Raiven: “The staging for Eurovision will be highly influenced by what we did in the video”

Sara Briški Cirman better known by her stage name Raiven, is a 27 years old Slovenian mezzo-soprano, songwriter and harpist. She decided that she will become a singer at the age of 4 and since that moment her life path led her through the education in that field and she crowned that experience with majoring in harp as well as Jazz and solo singing. She performed in various operas. The Eurovision audience knows Raiven as the runner up of  Slovenian national selection EMA in 2016 and 2019 as well as the third placed artist of the show in 2017. Raiven was internally selected to represent Slovenia at Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with the song Veronika. Find out more about her in our interview below.

Hello Sara/Raiven! First of all I would like to congratulate you for being selected to represent Slovenia at Eurovision Song Contest 2024. How does that feel and what does it mean to you to represent your home country at a singing contest like this?
This is one of the biggest accomplishments of my career. I am extremely honored to represent my country, and I’m happy that I get to represent my country with the story inspired by a figure in Slovenian culture that is very important and prominent.

You are performing your music under the name Raiven, how did that happen and what is the inspiration behind it?
I actually grew up with birds. My parents and my brother are falconers, so I grew up around falcons, and birds have always been a huge part of my life. I also always wanted a raven, I think they are beautiful, smart and I’d really love to own one. When I was searching for an artistic name for myself, I just wanted something that was connected to me and that sounded good, and for me Raiven was it.

What was the pivotal moment in which you made the decision to fully commit yourself to music?
I don’t think I’ve had like a pivotal moment. I decided I wanted to be a singer when I was four years old when I also first enrolled in a music school. Since then I finished an Elementary Music school, the Conservatory, the Academy… I just always knew that I was going to be a musician and there was never really any other option for me.

In 2016 you made your debut at Slovenian national selection for Eurovision, EMA with “Črno bel” you competed two more times. How were those experiences for you, and in which way did EMA influence your further career as a musician?
EMA 2016 was definitely the event that put me on the musical map. I absolutely adored that experience, it was amazing! I’m just really grateful for it.

Do you have any anecdote which occurred at any of those three EMA appearances of yours, and which you’d like to share with the readers of ESCBubble?
Actually at my first EMA performance in 2016, I was trying to do something with my hair right before I got on stage, and I yanked out the cable from the in-ear from the pockets. I didn’t know that until I got on stage and I couldn’t hear myself, so my first experience to ever sing at television was basically without any in-ear monitoring and it was quite scary 😀

You perform in operas and musicals and one of the operas you’re performing in now is Maria De Buenos Aires. What is the dream role you would like to perform in an opera and in a musical? If you could choose performers for your ideal opera which vocalists would that be and which opera would it be?
I would love to sing “Carmen”. I think that’s probably most mezzo-sopranos dream role, and I absolutely adore Elīna Garanča singing Carmen, so that would be my ideal vocalist also.

Your EP Sirene Pt. 1 features 5 songs inspired by different women and their authentic selves. How did you get the inspiration to create it and do you plan to prepare the second part of it in the future?
I feel like the time from when I released my second EP to now the third one, titled “Sirene”, was kind of the time where I also transitioned from a girl to a woman. I think that this kind of growth really inspired me to create this album, and to find different women that I felt had interesting stories and had this poetic essence to them that really fits my music.

Your entry “Veronika” is inspired by Veronika Deseniška and the way you imagine her being reborn. How did you chose to capture her story in a song out of all strong Slovenian women?
I think Veronika always had this mystery around her. We still don’t know where she’s buried. She had this kind of weird accusation of being a witch and I think that the most important message of this song is that she was not a witch. She was a woman that was tried as a witch because she was very authentic and true to herself, and I can personally really connect to her story because I’ve been portrayed many times in the media as something that I’m really not as a person, just because of my looks. That’s why I really connected to her and I wanted to create a song about her.

The music video for “Veronika” was created in Črni Kal quarry in a way that it features all four elements. Unfortunately you could not conquer the phobia of deep water but that aside the video is magical. How did it come to life and how was it to work on its creation?
The making of this video was extremely emotional for me, but very physically demanding as well. We filmed it in three different locations, one of which was a very cold pool, another one was out in the open when it was raining and it was really cold. It was definitely a very adventurous experience as well. I love the outcome, but it was a very hard process.

What can we expect from your performance at Eurovision 2024? Can you give us any hints?
The staging for Eurovision will be highly influenced by what we did in the video. We will try to portray the same vibe, this creepy ethereal creature-like vibe.

You mentioned in one of your Instagram stories that you were working on the Eurovision version of “Veronika”. What kind of changes to the original song are you preparing for us?
We added a few sounds that kind of help with the whole dramaturgy of the song, but we also made it a bit longer so that I can really show off my vocal fully, and still keep that dramatic effect that the song has.

Veler Matic was the one behind the amazing dress you wore at Dora 2024, will he be the one in charge of the outfit you will be wearing at Eurovision?
The outfit is actually still not finished, but it will definitely be very feminine and dark, and very out there.


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A post shared by M A T I C V E L E R (@maticveler)

What are you doing when you are not creating music, singing or performing in musicals and operas? Any hobbies?
I don’t really have much time for many hobbies, but I definitely love to hang out with my pets. I have two cats and a macaw. I love to go to good restaurants, I love to read phantasy books, and I try to stay as active as possible by going to yoga classes.

Thank you so much for your time, Raiven. We wish you the best of luck at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024.

Raiven will be performing her entry “Veronika” as the 9th act of the first semi-final which is set to take place on 7th of May. You can check out the music video of it below:

What are your thoughts of “Veronika” by Raiven? Let us know your impressions of the Slovenian entry in the comments below or on our social media platforms @escbubble

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