Wave hello to Katrina…..!
Posted by Caroline on May 1, 2009
Back in the dim and distant past there was a time when the UK used to do well at Eurovision. Sometimes we even – gasp! – won it (although most of you are probably too young to remember this fact). The last occurrence of this bizarre phenomenon was back in 1997 when Katrina and the Waves soared to the top of the leaderboard with the anthemic Love Shine A Light – and since then the band, previously best known for the 80s classic Walking On Sunshine, have become synonymous with the contest.
This year, lead singer Katrina Leskanich is giving her backing to Jade Ewen and Andrew Lloyd Webber, on whom the hopes of the nation will rest in Moscow, and is fronting a ‘Eurovictory’ campaign – backed by the EBU and BT – which aims to persuade UK viewers to talk their friends and family living overseas into voting for Jade. The idea being, of course, that the more ex-pats and Brits abroad vote for the UK, the more chance we have of winning again. Which would be nice. We settled down for a chat with Katrina to find out more….
So tell us more about the Eurovictory campaign….
Well it’s a new scheme called Friends and Family International from BT, and I’ve teamed up with them to launch Eurovictory, trying to defeat the tactical Eurovision voting so that the UK can win, which is a good idea, if every person in the UK got somebody in Germany, Belgium, Scandinavian countries or even Russia and Israel to cast a vote for Jade, we could win. I mean we’ve got Andrew Lloyd Webber, household name, legend, genius, who has written a song with one of the premier writers, Diane Warren, and finally there is a fantastic representative in Jade, it’s about time that Eurovision came into the 21st Century and cut out these cheesy horrible songs with cheesy performances because what does that have to do with popular music?
So you think we need to actually do something rather than just rest on our laurels…
Of course, we just can’t sit back and hope Ireland is going to bail us out!
Do you think that the UK’s recent failures on the Eurovision stage have less to do with Europe not liking us due to our involvement in Iraq and more to do with the fact our songs have been, let’s face it, pants?
All of the above, I think that the UK’s always looked upon Eurovision as being similar to Miss World or Miss Universe, the kind of women they think are beautiful is a law unto itself, in that Eurovision songs are laws unto themselves, there is a formula, the formula is Abba, it is a novelty song, the novelty was carried on because you have the participation of the other European countries you get the bleed of their culture which is very different from their own and this is what turned it into a spectacle. The UK makes the best music in the world, and so Eurovision could only really be looked down upon from the heights of the Beatles etc, so it has been difficult for it to raise its head and the reputation has disintegrated over the years. Also the mantle has been grasped by people who love Eurovision for what it is and do want to keep it cheesy, and don’t want to see it get too sophisticated, I have heard people said it’s not what they want from Eurovision. Terry Wogan has left the building, enter Graham Norton, enter Lord Lloyd Webber, For me it would seem like possibly a logical thing in future years for someone like Cathy Dennis to come up with a winning song.
Do you think the public chose a good singer this year?
I think they chose smart and I think if Diane Warren had a say in it then she’s going to be able to recognise your Toni Braxtons, your Beyonces and also if she’s got a say in the production of it too, it was probably a challenge for her.
And our position in the draw two songs from the end will help too….
Of course, plus the fact that Andrew Lloyd Webber will be sitting there on the stage with her! People will still be thinking they may not have heard the winner yet and then this will come along…..it happened with us, we were on second last and we went out there and rinsed it!
Does Jade know about the Eurovictory campaign?
I don’t know if Jade knows, she must be bombarded with all kinds of things at the moment, she’s doing what we never did and going round trying to get people to vote for them. We can combat the tactical voting by doing what we plan to do, and I think jury voting will help also.
Do you think the return of jury voting may also have an effect on the final result? And do you think Jade can actually overcome the so-called ‘neighbourly’ voting and do well?
I think it could be a different story this year. And there are people who watch and listen to the contest and vote for the song they like best. They did in 1997, how could anyone hear Jade’s song and not think they want to download it and listen to it again and buy her album, it’s that good. I didn’t do interviews last year because I couldn’t find it in my heart to raise false enthusiasm over a performance that I didn’t think could win. I’m doing it this year because I think she can win and I want to see her go out and kick ass.
Do you think the time was right for Wogan to retire?
I think so, I couldn’t help but feel his frustration over the tactical voting was getting in the way of his ability to be funny.
What was it like taking part in the contest in 1997?
I always say nerve wracking, you can’t imagine why you ever said yes to it, when we went in we were a bit cocky and then you get there….
And what are you up to these days?
I’m a full-time singer now, I don’t have a secretarial job yet, touring mostly, never stop, live in hotels, tour and sing and order room service and empty minibars…..
Katrina is launching the BT Friends & Family International ‘Eurovictory’ campaign, to encourage people to call their friends in Europe to back Jade’s UK Eurovision bid. For more information visit www.bt.com/eurovision
For more info on Katrina, visit:www.katrina.info