This year’s Croatian Eurovision Song Contest representative, popular singer Nina Badrić, is in preparations to take center stage in Baku and lead Croatia to the highest rankings possible with her song “Nebo”. In a matter of three months, since Nina first presented her song to Europe in Zagreb, “Nebo” has captured the nation and beyond Croatian borders. With over 1 million views of the official music video, and one of the top 5 most watched videos on the Official Eurovision Song Contest web page, it is evident that “Nebo” has attained a great success. However, the journey has not been easy. In the last three months, Nina has been working full force on recovery and on preparations to ensure that “Nebo” deserves the success it has received thus far, when she performs in Baku on May 24, 2012. Before her departure to Baku, where she is currently in final phases of preparations, Nina took some time and discussed her journey towards Baku and other notable moments in her career, including the remarkable success of her latest album “NeBo”.
Since the very beginning of this year, it appears that your name cannot go a day without being in the media. Especially since Croatia’s proclamation of you as this year’s ESC candidate in Baku, you have experienced many professional achievements. Would you say that 2012 is your year Nina?
I really do hope 2012 is my year! I ended last year and began this one with a very big concert on Sarajevo’s main square. I love that city and I personally think that was a beautiful start to a great and successful 2012.In 2007/2008 you had great success with the album “07”. After a 4 year album hiatus, you released “NeBo”, which in a short 5 months has captured the nation. What would you say differentiates this album to “07”?
I am so enthralled with this album, so deeply absorbed by it, that I don’t know how to even describe it. This album is by far the truest representation of me; it is my greatest album in terms of capturing my maturity as an artist and in expressing myself as an individual. But what really strikes me and is of the greatest importance is that others have interpreted it that way as well. It is very important to me for the public to like my songs and for them to find meaning for themselves in them. This is my most intimate album thus far, and I can truly say, that like no other before can the positive response to it be compared. It is full of good vibes that have captured the public, who enjoy these songs, and that is my main goal – for it to bring happiness to each and every person. Thankfully, my fans say that “NeBo” is more than successful in establishing a positive atmosphere.
Your hard work and effort are evident, as in such a short time frame, “NeBo” has been acknowledged for its quality. Congratulations on your 4 Porin nominations you received this year, most notably for your nomination for “Dat ce nam Bog” in the category of “Hit of the Year”. In which category do you find the most impressive nomination?
Thank you! The album has only been out for 5 months and I am more than happy with it! I am ecstatic about every nomination and that the public and officials in the music industry have recognized the worth and quality of my album.
Which song, other than “Dat ce nam Bog” or “Nebo”, would you say is your favourite composition on this CD?
Hmm. It’s hard to say because I really do love each and everyone of my songs equally. It’s impossible for me to identify just one! I can’t!
Although you had many ups in the past few months, the one down was your medical condition that needed immediate attention following the release of “Nebo” in February. How did you take the news of a required medical procedure in the midst of preparations for Eurovision?
It was not easy at all. The audience and your fans expect the best from you, which I always give, but when I performed at Dora, I already knew what awaited me. I knew that I needed to undergo surgery, but nevertheless, I gave the best that I could! My recovery has been phenomenal and I am as ready as can be for Eurovision!Your song “Nebo”, from which the album takes the same title, has experienced the same success, with a great response from the public and your fellow colleagues. Why did you specifically choose “Nebo” for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Baku?
When I was invited by the Croatian Radio Television (HRT) to represent Croatia this year in Baku, they told me that I could choose the song I wanted to perform with and that it could be a song from my own album. From the very first moment, I knew it was the song. I truly believe in “Nebo”.
Your revelation of “Nebo” back in February in Zagreb provided viewers with an outstanding and powerful performance. Other than a new arrangement and a slightly altered version of the song, what should viewers expect in Baku?
In Baku, we have decided to take full advantage of the number of members on stage, and so we are using the maximum. I will have three back-up vocalists and two dancers. The choreographer, Igor Barberic, has orchestrated a very minimalistic performance, one that places emphasis on art. And as always, viewers can expect the best I can give!
With the competition in Baku fast-approaching, how are preparations coming along?
Rehearsals, rehearsals, guest appearances, rehearsals, more guest appearances... hahahaha!Recently you visited Milan where you partook in a photo-shoot for an Italian fashion magazine and where you taped a video for your 2003 remake of “I am so Excited”, which even found itself on the Italian hit-lists of that same year. Any other European promotions or visits planned before you take center stage in Azerbaijan?
This year we chose not to do as many promotional trips to neighbouring countries that are also partaking in ESC. Instead we chose a different method of promotion.
Our plan was to do as much promotion as possible through TV companies and even more so through Internet portals. In today’s society, Internet portals are the fastest way of communication with the public, and I would say, perhaps the most popular means of interaction.
Aside from your musical achievements, you have had many other national and international professional achievements. In 2007/08 you were selected as the international face of the worldwide famous watch company, Frédérique Constant. Billboards with your face were all over Geneva, London, Moscow, New York City and many more international cities. You were also a judge on Nova TV’s “Supertalent”, and guest starred in some TV sitcoms. How did you find each of these tasks and achievements? Do you feel that alongside your music, these roles have helped you enter into the hearts of many homes?
My campaign with Frédérique Constant has been existent for three years now. Obviously, to see your self on jumbo billboards throughout the world is truly amazing and a beautiful thing to experience. The same goes for world-known magazines such as Vogue, Maria Claire, and many more in which I have appeared. All of this, alongside my TV appearances in various shows and commercials, are a part of my career and job as an entertainer. I believe that through all of this, I truly have entered into the hearts of many homes.
Nina, your popularity and success as a singer has undeniably placed you as one of Croatia’s greatest artists. Although quality and popularity are important factors, they do not always bring success on the ESC stage. What do you think are dominating factors in attaining a Eurovision victory? Is there any or is it just luck?
I personally think it is the factor of luck. You can have a beautiful song, beautiful lyrics, music, and look magical, yet finish last.
It has been revealed that one of Azerbaijan’s greatest musical divas – Tunzala Agayev, has requested a duet with you after hearing your outstanding vocal performances. Is this true, and what are your thoughts on this opportunity?
The thing that excites me the most is the idea that one of Azerbaijan’s largest musical stars, Tunzala, has requested a duet with me! And all I can say is that we are already in talks about recording a duet.
What awaits you after Baku?
Well, I’m expecting a fun and memorable time! The Eurovision Song Contest is the biggest musical festival and I can hardly wait to see what it actually looks like! Plus, a beautiful thing is that in Baku, one of our largest agencies Brunketa and Zinic hold their main offices there. All we need is a bit of luck and who knows, maybe we come back from Azerbaijan singing! Haha!
Do you see a possible international tour of “Nebo” other than just a regional tour?
I hope so! I am gladly accepting invitations JNina, we wish you much luck and success in Baku! What is your final message to your fans before you take center stage on May 24, 2012, in the second semi-final night?
Keep your fingers crossed that I make it to the finals! I send a big kiss and hug to all, and pick up your phones and vote for me! J
Zagreb, Croatia. Conducted and written by Ivan Cosic. May 2012.