As the acoustic version of Crazy has been brought to the daylight, and as Croatian delegation is leaving to Eurovision, we have an opportunity and honour to interview Croatian representative on this-years Eurovision in Lisbon, Franka Batelić. Born in Rijeka, Croatia, this twenty-six-year old singer was brought into the public eye with only fifteen years, when she won the competition Showtime. In 2008., she won OGAE Song Contest, with her second single Ruža u kamenu. After that, she tried to represent Croatia in Eurovision twice, competing in Dora, and after a longer musical brake where she educated herself on Zagreb’s Study of Law, and on Berklee Music College in USA, she came back stronger than ever with the song S tobom, which now has over 3.5 million views on Youtube. In this exclusive interview, Franka will discover some staging details, talk about the scandal that marked her preparations for Eurovision, as well as about inspiration behind the song Crazy!
There are only two days left until first Croatian rehearsal on the Eurovision stage. How do You feel, are you satisfied with stand-in rehearsals and is everything ready for the first rehearsal?
Excited is too small of a word to describe how I feel right now. We are practicing hard every day, so everything could be perfect even for the first rehearsal so nothing can surprise us. I must admit that I am really satisfied with the progress and can’t wait to go to Lisbon! Everything is clear now, everybody knows what everybody is doing, so I feel better and can relax a little bit, let everything go just the way it should…
Do You think that no LED screens on stage narrowed your staging choices? Can you tell us more about your staging in general?
We were thinking long and hard about the performance, it took months! Hahaha! We had a lot of ideas, of which some went in the direction of tv-projections and dancers. But, in the end we decided to focus the staging on the interpretation and transferring emotion to the audience. A good lightshow will be enough to evoke audiences’ emotions. It is going to be mystique, expressive and strong.
You yourself once told that Crazy isn’t a middle-of-the-road song, and that the people will either like it very much, or not at all. Did You have any second thoughts after the first reaction to the song?
That’s right. Everybody has his own taste in music, and for everything else as a matter a fact, and I knew that I couldn’t please everybody. I didn’t have any second thoughts after the first reactions. I’m not the kind of person that easily changes her opinion. Crazy is a song with attitude and it awakens a lot of emotions in me as I perform it. I really can’t wait to perform it on the big Eurovision stage. It’s a song made for live performing and I am sure that it is going to sound great live.
You wrote the lyrics to the song. Who was an inspiration for it?
The atmosphere of the song somehow made me write the lyrics. Crazy is about every single form of love, as well as about that unreal one, one that is a product of our imagination, fantasy, but why would that kind of love be meaningless? Love is the most beautiful fantasy which is unable to be described with words. But that’s why we have music, don’t we?
This Eurovision year is full of scandals, and they didn’t avoid You as well. How did accusations from Romanian rapper about plagiarism of the instrumental of the song Crazy influence on You and Your preparations for Eurovision?
I can’t even describe my feelings when I found out about the song of that rapper. Preparations were going smoothly, I was driving happily to Istria on Easter weekend, and then -boom! In a split second I had a thousand questions, because I couldn’t comprehend anything. Try and imagine that that happens to You – You create a song, believe in it, You are happy, and then a series of unfortunate events happen, about which I couldn’t even dream about. Of course, it was hard for me, but I always must go through difficulties to the stars.
Some Croatian portals, which are superficially follow the events before the rehearsals on Eurovision, and without real proof try to lower the moral and chances of every Croatian representative on Eurovision, are decisively leading an anti-campaign against You and the song Crazy. Do You miss their support, or You are trying to ignore those kinds of articles?
Everybody expects the support from people in their country. I think that’s normal and natural. I would also lie if I would tell you that I don’t mind reading that kind of feedback in media or in comments, but I am focused on my goal and I know why I am going to Lisbon. After all it makes me better at what I do. On the other hand, I get number of positive comments every day, from Croatian people as well as international support and that energy keeps me going. I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart! And those with negative comments too. I’ve always respected everybody’s opinion
Let’s move away from the Eurovision a bit- how do you now, after ten years, look upon your participation and win in Showtime?
I look at it as the bravest thing I have ever done hehe :D! Showtime completely changed my life and if it wasn’t for that, who knows where I would be today. I’m almost as certain that I wouldn’t perform on Eurovision this year hehe :D!
You’ve been to Berklee – would You suggest to young musicians’ music education outside of Croatia’s borders, and which would be the benefits of it?
Berklee is the most beautiful experience in my life. So much creativity, so much discipline and school of life. Those beautiful people definitely left a mark on me and I would strongly suggest everybody to get out of their comfort zone and educate themselves overseas. I would do it again.
How did You feel while performing as opening artist for Beyoncé?
Unreal. From huge excitement, I can barely remember my performance. But, I remember well when I met that cool, musical genius and queen B.
Back to the Eurovision – Eurovision know-it-alls recognize you as the winner of „OGAE Song Contest 2008“, with the song Ruža u kamenu. How do You remember that win?
So much positive memories are connected to that period, and I was so happy that members of OGAE liked me. I am thankful to everybody and that win really gave me a boost when it was most needed!
There are 43 countries on the Eurovision this year. Did you listen to your competition and, if You did, which songs are the best to You?
Yes, I have heard a lot of songs and my personal favourite is France, although there are really a big bunch of great song. It’s going to be a fantastic Eurovision.
To conclude, take a look at the special video message that Franka has sent us for visitors of eurosong.hr!