The Eurovision impact of Slovenia's Maraaya
Today officially marks 30 years since Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia on the 25th of June in 1991.
This then allowed the country to compete in Eurovision (they debuted in 1993) as an independent nation after having four songs in the Slovenian language compete for Yugoslavia.
Since their Independence, Slovenia have competed 26 times with 15 of the songs making the Eurovision Grand Final.
One of those entries was 'Here for You' by Maraaya in 2015 and we're going to look at the impact the duo has had on the Contest for their nation.
Maraaya, a music duo composed of the married couple Marjetka and Raay. "Maraaya" comes from the combining of their names to create ‘She has Raay’ in Slovene.
In 2015 Maraaya won the Slovenian national final EMA (Evrovizijska Melodija) to book their ticket to Vienna. They brought a banging pop song that spoke of helping someone through a difficult time and helping them get back on track.
It was an immediate fan favourite and finished 5th in that year's OGAE Song Poll leading up to the Contest.
After finishing 5th in the second semi-final, they were given the opening slot which saw them finish in a respectable 14th.
But that's not where the Maraaya Eurovision journey ends.
Other Eurovision connections
In 2013 and 2021 Raay was on the Slovenian jury and in 2014 he produced and co-wrote 'Round and Round' by Tinkara Kovač which made the Grand Final finishing 25th.
The jury connection didn't end there, Marjetka was head juror in 2016 and also announced the Slovenian points in the coverage. Marjetka's individual votes saw her give Justs song 'Heartbeat' her 12 points, while she only put Dami Im's 'Sound of Silence' in 10th place.
Junior Eurovision connections
The couple also own a small private music school in Ljubljana. They use the school to find young talented musicians and try and train them in numerous forms of music.
This school has been a breeding ground for Slovenian music and has had a hand in Junior Eurovision entries.
The first JESC entry in 2014 was Ula Ložar with the song ‘Nisi Sam’ which was written by Raay. The soft bilingual ballad finished in 12th with a respectable finish for their debut.
Slovenia’s 2015 JESC entry was also written by Maraaya and performed by Lina Kuduzović and singing ‘Prva Ljubezen’. The ballad did extremely well finishing 3rd and giving Slovenia its highest ever placing.
Both the Junior Eurovision entrants would go on to compete at EMA with Ula Lozar in 2019 finishing 3rd with 'Friday's and Lina Kuduzović finishing 2nd in 2020 with 'Man Like U'.
Another connection in the Slovenian music industry to Maraaya and Eurovision is BQL.
The duo consists of brothers Rok and Anej Piletič who both competed in Slovenia’s Got Talent separately before coming together to form BQL (pronounced Be Cool) in 2016.
They competed in EMA in 2017 with ‘Heart of Gold’ which was written by Maraaya and young Anej. The strong bass led pop song was highly popular with the public and finished 1st with the public before finishing 4th with the juries and 2nd overall.
BQL returned the following year with ‘Ptica’ and the English version of ‘Promise’. This song was also written by Maraaya and was once again helped out by the public coming 1st before finishing 3rd and 2nd overall once again.
BQL also featured with Maraaya on their single ‘Sjaj’ and its English version ‘It’s Complicated’.
Maraaya have had quite an impact on both the EMA, Junior Eurovision and Eurovision stage for Slovenia as well as their national music industry overall.
With more and more talented artists going through their school, it will only be a matter of time before we see another Maraaya influenced entry at Eurovision yet again.