MEET Maraaya, representing SLOVENIA would like to thank Maraaya and Maša Kljun at RTVSLO for this interview and photographs (Interview by Douwe Reveler)

Published on by Gary Speirs

Photo Credits: 1- Jani Ugrin, 2/3 - Ziga Culiberg


Photo - Jani Ugrin



Slovenia will be represented in the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna by the duo Maraaya after they won the EMA 2015 in February. We caught up with Marjetka and Aleš  (Raay) and spoke with them about their careers so far, the song 'Here For You' and what it means to them, and how they manage to combine a busy family life with successful careers.
* Maraaya, many congratulations on becoming the 21st representatives of Slovenia in the Eurovision Song Contest. Can you tell us what you have been doing since winning the ticket to Austria?

 We are lacking sleep terribly, (laugh), we performed a lot, we were preparing a lot of promotional things for Vienna. Slovenia has a special surprise for all the fans in Vienna. We worked a lot on the psychical preparation, what we want to achieve on stage.

* You competed in the
EMA 2015 against 7 other artists and songs. Of the other songs which one did you enjoy the most ?

Most interesting son for us it was the song of Rudi Bučar, because it was very different and the song from Tim Kores. 

* Before we look in more detail at your Eurovision song can you tell us more about yourselves?


We are very positive and hardworking people. We are close to our astrological description, we are both cancers.

* Where were you born and are you still living there?

Marjetka: I was born in Trbovlje, but I never lived there, I lived in Celje. Now we live with our family near Ljubljana.

Raay: I come from Gorenjska, more specifically from Jesenice, but from the age of 15 I live in or around Ljubljana.

* When did you start singing and composing (individually) and when was the duo formed?

We both started as young children. We both started as singers. We are working together for ten years now.

* Have you had a musical education?

Marjetka: We both went to the musical academy, so I am a professor of music.

Raay: I left the academy just before ending, because my producing career started at the same time and I lacked the time, but I was never sorry for making that decision.

* Do you come from musical families and if so can you tell us more about them?

Raay: Marjetka not, but I do. My mum teaches musical education in primary school, my father runs his own musical school, my aunt is recognized professor of flute…

* Tell us about the name Maraaya. Whose idea was it?

It is a combination of our names. The idea came from our creative team and us.

* Who are your main musical influences?

Raay: like a producer I always follow the trends and I try to guess what is coming. I am always looking for a different kind of sound.

Marjetka: Right now I am listening to Ella Henderson and Elie Goulding and many more. 

* What have been the highlights of your career(s) so far?

Probably the success in
EMA and that we published a song in Italy that was in the top ten in selling charts, and the fact that we have a successful school for young singers, with which we did a special cover of Here for you and for that song we just filmed a video with them in Vienna. Then our Ula Ložar is a great singer and she was great at Junior Eurovision. Also the whole path we walked, how we transformed our musical style from where we started with hard work and dedication.

Photo - Ziga Culiberg

* The song you will take to Vienna is called 'Here For You'. Can you tell us more about the song?

Marjetka: The song is about friendship, I believe people can relate to the song. It holds a message about a true friendship, when you can count on somebody, when you are down, when everything is falling apart, that you know, that somebody is there for you. That gives people hope. It is nice to know that somebody can count on you and that you can count on somebody.

* Was it written specifically with the
EMA and ultimately the ESC in mind?

Marjetka: No. When we were planning to release our second single, that was the spring of 2015, we realized that it is in the same time than
EMA is. EMA is one of the biggest and most respected festivals in Slovenia, so that was a good opportunity for promotion in Slovenia.

* Slovenia has not had the best results in the contest so far. What is it about 'Here For You' that you hope will inspire people from Oslo to Madrid and from Dublin to Jerusalem to vote for it?

Hopefully the emotions that we are trying to share and the very strong message the song holds.

Song is a bit out of the box and we hope for a positive surprise.

* Can you tell us more about the performance of the song ? You had an air violinist on stage with you during
EMA 2015. Will she also be with you in Vienna?

