Interview | Thea Devy: Representing Serbia would mean the world to me!
Among the 24 Beovizija 2020 acts is the young talented singer-songwriter, Thea Devy, who was also shortlisted for the Austrian selection for Rotterdam. We had the honour of talking to her.
First of all congratulations on your participation in Beovizija, what are your first impressions?
Thank you! I just feel really happy and blessed. It's such an amazing opportunity, not just for me but also for the song itself. I'm really glad it gets a chance to be heard. In general, everything's working out perfectly so far. Of course, there's still a lot to be done but I am very excited for every step of the way.
So we know you are a Vienna-based singer-songwriter with Serbian origins, but can you tell us something more about your background?
My parents are both from a small city in Serbia called Kladovo. They moved to Vienna after high school and started studying at the University of Vienna. Right after I was born, they gave up their studies and moved back to Kladovo, this time with a baby on board. There I went to kindergarten and pre-school, but just before I turned five, we moved back to Vienna, because my dad had found a job. Our start wasn't easy, of course. Only my dad was allowed to work at that time and all of us faced a huge language barrier. We've come a long way, though, and I'm really grateful for all the opportunities that we were given. This is also why I consider both Austria and Serbia to be my home country.
You rose to fame in Austria with your songoon?s "Collide" and "Waiting For", and also recorded some covers. Can we expect an album soon?
Yes! We are currently working on my first EP, which is supposed to come out this year. For a couple of months, Eurovision has been our number one priority, but now we are back on track and multitasking. At the end of January, my team and I will be at a song-writing Camp in Scotland, writing and recording for said EP.
At the end of last year, you were one of the top 3 Austrian hopes for Rotterdam. Could you tell us more about that experience?
It really was an exciting and new experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed. All of it felt totally surreal, though, mainly because it was such an unexplored territory for me. I got to meet some great people and have interesting conversations. In these months I also loved working and recording in the studio with my team, perfecting the song after each feedback we've received and just purely enjoying what we do for a living.
How do you compare the Austrian and Serbian selection process with each other? Are there are any similarities or differences?
Well, the main difference would definitely be the way the representative is chosen. In Austria the decision is made internally by the ORF and a jury, whereas in Serbia there is the Beovizija, where both the general public and the jury choose the winner. Both experiences are so inherently different and unique and therefore can hardly be compared.
Can you tell us something more about your song "Sudnji dan”? What we can expect from you at Beovizija?
The message of the song is very important to my team and me. It’s a powerful and strong song with a currently relevant topic that concerns and affects every human being on the planet. We genuinely hope to get that message across the way we've imagined.
What does Eurovision mean to you?
Once a year my friends and family, who are all big fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, gather in front of the TV to watch the event. It has become an in stone set tradition for us. As a kid, I've always cherished these moments we got to share with each other. Now, as an adult, I've realized that we share these moments with all of Europe, really. For me, Eurovision means that we all get together, millions and millions of people, putting our differences aside and celebrating uniqueness. It truly is magical and I am very privileged that I got to be a small part of the Eurovision community. Since all of this started I also got to see how kind and loving Eurovision fans are and that is exactly what Eurovision is supposed to represent.
What would it mean for you to represent Serbia on such a huge stage?
It would mean the world. It has been my dream for such a long time and I can't even begin to imagine how I would feel. The first Eurovision I've ever watched was the year Marija Serifovic won. I was seven years old then and I remember saying that one day I would be standing on that very same stage, representing my home and my people. It truly would be a great honour.
Who are your musical influences?
Growing up, my parents introduced me to all kinds of genres. I have a deep appreciation for Rock, R'n'B and Soul. I don't think that I am influenced by a specific style or genre of music, though. I listen to all kinds of artists and bands and I am influenced by everything that I like to listen to.
You also do humanitarian work, could you tell us more about it?
I've been donating my hair to a non-profit organisation called 'Verrein Haarfee', which makes wigs for children, who have lost their hair as a result of some form of sickness. I stay away from dying my hair, so that I can donate again in the future. Currently I'm growing it out and plan on donating again some time this year.
Other than that I am a blood donor as well and my parents and I love donating to different causes, as much as it is in our possibility to do so, such as animal shelters or an organisation for disabled artists. I hope that in the future I'll be able to organise benefit concerts for organisations that are near to my heart.
Can we expect more songs from you in Serbian in the future?
Generally, I write and sing exclusively in English. But if there's one thing I've learned from this whole experience is that anything is possible and maybe, in the future, we'll even do a song or two in Serbian or German. Who knows? I sure am up for anything.
What your plans for the near future?
Currently we are working on the performance for Beovizija and the songs for my upcoming EP. I'm trying to balance my studies, as well, although to be honest, my priority lies with music. Other than that I am keeping an open mind and am ready for anything that will happen. It sure seems to be an exciting experience so far and I can't wait to see what the future holds. I guess you're just going to have to stay tuned. :)
Thank you Thea for taking the time to talk to us. Team Eurovoxx wish all the best to you!