After a 2 year hiatus since “Live ‘09”, you are back in studio and finishing a new album with new material. Luka, what do you have to bring to your loyal fans on this new album?
We have been preparing and working on this album for quite some time, and I must admit – I’m on pins and needles. I know I have a great album prepared and can hardly wait for it to be released. In the last two years, since we stopped promoting my last album, we immediately began to get to work on this new album. Searching for new songs, material, and eventually a new producer, who we found, Zvonimir Dusper Dus. The album is full of rich and extreme emotions – ranging from Ballades to fast, energetic, make-you-get-up and move type of songs. There will not be any middle tempo type songs. I can say that the style and range of music will really be tremendous.
This will be your fourth studio album. What is the title of this new album and when can we expect the release date?
The title of the new album is “Kad zasvira…” and it will be released on June 1, 2012 by my record label Menart.
In the last two years you have released some singles that have become well-known hits. Will any of these popular songs be found on “Kad zasvira…” ?
On the album, listeners will recognize “Kad zasvira orkerstar”, and “Tamo gdje me srce vuče”, which were actually two singles that I used to promote the new album, as well as “Život curi” from the 2010 Splitski Festival.
It has been 4 years since you released an album with new material, as “Live ‘09” was your live CD from your 2009 concert at the Zagrebački Hipodrom. Do you think in the last four years that your music has changed?
I think a lot has changed. I would not say radically, but music changes as you encounter new producers, authors, studios, and even my growth as a singer; as I get older, all have an effect on me. Also, my interaction with new people and their effect on me, all contribute to my music and where I go with it. There is always some growth that happens when working with new people, and change simply comes naturally.
Yes. I find it completely different from “Na tren i zauvijek”. First and foremost, it is different because I am working with a different producer. This album’s producer, Zvonimir Dusper Dus and my former producer Nikša Bratoš don’t have a similar style, or lets say they do not have a common characteristic that ties the two. For instance, Zvonimir Dusper Dus has mostly worked with electronic music throughout his career, and for him this entry into Pop music is somewhat of a new challenge, something entirely new, and his work with Pop is completely different than that of Nikša Bratoš. So these two albums will be on two opposite spectrums in terms of sound, production, and even selection of songs.
You have many hits behind you, songs such as “Proljece”, “Prava ljubav”, “More”, “Zapleši sa mnom”, “Di si ti Mare”, and many more. Do you have a specific song on this album that you feel will be a huge hit, perhaps a song that might be a summer hit?
Truthfully, it is very difficult to know or sense which song will be the biggest hit. I am extremely happy and satisfied with the entire new album, and I definitely think I have three to four songs that will get listeners hooked from the first listen. Unfortunately, we can’t foretell or know which songs might or might not be a hit. That is something slightly more difficult because if we did know we would be producing new hits every month, and that is not the case. But I do strongly believe in the newest single, “Jugo”. I have a really good feeling about it.
How would you describe “Jugo”?
It is a very fast, up-beat, get-you-on-your feet type of song. It awakens listeners, its full of life and energy. The song is a blend of Dalmacija mixed with influences from many other areas – a bit of brass instruments, the mandolin and a touch of Klape. It is a very entertaining and fun song, and I think it will reach and capture my audience. I am very excited to see the public’s reactions to this song, as I have put a lot of hope into its success.
Why did you choose Jugo as the next single?
When my team and I got together and listened to the mixing of the album, we all agreed on it. It is definitely my favourite out of my fast-tempo songs off the new album; it’s perfect for summer, very catchy and strongly draws one to get on their feet to dance and go wild, and so I think it is the ideal song for this season.
Summer is fast approaching, and as a famous “Splićanin” it can be predicted that like most Splićani, summer has a very important meaning to you. What does summer look like for you?
Summer is my favourite season of the year. To be fair, winter and autumn also have many great qualities and are charming in their own way. But for someone who is born on the coast, summer means so much more. There is a kind of interaction with the sea. Summer means surrounding myself by the sea, either swimming, snorkelling, being with friends by the coast, guitar in hand, singing, relaxing and just pure enjoyment. It is also the time of year where we performers work a lot, as we have the most concerts during the summer months. And so, it is a very dynamic time of year that always excites me and gets me going.
In the last 2 years, the Croatian music scene has experienced some form of a rebirth of “Dalmatinske Klape”. You have incorporated Klape in some of your songs such as “Proljeće”, “Samo mi reci da lijepotice mala”, and “Život curi”. Do you plan on continuing in such a direction of collaborations, perhaps even a bit more seriously? Can we expect a possible future album entirely in collaboration with Klape?
