Over this summer, we are premiering a new series called Beyond Eurovision. Every week, we look at what happened to Eurovision stars since they took part in the contest. Next up in the series is Marija Šerifović, who won the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest for Serbia. What happened after her triumphant win?
Where it all began
Back in 1984, in the city of Kragujevac in what was then Yugoslavia, Marija was born to drummer Rajko and folk singer Verica Šerifović. In her early years of music, she won many competitions including the Budva Music Festival and the 2005 Radio Festival. These wins all followed her debut album, “Naj, Najbolja” which was released in 2003.
A second studio album, “Bez Ljubavi”, came in 2006 before her first concert in Belgrade a year later. 2007 not only marked her first concert in the Serbian capital, but it also marked the start of her journey towards Helsinki and Eurovision…
The Eurovision adventure
After taking a year away from the contest, as part of Serbia & Montenegro in 2006, Serbia took part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time as an independent nation in 2007. The search for their debut artist was carried out through Beovizija – a format that had already been used to select the Serbian entrants to compete against their Montenegrin counterparts between 2004 and 2006.
The national final was limited to Serbian citizens only, despite Polish group The Jet Set (who eventually represented Poland the same year) trying to take part. Scoring the maximum points from the televote and a further 10 points from the jury, Marija scooped up the Serbian Eurovision ticket with her song “Molitva” meaning she represented the country in Helsinki. At the contest, Marija was scored 268 points – a winning score, making her the first person to win the contest for a debuting country since the first ever Eurovision in 1956.
More albums, tours and Eurovision duties
Following her success at Eurovision, Marija was welcomed home by a crowd of more than 70,000 people gathered in Belgrade, before she returned home to her hometown to perform a concert in front of a further 60,000 people. As usual for a reigning champion, Marija was cementing her place in Eurovision history and had many duties to worry about before even considering releasing a new album.
One of her first duties as reigning champion was to sit on the jury of the Irish national final in 2008, alongside Dana and Louis Walsh, to guide the televoters to vote for the best entry. The Irish voters voted for Dustin the Turkey, not so much the winner like Marija! At the 2008 contest in Belgrade, she then opened the show with a dance version of “Molitva”, heard again during last week’s #EurovisionAgain show.
Following Eurovision, Marija went on to release two further albums “Nisam andeo” (in 2008) and “Andeo” (in 2009). The release of her fourth studio album coincided with a concert at the Belgrade Arena a year later.
“Confession” then “Hrabro”
In 2013, Marija spoke out about her difficult childhood leading into her becoming more famous, following her Eurovision win. She also opened up about coming out a lesbian during the documentary series “Confession” on Prva TV.
Her fifth album “Hrabro” (“Bravely”) was released in 2014 featuring the singles “Ja volim svoj greh” and “Mrs”, both of which she produced music videos for as well.
The past five years
In the past half a decade, Marija hasn’t released a studio album, but instead has released several singles including “Pametna i luda” in 2015, “11” in 2017 and “Nije ljubav to” in 2018.
As well as releasing new singles, she also became a judge on the reality music show, Zvezde Granda, in 2015, which has been running since 2004. In 2016 and 2018, she performed concerts in Sarajevo and Belgrade, as well as holding her own tour in the spring of 2019 with seven sold-out shows.
More recently, Marija featured in Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light, earlier this year, where she performed her Eurovision-winning hit “Molitva” on the empty streets of Belgrade. What will the future hold for Marija? We are sure she has much more to come…
Who would you like to see featured next in our Beyond Eurovision series? If you missed our first article in the series, looking back at Musiqq’s career, make sure you check that out!
Join in the conversation in the comments below or on social media @ESCXTRA.