Our series of interviews ahead of Supernova 2020 continues today with Katrina Dimanta. Katrina is entering in the hope of representing Latvia for a second time at Eurovision having been a member of the band Aazarmnieki who took ‘Cake To Bake’ to Copenhagen for the competition.
Her song this time around is ‘Heart Beats’ and features her solo vocal, together with a new backing band ‘The Consonants’. We spoke to Katrina about her experiences since 2014, her hopes and plans for the competition, and much more besides. You can see our interview right here:
Hi Katrina, welcome back to the Eurovision selections. Whilst this is your debut in Supernova, you of course participated in the process before in ‘Dziesma 2014’ (as it was known then). You were successful and went on to represent Latvia in Copenhagen. What have you been up to since then and what made you want to return to the competition this year?
‘I had the honour to represent Latvia in Eurovison song contest back in 2014. I am very happy about that experience and I am planning to use it if I qualify. I remember meeting a lot of amazing people, working hard and most of all – the feeling that I got on the stage- it was pure happiness, people singing along, feeling loved, a beautiful audience.
To be honest at first I was thinking about quitting music, as relationships weren’t great in the band and while enjoying the stage and people who I met there , I had a lot of trouble with other stuff. Obviously I was born to be on stage and perform, look at this voice that I have got. Somehow I got back on my feet, had tours around the world together with my band Dimantas sisters – we went to play music in Australia, Canada, Brazil, all around Europe,etc. In the meantime one more band was made and we toured the USA, also released 2 albums and now working on my solo album. I started to work in a hospital with sick kids as a medical clown. A lot has happened, it has been six years.. I have learned a lot and am happy about all experiences.
Why now? Because I have worked hard to be where I am now, I have ambitions, character and most of all I am happy about the song, I think it’s really good.
Also my experience from 2014 at ESC has given me a glimpse of what the Eurovision song contest really is and I can be prepared if we qualify to represent Latvia in ESC 2020. I am very happy about this opportunity and we are working very hard to go back and show everyone that Latvia can.’
What is your favourite memory from 2014, did you strike any friendships with any of the artists and do you still speak to any of them?
‘It’s hard to choose one favourite memory of 2014. I really enjoyed being on the stage – actually loved that!! I loved meeting all fans, talk and party with all whom I met. In my memory there is a special place for the interview with Scott Mills for BBC when he pushed a piece of bread in my mouth and then asked questions about “big chest”, also the moment when he came to me at the afterparty of semifinal number 2 and asked to sing karaoke together with him. Artists…I had very nice moments with Conchita, she actually came to me after we didn’t qualify from semi final 1 and hugged me and we talked for a while. Also I have been in touch with one of “Twin twin” brothers. I shared a hotel with Malta team and had a lot of chats with “Firelight” band members, they are very nice. Also I made a few very nice friends from other ESC teams. I have met some of them afterwards while touring world, for example my friends Liam in Australia and Emma in NYC. I am looking forward to keeping up with these friendships and also make new ones.’
How are the rest of the guys from Aarzemnieki, have you had a lot of support and encouragement from them since you announced that you would be participating in Supernova?
‘I have very good relationships with Raits, my lovely drummer. Actually, he called me the other day and said that I have a good song, that he is proud of me and he thinks that Eurovision is where I belong. (I really hope that he is right). Guntis has talked to my mom about my participation. He asked if song is in English or Latvian and said that I am much smarter to sing in English as he thinks that it was a mistake to mix both languages in Cake to bake song. He wished me good luck. I haven’t heard anything from Joran’
Your new band is called The Consonants. How did you all come to work together?
‘We came together at a foundations Līdzskaņa charity music writing camp that helps musicians, who have problems. Actually – “The Consonants” is a translation of the name of the foundation (Līdzskaņa – Consonance), when we decided to release the song’s Latvian version publicly it made sense that the band needs a name and this is what we came up with. I think that it’s the best name for this band. Members can change and sound will always be good and professional.‘
Did you write Heart Beats specifically for Supernova or was it good timing with the release of the song and the call for submissions? Can you tell us a bit about the song?
It was at this songwriting camp that we wrote Heart Beats. Jānis said that he wants to use these chords and the refrain just came to me right away. We kept jamming and verse came as well. We had a music writing session, had a lot of fun, talked nonsense and also a lot about my past relationships. At first it was created in Latvian and it’s called “Pipars” . After a few days me and Herbe – we had thinking session and we decided to give it a go in English as well, particularly for Supernova and Eurovision. I love Latvian version ‘Pipars’ but I also adore Heart Beats. I feel confident about this song and happy that we can be a part of Supernova and hopefully Eurovision. Also finally I feel that I can give more to the world being a solo artist.
The song is a lot of fun to listen to and it looks like you really enjoy performing it too – much like Cake To Bake. Is that a common theme to your work and to your personality or would you ever sing a big heartfelt ballad for instance?
‘That’s a very nice question and I was actually thinking about this – that publicly I haven’t released a lot of ballads, but I would like to do that one day. I have a song on my mind, but let’s see when is the time for it to be heard. In general I am always positive and happy – that’s my way of living and I try to share it to others as much as I can. I really enjoy performing “Heart Beats” , I strongly feel this song and feel good, amazing while singing it. Can’t wait for you to see what we have prepared for show.’
Who are your biggest influences in music are there any artists that have particularly inspired you?
‘I have always loved the music of Freddie Mercury. I adore Sting, both he and his music are fabulous. I like to look up to great musicians who have powerful voices, such as Adele, Tina Turner, Lady Gaga. I also think that Michael Jackson has great songs.’
Do you have any other exciting plans for 2020, will we be seeing a lot more solo music – maybe even an ep or album?
‘I have plans to play music in different countries with this one project. We have already booked festivals around Europe. This music that we have created is very exciting and I can’t wait to play it together with other artists who come from 6 different countries. I will record my first solo album, spend time with my family, travel, work with people around the world, be happy.’
And what else do you like to do outside of music?
‘I like spending time with people – friends, family, new fellas. Talking…..guys, I love talking! Also I like a good joke. A big part of my life now is the gym and I really enjoy working out, it’s good for my health and soul. I love my charity work at a hospital, I can feel that while working there I can make a real difference for children, doctors and parents.’
You certainly like to keep yourself busy!. It has been wonderful to chat to you, and I would like to wish you the very best of luck in the competition!
You can listen to Katarina ‘Heart Beats’ right here:
And you can also listen to the Latvian version of the song ‘Pipars’ in the video below (from 3mins 40)
Is Katrina your favourite to win Supernova?, don’t forget to vote in our poll!, and let us know in the comments section what you think of the song, but also ‘Pipars’