Eurovision.tv : Rebeka, from reading your profile it seems you have a background not only within music, but also in modelling and beauty contests. Can you tell us a bit more about your background and at what stage you made the change to become a professional singer?
Rebeka : "Actually I did start my career as a model, but that was back in the years when I was too young to start any other career seriously. I entered a beauty contest only once, with the intention of getting some recognition, and to make some contacts to broaden my performing options within show business. I still have a variety of interestes such as acting, theatre, anchoring and hosting events, desinging underwear. The desire to sing was always there, and in fact I actually started singing in my first press conference after winning the Miss Slovenia beauty contest, mainly because I felt so nervous, and therefore speechless, and it seemed like a good ice breaker at the time!. But as it turned out, it did help to launch my singing career."
Eurovision.tv : 2008 is not the first time you have entered the EMA festival for the Eurovision Song Contest, how did your prior experiences at the EMA festival help your career? Did these help launch your profile and help you become established as a solo artist within Slovenia?
Rebeka : "Except for the first time, when I really (secretly) hoped for a good result, the other times I entered the EMA festival were really to perform my song and to get the attention, and promotion that no other festival in Slovenia gives. This always seemed to work, as my songs were well received by the audience, and even became hits despite the final results. My aim for 2008 was also to raise the profile of the song, and I won!. I'd like to think that EMA didn't establish my career, but it definitely brought the attention to my work and my songs."
Eurovision.tv : During the 2008 EMA festival which you went on to win, the voting between your song and the ultimate runner up Skupina Langa was very close indeed. What was the atmosphere like backstage? Were you always confident that you would win, or were there a little nerves?
Rebeka : " I honestly didn't go to EMA to win, and I was very surprised even when I qualified from the Semi-Finals, and was pleased with that result, so didn't hope for much more. The atmosphere backstage was very good, but inexplicably hot!."
Eurovision.tv : Your song Vrag Naj Vzame was performed in the Slovenian language during your EMA victory. In which language do you intend to perform the song in Belgrade? Have you recorded an English version yet and if so what is the title?
Rebeka : "The original plan was to sing the song in the Slovenian language, then I had some doubts and thought about maybe performing in Serbian language, which is similar to Slovenian and Croatian, and would mean some kind of appreciation to the hosting country. But i have to qualify to the Final first of all of course. I have recorded an English version called Heavy Weather. In the end, when we submitted the video we decided the Slovenian version would sound best."
Eurovision.tv : Slovenia last year, with Alenka Gotar made history by being the first Slovenian artist to qualify from the Semi Finals of the Eurovision Song
Contest. Does this put additional pressure on you to do the same with the Slovenian public? What are both your and the Slovenian public's expectations
for the participation in Belgrade?
Rebeka : "I don't feel any additional pressure because of Alenka's success. We are dear friends. I would like to qualify to the Final for other reasons. My expectations are to perform twice on the arena's stage, and have a good time in between. As for the Slovenian public's expectation, I don't really think so much about that, because they know I will be doing and trying my best."
Eurovision.tv : Finally Rebeka, do you have any interim plans between now and the Eurovision Song Contest to promote your song outside of Slovenia?
Rebeka : "I've already visited Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia, and am planning to go to FYR Macedonia and Russia, so my head is slightly spinning and I still have more than a month to go!"
Rebeka Dremelj will perform in the First Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday May 20th in Belgrade.
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Rebeka for her time, and also to thank Aleksander Radic of Slovenian Television for his assistance in arranging the interview.