This month marks 25 years since Katrina And The Waves stormed to Eurovision glory with the anthemic Love Shine A Gentle.
In fact, that additionally means it’s now been 1 / 4 of a century since a UK entrant triumphed within the contest, a truth which isn’t misplaced on Katrina Leskanich.
“Twenty-five years, are you kidding me proper now?” she tells HuffPost UK, shortly earlier than the anniversary. “It’s form of unbelievable on a number of fronts. In a rustic that has such a wealthy heritage of music and expertise, it’s unimaginable that it’s been that lengthy because the UK has gained.”
Katrina places this lack of success in recent times right down to “the improper alternative and the improper method”, however says issues are “trying higher” in 2022 because of the UK’s much-hyped entrant Sam Ryder.
“I feel he’s sturdy, he’s handsome, he can sing, he can ship, he wrote the music, he has credibility – and 12 million followers on social media,” she says.
“It’s the entire bundle. So, fingers crossed.”
Nonetheless, regardless of being firmly Staff GB with regards to Eurovision during the last 25 years, the American-born singer admits that some years have made it simpler to assist than others.
“As you possibly can think about, it’s been difficult for me over time, after I’ve been requested ‘what do you consider this yr’s UK entry?’, and I do know in my coronary heart that it’s a fail,” she confesses. “I don’t need to criticise anyone or throw anyone below the bus. Everyone needs to get behind the UK entry, however rattling that’s exhausting when you recognize it’s not working, and you recognize it’s not going to work.
“And no one needs to be rude or sprint the hopes of any individual who’s acquired an enormous activity at hand. Clearly, I need to try to instil confidence in individuals. However like I mentioned, some years have been more difficult than others.
Right here’s what else Katrina needed to say after we took a stroll down Eurovision reminiscence lane along with her within the lead-up to this yr’s contest…
Have been you all the time a fan of Eurovision, and the way has your opinion of it modified over time?
I’d by no means seen Eurovision earlier than we did it, and after we had been requested if we had a music we might put ahead for Eurovision, I wasn’t clear what they had been speaking about. The 2 English boys within the group mentioned, “we do have a music referred to as Love Shine A Gentle” – but it surely was within the backside drawer, as a result of all of us thought it was too Eurovision-y for us to place out on a document.
Once we gave it to Jonathan King [executive producer of the selection show The Great British Song Contest], he went screaming to the hills with it and mentioned, “that is an out-and-out winner, we’re placing it ahead”.
And my opinion of Eurovision has modified as Eurovision has modified. Again at the hours of darkness ages, after I did it and there have been 24 contestants, it was very completely different. Now, it’s grown and develop into extra of a spectacle, extra of a manufacturing, extra bells and whistles – and hey, why not?
What’s your first reminiscence of watching Eurovision at house?
After we acquired by way of the Nice British Music Contest and had been declared the group that was going to characterize the UK, I used to be despatched 12 video tapes – twelve video tapes – of previous Eurovisions. So I had a marathon weekend, the place I watched each Eurovision because the time it started up till 1996.
And that’s after I was very enlightened. And I did assume, “what within the hell is that this?”. With all of the clowns and the milkmaids and the babushkas and the grannies, it’s like one poodle wanting a circus. Come on! It was extraordinary. However I additionally thought, “wow, Love Shine A Gentle is made for this occasion”, as a result of there may be a lot drama in that music, and that’s what you want.
Do you’ve gotten a favorite reminiscence of being a part of Eurovision?
It needs to be that iconic second from lockdown, once they used Love Shine A Gentle and all people sang a line from it. That was nearly a much bigger second than the win, as a result of that was very, very emotional.
There was not a dry eye in the home, I imply the poodle was crying. It was very, very sentimental, and really, very shifting.
So that may be the second, except for the win, We had been always informed by all people, “you possibly can’t win it”, even when the votes had been coming in! Even after we had so many factors coming in that no one might catch us! I
f you watch the night time again, and also you take heed to Terry Wogan’s commentary, you’ll see all people couldn’t consider [we won]! I keep in mind trying up on the sales space the place Terry Wogan was, and he was holding a glass of champagne in a single hand and a glass of Guinness within the different, and a glass of Irish whisky balanced on prime of his head. It was that form of night time. It was insane!
Who’re you rooting for at Eurovision this yr?
Are you kidding? In fact, I’ll all the time be rooting for the UK. And a few individuals say, “effectively how might you need that, you’ll lose your crown?”. However you by no means lose your crown. [Someone else winning] doesn’t imply you’re now not a winner, it simply means, “nice information, there’s one other one”.
Clearly, the second nation I’d be rooting can be Ukraine. I’m half-Ukrainian, and I can’t consider a greater music or a greater second to indicate our assist. It’s not just like the music is horrible and we’re all going to vote for a horrible music – the music is superb, and we’re all going to vote for it as a result of we really feel so heartbroken over this occasion that’s occurring.
What are your three all-time favorite Eurovision songs?
One which I needed to embrace was Eres Tú by Mocedades. It’s very, very shifting, I’ve acquired goosebumps speaking about it. Candy, shifting and anthemic, with a stupendous, stunning melody.
L’Oiseau Et L’Enfant by Marie Myriam. I needed to sing it in French class in highschool, however I had no thought what it was, or the place it got here from. And I didn’t realize it was Eurovision as a result of I didn’t know what Eurovision was in 1977 after I was singing it.
And, in fact, Loreen’s Euphoria. That’s truly my favorite of all time. Come on. Come on! When that music got here out, it was a Love Shine A Gentle second the place as quickly as you heard it, you knew nothing might contact it. It was 100% it, the entire bundle.
Why is Eurovision nonetheless so vital?
It’s a kind of occasions that brings all people collectively. It unites individuals, for good or dangerous. And it’s additionally huge enjoyable!
I feel the extra outrageous and the extra ridiculous the acts might be, the higher. As a result of for me, it’s pure leisure. I don’t wish to see music after music that’s a dreary ballad.
This interview has been edited for readability and size.
We’ll be publishing an interview with a special Eurovision legend every single day main as much as this yr’s reside last on Saturday 14 Could. Come again tomorrow after we’ll be talking to a different former champion, Alexander Rybak.
Katrina’s new single Vacation is out now. Take a hear under:
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