Neda Ukraden: “You can’t just write off a woman after she turns 50”

Neda Ukraden is one of the most iconic and most well-known artists in the whole of the former Yugoslavia, and wider. With 29 studio albums in her career, countless singles and sold out concerts, Neda’s music career is going strong for well over 50 years. She tried to represent Yugoslavia at the Eurovision Song Contest three times before, and now she is ready to give it a fourth try for Serbia, as her brand new song “Bomba” made it to Beovizija 2020.

We had a great pleasure to chat with Neda about her music career, her Beovizija participation, views on Eurovision, and a lot more! Check out everything she told us in this interview right here below.

Hi Neda! First of all, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for doing this interview with me. For the very beginning, and if I’m not wrong, you took part three times in Jugovizija, and your song in 1986 – “Šaj rode šaj” unfortunately wasn’t the one that represented Yugoslavia in Norway, but it became a massive hit, one that people can still hear in the radios. What does this song mean to you, and what memories does that Jugovizija bring back?

I have really lovely memories from my performance in Jugovizija 1986 with “Šaj rode šaj”. It was taking place in Priština in really different kinds of circumstances and different overall atmosphere. And even though I didn’t win, yes – my song became and still remains a big hit, and I sing it very often nowadays as well.

How did you decide to enter this year’s edition of Beovizija?

The idea to apply was born very spontaneously and by chance. I recorded three new songs in December. The author of one of these songs – “Bomba” is Dušan Bačić who I have been collaborating with for many years, and he also wrote some other big hits of mine, like “Na pola puta” and “Na Balkanu”. Together we thought that Beovizija would be the ideal place to promote this new song, because of its exceptional media coverage, live broadcast, as well as the support of the strongest media outlet in Serbia, RTS.

As you mentioned, Dušan Bačić wrote “Bomba”. Can you tell us more about the message that the song carries?

“Bomba” is very effective, modern in rhythm and production, and it is quite different to my other songs, so it caught my attention immediately. It has a very strong message for all women that love ending, or the deception of your partner is not and it should not be the end of the world, nor should one fall into despair. It is much better to go out with your friends, show your attractive self in a surprisingly good look, and that is going to have such a strong effect like a bomb.

What kind of performance can we expect from you in Beovizija?

Well we are still putting together the team, but it will surely be a very strong and effective performance, both musically and visually. My performance in Beovizija will also carry another strong message – I, as a fighter against ageism (which is unfortunately very much present in this area), want to show in my own example that you can’t just write off a woman after she turns 50. These women are certainly very capable, beautiful and attractive.

Lots of well-known singers don’t want to apply to compete in Beovizija, and in national selections of various other countries. You are an artist who is active on the Serbian music scene for decades, and someone who is popular and very well known in the whole of Balkans – what does this competition mean to you, and what would it mean to you to represent Serbia in Eurovision?

Going to represent your country in Eurovision is a great honor and a great challenge for every singer. I don’t know a single artist who wouldn’t like to try themselves out on an international stage. As someone who has a lot of popularity and lots of concerts in the Balkan region, I can feel how much my song really crosses the borders of culturally diverse areas. Not to mention my song “Zora je”, which has been translated and sold in 13 different linguistic areas.

Did you follow Eurovision in the last couple of years, and was there any particular song that grabbed your attention?

There are always plenty of interesting songs and performances in Eurovision. I can’t remember the titles of the songs right now, but the Austrian singer who won the jury votes a couple of years ago really left a strong impression. Also, our own representatitves Marija Šerifović, Željko Joksimović, Hari Mata Hari, Kaliopi were all exceptionally good. And of course, there are also performances from traditionally good Scandinavian countries, Sweden in particular.

Two years ago you were a star guest in one of the semifinals of the Romanian selection for Eurovision. How did the whole thing go in Timisoara, and how was it to perform in the show?

I always feel amazing whenever I’m in Romania. I enjoy being there when I go as an artist, but also when I just go for a holiday. That’s how it was two years ago as well when I was a guest in their semifinal. Lots of people in Romania know “Šaj rode šaj“ and plenty of my other songs, and especially “Zora je” which they always sing together with me.

Do you have some other projects planned for the upcoming period, apart from Beovizija and possibly Eurovision?

I have lots of upcoming performances – all the way from the Black Sea to the Alps, possibly a concert in America, and I will also take part in the CMC festival in Vodice.

Thank you so much for this interview, and I wish you the best of luck in Beovizija!

Thank you for your kind wishes!

Give a listen to Neda’s entry in this year’s Beovizija right here:

If Neda is one of your favorites in this year’s Beovizija, make sure to cast your vote for her and for up to five more acts in her semi final in our poll right here:

You can also let us know of your favorites in the other semi of Beovizija as well, by voting here:

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