Recently, the official Eurovision YouTube channel broadcast the 1990 Eurovision Song Contest which was held in Zagreb. Yugoslavia was then represented by a young and very talented singer, whose career only flourished after that. Back then she sang “Hajde da ludujemo” (Let’s go crazy), a feel-good upbeat song which makes you want to dance and sing whatever you might be doing. This was the wonderful lady and multitalented personality Tatjana Cameron “Tajči”.
For our website she reminisced about that show, told us how her collaboration with Zrinko Tutić came to be, and what this song represents for her.
What does it feel like to be recognised by the audience once again after 30 years?
(…)When I found out, I was at the store buying groceries. I came home so excited, honoured and happy and I felt a warm feeling inside. Then I felt a very strange feeling…I never saw myself as a winner, I always loved giving the audience something beautiful, make someone happy, share something beautiful, and in that way we are all winners. In that way, we are all enjoying ourselves.
Did you, at the time of its making, expect for the song to be such a hit?
I wasn’t expecting it, but again only because my only expectation was to share something beautiful through that song. I always had that mindset… (…) We were really, my team and I, filled with so much love, hope, optimism and youthful joy, that youthful hope where everything is possible, no one can stop us. When you’re 19, your dreams are colourful and beautiful, no one can stop you. You don’t believe critics who say “she’s young and crazy, nothing will ever become of her”, which I heard a lot. I didn’t pay attention to it and instead I used my energy in the song. I wasn’t expecting it to become a hit, but when you do something with love, then you know it will be good. Even if only one person felt it.
How did the collaboration with Zrinko Tutić and Alka Vuica on the song “Hajde da ludujemo” came about?
It is a funny story. I mentioned in one video for Eurovision fans that I finished a first draft of my memoirs, my book. And so I perused my diaries and in that one memoir I told that story. I got into music when I was 4, I had my own path and at that moment in 1989 I was working in London. I was making demos for Richard Branson, who at that time had just launched Virgin Records, and they were looking for a female teen singer. Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and I were some of the candidates. I didn’t want to sign a contract because I was young and I wanted to make sure that I did everything legally because it was a big deal for me from small Yugoslavia. (…) Then, in order to make money to pay for a lawyer to help me with the contract, I crossed paths with Zrinko and told him: “Zrinko, write me an album.” I was already trying to get an album with Jugoton but they always rejected me because of the “who are you kid, you’ll never amount to anything” attitude. I said to Zrinko: “You make me an album, so I make some money.” That is how my collaboration with Zrinko really started.
How do you remember that Jugovizija in Zadar?
I was also a filler in Zadar. There were three favourites- Massimo, Boris Novković and Oliver and Zorica Kondža, and I was a filler- someone who wouldn’t stand a real chance compared to them. And also, I was young, it is always good to have a young debutante artist. On Friday before the dress rehearsal, I had my record promotion and people were telling me: look, we made 3000 records, who knows when we will sell them- you are our cat in the bag. After I won, everyone was like: “Oh, I discovered her, I discovered her…” But alright, that’s how it was at that time, I was young (…) But that energy that I experienced, and even when I was singing the song in Zadar in my orange dress – I felt something bigger than myself.
Who was responsible for your styling in Zadar?
Ervin Softić was my manager and my mother knew Danijela Car who helped me hire Irina Radovčić who designed my orange dress. Danijela then went to Austria to buy the material – it really was a passion project. (…) And then Višnja Trusić did my styling – my hair, my make up and said “Let’s do a bit of a 50s vibe” and when she was finished she said: “Wow, she looks like Marilyn Monroe”. However, I wasn’t Marilyn Monroe in Zadar – I was just me.
What did the preparations after the win in Zadar look like?
(…) When we won, well that’s when it started. The next day, Večernji list (The local newspapers) joined as the official media sponsor. (…) I immediately started having training, choreography rehearsals, I had press conferences every day, photo sessions, lunches, I don’t know what else, and then the last week I was in Trakošćan where I could rest. (…) Those last days I could really relax, before going to Eurovision.
How do you remember that first moment when you stepped onto the stage at Lisinski hall?
The first time I sang at Lisinski hall I was 3,4 years old. It was like home, like my living room. However, because the staging was very beautiful it also was different – it was different (…)
Was there stage fright?
I did have stage fright, but not for myself – for others. I know the song – I can sing it at 3 a.m. without a hitch, it wasn’t possible to forget the words. We had been working on it for so long, 6 months since we had recorded the song. The song wasn’t vocally challenging, we also mastered the choreography, but I was afraid of the backing track not playing properly, the floor being slippery and me slipping and falling, something happening to my dress. That’s what I was nervous about, not the singing.
Did you hang out with other contestants, do you still keep in touch with them today?
No and that is what I regret the most (…). I was a very insecure person and because my team isolated me to be more rested, or for other professional reasons, I didn’t have a chance to communicate with a lot of people, and I wanted to (…) I remember, the couple from Iceland – I found them amazing. When there were press conferences and parties, I always clicked with them. And Emma from London, maybe because she was also younger, so we got on.
How do you remember your performance in Zagreb now?
I have this system when, the song starts, it’s like a switch has been flipped, I just give into the music, those minutes that are so precious. You simply don’t think about anything, it’s like when you’re on a rollercoaster. For me it was like this- the song starts-the magic starts…
I love that feeling of letting go.
Have you ever considered competing in Eurovision again?
Every year when I watch it, I wish to be there, but not as a contestant but a participant in some way. I would love to come and sing something, but I simply don’t like competitions.
Would you participate as a songwriter?
Well, maybe yes…Maybe – that’s a good idea. When I moved to Nashville, two songwriters actually asked me if I would want to write for Eurovision with them.
And, will something come out of it…?
I can’t tell, these are still professional secrets which must be kept.
What does Hajde da ludujemo represent for you?
Joy, hope, optimism, happiness, connectedness, love…
And last but not least, do you have a message for fans?
The only message I would like to send is: be brave and don’t be scared to be who you are. I would actually just like to say that you are not alone. See – I have a doll Tajči. (…) When I took her in my hands I realised I became that doll and that I didn’t want to be it. That is my biggest message to all – never be stuck in a situation where you have to hide. (…) Be free from the fear that someone will reject you. They won’t. I love you.
Translation: Mirna Zaimović