Anja Kotar: “I’m ambitious, determined, and exuberant!”

A couple of days ago RTVSLO announced the names of the participants of EMA 2016, where the Slovenian audience will choose the Slovenian representative for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. We spoke to  Anja Kotar, an 18-year-old Slovenian musician, who’s currently living in the United States. She took her time for speaking with ESCBubble about her song and upcoming performance in EMA, and she also sent you all a special message. Check it out here, and read our interview with Anja below:

Firstly, congratulations for qualifying for EMA 2016! How did you decide to enter the contest this year?

Thank you! Ever since I can recall, I wanted to be a singer, a performer. As a little girl I remember watching the Eurovision and wishing I could once represent my country and share my music with Europe. EMA 2016 is the most prestigious music event in Slovenia and it represented a great opportunity to challenge myself and take a step towards that dream.

So, apart from EMA, what would you say is your biggest achievement in your music career so far?

As an artist I’ve worked in many different areas, from musical theatre to jazz and film. I love expressing myself in different outlets and learning and growing through different opportunities. One of my favorite projects so far has been my Kickstarter campaign for my debut NOMAD EP with which I was able to raise $20,000 and record my album at Universal Music in LA. Through this I got the chance to meet many influential people in the music industry and even record a snippet of a song with the famed producer David Foster who has worked with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

Have you ever sent a song for the Slovenian Eurovision preselection in the past as well?

No, this is my first time and I can’t wait to hear all the great music that the other artists have created! 🙂

EMA is already a festival tradition in Slovenia, have you been following it in the past years and if so, do you have your all-time favourite song?

Yes, even after my move to the States, I’ve been following EMA closely every year. It’s wonderful to see Slovenian artists unite and share their music with the whole country in an event like this. EMA has always had a very high standard of music and some of my favorites were Maja Keuc with “No One” and Maraaya’s “Here For You”.

Let’s talk more about your song. What’s the main message of it, and what type of a song can we expect from you?

The song I’m performing is “Too Cool” – a pop/soul/rock motivational jam 🙂 I wrote it a few months back after being rejected at an audition. The first thing I thought of after finding out I didn’t get a callback was a line that ended up being the opening line of the song: “I wear my tears like diamond earrings.” We all have dreams and goals we’d like to achieve, and when we go into the world and start fighting for those dreams, we are sure to face obstacles and rejection. In those moments, it’s important to not give up, but gain strength through challenge, hold our heads high and say “I’m too cool for you” 🙂 .

Can you tell us something more about the team behind song “Too Cool”?

As a singer songwriter and pianist, I always write both the music and lyrics to my songs, and they always start with me sitting and playing around on the piano. For the production, I worked with the amazing Pascal Guyon who helped me grow the song, take it to a whole new level and really bring out its soul. Getting to work with him was an incredible learning experience – he challenged me as a singer and as an artist for which I am extremely grateful.

So, your song is ready, what about staging, do you already have some stage plans? How is everything going to look like on the night of EMA?

Yes! As someone who loves fashion and comes from a theatre background, I always visualize images while I’m writing a song. From the gecko, I’ve had very clear ideas for what I wanted to do with the performance – now it’s only a matter of working out the details and making everything come to life.

What would winning EMA and representing Slovenia in Eurovision mean to you?

That would be incredible (but also a great responsibility)! Despite its small size, Slovenia has a barrage of great talent and music and I would be very humbled if I ended up being the one to represent and showcase that to the rest of Europe.

Let’s talk about Eurovision itself – do you usually follow Eurovision, and do you have a favourite Eurovision song?

Eurovision has always been a big event in my family – we always follow all the contestants and live shows and have our favorites picked out ! Some of the best performances from the recent years in my opinion were Lena’s “Satellite” and Loreen’s “Euphoria”. Of course, as a European girl, I am a sucker for Il Volo 🙂 and I also love an oldie but a goodie – Celine Dion’s “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” (when I was in 6th grade, I actually memorized the whole song as part of my French class!).

Wow, so you’re not only this years’ EMA contestant, you’re also Eurovision fan. Besides EMA, how would you describe Anja in three words?

Ambitious, determined, and exuberant 🙂

And what are you usually doing while she’s not singing?

As an artist, I am always looking for new ways to get inspired and express myself – I love exploring visual art, reading Stephen King novels, and am a faithful devotee of fashion 🙂

Anja, thank you for you time – finally, do you have a message for all of the readers of ESCBubble, who will support you in EMA?

I am extremely impressed and overwhelmed by the amount of Eurovision lovers and all their support! It is such a unique experience to be a part of this world and I can’t wait to share my music with you 🙂 If you want to stay tuned throughout my journey to EMA 2016, or hear my potential Eurovision song “Too Cool“, you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (@dare2jump), YouTube, SoundCloud, you can visit my webpage or check my debut EP album “Nomad” here. xx, Anja! 

ESCBubble would like to say thanks for Anja’s time – we wish you good luck in Slovenian preselection for Eurovision! Until we’re waiting for Anja’s entry in EMA, check out Anja’s first song “Tightrope” from her brand new EP “Nomad”, which was premiered today, as well as her greetings for all of ESCBubble readers below!

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