KULTURA CULTURE 34 | Muzika » Music I NT E RV I EW J E L ENA ROZGA , S I NGE R My plane iswoven frommusic, song and dance That aircraft would be made entirely from musical notes. I know that sounds utopian and like a child's dream, but it’s sometimes good to be a child again. And to think cleanly and honestly. And to fantasise endlessly... T hrough her career as the lead singer of Croatian pop group Magazin and a successful solo artist, Jelena Rozga (44) has amassed 25 years of musical experience. Fans dub her the “gentle melodious angel”, but when required she’s also courageous, strong and tenacious in pursuing her creative goals, of which the sky’s the limit. And in 2022 her goal will be to use her performances to celebrate the way she has successfully persevered in the orbit of celebrities. What are your professional plans for 2021? “Considering that the pandemic has abated a little, after more than a year we have the good fortune of being able to return to “normal”. Concerts have started, work is progressing full steam ahead. Since last month, I’ve been heading from city to city with my suitcases. And regardless of how gruelling that may be, I’m not complaining for an instant. I’ve finally returned to my roots, my audience, my music. ere are performances everywhere, from Vardar to Triglav, as they would say, and I’m extremely happy about that.” What did the pandemic change in your life? “Being separated from the people you love, the inability to hug and kiss your nearest and dearest, and the lack of contact with the audience and concerts, all came unexpectedly. I live for moments on stage and there were none of them for the first time in my career. I found that very hard to take, but I tried to organise concerts from home via Instagram. And it was a wonderful feeling when I felt incredible energy and saw how much that was needed by all of us. ere was a lot of contemplation, as well as ups and downs, but the most important thing was just for us to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, and everything will be fine. In the end, that's the only thing we must choose.” Did you find inspiration for new songs? “In the beginning, probably like everyone else, I believed that the pandemic wouldn’t last so long; that life would return to normal quickly. But as I saw how it gained momentum, I had no choice but to create new projects that would only see the light of day when all this ends. I’m finalising my acoustic album, which will feature songs from the time when I was singing in the group Magazin, as well as older hits. I'm really overjoyed by that album, but also the new songs I'm preparing. I’m focused on music always and in every situation; new, wonderful ideas were born and I can hardly wait to share them with the audience.” It’s always difficult for singers to choose their favourite songs. Do you have ones that you sing with a particular sense of joy? “ ere are several songs that I’m slightly more attached to than others. I would single out "Ginem" [I’m Dying], which was written by the Huljić married couple, and "Moje proleće" [My Spring], authored by my dear colleague Emina Jahović.” You actually wanted to become a ballerina? “I practised ballet for almost 11 years and it taught me a lot. I danced classical ballet, and that means rigour, work, discipline. Ballet was my great and first love; it taught me a lot and left major traces in my mind and body. But music fills my heart and body with a fire and energy that are difficult to put into words.” What are your first associations with Split, your childhood, parents? “To me, Split is the most beautiful city in the world. at’s my home, that’s where I’m myself. I don't think I could live in any other city.” What are the pros and cons of popularity? “It has brought me many wonderful moments. But it has a special value for me, not in the fact that someone will recognise me on the street, but in the moments when I hear someone singing my song while I’m passing by. Or at a concert when I see hundreds of people in unison singing something I sang at home, before the song entered the aether. My existence on stage has nothing to do with the number of appearances I make in newspapers or on small screens, or how many times I’ll be stopped on the street, but rather with my performances and every soul that attended and sang together with me.” How do you feel in your forties? “I feel great, but, like every woman, I’ve passed through certain insecurities and turmoil during my life, including in terms of physical appearance, while I’ve also been plagued by some internal issues. But somehow everything falls into the right place and at this age I see lots of things that I was unable to see before. I don't know if I lacked wisdom or experience, but I do know that I now approach life, problems and troubles much more maturely. However, nor do I take happiness so lightly anymore either. ere are many things that I learnt to appreciate more, and in a way the pandemic reminded me of that.” Where would you gladly travel to? “Athens. at’s a city I always gladly return to, and I actually often fly there with Air Serbia.”