Tonight Beyonce kicks off the Mrs. Carter World Tour at the Kombank Arena in Belgrade, Serbia. She hand picked a group of incredible artists to be the opening acts that will heat up the stage in anticipation of her performance. The Pepsi Pulse Opening Acts Series spotlights these amazingly talented global artists. As a whole, these interviews offer a premiere, inside view of the international music scene through the eyes of some of its biggest stars. Each featured artist gives a unique portrait of the triumphs, challenges and creative processes that made them the ideal opening acts for the Mrs. Carter tour, stamped with a seal of approval from Beyonce herself.
Franka Batelić is a name that has been echoing throughout her native country of Croatia since she began her music career in 2007. She has come out on top of almost every single endeavor she has undertaken as an artist, including winning The Croatian versions of American Idol and Dancing With The Stars. Her music is uplifting, energetic, and unlike anything else being created in the world right now. Franka is a multi-faceted artist who takes control of every aspect of her life and career with the confidence and skill of a true star. We sat down with Franka to discuss her career, her views on music, and on life that came together to make her the first opening act on the Mrs. Carter Tour debuting tonight.
Pepsi Pulse: In what ways has pop music changed in the last ten years? What do you see as being the next big changes in pop music in the next ten?
Franka Batelić: A lot of electronic sounds were incorporated into pop music recently. I love house, progressive and any electro genre in general, and I love the way you can easily mash it with pop melodies to achieve a sound with more edge to it. Because it seems like, musically, everything has already been seen and heard in some capacity, I think that in 5-to-10 years, the guitar and piano based, power pop ballads that marked the 90’ will come marching back! And I can’t wait!
PP: Tell us about the concept development process and preparation required behind your “Pred Svima,” video. What part was the most fun and what the most challenging?
FB: We had so much fun making the video! The people, the energy, the positive vibe and constant laughter–it was the ideal environment to make something good! We tell the story of a young couple at the peak of their relationship, celebrating their love. I guess the only hard part was to combine acting, singing and spending hours and hours outside in the ridiculously cold weather. Besides that, the making of “Pred svima” was a blast. I can easily say it was the most fun I ever had filming a video!
PP: Are there any artists you love that might surprise your fans?
FB: There are probably loads of artists I like that my fans don’t know about. For example, I am a big fan of World Music and artist like Youssou N’Dour, Susheela Raman, and Buena Vista Social Club. And then of course the Backstreet Boys, my guilty pleasure! When I lived in Boston studying at the Berklee College of Music, my roommate and I used to play “I want It That Way,” as loud as the speakers would go and sing our guts out to it.
PP: If you were doing one thing other than music what would it be?
FB: A world traveller! I would like to see every part of the globe.
PP: What has been your greatest challenge in getting to where you are today?
FB: Managing to make music and study for school at the same time. It was a very challenging thing mentally and physically, but I would do it again if I had to! I started at the age of 15, and have admit that it was very hard. I still found humor in the process and enjoyed myself despite the intensity.
PP: What’s your preparation ritual before you get ready to perform?
FB: When I’m nervous I talk a lot. So my preparation is to find someone who isn’t annoyed by the nonsense that comes out of my mouth before a show!
PP: How did your experience on Dancing with the Stars affect you? Did the dance training alter your performance methods and stage presence?
FB: It did. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I learned to feel more comfortable in my own body, find my limits, and discover myself in a new way. My dancing partner, Istvan Varga, lives for his art and he taught me a lot of things that helped me with my stage performing! I would recommend dance to everyone.
PP: How does it feel to know you’re going to be sharing the stage with Beyonce?
FB: Unreal. This is the one word that describes it best. She’s been of my biggest influences since I was a kid and I still think this is all a dream. It will probably feel like this until I get up on that stage. I am so thankful that Beyonce is giving me this amazing opportunity!
PP: What do you have planned musically in the coming months?
FB: I’m finishing up my record and working on some new songs. Stay tuned!
PP: You’re very active on your social media channels, why do you think it’s important for an artist right now?
FB: Today everything is about living on Internet, so it is very important. It is easier to be connected to my fans and to hear what their needs are. From the beginning of my music career, I tried to listen what my fans needed to say about my work.
PP: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10?
FB: Singing, performing, making music. Forever.
PP: What is the most important message you’d like your young fans to take away from your music?
FB: Enjoy the music, live for now and have fun.