I had a dream…
I was born on November 12nd, 1982. in Čapljina, and I grew up in small place Trebižat. Overthere I had a most beatuiful childhood with my four sister and many friends. From the time I was a little girle I always wanted to be a singer. Otkad znam za sebe željela sam biti pjevačica. Dane sam provodila pred ogledalom, sa četkom za kosu umjesto mikrofona – pjevala sam satima. Kada sam imala deset godina tata nam je kupio prvu glazbenu liniju sa cd changerom, a ja sam izabrala svoje prve cde! Bili su to MTV Hits, Tina Turner i Celine Dion – ti cdi su bome odradili svoje! Mogu slobodno reći da sam učila pjevati od Tine i Celine, jer ni u jednu drugu glazbenu školu nisam išla! Bila sam pomalo stidljiva kao dijete, no kako se moj glas se razvijao i samopouzdanje je raslo.
I was Hannah Montana!
I used to sing at children’s festivals and I danced in the folklore ansamble for years. At 13 I sang in a rock band and at 14 and 15 I had regular gigs, singing at various fiestas, weddings and summer teraces in hotels. I appeared at verious amateur festivals until it was time for a bit more professional festivals such as Melodije Mostara (the Mostar Melodies). At the time, only well known artists had regular appearances at the festival, leaving only a few openings for us unknowns. In 1999 I sang a duet at the festival with my friend Nelo. The song was „Daj da vratim se“ (Please let me come back) which we coauthored. We received the best new artist award.
The following year we sang „Ključ sjećanja“ (The Key of Remembrance) by Jasminko Šetka. In 2001 I did a solo perfromance with the song „Ako ga sretneš“ (If you happen to meet him) which I wrote myself.
Leaving for Zagreb
Upon finishing high school I moved to Zagreb and started university. It was hard saying good-bye to my friends, loves, the city and the Neretva river. I said it was only for a short while, that there was no way I’d stay in Zagreb forever. I enrolled at the Faculty of Science, but soon I was drawn in a different direction. I enrolled in the Calllegari Institute, a private Italian school for fashion and design. Today I hold a degree in fashion styling with marketing. Fashion has always been my second love. All my Barbie dolls used to wear dresses I made for them. My mum’s sewing machine was often in the repair shop because of me. I felt I was on the right track but I still fantasised about performing with a band. One day I accidentally got hold of The Classifieds and opened a page with the listings for bands looking for a singer… I called a couple of numbers, met with some fishy guys and finally met a normal one. Not only did he get me a place in his band, he loved my voice as well! This made me feel really good about myself so I put more and more effort into singing and enjoyed singing even more. I named the band Orange Groove.
We travelled a lot and there were many gigs and concerts from those held in rockers’ hounds to fancy restaurants! The band had progressed, but my appetite kept growing. Word got round to me about auditions being held for a new reality show called Croatian Idol and I was interested in it. Still I kept thinking I didn’t want to be called an instant star and I thought I didn’t stand a chance… But it felt natural and with a little bit of persuading by my family and friends, I got the courage to audition. Step by step and I made it to the finals and did a couple of shows showered with praise and constructive criticism by the judges (Ivanka Boljkovac, Nikša Bratoš, Đorđe Novković and Miroslav Škoro). However, in one of the shows, there just wasn’t enough votes to for through. The same evening I found out I’d been voted off the show Mr. Novković approached me with the idea of Pamela, Neda, Žanamari (the other three finalist) and myself starting a girl band. I laughed at the thought thunking: No way, I’m a rocker! But a month and a half after Žanamari won the Croatian Idol, Neda, Pamela and myself became Feminnem, recording our first single Volim te, mrzim te (I love you, I hate you)… The rest, as they say, is history!
We started off on our journey together in 2004. I was only 21! We recorded singles one after another and they were well received with the audience. The beginning of our career was exciting. Everything was new, unusual, but also tiring and sometimes downright frustrating. The following year we received a surprise invitation from Mr Andrej Babić to perform his song Call me at the Bosnian-Herzegovian contest for the Eurovision competition. To our own surprise and the surprise of others, we won! We worked very hard because it was a huge thing for us. It was a beautiful time, despite the bad moments. Soon we had our first album out called the Feminnem show. This was also the title of the entertainment show we hosted every Friday night for some time on the national television of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, together with experience and success, a lot of disappointment was gathering. It was only a matter of time before one of us would break and announce she couldn’t do it any more. It was me. Whether I was the weakest or the bravest, it’s for others to decide for themselves. There were things happening in my private life as well which further drained me but also taught me a valuable lesson: you only live once and even God won’t help you unless you help yourself first. I have no regrets, remembering only the good times, and I’m moving on to new victories! In the meantime I had met the love of my life, the man I still adore even after five years and with whom I share the most beautiful thing that can happen to a person – a child.
Immediately after New Year’s in 2008 when I announce to the girls I was leaving the band, I was invited by Nova TV to take part in a reality show called the Farm. It seemed like a good idea and a good moment to introduce myself to the audience at the start of my solo career. This was me, Ivana Marić. Well that proved to be a hardship! I spent a whole of 13 weeks living without electricity or running water with strangers with whom it was particularly hard at times. But the hardest thing of all was being without any contact with or news about my loved ones for three months. I didn’t win but people liked me for who I was. The real me in hardest of living conditions. I am proud of myself because of that, for putting up with it all, getting to the finals and coming out of it stronger than ever!
In autumn 2008 my first single Tebe voljeti (Loving you) came out. It was written by a young promising author Aleksandra Milutinović. The song got under my skin from day one and I knew our co-operation would not end there. The song was very well received by the audience, music editors and the critics! Some doors started opening to me and this showed me that I was on the right track. I loved the song and was very proud of it. The video for this song is my favorite, filmed at the Komedija Theatre and directed by Dario Godič. In spring 2009 I performed at the 14th Croatian Radio Festival and the number was a faster one, and a more energetic song Ne prilazi (Don’t come near me), again written by A. Milutinović. The video for it was directed by Dario Drinovac. The filming of it will be forever etched into my memory because of working with stylist Ivana Cindrić Matijević who dressed my up in the amazing designs by Renata Svetić. At the Festival I wore a dress by the fashion madman Zoran Argović, creator of the ByteMyStyle brand. Soon after I became preganant and had to slow down for a while. I had a baby girl called Vita Marija who makes my every day more beautiful and bright. She was a really good little baby so we made my next single when she was only six months old, in the summer of 2010. The song Trn i cvijet (tThe Thorn and the Flower) was written by Aleksandra Milutinović of course, and the video directed by Jure Pavlović. The video for it is very cool as it was done in one frame, which makes it sound easy but is a lot more difficult than filimg a classic edited video. We filmed it in my bedroom and Vita was with us the entire time. A few months later, in autumn 2010 I recorded a song special to me which was written for me as a gift by Mr. Arsen Dedić. Through it I showed a different side of myself, thus the video was a bit different. I wanted to go back 100 years to show what I would look like had I lived then…