He was one of the first representative which has announced this year, he became a big favourite in Eurovision company when they announced that song will be composed by Zeljko Joksimovic. We made a special interview with the representative of Montenegro, Nenad Knežević Knez.

1. You started to feel the love for music since your early age, when you were performed on the festival “Naša Radost” (Our Joy) in Podgorica with only 6 years. Tell us, how do you feel when you remember of your beginnings? 

It was normal and logical that I’ll do music considering that my grandpa is one of the founders of Podgorica’s high musical school and Podgorica’s music academy, then my father was one of the most successful musicians in Montenegro, who founded first pop bands in the country and made big international career, they were guests all across the Europe and ex republics of then Soviet Union. Then I got an invitation from one dad’s colleague who wrote wonderful song with which I showed up on one festival as a 6 year old and won, what was beginning for everything what came later. I became a soloist of kids’ choir “Suncokrili”, and I had a lot of performances on all bigger kids’ festivals on Balkan later.

2. You showed an extraordinary talent for music already in a high school, when you wrote two huge hits which are very listened even today: “Da L’ Si Ikada Mene Voljela” (Did You Ever Love Me) and “Kao Magija” (Like A Magic). Were this songs change in your life, and did you realize then that music is one of your big loves and that you’ll surely do music? 

As a student of high school, I created my first band “Visoka Frekvencija” (High Frequency) and these two songs were created just in that period, and later they made path to more serious scene of our pop music for me. First I made a song “Da L’ Si Ikada Mene Voljela” (Did You Ever Love Me) for one prestigious music festival which was called MESAM, and which “gathered” the biggest name in Yugoslavia back then, and with that song I represented myself for the first time as new and serious performer, who’s slowly going on the path of music to the public. Next year I won the 2nd place with a song “Ti Si Kao Magija” (You’re Like A Magic) on the same festival, and I seriously imposed in the world of music because I won other music awards.

3. You released 8 albums so far and every one of  them was unique and brought you at least one big hit. Tell us, do you have some album which you especially love, you especially care about?

My third album “Automatik” (Automatic), because I think that I gave myself the most there, because I gained serious musical maturity and when we speak about arrangement, interpretation, everything in total. 

4. You also released the album: “The Magic Of Balkan.” Tell us, from how big significance this album was for you, and did your love to traditional music had the influence on you to release this album?

Yes, it was made only because of love to tradition and culture legacy. I was amazed with that culture since my early age, where I tried to pass these ethno motives through the music styles I love, like jazz and soul. Magic of Balkan is a product of these experiments of mine, which were my base.

5. How important for you is to make in your songs that unique rhythm of Balkan and emotion characteristic  just for these areas is heard?

It’s important for me because it’s ours. We have to be aware that if we want to offer something to the world, that product has to be our, it has to be what we know the best to do, and it’s our cultural legacy, our roots, it’s in out blood. We shouldn’t do some foreign styles- it doesn’t mean that we’ll be bad at it, just traditional note fits us better.

6. You were contestant of tv show “Tvoje Lice Zvuči Poznato” (Your Face Seems Familiar) and your talent for acting came to expression. How much it means to you that you were a part of one such human organization?

It means a lot to me, because I made a lot of charity concerts in my career, so it was  normal for me to take part in that action, and firstly I was able to be in “some other people’s skin”, and to try to express my acting talent to the bigger audience. Also, I could imitate in one perfect way some people who I privately love to listen and imitate a lot. I’m especially happy, because it helped me in the way of marketing, and it’s interesting thing that many of them saw me in totally other way, so I could show my real side with this, what I’m usually like, and what I’m like when I sing and act.

7. Are you in contact with all contestants of “Tvoje Lice Zvuči Poznato”?

Absolutely with everybody.

8. You were recently chosen as a representative of Montenegro on ESC. How much it means that you’ll “defend” the colours of your country on ESC to you, and were you under the pressure because you’ll be part of one so important musical spectacle?

It means a lot to me. I accepted it because it was my long time desire. Taking part on ESC was accomplishment of my dream, so I’ll try to give my best and justify expectations. The song will be composed by Željko Joksimović, so we have clear concept, song, performance, and we have a lot of things to offer to European audience.

9. As you know, Sergej Ćetković qualified with Montenegro for the first time in historical history of Montenegro. Did you speak with him, and if you did what he advised you?

Sergej is my friend, and of course we even spoke last year about his participation on ESC, and this years about mine. He tried to give me a piece of the atmosphere and different protocols and organization, but I have to live the base of it by myself in may. And I hope that I’ll pass to the final because the song deserves it.

10. What’s necessary to win the ESC in your opinion? Is it just a song, or and scene performance?

That all segments comes together, unusual, recognizable appearance, original performance, to the top concentration,and that adrenalin doesn’t over control you. I think that many things need to come together. And the song and scene performance and many other things.

11. How much it means that you’ll be a part of ESC family, and was participation on ESC one of your wishes?

It means a lot to me. It’s one big family who don’t know for differences and accept people and new music. I hope that you like my song Adio, and that I have your support.

Listen to his entry:

Photograph: Bojan Stanić

Thanks to Milica Fajgelj for contact.

Translation: Bojana Marković