Eurovision.tv: Firstly congratulations on your excellent victory in the Dora Festival. We understand that you are both students currently, but have been involved with music from a very early age? Could you both please tell us a little more about your backgrounds and what work you have done to date on the Croatian music scene?
Igor: "Thank you very much. Yes, I started performing as a young boy in Croatian music festivals for children, school competitions and children theatre rolls. Also I finished primary music school for the flute. After secondary school I performed as a one man band. In 2007 I was a debutant in the very famous Split Festival in Croatia. Also I attended some reality TV shows in Croatia, last year was my most successful experience on a show called Operacija Trijumf where I met my mananger and composer Tonči Huljić who wrote our song for Dora Festival 2009."
Andrea: "I have also competed since I was a child. It became more serious when I was 17 years old, it was my first time at the Croatian Dora Festival in 2004. To my surprise I finished in second place with the song Noah and almost went to the Eurovision Song Contest. From there I also performed like Igor at the Split Festival in Croatia and I won first place for the novices. I entered in 2005 again at the Dora Festival, and this time finished in fourth place. As you know the third time at Dora in 2009 I won with Igor. I really love to perform, I love to sing, but as for competitions I really don't like the concept that much. The points and rankings create some additional pressure for the singers, and I love to sing relaxed, giving myself entirely into a song without thinking about how much my performance is worth in points!"
Eurovision.tv: Your profiles tell us that you are both from the Croatian city of Split. Have you been friends for a long time? Or were you only working together in respect of the Dora selection?
Igor: "I remember Andrea from her previous performance in 2004 in the Dora Festival where she had great performance and she almost won the competition, but I did not meet her in person."
Andrea: "The composer Tonči Huljić invited me to perform with Igor in the 2009 Dora Festival, this was the first time we worked together and it has turned out to be great!"
Eurovision.tv: Igor, your recent background includes a victory in the Operacija Trijumf show. Can you tell us a bit more about the format of the show and how it worked? How many people were you competing against to win the title? Was this the platform that launched your career?
Igor: "This was the show as I said where I had my major success. I was competing with twenty other contestants, and the show involved living in a Big Brother style house where we performed live every week. We sang with professionals and that's where I first met the composer Tonči Huljić and how the work for Dora 2009 began."
Eurovision.tv: The author of your entry Ljepa Tena, Tonči Huljić is no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest, having composed entries for the former Yugoslavia and Croatia in the past. How did you both come to work with Tonči? Is this the first project you have worked together with him on? Has he already given you any advice about what to expect from the Contest experience?
Igor: "This is my first song composed by Tonči Huljić and Ms. Vjekoslava Huljić who wrote the lyrics, and since the begining of our cooperation all I have experienced are very positive things. Mr. Tonči was several times in the Eurovision Song Contest, so he has many advices often which I appreciate very much."
Andrea : "I have worked before with Tonči Huljić and Ms. Vjekoslava Huljić as they were responsible for my songs in the Dora 2004 and 2005 competitions when as I mentioned I finished in Second and Fourth place respectively."
Eurovision.tv: The last time Croatia finished in the top 10 at the Eurovision Song Contest was in 2001, with Strings of My Heart by Vanna, which was also composed by the same team. You have to now compete in a Semi-Final first of all in Moscow. Do you feel that your song and performance can bring Croatia once again in to the top 10 of the final at the contest? What will you be bringing to Moscow to try and improve the recent run of results?
Igor : "I think Ljepa Tena has enough potential to be well accepted, and has the potential with European audiences and I hope that we will get in to the Final first and foremost."
Andrea: "I agree and I can also add that we will be planning quite many changes to the stage performance, so I think this will help to improve the chances in Moscow too. We can't say too much right now though, it has to remain a surprise."
Eurovision.tv: Finally, can you both share with us how you intend to spend the remaining three weeks or so before you arrive in Moscow? Are there any plans to promote the song within or outside of Croatia?
Igor: "The stage presentation in Moscow as Andrea said will be much different then on Croatian national contest but that’s all we can say. During the remaining weeks we are planing to finalise our preparations for Moscow and to promote our song in many countries!"
Igor and Andrea will represent Croatia in the Second Semi Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow on Thursday 14th May. Eurovision.tv would like to thank them for the interview and wish Croatia good luck in Moscow. Watch Igor & Andrea's official video of Ljepa Tena.