Interview: Ana Soklič (Slovenia, Eurovision 2020 + 2021)

Today, just a few days before semi-final 1 is being held, we have the honor to interview one of Eurovision 2021 artists. She has one of the most incredible voices that you’ve heard. She doesn’t just bring a beautiful voice, but also a message, charisma, and love for gospel and soul music.

Of course, we are talking about Ana Soklič from Slovenia. Personally, it is one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve held, since Ana is also one of my favorites this year.

Who is Ana Soklič?

Ana Soklič is a Slovenian singer performing mainly jazz, soul, and blues songs. She is 37 years old and comes from the small town of Bohinj, at the foot of the Julian Alps. 
Her singing teacher was the two-time Slovenian representative at Eurovision, Darja Švajger.
In 2012, she took part in the first edition of the “X-Factor Slovenia“.
Ana has tried to represent Slovenia in the past, participating in “EMA”:

In 2004 with the song “If you” behind the stage name Diona Dim:

In 2007 with the song “Oče” (Eng: Father)

In 2020, she won “EMA 2020” with the magnificent ballad “Voda“. However, Eurovision 2020 was canceled and she never got the opportunity to perform it live on the Eurovision stage:

In 2021, Slovenian broadcaster RTVSLO internally selected Ana for Eurovision 2021.
A record number of 191 songs have been submitted and the chosen song is “Amen“:

Last week, she released the EP “Born to the Fight” that includes 6 different versions of “Amen” and of course the song “Voda” (click here to listen to the EP)

Hi Ana, welcome to ESCBEAT and thank you for accepting our invitation!

Hi Doron, thank you so much. I’m glad to be here

1. Can you tell us about the meaning of “Amen” for you?

Well, I’ve kind of always preferred others to make their own kind of a vision.
However, the song isn’t just a religious one (although I believe in God), but has a universal message.
I guess anyone has hidden from a specific light in their life.
Charlie Mason (one of the lyricists) wanted to put it this way so everyone would know the message behind it.”

2. Last year you were meant to perform the song “Voda” (Eng: Water). Can you tell us the meaning of water for you?

An interesting fact is that I’ve never had water in my life, as something positive. The village I live in is Bohinj, where we can experience winters full of rain and even floods. My father is a vet, so we have to deepen the structure of his clinic as part of the regulation. I remember that our basement overflowed by water many times when it was raining or a flood outside because we lived by the river.
So the water was not so pleasant to me. But what I’ve found out is that people have seen it differently, which truly means a lot. Now that I’ve grown up, I have learned to appreciate water and deeply understand its meaning. I will treasure water forever.

3. How did you feel when RTVSLO decided to internally select you for Eurovision 2021?

I felt honored of course just because I gained the trust of my national broadcaster television and I’m very happy

4. Have we seen the whole concept for Eurovision 2021 stage? Will you add something to the next rehearsals? 

Yes, you’ve seen it all. We won’t include pyro on stage. Karin Zemljič is the amazing backing vocalist that helps me a bit. She won’t be present on the stage. I am often wearing white clothes or other colors with natural tones. I think the staging concept goes hand in hand with the universal message of the song. I was amazed by how big the stage is”

5. How did you feel after the first time you heard “Amen? Did you immediately feel it was meant for Eurovision? 

“I have been overwhelmed since Tony Maserati was in charge of mixing and mastering. He has done extremely well, the sound is the way it is supposed to be. The choir singing brought me to tears.
As a soul and gospel artist, it is kind of a dream. It’s going to be such a gorgeous memory to look at for years to come.”

6. “Amen” changed a little bit for Eurovision 2021. What is the reason for the changes?

The major change we have made is adding the acapella gospel part which wasn’t supposed to be in the final version. It was meant to be only a part of the 3:30 minute version that was presented in “EMA 2021“. However, we’ve heard so many good reactions even when we were recording with this great group of singers (that even were backing singers of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys). The extended version is included in Ana’s new EP. The positive reaction came from Eurovision fans as well.” (Žiga Pirnat one of the composers of the song)

7. How do you feel after the 2nd rehearsal?

I feel thrilled, I have never watched it. It was just my team and colleagues that gave me good feedback. Everything is already there. I just have to deliver it”

8. Can you tell us about your hometown Bohinj?

For me, it is the most beautiful place in the world. The first 3 letters (“boh”) mean god in the Slovenian language. There is a legend that says that God gave us the most beautiful place in the world. Each time tourists come here they fall in love with the beauty of Bohinj

9. What experience did touring bring into your life?

“My experience is that you have to do your job well. There are so many people involved in a particular project. Over the years, ouאside of Slovenia, I’ve learned that there are many people behind you that would like to take your place. So you have got to be professional”

10. Austria has the same song title as yours – “Amen“. Do you see it as an advantage or a disadvantage?

I believe it is a good thing. Austria has an extraordinary song performed by talented Vincent Bueno

11. Have you heard songs from Eurovision 2021? Which of them did you like?

I’ve heard Eurovision 2021 songs. My 2 favorites are Portugal and France.
As for Portugal, I believe they are the most genuine artists of the year, the singer is very soulful.

12. What is your favorite Eurovision song  (not from Slovenia)?

“In fact, I want to mention 4 songs:
Rona Nishliu – “Suus” (Albania, Eurovision 2012)
Jamala – “1944” (Ukraine, Eurovision 2016)
Salvador Sobral – “Amar Pelos Dois” (Portugal, Eurovision 2017)
Patricia Kaas – “Et S’il Fallait Le Faire” (France, Eurovision 2009)”

13. What are your favorite Eurovision songs From Slovenia?

“My 2 favorite Eurovision songs from Slovenia are:
Darja Švajger – “Prisluhni mi” (Eurovision 1995)
Nuša Derenda – “Energy” (Eurovision 2001)”

14. Have you received any advice from previous Eurovision artists?

“Yes, Darja Švajger always tells me to trust myself. Zala & Gašper were so nice with a warm message as well. I want to thank them”

15. How would you describe your music style?

I never fo that. There are so many genres. I always just let myself keep going, no matter the direction. Everything must follow the direction you would like to deliver and present. There are a lot of genres involved in my work: soul, gospel, jazz, and more.

16. Can you tell us about your relationship with gospel music?

Gospel in a genre that isn’t only about religion, but the relationship with God. God always shows us the right way. Sometimes, a door is shut down in front of us just to make it a little bit uncomfortable for us. However this is the right way to live – we should have challenges

17. What does the future hold for you?

I would hope for a lot of new stuff, exciting experiences and knowledge that I’d like to achieve

18. If you could pray for something in this moment, what would it be?

Health for my loved ones, friends, family, fans and everyone. This is the most important thing!

19. What’s your aim for Eurovision?

My goal for Eurovision is to stay down to earth and do the best I can. I want to be able to watch the performance after and be proud of the whole team (it isn’t only me here). I guess there will be a lot of stress, but also good energy alongside.

20. What’s your message to ESCBEAT readers and Eurovision fans in general?

Stay where you are, don’t move from the place you are if it doesn’t feel right. Stay healthy and well, do the things you love“.

ESCBEAT Team wish good luck to Ana Soklič and Slovenia in Eurovision 2021.
Slovenia will perform as the 2nd conutry in semi-final 1 on Tuesday.
If Slovenia qualifies, we will meet her at Saturday‘s show as well!

You can find all the relevant information on our Eurovision 2021 homepage:

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Doron Lahav is 30-year-old, who lives in Israel. Doron has been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and shows interest in singing and writing.

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