ISSN 1759-2836 (online)
Pop Princess of Dreams
by Biljana Krstović
I am about to interview Ana Stanić, one of Serbia’s best selling female artists. She is one of the (relatively) rare new faces which did not spring up out of the post-pop and post-rock YU era, in which “new folk” and “new surrealism” rules in music. She is fresh, with distinct jazz influences but without being too jazzy to put off her younger fans. Her beauty is of the classy type and she works out. She is cool, sexy and her videos are “most wanted” on MTV Adria. She has won numerous awards and her music is selling fast. The tabloids cannot get enough of her. She appears to have all the makings of a true star.
I am looking forward to the chat. And then……Ana is not available to talk to me. During a short telephone call she explains how she only just got up (it is past noon, am I getting old or is this not an “early interview”?) and that she was not “feeling ready” (is that what we call it these days?) to talk to me as yet. She was out until late last night and could she talk later…? I negotiate to call again after an hour and a half and hope for the best.
Well, I am hoping for the best but after the false start I am expecting a diva. With an attitude to match. Well I was quite wrong…
Britić: How are you?
(I try to do the decent thing and acknowledge her hangover as valid musical expression...)
She explains she had a concert two nights ago and after all the hard work decided to go out and relax with few friends last night.
To my surprise she sounds very sober, pleasant, intelligent and in a good mood.
Britić: How was the concert?
: Which are your favourite Belgrade nightspots?
Ana lists quite a few places: Absinth brasserie on Slavia with its phenomenal garden. It is close to her home and she knows the owners. Followed by Kalemegdan’s balcony, Pane a vino, the Rafts , Poletarac, Plastik….Ana likes places where she can hear other kinds of music, not only good old home-grown folk.
Britić: Are you satisfied with your fans’ reaction to your latest album?
Ana: More than satisfied! I have received so many lovely emails from my fans.
They also showed their huge appreciation for the new songs at my concerts.
Her video for “You are no longer mine” was most watched on MTV Adria. She also received an award for it on Beovizija. She explains further how she has changed her style on her last album and she was not sure how this would be received by her fans. It turns out her old fans loved it while she gained some new ones as a result of the change.
Britić: Which songs from your new album are you especially fond of and why?
Ana: “You are no longer mine” is very dear to me because it is cool without being pathetic. Without being soppy. It is autobiographical. Also the song “Cinema” featuring a jazz orchestra, which is a love song too but very soppy bordering on pathetic.
Ana, in her eloquent style, continues to explain the sound of “Cinema” as mixture of jazz, 70s and 60s.
Ana: I feel these songs show my musical maturity.
Britić: Did you write any of the songs on your new album?
Ana: Yes, I created most of the music. As for lyrics, I wrote only three songs from the album. I am no good at writing on a set theme; the ones I wrote are completely confessional.
Britić: Why is the album called “Collision”?
Ana: One track is called “Collision” and in my opinion this track is the greatest force in the album. It is not only the strongest song but also the biggest leap forward. The whole album sounds like a mix of jazz, hip hop and rock and roll. Also the word “collision” for me represents something unexpected like a bang, a cause for surprise.
Britić: Who do you listen at home?
Ana: Beyonce, Nelly Fartado and Pink. Also good old Aretha Franklin, Beth Gibbons, Californian bands, house music when I am out and also 80s.
Whose concert have you always wanted to go to but never have?
Ana: George Michael! (Ana didn’t need to think about this for long.) He is my childhood idol. I was so disappointed that I missed his concert not long ago in Greece. I know all his songs by heart. George Michael for me personally, but Beyonce and Madonna for professional reasons.
Britić: Madonna is coming soon to Belgrade.
Ana: Yes. I am planning to go to the concert.
Britić: Is there a dream which has not come true as yet?
Ana: I always dreamed of living the way I want. To be a professional musician and to fulfil my full potential. I also wanted to live by my own standards alone. To be surrounded by people who share those values. And to have laughter and inspiration in my life, which I find very important. Even when life gets side-tracked I always try to get back on course.
And part of this dream of course was a big love which I am lucky to have found already. In the future I would love to become a mother and to express myself in parenthood.
Britić: Tell us about the lucky guy who is your “big love”.
Ana : His name is Momčilo and we have been together for three years now. Everyone around here knows about us, it is all over the papers. You know how the press finds that sort of thing interesting. Momčilo is not in show business he is in a different professional setting.
Britić: What is hardest about your career?
Ana: Well, I am a woman in a man’s world for starters! Also, the market over here hardly pays for creativity and new ideas. There is a set routine in business and once you are in the machine you are expected not to do anything of your own. Some people just don’t appreciate it. People try to trip you over every now and then. Sometimes it is hard to keep my private life from the press. But I am aware of the values of the times I live in. Because am in love with music and I get lots of support from my “big love” and my fans it makes it all more bearable and I get through it every time.
Britić: Do you speak any foreign languages?
Ana: Yes, I am fluent in English and French but my German is not as good.
Britić: You took a four year pause between two albums. Why?
Ana: For four years I released only one single and even that was not all well known, although at concerts that song is very much loved. The truth is that I spent those four years very much in the music world in concerts and tours. I also completed a small TV project. I wanted to change direction completely. I need to be true to myself and follow my dreams. I felt I said all I had to say in a particular style in my past albums. I was inspired to create something completely new and different. That’s where the “Collision” came from.
Britić: Do you have any plans to come to the UK?
Ana: Not at present but I would accept the invite!
Britić: Would you change anything about yourself?
Ana: I would like to be a bit more diplomatic at times. I am prone to excessive worrying when it comes to little things. I would like to be able to recognise what is important and what isn’t, that would probably save me a lot of mental energy. I suppose we are all born with certain characteristics but we live and learn.
Britić: Is there anything you would change about others?
Ana: I would like more honesty between people, less aggressive behaviour and definitely more faith in dreams. It would be good if everyone followed their dream.
Britić: Tell us something surprising about you.
Ana: I love cooking. I am mostly this modern woman with modern trends in behaviour but when it comes to cooking I like to get my own ingredients from the farmers’ market and cook up something new. I create my own recepies. My favourite are Indian and Chinese food.
Britić: We are just starting up a “Steal a celebrity recepie” column. Would you let us “steal” one of yours?
Ana: Yeah, why not! (She is smiling now.)
Britić: Have you got a message for our readers?
Ana: Please follow and support Serbian art and culture. I hear often how there is nothing but folk music over here but this is not true. There are many music trends, you can look it up on YouTube. Please don’t just only follow but support our culture too. It means a lot to us. We need it.
Britić: Can we get your album in the UK?
Ana: I believe you can get it online from PGP (formerly RTS) or e-ducan.com.
After a little small talk we end our conversation. I am surprised an hour has passed.
I am turning to my cold coffee and my brief notes. I am thinking about Ana and the way she is very likable and surprisingly down to earth. I sincerely hope we will hear from her again and not just by means of a new interesting exotic recipe.