Marija Šestić: I always knew that I would make music my profession

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Marija Šestić FOTO: VELIJA HASABEGOVIĆ

When mentioning the name of Marija Šestić, most people first thought about her representation of Bosnia and Herzegovina at Eurovision 11 years ago in the Finnish city of Helsinki. Nevertheless, Marija sings jazz and sevdah today. Beautiful girl from Banja Luka says she loves live performances and has several bands she works with.

– In Banja Luka, we often perform as a trio, and I am often with the Sarajevo Jazz Guerilla band in the BH capital. A trip to sevdah happened accidentally, when presenting a song for Eurovision. The organizers suggested that I sing one sevdalinka with Damir Imamović and his Trio. After that, performances with stars of the sevdah around the region started. There were also suggestions for recording an album, but this did not happen. I am very sorry that the project with Amar Česljar and his DrAmmar Project band was not recorded because we had a very successful performance at the Sarajevo Sevdah Festival. This can be found on the Internet and it has a large number of views – says Marija.

Performance at Eurovision

Singing, or music, has always been present in her family. Her father is a musician, so Marija and her sister began to perform at children’s festivals very early.

– I remember my first performance, it was at Đurđevdanski Festival in 1995. I performed with my sister and dad told us that it is important to participate and that we do not hope for a prize. However, we got chocolates and this was an excellent reward at that moment – says this beautiful girl from Banja Luka.

Through laughter she continues to tell how their father asked them what they will play when they go to the music school, and not whether they want it at all.

– We were oriented towards music, as a little girl I constantly sang, I loved to be on the scene. I never imagined myself in another profession. It has been, kind of, always part of me. I enrolled in the music school, the direction of the piano and determined to be a pianist – she says.

Before she enrolled in the Academy, Marija represented Bosnia and Herzegovina at Eurovision with the song “Rijeka bez imena”.

– I performed as an extremely young singer at Eurovision, and only later I realized the stress I was exposed to. At that moment, I did not think much, but no matter how useful the performance was, it is a great responsibility. The voice is quite abstract and you never know what can happen when performing – she says.

She says that after Eurovision she recorded several songs that were intended for her album, but they never saw the light of the day.

– I recorded an album of children’s songs and somehow stopped there. I like to perform, but all this is unpredictable, so maybe one day I decide to do something more serious on this plan. Nevertheless, I am currently trying to enjoy music every day, without any ambitions – she says.

Collaboration with stars

She collaborated with numerous famous stars of the regional scene, among them Dado Topić, with whom she was at the Eurovision in the same year.

– I worked very closely with the Balkanika Band with whom I went to the Expo Fair in Shanghai. There is also cooperation with Jacques Houdek, Vladimir Marash, to whom she has sung three sevdah songs for his album – says Šestić.

She points out those significant performances, one at the Expo Fair in Shanghai, and then in Dubai, which has a special charm. She says that every performance has a special place in her heart. Although singing is a great love for her, she is now more pianist than a singer is.

-I am employed at the Academy of Arts of the Banja Luka University as a piano associate, so I play many instruments; primarily violins, viola, and recently I work with solo singers. There is a lot of work related to music that requires a lot of effort – emphasizes Šestić.