Tony & Kiki: “For our performance, think of a chess board and a lot of tension”

This years Dora will feature two famous Croatian musicians and former participants of the show out of which one has already represented Croatia at Eurovision 1994.  Anthony Tony Cetinski and Kristijan Kiki Rahimovski are going to be performing the song “Zapjevaj, sloboda je!”

Tony was born on 31st of May 1969 in Pula, his first solo album was released in 1990 and he took part at first ever Dora in 1993 when he ended on 6th place. On his second attempt in 1994 he won the contest and represented Croatia at Eurovision held in Dublin. The last time he took part in the show was in 2001.  His music hits include: “23. Prosinac”“Opet si pobijedila”, “Blago onom ko te ima”, “Umirem 100 puta dnevno” and many many more. He won numerous prizes and he even received a special award for his contribution to culture. Tony was a president of the jury in the music show “Hrvatska traži zvijezdu” Croatian version of music show Idol.

was born on 15th of July 1981 in Zagreb, he started his work as a musician in a band “Raspashow” back in 2001 and with them took part at Dora on two occasions in 2006 and 2007 after he spent 7 years in “Raspashow” he went for a solo career. He won Zagreb Radio festival in 2014 with the song “Postoji li mjesto” back in 2010 he won a Croatian version of Swedish reality show “The Farm”. Kristijan is a father of three, two boys and a girl.

How did the cooperation between the two of you start? Kiki have you had anyone else on mind to sing with you or Tony was your first and only choice?

Kiki: During these hard COVID-19-times I wrote and composed a lot of songs and from time to time I observed what’s going on in the world. What happened/happens around all of us had an impact on me and on anyone who’s a professional musician. Since I’m not a politician,
😊,  I decided to talk my way through a song concerning the feeling of liberation which all of us can’t wait to regain. While writing the song “Zapjevaj, Sloboda je”, there was a certain moment, when I could hear Tony’s voice in my head and since it is a very specific song, for which a very strong vocal interpret was needed, I sent him the song. He liked the message it contained and we decided to start the project together. Some songs really happen spontaneously. And that is why I am very happy that Tony is the one at my side.

Tony: In fact, I’ve known his father my whole life and no one had to persuade me to do anything after I heard the song. I came to the studio and sang it, as if I had known it for years. ‘Liquid’ and from one take.

Tony you were among the participants of the first Dora held back in 1993 with “Nek te zagrli netko sretniji” ending up on 6th place, a lot of things have changed in your music career and in life since then. How does it feel when you look back to that performance and when you think of the one which will be happening on 13th of February this year which achievement/improvement are you proudest of? 

Tony: I am proud of every moment and collaboration during all three decades of my musical journey and work in the world of music.

Kiki, you are a well known author at the Croatian music scene and you made your debut at Dora back in 2006 with the band “Raspashow”. You were among the finalist and in 2007 when you didn’t manage to qualify for the finals, but this is the first time you appear at Dora as the author of your song and in a duet. What inspired you to get back to the show and how does it feel to be part of it?

Kiki: Dora is definitely the place where my career started and that is why it takes a special place in my life. To be honest, I didn’t think of a coming back when it comes to Dora because I had other plans concerning my career after I published my third album. I’m looking forward to being a part of that competition after 15 years under some different circumstances.

Tony your third time at Dora was back in 2001 when you finished fifth with “Iz dana u dan” by Ante Pecotić who was the author of “Divlji Vjetre” performed by Damir Kedžo last year’s winner of Dora and now you are back for the fourth time at the contest and first time in a duet what was it that made you decide to participate at Dora once again?

The clear message and clear vision of the performance, as well as the quality of the song, prompted me to come to Dora again. A lot of beautiful songs and performers await us sure, but Kiki’s song, we perform in a duet is something that happened without calculation and too much thinking. I think that’s what sets her apart from all my performances on Dora so far.

Primarily the song and the message we have the opportunity to send through it, are the reasons for my decision to reappear on Dora. I believe it could be a great placement at Eurovision, rather than at Dora, so let’s give it a try, so whatever. On the other hand, for a long time I didn’t feel it was time for such a move as now, so I decided to listen to my instinct.

Kiki, you wrote and composed
“Zapjevaj, sloboda je!”. Can you tell us more about your inspiration for it and can both of you tell us more about the story behind the song?

Kiki: I’m not supposed to tell a lot about it, but the lyrics of the song contain all of my fears and thoughts about liberation in these really unusual times. If you ask me about THE WAY I wrote it, I must say that I don’t have a clue. It was like the words and the melody just came to my mind through my heart. I think that the lyrics should be read with care and understanding of the message.