Everything is going to be similar. We want to keep the intimacy from our performance in
EMA , we are keeping the air violinist, and the dress is going to be white. We going to work with cameras and lighting a bit more.

* Will there be any significant changes to how the song will be staged?

The lighting and cameras, and there will be some changes with the air violinist.

* Raay, you have some Eurovision experience from last year in Copenhagen. Can you tell us about that and how that will help you to prepare for this years contest ?

Last year’s experiences are really important. At the opening you have to be very cautious to get the good food, (laugh) so others don’t get it before you.

* Marjetka, were you also in Copenhagen ?


* Possibly the question that you get asked the most but can you tell us about the headphones and have you already chosen the ones for Vienna ?

Yes, we already chose a pair, it is going to be a bit different model of Sennheiser headphones.

* Before going on stage, do you perform any ritual ?

Marjetka: Yes, I have a ritual, I go through all the emotions that I want to feel on stage and the message I want to share with people.

* 'Here For You' has been co-written by Charlie Mason (who composed and wrote last years winning song 'Rise Like a Phoenix' for Conchita). Can you tell us how Charlie came to be involved in this project ?

We work with Charlie for several years now, he also wrote the lyrics for our first single in Maraaya project; Lovin’ Me. For his sake we hope he wins again (laugh)


Photo - Ziga Culiberg

* What did you think and feel when you saw Conchita performing 'Rise Like a Phoenix' last year?

She had a great performance. It is a bit like a Bond song, which is great. She had a great message; she had a package as you say. Our best song from last year were the Netherlands.

* What in your opinion is the recipe for a winning song ?

Have great song and be yourselves. 

* Is the Eurovision a contest you have followed closely over the years ?

We watch it every year it is a tradition. Usually Marjetka bets on the wrong one, I usually bet on the right ones.

* Can you name one song that has represented Slovenia that you like the most ?

Tinkara Kovač, because I wrote the song for her and it has a special emotional value for me.

* Have you received any advice from previous participants of Slovenia and if so what did they tell you ?

Yes, they all said just to enjoy and to get lost in the moment.

* Do you have a favourite winning song from the contest ?

Satellite and Euphoria.

* You are parents of 2 sons. Can you tell us how you manage to combine family life with your careers ?


Marjetka: First rule with us is, that we never compensate out time spent with our children. They inspire us on our way and only time spent with our children gives us the right amount of inspiration and strength to do what we do.


* What was their reaction to your victory in the EMA and do they like the song ? Will they be with you in Austria?


They both start dancing when they hear the song, they are to young to know what that means. For the first five days they are going to be with us.


* This years contest will be held in Vienna. Do you know the city or will this be your first visit ?


We have been there couple of times, it is a great city. If we could pick a city where you want to perform on Eurovision, Vienna sound great! J 


* What are you most looking forward to and what do you hope to gain from participating in the contest ?


We can’t wait to meet everyone and to taste some great food at the opening. (laugh)


* Let us look beyond the contest in May. What are your immediate plans?


To get some sleep and then to promote Maraaya further.

* If you could choose another career what would it be and why ?

Marjetka: I would be psychoanalyst.

Raay: I would probably be an actor.

* When you are not performing do you have time for hobbies and if so, what do you enjoy doing ?

We love the nature, we go there to relax, we love to watch tv series, when we can, which is not often. We like to go out for romantic dinners, which also does not happen often, because the lack of time.

* Now is the time for you to be tourism ambassadors for your country. Can you tell us what makes Slovenia such a special place to live and name three places or things people visiting must see while they are there ?

Slovenia is a great country, a small one, but contains everything, the mountains, the sea, hills and valleys. It is just a small gem. People are friendly and welcoming; the food is great and still pristine. Probably the main quality of Slovenia is, that is still pristine and intact. Of course Lake Bled and Postojna caves are very special an unike, but there is so much more…

* What is your favourite Slovenian food ?


Prekmurska gibanica (traditional dessert from Prekmurje region), štruklji (unique Slovenian side dish), Potica (typical and unique dessert).

* Do you have a message for the readers of this interview ?


Enjoy your way!


Maraaya, every success with your preparations for Vienna and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us!