JESSA: ‘We will definitely have a party on the stage and enjoy every moment!’

The final of Dora 2022 is just around the corner and we had the chance to meet the delightful JESSA, who is one of the 14 finalists, ahead of her live performance in Opatija on Saturday 19th!

Jessica Atlić McColgan is a half Croatian and half Irish singer-songwriter who was born in Bogota, Colombia, has spent her early childhood in the UK and also grew up in both Croatia and Ireland. In 2017, she won the first season of the Croatian show Zvijezde at the age of 17.

At Dora, Jessa is going to perform her self-written and self-produced song “My Next Mistake“.

This time we actually have good news for both, the reader types and the watcher types of you. Since JESSA was kind enough to answer our questions in written form and also on video, we decided to share both with you today!

Hello Jessa! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. We are so excited to find out more about you, your music, and your participation at Dora 2022!
You have quite an interesting origin story: Half Irish – half Croatian, born in Colombia, early
childhood in the UK – What place do you consider your home?
I guess that I can consider myself a citizen of the world hahaha. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, and my parents say that I have Latino flair in my attitude to life. I really consider myself a Croatian Dalmatian girl (Coastal region where I live in Croatia). I spent most of my schooling and teen life in Zadar so that’s a reasonable assumption. We Dalmatian people live an easy life, walking by the sea, soaking up the most beautiful and unique sunsets, life in general is slow-paced. Who wouldn’t like that? Having said that, I also spent some time living in the UK and I have family in both England and Ireland, so life in Dublin isn’t as strange as one would think. I am a 2nd year student of audio engineering and music production. Big city life is like a box of sweets, so many places to see, places to visit, people to meet. So, in conclusion I would say that I am a bit of a chameleon, and adaptable. But at heart I am still a girl from the Adriatic.

Would you consider ever representing Ireland or even the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest too?
If the right song comes along, why not! Since I received a place in the selection phase for the Croatian Song for Eurovision, I realize that there is a lot to prepare and organize. At the moment I am pleased with myself for juggling all the balls in the air at the same time and not
dropping any… so far… lol. I am doing my best, and I will perform my best on the stage and most of all have fun. That’s my main goal. Enjoy every step of a journey.

You have studied music production and audio engineering – Did your studies help you with creating your own music?
I started to write songs at an early age. I taught myself Guitar and Piano from the age of 9. My first song was written at the age of 8. I gained the confidence on the stage of a talent show “Zvijezde” and after winning the show I was very quickly signed to a record label.

The music industry can be very challenging and in my early career, I didn’t have many options regarding song choices or even which language I sang in. I was always interested in what happened after I recorded the vocals in the studio, how the song becomes radio ready. I wanted to know everything LOL. So, I currently attend Pulse College where I have lectures, assignments and practical projects at Windmill Lane Recording Studios. It’s one of the most famous recording studios in Europe and the World, where artists like Ed Sheeran, U2, The Rolling Stones and The Cranberries recorded their albums. My professors and mentors are the actual producers who worked with the world’s biggest artists and so I can pick their brains every day at university. I’m very fortunate to study and work in an area I absolutely love.

Do you think the experience of winning “Zvijezde” can help you with Dora?
As I mentioned before, I gained all my confidence performing in front of live audiences. Although Dora stage is quite different, because it’s a big production on Croatia’s national television, I am sure that the experience with “Zvijezde” will help me considerably. I have a super team with me, and they help a lot regarding the planning and organization, and they also keep my feet on the ground.

What was your motivation to enter Dora 2022?
We entered Dora 2022 without any planning. I was in Dublin studying for a final end of year exam and my Producer Silvio called me on the phone and said, hey let’s put “My Next Mistake” into Dora! That was it, no thought, no planning just an opportunity.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your song “My Next Mistake”?
As you know I am not allowed to reveal a lot. But if I must tell you something about the song it would be that it isn’t a ballade, it’s modern and I wrote the lyrics and the music. The song has been ready sitting in a draw for a year. My producer Silvio Pasarić and I believe in it, it’s special! We will definitely have a party on the stage and enjoy every moment.

How do you feel knowing you are going to perform your own song on such a big stage?
It’s scary and it’s challenging. I am actually the composer and wrote the song completely, and so, until now the song has been my baby. Nobody except my producer had heard it before and now it’s ready for all of you to own it and love it as much as I do.

Can you give us a small taste on what your performance is going to look like?
It’s going to be FUN FUN FUN…. Dancing, Singing and Laughing with lots of colour.

How would you react if Croatia decided to send you to the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin?
I would be honored to represent my Country Croatia in Eurovision 2022. The stage is my home. I feel very comfortable at home and when I am performing it brings me a sense of peace and love. So, I know that if I am sent to Turin the whole world would feel what I feel when they watch me.

What are you most excited about when you think about the upcoming time at Dora?
The performance on stage. Setting free my song for the first time and anticipating the response from the public. It’s always exciting as a singer song writer to have feedback, whether good or bad. People know what they like, and I’m the same. Also, the Red Carpet will be a nice experience.

Finally, do you have a message to our Croatian and international readers?
Well, firstly I would like to say Thank You for this opportunity for the interview. I really appreciate everything that people do regarding the excitement for The Eurovision Song Contest. I feel that Croatia and I have a unique opportunity this year. I am Croatian and Irish… So Double Points from all countries LOLOL. Also, I sing English without an accent which is important when singing in English. I pray that you have fun with me on my journey to reach for the stars and enjoy the show. After all… The Eurovision is the greatest music show on earth and we need some happy times right now.

Once again, a huge thanks for this interview, Jessa. We cannot wait to see you perform “My Next Mistake” live in Opatija and maybe even in Turin in May. In the name of the entire ESCBubble Team, let me wish you the best of luck for Dora and all your future projects!

Listen to Jessa’s “My Next Mistake” here!

If you want to support Jessa, make sure to vote for her in our Dora poll, where our readers will vote their favorite song of the competition!

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