The artist formerly known as Maja Keuc, Amaya from Slovenia, gave insight into her Eurovision adventure, current career and future plans.
Eurovision fans will know Amaya by her former name Maja Keuc, representing Slovenia at Eurovision 2011 with the song No one. Maja has been performing under her new stage name Amaya for some time now, and is all set for the international release of her single Concrete. The singer recently talked to broadcaster RTV SLO about her Eurovision past, career moves and plans for the future.
Amaya has relocated to Sweden, although she regularly visits Slovenia. The choice for Sweden was partly musical, partly personal: Amaya’s partner is Jonah Nilsson, frontman of the jazz fusion group Dirty Loops. In Sweden, she works on new music but is also active as a songwriter, which she enjoys very much. The Slovenian artist is diligently working on her career, as she says:
The most important thing is that I can keep learning and evolving and that I can accept the consequences of my actions. My career goals are not set in stone, but I’m very thankful that I made it from zero to hero.
Amaya, then known as Maja Keuc, became known to the wider European public when she represented Slovenia at Eurovision 2011, eventually placing 13th overall in the Grand Final with her powerful song No one. She subsequently focussed on her international career opportunities. As Amaya, she considered returning to Slovenia’s Eurovision selection EMA 2017. However, she withdrew from the competition due to conflicting career plans. Amaya states:
It’s a long and complicated story, I’m afraid, and I’d like to keep it to myself. I think I made the right decision, as it allowed me to protect myself. In other countries, the music industry is so much more aggressive than in Slovenia, and talent only plays a minor role.
Since Sweden is currently Amaya’s home base, many people have suggested the possibility that she might take part in Melodifestivalen, Sweden’s highly popular Eurovision selection. Such a participation could be very beneficial to her career. Yet that venture might be more easily said than done, as Amaya explains:
I agree, but the problem is that it’s really difficult to qualify for Melodifestivalen if you’re a rookie. Talk about a tall order! You need the support of a major record label and you need at least a million streams on one of the big music streaming services. They only care about the numbers. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a studio, producer, or musician out here. The Swedish have always been trailblazers – not only in music, but also in technology and branding (Spotify, SoundCloud, Skype, H&M, Ikea, Volvo, etc.). What’s more, the Swedish government subsidizes cultural workers, so they get a head start. I like their mentality, and I’ve learned a lot from them.
Although Amaya did not participate in Slovenia’s EMA 2017, she returned to EMA 2018 as one of the jury members that selected the 16 competing artists. She also appeared as a guest performer, presenting her latest single, Concrete. Concrete was written by Amaya and a team of Swedish songwriters including Joel Gunarsson, David Straaf and Alexander Andersson, on an island in the centre of Stockholm. Amaya recently shared a look behind the scenes of her EMA 2018 performance:
Amaya is establishing herself as a singer-songwriter in her own right. She would like to collaborate with Eurovision 2012 winner Loreen, as well as with singer-songwriter/producer Tori Kelly. Amaya is also inspired by superstar Beyoncé, yet she says:
Beyonce is in a league of her own, and I could never hold a candle to her.
Enjoy the official audio of Concrete:
Who is Amaya?
Amaya (born Maja Keuc, Maribor, Slovenia, 1992) is a Slovenian singer-songwriter.
As Maja Keuc, she had her breakthrough when she placed 2nd in the talent show Slovenija Ima Talent 2010, the first season of Slovenia’s version of Got Talent.
Maja Keuc represented Slovenia at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf, Germany. Placing 3rd in Semi-Final 2, she eventually reached place 13 in the Grand Final, receiving 96 points with her song No one.
Following Eurovision, she released her debut album Indigo, which won Album Of The Year and Female Artist Of The Year at the Slovenian Music Awards 2012.
Maja Keuc took the stage name Amaya, relocating to Sweden and working on her international career as a singer-songwriter. Her second album (and debut as Amaya) Fairytales was released in 2016.