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  • Writer's pictureFleur Menezes

Eurovision 2023 Serbia profile: 'Samo mi se spava' by Luke Black

Serbia in the Eurovision Song Contest

Serbia has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 14 times since their debut in 2007 and have made the final 11 times. Their best result was their only win, which was in their debut year with Marija Šerifović and ‘Molitva’. Serbia has made the top 10 on four other occasions, and has only failed to qualify for the final three times.

Previously, Serbia competed at Eurovision as part of Yugoslavia from 1961 to 1991, as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992 and as Serbia and Montenegro from 2004 to 2006.

Last year they were represented by Konstrakta with 'In corpore sano' which qualified for the final and finished in 5th place.

2023 Entry: Luke Black - ‘Samo mi se spava’

  • Luke Black will compete third in semi-final 1

  • My Eurovision Scoreboard ranking: 12th

  • Odds to win ranking: 16th

(Rankings as of 13 April 2023)

About the artist

Luka Ivanović was born on 18 May 1992 in Čačak, FR Yugoslavia which is now in central Serbia. His stage name comes from the anglicised version of his first name being 'Luke' while 'Black' was inspired from his days as a teenager when he "mourned the death of the Serbian music scene". He lists Queen, Elton John, Stromae, Lady Gaga, Maria Callas, and Eartha Kitt as his musical influences. He is known in his homeland as the 'Serbian pop alchemist'.

Luke started writing songs at the age of 12 and began composing, recording and producing music a couple of years later. After he graduated from school he moved to Belgrade where studied English language and literature at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy. In 2018, he moved to London to further his music education. He holds a master’s degree in music production, graduating from the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in 2022.

Luke's music is categorised as a blend of indie-techno-pop. He released his first single 'Nebula Lullaby' in 2014, but it was his second single 'D-Generation' that caught the eye of Universal Music Group, and became the first Serbian to be signed under their record label.

He attempted to represent Serbia at Eurovision in 2016 with his single 'Demons', which was shortlisted as an internal selection, but ultimately pre-Hurricane member Sanja Vučić was chosen with her song 'Goodbye (Shelter)' which finished at the Contest in 18th place.

Luke went on tour in China to promote his song, returning in 2022 for a sell-out tour. This year he released the EP 'F23.8'. When he is not creating music, Luke works as a graphic designer.

About the song

'Samo mi se spava' is translated as 'I just want to sleep', and was written in 2020 but was shelved before being released on February 2 this year. He entered it into the Eurovision Song Contest selection process after being inspired by Konstrakta and her winning performance of 'In corpore sano' at 'Pesma za Evroviziju '22'. 'Samo mi se spava' has been described as avant-garde, experimental and deeply captivating.

The song is a summary of Luke's experiences of being isolated from the world during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. He found himself spending his time only playing video games and watching anime from bed. Luke explains:

"'Samo mi se spava' talks about people needing to wake up, because evil multiplies when people keep their eyes closed to it. Only by waking up can it be defeated."

Regarding his iconic lobster promotional photos, Luke says "the meaning is whatever you make of it, truly and I like that people have their own understanding of it. I love lobsters and lobster phones. Lobsters are like friends for life and I would love through music to make friends for life."

Luke produced 'Samo mi se spava' with friends Majed Kfoury, COMANAVAGO and Milovan Bošković. It has reached no.25 on the Croatian Billboard charts.

How Luke Black was selected for Eurovision

'Samo mi se spava' was one of 32 songs entered in 'Pesma za Evroviziju '23' and was one of the favourites to win pre-contest. It qualified in sixth place from its semi final and was drawn in tenth to perform in the final.

Luke finished second in both the jury and public vote in the final. However, he earned the most points overall and earned himself the right to represent Serbia in Liverpool. He is the first ever Serbian representative to win neither the jury nor public vote in the Serbian selection. Luke is the first male soloist to represent Serbia since 2012.

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Serbia will compete in semi-final 1 on May 9 (European time) in Liverpool.

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