Regina: “Eurovision was a kind experience in many ways.”

Regina is one of the ten artists who is competing in this year’s EMA, in order to try to represent Slovenia at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Regina is also one of two artists who have already won EMA once, and already represent Slovenia in Eurovision.

Regina represented Slovenia in Eurovision back in 1996, with a beuatiful ballad “Dan Najlepših Sanj” (The Brightest Day)”. This year she’s back in EMA with her brand new song titled “Alive“. Regina sent a video message for ESCBubble fans and readers, so check it out right here, and our interview with her follows up right after the video.

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

Thank you. I am very happy to be one of the ten chosen artists. I didn’t really plan to enter the contest. The main idea for the song was created in the summer, but there wasn’t really any clear motif to finish it up as soon as possible. When the contest started no one from our team even thought of entering, although the song was practically finished. Then, suddenly, we thought why not send it to EMA? And we did. And the result is obvious. 🙂

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

To me, every performance is very special and every song is like my own child. I can’t decide what is the biggest achievement in my music career. Although performing on Eurovision was a very big accomplishment it is just one of many highlights in my career. I have been a part of Slovenian music scene for a long time and I am still present and recognized as an artist. Even more, when I introduced EDM style into my work I was accepted by a whole new profile of listeners and I think that this may be one of the biggest achievements of my career.

You represented Slovenia in Eurovision back in 1996. How was your whole experience, and in your view what changed in the competition in the last 20 years, since you were standing on that stage?

My memories of Eurovision are full of amazing feelings and it truly was . They are intertwined with another very important personal experience – with motherhood. Two amazing things were happening to me at that time – being pregnant and performing on Eurovision. It was a coincidence that they were happening at the same time and I would rather experience them separately. Performing on Eurovision is fantastic, but it is also full of responsibility and stress which does not have a good effect on the baby and the other way around. As everything around us, Eurovision also changed in time. For example, I performed with a symphony orchestra which is a special experience all on its own. Nowadays such performances aren’t happening anymore and I miss that the most. Beside this, Eurovision became more competitive than before and not everyone has the chance to perform there. This makes me sad, because the right way would be to lessen the competitive character and make Eurovision a festival of all European hit songs.

EMA is already a traditional festival in Slovenia. Have you been following it in the past years and if so, did you have any favorites?

Yes, I follow EMA almost every year. Dan Ljubezni “Day for Love” (Yugoslavia 1975) is a song for which I can say that it is the song which continues to be popular from one generation to another and will continue to be so in the future. It is an everlasting hit from our festivals and representatives who performed there.

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 message of the song is that we are all confined in an imaginary box which prevents us from seeing and accepting the beauty of the world around us. Have you ever admired a sunset while going home from work or on your way to the store? Or saw mountains in the horizon and decided in that moment to go there the very next day? With this I want to remind people to open their eyes and accept something more than monotonous life style regardless of who they are, how old they are and where they come from. The song is trendy and my lyrical vocal goes really well with it. Vocally, I have never felt so at home with a song. I feel that this is really me and I believe this can be sensed in it. It is also an emotionally charged song and very positive. The combination of acoustic guitars and synths makes it interesting and fresh.

Can you also tell us something more about the team behind this song?

The authors of the song are Aleksander Kogoj and Jon Dobrun. An interesting combination. The first is my husband, the second is a schoolmate and a good friend of my son. They are both part of my personal life and this song really connected us even more. I believe my husband doesn’t really need any special introduction as an author and musician. He has written almost all of my songs and there are quite a few evergreens among them. He is very versatile and my explorations of different musical styles have always been a positive challenge for him. If I may add an interesting fact, he wrote and won a competition for the music of the main national newscast title credits twice, which means his music was playing for two terms on national television.

Jon: I started performing when I was nine years old. I play the guitar and sing. I started with musical school and while everyone else were playing classical music I sang »20 sweethearts«. I participated in Slovenia’s got talent and X Factor and was accepted to both shows. I play at my school every year and also have a hardcore pop punk band. Last year I recorded my first single and it was immediately played on Radio 1 and stayed at number 1 in Slovenian charts for five weeks. With my occasional partner in crime I perform freestyle ballads and rap to people on the streets and put a smile on their faces.

So, Regina, tell me:  do you already have some stage plans? How is everything going to look like on the night of EMA?

Even if I already had every little detail planned I wouldn’t tell you, because I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.

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

It would be a great honor and a pleasure, because it is one of the largest festivals in Europe. However, being among top ten selected artists in the national competition is already a big validation for me.

And what about Eurovision from a viewer point of view? Do you usually follow Eurovision, and do you have a favourite Eurovision song?

Yes, I follow Eurovision and there are quite a few songs that I really like, but I don’t have a single favorite, because there are too many good and beautiful songs to limit myself to just one.

Talking about your journey from 1996 to 2016, you took part in EMA eight times already, including this years’ performance. You also changed your music genres from your very beggining – do you feel more comfortable now?

Yes, this is true. I have changed musical styles throughout my career. I can say that I made sure that there was something new every time and this is probably the reason why I performed on EMA so many times. This year will be my eight time.  I was the first on EMA to perform with a patriotic song – “The Voice Of The Mountains / Glas Gora” (EMA 1998) and the first to sing in a dialect – “Blue eyes / Plave Očij” (EMA 2004). The last time I flirted with gothic rock – “Against the wind / Proti Vetru” (EMA2005) and made an impression on the jury, since in case tele voting would fail, I was chosen as a winner by the jury. Three years ago I started exploring EDM and my song for this year is also follows that direction. And yes, I feel really good in this genre of music. Actually, I feel excellent because I can really express with my vocal the way I want to. This year’s song is really right up my street, vocally speaking. My lyrical vocals really shine in this trendy makeover.

Wow! Tell us now, what does Regina usually do when she is not singing?

A lot of things. Most of all I am a wife and a mother and in business world I work as a voice director and I really enjoy all of it. I love people and I like to spend time with people and socialize, especially if there is also music involved, so I can dance until the morning. I love to cook and try out new recipes and because the way food looks is also important I decorate the table and the meals on special occasions. When I have the time I also paint. Quite a few people have already encouraged me to have an exhibition, but I can’t part from my art at this point so this may be a project I will be working on in the future.

And finally, do you have a message for all of the fans and readers of ESCBubble, who will support you in EMA?

»We live hidden behind masks. Our lives are directed by fear, anxiety, prejudice. It is time to get rid off the masks and live. All is so very transient and short, but life is beautiful and we are ALIVE! « I hope you will enjoy and really feel my song. I love you all.

We would like to thank Regina for taking her time for an interview with us. Don’t forget to follow EMA 2016 on the February 27th on Channel 1 of RTV Slovenija, starting at 8 P.M. CET, right here. Until we’re waiting for EMA 2016 entries to be heard, we found the English version of the 1996 Slovenian Eurovision entry, “Dan Najlepših Sanj”, titled “The Brightest Day” – give it a listen right here!

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