Tonight, Slovenia will choose its representative at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. The winner will be determined by 100% televoting, making the competition very exciting this year. Esctoday.com had the opportunity to get an interview with one of tonight's big favourites, namely Manca Spik. Find out what she had to to say about her song, EMA and the Eurovision Song Contest in the interveiw she has kindly given to us, below.
This year, you are participating in EMA for the third consecutive time. In 2008, you came 9th with Se vedno nekaj cutim and last year, you teamed up with Langa, placing 5th with Zaigraj muzikant. Your song this year is called Tukaj sem doma, a very patriotic song about the love for your country Slovenia. Please tell us what the song means to you and what you are feeling while singing it.
Well, I believe it is a very powerful song! Someone might even call it an anthem. When I met Andrej (Babic) for the first time and we started to discuss about a special song, made just for EMA, the melody of the song was actually the very first one that he played for me… And l was instantly thrilled! While listening to it, its slow start, steadily pacing and finishing with a glorious crescendo, l knew this is it. Because of its atmosphere, how the song “breathes”, we decided together to add a patriotic spirit through its lyrics. I really enjoy singing this song. I think you can find the most of me in it from all of my songs. After all, I am singing about my country, my hometown, my mountains, my love which I found here and all the things that I love the most. I am very proud to have a chance to present such song to my people!
In the lyrics, you mention a certain flower called “roza triglavska”. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? Is there some special story related to this flower that it plays such an important part in the lyrics of your song?
Lyrics came from our remarkable poet and writer Feri Lainšzek. Me and Feri talked a lot about the theme of the song, so he wrote lyrics to match my idea. He won my heart with his first draft 🙂 ! “Roza triglavska” or “The Flower of Triglav” is an allegory for the love between me and my loved one. The love that we nurture and let it grow, like a mountain flower, here, in our country.
Let’s briefly go back to last year’s EMA, where you came 5th, as mentioned before. You were the runaway winner of the televoting but did not receive a single point from the jury. Even the runner-up of the televoting didn’t get any points from the jury. How did that make you feel? Do you think that this was fair? Isn’t it really strange when in a field of 14 participating songs out of which 10 get points, the jury gives no points to the two entries receiving the most televotes?
Yes, it was strange to me too… I felt unfairness, couldn’t believe it at first. But still, there were just 3 people in the jury. It can happen that their taste for the music and their feeling for the quality of the show which comes along with it are just so different from all the others. I think that we deserved at least 1 point from them. Fortunately, in the eyes of our public, our voters, we were the winners. And that counts the most, doesn’t it?
This year, the voting has been changed back to 100% televoting again. Is that somewhat of a relief for you to know that the outcome is entirely up the Slovenian population, thus won’t be overshadowed by controversy?
I like their decision to give chance to vote back to the people. I also sincerely hope that the rumors about allowing only one call from one phone number are true. This would be the most fair and transparent system. People should decide who to send to Oslo, not few individuals.
Your song Tukaj sem doma has been composed by Andrej Babic, who has already won EMA two times, namely in 2007 and 2009. In retrospect, did not winning last year also have its good side because you are back with a beautiful ballad and considered to be one of the main favourites to win this year? How are you coping with that role as a favourite and do you feel that you have found the right song to represent Slovenia in the Eurovision Song Contest? This is the kind of song the probably not many people would have expected from you, as the majority of your songs is more up-tempo music.
Ha-ha, yes, I could say that not winning last year gave me even more “wings” for this year. But it is not all about winning for me. I am really not so competitive person as someone might think, looking back on my festival history. I just love festivals, love EMA and all the fuzz that comes along with it. Such projects are always giving me extra energy, not taking it. This year’s EMA is going to be tough! A lot of good vocalists, excellent performers and musicians are participating, also a lot of them that I deeply respect, like Nuša Derenda. Nevertheless, I strongly believe in my song this year. This is definitely the strongest song that I have ever sent to any festival. I am glad to see so many quality songs this year on EMA. I really don’t like to think about who is this year’s favourite and who isn’t. I’ll just try and enjoy it as much as I can and give the best that I can. This will be my biggest satisfaction!
In your opinion, will the fact that your song is very patriotic and therefore many Slovenians being able to identify themselves with the lyrics contribute to a good result for you? And who do you see as the biggest competitor to win EMA?
I hope that everything will add up to the good result. After all, if I could easily identify myself with the song, the others might do that as well. First reactions on my song are above expectations so I admit to have a good feeling. Hard to say about my competitors… They are also friends to me. I think that everybody who has a strong message can win this year. Let’s just wait and see…
How much would it mean to represent your country at the Eurovision Song Contest? Is this something you definitely want to achieve in your musical career?
Of course this would mean a lot to me. Who among us, pop-musicians, wouldn’t like to stand on the big ESC stage? On the other hand, I am quite a superstitious person. If it is meant for me, I will win some day. This year, some other year, doesn’t matter that much to me. Winning EMA is not my only or primary goal. This year I am releasing my brand new album. With the help of couple of excellent song-writers and producers, I really hope to give to my audience something that I always wanted to. This is going to be my biggest project so far!
Are you a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest yourself? What is your personal opinion on the whole event? Do you have some favourite Eurovision songs? Who do you think has represented Slovenia the best way possible so far and what might the reasons be that Slovenia has not achieved a top five placing so far?
Yeees, I am a big ESC fan! I can’t help it, I just adore this show! Even as a small kid I always watched it with my family and imagined how it would feel to sing on such a big stage. I think that ESC is somehow a strong musical connection or link between all of us, Europeans. It gives us a good feeling, felling of unity, feeling to be able to participate. My favorite ESC song would probably be “Hold me now” from Johnny Logan. It reminds me of an event from my childhood and every time I hear this song, I still get goose bumps, ha-ha. Best Slovenian participation in ESC would undoubtedly be Nuša Derenda’s “Energy” in 2001. I really thought that she could win that year. I also believe that Slovenia will achieve a top five placing within next few years… We have really a lot of good composers, good songs, excellent singers and their ideas are getting better and better. I believe in our creativity, uniqueness, so it is just a matter of time when we will find the right formula to convince Europe with it.
If you were to represent Slovenia, you would also have to sing it in Slovenian language at the Eurovision Song Contest, according to the rules of RTVSLO. Obviously, your song is meant to be sung in Slovenian due to its unique message. Are you in favour of countries singing in their native language, or do you think it depends on the song? Could you imagine recording other versions of Tukaj sem doma for promotion reasons?
Actually, before it came to me, my song was already recorded as a demo song in both English and Croatian language. We prepared Slovenian lyrics after I got it. But you are right. I think that my song has an unique message that can be given best in Slovenian language. I strongly support singing in native languages at the ESC! Especially small countries are so unknown to the rest of the Europe that would be shame not to give them a chance to listen to our language. I can imagine that our language can sound a little bit rough, hard to an average European, who’s used to listen to soft spoken English. But even so… There are just 2 million of us, Slovenes. I would like that we give Europe a message in our language.
To conclude this interview, would you like to send a message to the readers and viewers of esctoday.com?
I would like to thank to all of you, ESC Today readers, who are already supporting me and giving me strength to go on! Thank you from all my heart! Browsing through the pages of ESC Today news I already saw your comments on my new song and I am very pleased to see that you like it. I hope that all of you will enjoy this year’s EMA as well as Euro Song Contest. See you!!!
Esctoday.com would like to thank Manca for taking the time to do this interview and wish her the best of luck for tonight's national final.
Manca's bid for Eurovision, Tukaj sem doma: