only its second-ever non-qualification in 2018.
Since Eurovision 2019 is right around the corner, we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Katerine Duska.
1. She grew up in Canada
Katerine was born to Greek parents in Montreal, the largest city in the French-speaking region of Quebec. Coincidentally, Romania’s Ester Peony also spent much of her youth in the city. However, the pair only met for the first time on the Eurovision press trail.
2. She studied law
When Katerine was 16, her family upped sticks and returned to Greece. In an interview with Vice, she says that while it wasn’t her choice to leave, she stays because she wants to. Upon finishing school she started a law degree at the University of Athens. But it wasn’t to be. She didn’t want to work in an office and music’s allure was too strong.
3. She got her big break on YouTube
Katerine began uploading music to YouTube. And in late 2013 she went viral with a cover of “Do I Wanna” by the Arctic Monkeys. Five and a half years later it has amassed over one million views. Speaking to LiFO, she says “I was not on the map until then. I wanted to have a sample of my work on the internet to attract musicians and start working”. She succeeded and was quickly snapped up by the Minos EMI label — home to Tamta, Helena Paparizou and more.
4. She released her first album in 2015
In summer 2014 she released her debut single, “One In A Million”. She had actually first uploaded the demo version one year previously, but with record label backing she was able to up the production and create a music video. Then in December 2015, she released her first LP Embodiment. Her second is due later this year.
5. Her music was used by Nescafé
She moved back to Greece over a decade ago, but Katerine is still making ripples in the land of her birth. In spring 2018, the Canadian arm of Nescafé coffee used “Fire Away” — the first track on Embodiment — as the soundtrack for its “Crafted with Care” campaign. The ads ran all over the country, in both French and English speaking regions. “So this crazy thing happened!”, wrote Katerine on Facebook, “I couldn’t be more thankful ! 🙏”.
6. Her back catalogue is all in English
Despite making music for a Greek audience on a Greek label, Katerine’s entire discography is in English. Speaking to CultureNow.gr, she admits that it’s not a fast track to mass market success. Singing in the language is a “sign of the alternative”, but it never posed a dilemma for her. “I always wrote in English. It was quite natural to me as I grew up in Canada and it is also my mother tongue”.
7. “Better Love” is the first release she didn’t write entirely herself
Katerine wrote all nine tracks from Embodiment by herself, including the singles “One In A Million” and “Won’t Love”. But for “Better Love” she drafted in some additional help for the first time. And she didn’t call on just anyone. Her co-writers David Sneddon and Leon of Athens are two of the best. Sneddon’s credits include Lana Del Rey’s “National Anthem” and Jessica Mauboy’s “This Ain’t Love”. Leon of Athens is an up-and-coming writer whose 2018 single “Aeroplane” received widespread critical acclaim.
8. But she has collaborated with others
She might be new to sharing writing credits, but Katerine is no stranger to sharing the stage or recording studio with others. Last year, she made a rare foray into the Greek language with a feature spot on Stathis Drogosis’ “Tha Perasoun I Meres”. The hauntingly beautiful track featured on his 18+ album. She also collaborated with Billy Pod on a cover of James Blake’s “Limit To Your Love”. And in autumn 2018 she performed a concert with the Swedish singer-songwriter Albin Lee Meldau.
9. She participated in the Give A Home initiative
For World Refugee Day on 20 June 2017, Sofar Sounds and Amnesty International organised the global Give A Home Event. Its goal was to highlight the ongoing refugee crisis and saw thousands of artists perform intimate concerts in over 300 cities in 60 countries. Ed Sheeran did Washington D.C., The National did Edinburgh, First Aid Kit did Stockholm and Katerine Duska did Thessaloniki.
10. Her musical influences are wide and varied
By the time she reaches Tel Aviv in May, Katerine will have come a long way from her first solo gig at Athens’ Pride in 2013. And while she’ll share the limelight with some of Europe’s finest (plus Madonna), there are still a number of acts on her bucket list. Her dream collaborator is Kimbra, best known for featuring on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”. If she could work with any artists in history, her choices would be Nina Simone, the Beatles, David Bowie, and Queen.
Can Katerine Duska take Greece back to the final? Could “Better Love” bring victory number two for the Mediterranean nation? Let us know in the comments.