Ana Soklič will represent Slovenia at Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam with “Amen”.
Ana was originally supposed to represent Slovenia at Eurovision 2020 with “Voda”. However, the contest was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, just like several other countries, Slovenia rested its usual national selection format for one year and internally selected Ana instead.
And now we’ve compiled 10 facts about Ana. Let’s do this!
Slovenia at Eurovision 2021: Facts about Ana Soklič
1. Her home is surrounded by natural beauty
Ana hails from Bohinj, which is a 20-kilometre long and five-kilometre wide basin in the Julian Alps in the Upper Carniola region of northwestern Slovenia. “God gave me the most beautiful place on earth to spent my childhood”, says Ana. “He named it Bohinj (God- “Boh”), surrounded with lakes and woods, and nothing else could give me as much power for making music alive, sharing stories you can only dream of.” To get a feel for the natural beauty, you just need to look at her 2020 Home Concert on the Eurovision YouTube channel. She can be seen standing on the shores of a magnificent lake, surrounded by a stunning mountain vista — it’s her actual back yard!
2. She was taught by the best
Ana started out in music early. And she was taught by the best — opera teacher Alenka Dernač Bunta, acclaimed Slovenian musician Darja Švajger and singing coach Nataša Nahitgal. Švajger herself represented Slovenia twice at the Eurovision Song Contest. She came seventh with the ballad “Prisluhni mi” (Listen To Me) in 1995. This remains Slovenia’s joint-highest placing to date. She returned in 1999 and came 11th with “For A Thousand Years”.
3. She first entered EMA under a pseudonym
Before her 2020 triumph in Slovenia’s Eurovision selection, Ana entered EMA 2004 using the pseudonym Diona Dim. She hit the EMA stage with the rock-tinged English-language ballad “If You”. She displayed early hints of her “Amen” vocal power. But while the jury placed her fifth, the song didn’t captivate the public who placed her next to last. She finished ninth overall.
4. She attempted Eurovision again in 2007
In 2007, Ana entered EMA as Diona Dim once more. This time she presented the dark and powerful “Oče” (“Father”). Despite displaying more maturity and her signature deep and powerful vocal, the entry didn’t strike a chord with the public yet again. She finished 11th out of 12 in the semi-final.
5. She’s a dab hand at covers
Ana has been quoted as saying that she often feels most at home when she sings blues, soul, and jazz. During a live radio performance on Slovenian public radio station Radio Val 202, she got the chance to show just how perfectly these genres fit her deep and smoky voice. She got groovy with a rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (a duet with fellow Slovenian singer Urban Lutman). She also belted out a soulful version of the standard “Feelin’ Good”, letting her voice shine. Meanwhile, in her Eurovision 2020 home concert, she took on Albania’s Eurovision 2012 entry “Suus”.
6. She has a taste for jazz
Ana performed a sold-out solo concert at the Veneto Jazz Festival in Venice in 2014, which also hosted notable American jazz artists such as Keith Jarrett, Cassandra Wilson, and Chick Corea. That’s some star-studded company! She’s also graced stages in cities such as Dubai and Naples.
7. She loves to sing with a symphony orchestra
In 2016, Ana mixed her jazzy side with live accompaniment from the RTV Slovenija Symphony orchestra. She owned the stage during several songs, including a rendition of Steely Dan’s 1996 version of “Jack of Speed”. Groovy! She’s also performed with an orchestra at the Lignano Sabbiadoro amphitheatre in Italy.
8. She has entered many competitions
Prior to participating in and winning EMA 2020, Ana competed in another popular Slovenian singing competition in 2019 — the 43rd Popevka Festival. Once again in front of a live orchestra, Ana lent her smoky thoughtful and emotional vocals to the song “Temni svet” (“The Dark World”). Although the song showed off what she does best to great effect, the televoting public wasn’t feeling it. She only finished tenth out of the 11 entries. Ana didn’t walk home empty-handed, however, as the song won both the grand prize for “Best song in its Entirety” and the prize for “Best Interpretation”.
9. She’s sung with one of America’s biggest gospel choirs
Jazz, soul, rock… there’s seemingly no end to Ana’s musical talents. Long before her gospel-tinged Eurovision 2021 effort, Ana performed with the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir. Over the 34 years since its foundation, the group has performed for multiple US presidents, the pope and royalty. It’s also collaborated with major artists like Mary J. Blige, U2… and Ana Soklič. Tim Arrington — the choir’s leader — had this to say about Ana: “Her ‘catch’ is her performance, she is simply “that voice”: an emotional, blues- jazz drenched that ranges from a lilting slap to a knock- you -backwards uppercut.”
10. She’s performed for royalty
Valentine’s Day 2019 was one to remember for Ana. For she spent the most romantic of holidays performing in Monte Carlo at an event organised by Prince Albert II of Monaco. Inside the grand surroundings of the famous Hotel de Paris, Ana belted out tunes like “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman. The venue had previously hosted such legendary figures as Maria Callas and Grace Kelly.
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What do you think of “Amen”? Are you looking forward to seeing Ana in Rotterdam? Let us know in the comments.