Lithuania: Monika Liu gives us all the feels with 'Sentimentai'01 May 2022 at 15:00 CEST
She is truly a lover of music in all forms, drawing inspiration from genres across the board.
I was studying classical music, jazz, and I’ve always been into electronica, the dance scene, hip-hop, experimental music, but my God of Music is Bobby McFerrin. But when I write my own music…I get inspired by myself! I just try to connect with those spirits and get into that flow-zone, and just write whatever comes to me…that’s my most precious thing.
Monika’s been on the musical scene in Lithuania since her appearance on Dainų dainelė in 2004. She’s proud of how she’s grown and evolved as a performer over the years, despite society’s pressure on artists to stay young at all costs.
The older I get, I’m more beautiful, and I’m writing more mature songs. Five years ago, I was writing a song about falafel, and now I’m singing about sentiments! I’m a sentimental person. In this crazy-fast world, we don’t have the moments to just stop and think about everything. You need to think about the past!
Not only is Monika an acclaimed performer in Lithuania, but she’s also served as a judge and mentor on talent shows like The Voice, The Masked Singer, and I Can See Your Voice. She really values the availability of programmes like these as an avenue for showcasing performers and immersing up-and-coming talent in an intense show-business crash-course.
Monika’s song, Sentimentai, is a dreamy, classy, slightly spooky disco-jazz number about the rise and fall of emotions at the end of a relationship. The song’s influences run deep, from references to film, traditional folktales, and even Lithuanian geography.
I’m singing about this longing you feel at night, when you can’t sleep and you’re drowning in your memories, and the spirit of the past comes and laughs at you. The chorus is this dreamy picture, like clouds of the sea and I’m singing as a million roses fall on me, like in American Beauty. In the second verse, I’m singing about this beautiful place we have in Lithuania called the Dunes of Nida. I’m standing in the middle and waving to seagulls, saying goodbye to a love that came to me like dark sea-foam. This comes from a Lithuanian fairytale.
Sentimentai is the first Eurovision entry to be performed entirely in Lithuanian since Lopšinė mylimai, the nation’s debut entry back in 1994 (although it should be noted that the 1999 entry, Strazdas, was in Samogitian). Even though Monika’s song contains not a single word in English, she feels floored by the response she’s gotten from fans new and old, crossing boundaries with her music.
We are such a small country, and we have this old, beautiful language, the oldest in Europe. I want Lithuanians to be proud of it! At the pre-party in Barcelona, I heard people singing with me, and I was like, 'yessssss!!' I wrote some Lithuanian song, and they like it? What?!
If you’re also picking up on the vibe that Monika’s laying down, be sure to watch Lithuania’s performance during the First Semi Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, on 10 May.