Jana Burčeska will represent the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Last year, on November 21st, MRT, the country’s public broadcasting organization, announced that she had been internally selected to represent her nation on the competition. Two weeks later, a public search for an entry to be sung by Jana began.
The 23-year-old singer became more well-known after her participation in 2011 on the first (and only, so far) season of the Macedonian Idol, where she reached the top 5, the best placing achieved by a woman. You can see below one of her performances, singing a huge success by 80s band Blondie:
The same year, Jana took a role at UNICEF, campaigning against violence in schools. In 2012, 2013 and 2015, Jana was at the Skopje Fest, one of the main music events in Macedonia, which takes place in the country’s capital, Skopje. Even though the Fest has already been used to select the country’s entry for the ESC, it wasn’t like that all three times when she took part at it.
In an exclusive interview, Jana Burčeska talked to Darlan Nascimento from ESC Brasil and shared interesting details regarding her life, career and, of course, her participation on the Eurovision 2017!
ESCBr: More than a hundred songs were submitted to MRT. Have you heard any of those? Do you have any expectations for the song you’ll sing on the Eurovision stage?
Jana: The management at the Television and I carefully reviewed and listened to all the submitted songs. After a long discussion and analysis, we have come up with a favorite and currently we are negotiating with the production. As for my expectations, I hope for a good quality, catchy song that no matter the formal placement will leave a mark and be recognized long – term.
ESCBr: Would you rather sing a ballad or an up-tempo song?
Jana: Based on my personal and natural energy, I would definitely go for an up-tempo song.
ESCBr: Which songs/artists have you listened to recently? Do you have any musical influences?
Jana: I fell asleep to the sound of George Benson’s Irreplaceable album last night. That is literally what I listened to most recently. But in a more general sense, what I listen to the most these days is the music of the incredibly talented Lianne La Havas. When it comes to musical influences, it’s a wide range of artists who have indirectly contributed to my taste in music and building my own style not only in terms of singing, but also in stage performance and behavior. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Etta James, Donny Hathaway, Brand New Heavies, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Jamiroquai, Joss Stone and many, many others. I could go on forever!
ESCBr: You will succeed Kaliopi in the Eurovision Song Contest and she was part of the judging panel of the Macedonian Idol (season 1), where you managed to reach the Top 5. How do you feel about that?
Jana: Kaliopi is one of the Macedonian artists I grew up with. Even being mentioned in the same sentence with her is a great honor. 🙂 On the other hand, I feel great responsibility too. In a way, she was the one launching me as a singer and introducing my talents to the Macedonian audience. I must not let her or the audience down!
ESCBr: Are you an Eurovision fan? Have you followed the previous editions?
Jana: Of course I have followed the previous editions. It was a big event back in primary school. My friends and I always watched Eurovision together.
ESCBr: Unfortunately, in the last 9 years, Macedonia was at the Eurovision final only once. How important is the competition part of the ESC for you?
Jana: The competition part of the ESC is the most important to the country and the broadcasters. The contestant’s gain on the other hand is inevitable; because the event itself is an enormous experience helping the contestant spread his professional network, gain publicity, develop precise work ethics… Long story short – it helps the contestant grow on oh so many levels. That is always a plus!
ESCBr: Alongside music and singing, you might have other passions. What do you like to do when you’re not dealing with music? What do you dream for your future?
Jana: I have many other passions. The standard – I love reading books. I have a 9 to 5 job in a charity based foundation where I am in the project manager position. We take care of the socially disadvantaged, as well as the talented and hardworking. One of my greatest passions, other than music, is public speaking. It is a symbiosis of presentation skills and writing skills, which brings us back to the enjoyment of reading books, in the name of progress. I am currently in that age where future seems terrifying due to all the big decisions I must make. So, I will graciously avoid answering this question, since I can’t give you a precise answer. 🙂
ESCBr: When we contacted you the first time, you even answered a little bit in Portuguese. Do you speak the language? Do you know Brazilian music?
Jana: All the credits for my Portuguese go to my dear friend from Brazil Juliana! We met last summer in San Diego and became very close! She is an amazing person with a big heart and an open mind. She was the one who taught me basic Portuguese. Ola amigos brasileros! Eu nasci no Brasil! Saudades! And my favorite – Bejinho no ombro! Look at this photo of me and Juliana edited by my Brazilian fans.
I am familiar with some Brazilian artist, such as Antonio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim). Back in my teenage years I was a metalhead and used to listen to Sepultura. 🙂
ESCBr: During the Zlatna Bubamara 2012, you and Ivan Radenov sang Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Brazilian singer Michel Teló. Do you still know the lyrics? Would you sing it to us in Kiev?
Jana: I do remember the lyrics and would love to sing it for you in Kiev!
ESCBr: Do you have any message for the Eurovision fans outside Europe, who will get to know you and your talents better this year?
Jana: Darlings! Stay positive, be honest to your loved ones, take care of your body and mind! Thank you for your support! I deeply appreciate it! Love from Jana! <3
Well, that’s it! We loved to talk to Jana and wish her much success in the Eurovision! We’d like to remind you guys that she will perform on the Eurovision stage during one of the semifinals, which will take place on May 9th and 11th this year, where she will fight for a ticket to the final. See you!
If you wanna read the original post, in Portuguese, follow this link.
Title photo: Erina Bogoeva