EUROVISION 2019: What Next – Roko

What next for this year’s Eurovision entrants?

Croatia: Roko

by Christopher Smith

Croatia entered Eurovision for the first time in 1993 and finished fifteenth. Since then the country has finished in the top ten six times but failed to qualify five times including 2018 when Franka performed with “Crazy”. This year, the Croatian jury entered 19 year old Roko (Roko Blažević) with the song “The Dream” with ‘the dream’ of going through to the grand final. Alas, it was not to be for a second year running. “The Dream” did not make it passed its group semi final and Roko had to watch his contemporaries.

Roko was born into a singing environment with both his Mother and Father being professional singers. He won the 2017 series of Pinkove Zvezdice, a Croatian TV reality show and in December 2018, Dora 2019, the Croatian show to select a representative for the Eurovision Song Contest. “The Dream” is written by Jacques Houdek, who represented the country at the 2017 Contest with “My Friend”, which came thirteenth, Andrea Čubrić and American songwriter Charlie Mason, who won Eurovision in 2014 with “Rise Like A Phoenix”, performed by Conchita Wurst. “The Dream” has, nevertheless, gone on to top the Croatian singles chart and represents Roko’s debut single. He has been described by his fellow countryman as the Croatian Michael Bublé! So the future looks bright for Roko already!

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!
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