Tony: There are days when I am not optimistic, but with love, dedication to solidarity and seeing with wide open eyes, and loud questioning, a lot can be achieved. The right to choose and to think freely about everything that surrounds us in a normal world should be the path to a better and healthier society as a whole. This song talks about all of that. Can this song also be interpreted as a light looming at the end of a tunnel full of fear, disease and everything that has occupied us for the last year? Yes of course, but let the song describe it on its own.

What about the performance? Can you tell us more about how it will look like?

Kiki: For our performance, think of a chess board and a lot of tension. That is all I’m supposed to reveal.

Tony: The scenography and stage performance that my wife Dubravka and I are designing are ready. My collaborator, educated young film genius Paolo Gentilini, will be of great help in realizing our ideas. Of course the concept is the same regardless of whether Dora or Eurosong. We are sure that HRT will do its best to provide us performers with everything that will be feasible in these strange times full of challenges and uncertainties.

Given the fact that Dora 2021 will be held without the live audience how does that make you feel?

Tony: Performing songs without an audience is cold and hybrid, just like these last year, since online has become almost the only way to socialize and communicate. The new normal, will never be normal in terms of performance, because it is the interaction of the audience and the performer, that gives the soul and meaning to the performance of the song and our vocation in general.

Kiki: A whole year has passed since my last live concert. I must admit that I almost forgot how it looks like. Nevertheless, I am very pleased to have the chance to stay on a stage and feel the lights of it. I’m trying not to think about it that there will be no audience and that it certainly might be a very weird feeling. But I know that a large number of people will be watching Dora from their TVs and that is why I have the duty to perform the song together with Tony just like there were 100000 people in front of us in person.

The competition of this year’s Dora 2021 has got some artists which competed at Eurovision stage, are well known at Croatian music scene and some young musicians. Which act do you see as the biggest competitor/eager to hear the most?

Kiki: I’m really glad that I will have the opportunity to see some of my colleagues after a while, but this year there will be many young performers among the competitors which just started their musical adventure. All of them are somehow interesting and original and I will listen to each song equally interested and happily. I have never perceived music as some kind of competition.

Tony: The world rests on the young but also debts unfortunately. Dora is a wonderful opportunity for young people, as is Eurovision! I guess I still feel young, so I dared to perform at Dora again, although I have to admit I would rather support younger colleagues.

What is your first memory related to Eurovision? Do you watch the show regularly and do you have a favorite song in the contest?

Kiki: The first memory is linked to the winning song “Rock me baby”, performed by Riva. I was just eight years old then. Honestly, the kind of music has gone through a lot of changes in the last years which made me follow it less. But I always perceived Eurovision as the best possible platform to represent your own country.

Tony: There were too many of them. All the memories of Eurovision and Dublin are deeply engraved in me to this day. The landing of the plane to Dublin was both a show and an anecdote, as we were left without a small cover on the wing of the plane during takeoff, and I saw that very moment and it was not at all pleasant. As for the performance then, I was very green and inexperienced. I love clear and loud messages in songs, and there were a lot of them. So it’s hard for me to single out anyone in particular.

What do you do in your free time?

Tony: Primarily sports. It’s the best way to relax and get creative.

Kiki: I’m having fun with my children. I love to cook and I like to play football on PS. That is actually the only game I play. I miss gatherings with my musical friends enormously.

What are your plans after Dora 2021?

Tony: I don’t think so much ahead anymore. Tomorrow or yesterday doesn’t burden me, but only and exclusively today and now!

Kiki: I have a lot of projects and singles which soon will be released. That is filling me with a lot of joy and I really hope that I will have the chance to enjoy concert activities. It is very difficult to plan something when It comes to gigs, since we cannot foresee what will happen.

When can we expect your new album releases?

Kiki: My first album was released in 2006. 2010 was the year when the second album was released and 2019.the third one was out there. A fourth album can be expected by the end of this year.

Tony: First of all, I would like to continue my super successful #samoljubav tour, which so far has been seen by almost half a million people around the world. I am most looking forward to it. The new album will definitely come after that.

Thank you so much for your time Tony & Kiki. We wish you the best of luck at Dora 2021. Do you want to share something else or you maybe have a message for followers of escbubble?

Tony: I think the message is short and clear for everyone, #onlylove #samoljubav!

Kiki: I wish everyone a healthy life and to hang on during these hard times which will hopefully pass us by as soon as possible.

Dora 2021 is scheduled for this Saturday 13th of February. Tony Cetinski & Kiki Rahimovski will be performing their entry “Zapjevaj, sloboda je!” as 14th which will be last act of the night. You can listen to the minute snippet of it below

If Tony & Kiki are your favourites don’t forget to vote for them in our poll below! You can vote for up to five songs!

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Let us know your impressions and thoughts about “Zapjevaj, sloboda je!” by Tony Cetinski & Kiki Rahimovski in the comments below and at our social media links!

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