Truthfully, I am still in a young stage of my musical career in regard to my collaborations with Klape, especially in the newest single “Jugo”, where we have used Klape in a different tone. I like spontaneity. I’m not one who likes to plan or calculate specific strategies or tactics to ensure the success of a song. I like to have fun while making my music. In all honesty, at the moment I do not like the current commercialization of Klape because it is taking away from their value, their individuality and distinctiveness. But I truly do respect and enjoy Klape, and perhaps in the future I would like to do something in such a direction, but for now it’s the way God wants it to be.
For a young singer you have had an impressive amount of hits off of all three albums, offering your audience a variety of compositions that have gone over and beyond their expectations. Out of the many we have discussed, do you have a particular favourite, maybe one that did not receive the same amount of attention as others?
Well, the prime example of such a song is “Ti si meni sve” from my first album. This particular song did not receive the proper attention during the release of the album. It simply didn’t find its way to the audience, nor did the audience connect with it. However, after 6-7 years since 2005, with the release of my “Live ‘09” album, listeners have strongly connected with this song, almost as if it just was released and was an entirely new song. It really pleases me to see a song, even after a few years, finally find its way to the audience. I believe that in life some encounters and connections are not destined to develop at first, but rather later, as seen with “Ti si meni sve”.What is your biggest inspiration for music?
People, past events, places, history, many things… life. Life is my inspiration.
Do you have any musical idols? Any Croatian or International artists who have inspired you?
Of course I do. Of Croatian music, I value artists such as Damir Urban, Oliver Dragojević, and many more. I also enjoy international artists such as Radiohead, Sting, Grace Jones… There are so many! I really listen to a wide range of music, Croatian and international, I do not limit myself to genre, whatever I like I listen to.
Do you like to incorporate ideas and elements of such artists in your music?
If the song and musical arrangement of a composition supports such elements, then I definitely would, but very rarely is that the case. I have my own direction, the producer has a particular direction, his own path, and so we meet halfway.
Luka you have definitely shown that you do not limit yourself in anything as you have tried various roles as an entertainer. From theatre to a TV host, and ultimately your main role as a singer; could you see yourself continuing in one of those paths, or even some new venture?
I really enjoyed acting, but music has always been my main passion. It has always attracted me and has been a driving force in my life. The theatre stage and my role in front of the TV cameras were something I liked doing, especially experiences such as working with kids on some TV projects. All three roles have been an overall amazing experience in my life, as one can learn so much from each of these experiences. Another hobby of mine is photography – I truly enjoy playing with the camera. As one can see, there are many things I am attracted to, but it would be best to leave them as hobbies because if I tried to pursue all of these as professions, it would become more stressful than enjoyable as there would be too much going on for me.
In 2006, the release of one of the most famous duets in Croatian music, “Prava ljubav” with your colleague Lana Jurčević, experienced an indescribable success for two young singers. What is your impression of “Prava ljubav”?
“Prava ljubav” was truly a popular hit that encountered an enormous success. Even today, when we perform it at concerts, the crowd is taken over by euphoria, as if it was still 2006. The song is an evergreen, one that will remain for all times and the generations to come.
Can listeners expect such a duet, or any new collaborations, on the upcoming album?
There will not be any real duets on “Kad zasvira…” only small collaborations with an orchestra, a bit of klape, and with a female fan of mine who was the winner of our “Klikni na Luku” contest. This contest was the first of such collaborations that I have ever done, and I can say we even had contestants from Canada who sent us videos, and in the end we have chosen a beautiful and amazing young lady. This type of collaboration really excites me because it gives me direct contact with my fans.
With the release of “Kad zasvira…” quickly approaching, is there a concert tour in the plan?
As the album drops June 1st, a promotional tour of concerts will begin. This leads us into summer, where there will be numerous concerts. We plan on performing in as many cities, villages, and summer stages as possible this summer. I am more than excited to see the reactions and interactions of my fans from all over the world who are visiting Croatia this summer. In the fall, we will continue to tour throughout the region, and ultimately, we are hoping to make it even across the Atlantic to North America.
There was a planned North-American tour for Spring 2010 with Lana Jurčević, which unfortunately the Croatian Diaspora never got to see. It would be a pleasure for many to finally get this opportunity to attend such an event. What are the possibilities?
We would love to tour North America and we were ecstatic about the tour in 2010. Unfortunately, due to a problem with the organization, the tour had to be cancelled. It was a decision that both my party and Lana’s did not want to risk, as such a project must accompany complete organization. I look forward to and anticipate new cooperations, and if the proper organization is provided I would more than gladly hold a North-American tour. And so, the possibility is there and we really do hope to see and reach all our fans in North America.
And finally, Luka, do you have a message for all your fans, particularly those in North America?
Listen to good music, enjoy life, and to relax and forget about stress! Nek se uživa!Zagreb, Croatia. April 2012. Written and conducted by Ivan Cosic. Published May 2012.