Aklea Neon: “I don’t try to patronize in my songs, I give a different perspective and solutions, instead.”

Aklea Neon is the stage name of a young musician Dorotea Zovko from Osijek, even though she is singing from an early age she manages to create innovative sounds and her songs are described as a fusion of reggae and blues, rhythm of the fairies and beat of the universe. On Saturday 29th of February Aklea will perform her song “Zovi ju mama” as 7th act of Dora 2020.

Hello Aklea can you tell us a bit more about the music genre which you perform? Do you agree with the descriptions or you would call it differently?  
I accept all of the descriptions which you give me. The more the merrier, I like it when it’s colourful. When I talk about the music genre I use to say that I perform afro-soul etno-beats, but that tends to confuse people as much as my one-woman band set-up. I like lots of rhythm and tribe moments. Simple matric tunes are also the base because people tend to catch them easy and sing together with me and the energy which is then created is really amazing.

Thanks to your performances with a vocal ensemble from Osijek named Brevis you travelled across the globe and even performed in Carnegie Hall. What was the experience and what is your favourite memory from all those tours?
With the ensemble “Brevis” I went to Canada, Greece, USA, China and all around the globe. We used to get all the brightest medals. Carnegie Hall crowned that. We are the only Croatian choir which performed there. That experience was amazing and indescribable, when we go to the stage we breathe as one and we are very focused, after the ovations in backstage we all fall apart in a pond of smeared mascara and firm hugs. But the most important thing was the look of the face on our conductor Antoaneta Radočaj-Jerković . That never changes. I have to admit that even more than our performance at Carnegie Hall I enjoyed one at an old, small church in Brooklyn from all the joyfulness of it we started to cry at the stage.

Can you reveal us the symbolism behind the name Aklea Neon?
The name came to me as a gift from a dear person and that is why I decided to keep the magic behind it for myself, as part of my personal mystery.

Your music is tackling some actual topics and problems of the society which we could hear in your musical manifest “Iskoračujem” where did you get the idea for it?
I am inspired from the things I am surrounded with. I don’t try to patronize in my songs, just to give a different perspective on things and some solution to it. In the song “Iskoračujem” (I step out) I sing about the things I can change if I don’t like them, for example if I am being placed in a box or molded into one I can change it. Dedication and will are important to that. I believe that music is an impeller of social change because some of the things are way easier to remember when they rhyme, then when they are written in a complicated manifest.

Aklea Neon – NeonOn session – Iskoračujem (I step out)

What is the biggest inspiration behind the music you create? Is it some other artists and their work, nature or something else?
I found my inspiration while travelling, when I move from the world which I know, from my comfort zone and challenge myself – that’s when my heart opens up and my ears hear the key things which I want to pour into a song. I was always wondering how could poets paint the world with words then I realised that they don’t sit at home and make things up, they are looking at the world just how they described it but their eyes are opened for miracles.

Why did you decide to take part at Dora 2020?
My dad! He suggested me to take part at Dora. It is one of the things which you first think: “Oh come on”, then you think about it and don’t find neither one argument not to apply for it. His suggestion happened just after I came back from Mosor with Klaad (young producer of electronic music already famous at the alternative scene) and the camera crew with which I mapped burnt places, afforestation and young forest sounds. Afforestation was organized from the most successful volunteers “Boranka”. “Zovi ju mama” is a green anthem, my answer to forest fires here and all over the world and a call to become closer to Mother Earth.

If I understood right your song is about mother nature and Earth, could you reveal us a bit more about the song “Zovi ju mama” and your performance?
I want to pull in the whole audience because the theme of the song is very current and it concerns all of us – Planet Earth is our home. First of all we are inhabitants of the Earth. It is great that I have this great platform to say it out loud and I am thankful for that. I am also thankful for the fact that I will share the stage with the three of my girls from the Brevis Ensemble (Laura Gluck- Radičević, Arijana Šmit and Aleksandra Vukadinović) as vocal support, and for the efficient choreographic moment there will be an actress and dancer from Osijek Selma Mehić. I really have such an amazing crew and I think that the sincere emotion, unique performance and actual theme can’t be unnoticed. And I forgot to mention that in the song together with all of us we will have plants singing. I had that luck to use a Bamboo device which connects to their root & leaf and transmits electric signals of the plants into a midi signal.

You perform your music in both Croatian and English language what made you decide to write lyrics of the song “Zovi ju mama” in Croatian instead of English?
That is the language in which I think, dream, talk at least until I am travelling somewhere for a longer time – then the lines between the languages tend to mix. As I am in Croatia for the last couple of months it was natural to write “Zovi ju mama” in Croatian, but it will consist of some English parts too. Today all of us are billingualy expressing everything and that is fine.

Do you watch Eurovision regularly? What is your favourite song and what is your first memory related to the contest?
Ruslana! Wild Dances was everything! Euphoria by Loreen because she had amazing energy at the stage. Such a beautiful woman. But I would also have to mention Claudia Beni. I was in elementary school back then and on every single birthday we used to recreate the dance moves from the video of “Više Nisam Tvoja”. I think of the three songs I mentioned now and I realised that they have some things in common – energic songs with cool choreography and empowering theme. Girl power rules!

Aklea Neon – “What I want”

Until now you released three singles, when can we expect the release of your album which you were preparing for a while now? What are your plans for the upcoming year?
First of all to represent Croatia at Eurovision! (laugh) When you aim high you can end up somewhere in the middle of the stars. But I love double digits. 2020! So it seems to me that this year will be my best. I was only warming up last year. I plan to release a debut album and except the regular one-woman show now I will have a trio and a big band option, travel through Egypt for a month, to be active at the dub scene with a project Sista Salute and to all of that include the European tour with more dates than in 2019 even though I had more than 50 performances. Of course, I would enjoy so much during all those things.

Do you want to share something else or you maybe have a message for followers of escbubble?
The only thing which came to my mind at the moment is: “Call mom!”. Because I haven’t managed to call mine today. So come on! They will be the happiest in the world!

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