Croatia 2024: Baby Lasagna

Baby Lasagna from Croatia: "I am not doing Eurovision just for me"

INTERVIEW It was all due to a last minute withdrawal that Baby Lasagna got his chance to compete in Croatia's national selection contest for Eurovision. It truly seemed like it was meant to be, and perhaps the singer's on his way to bringing home the trophy for the very first time

The Eurovision spirit had been sort of dying for some time in Croatia, a country that's yet to win the contest.

From 2018 until 2022 the Balkan country failed to qualify for a Eurovision Final. And back in 2021 when Albina's "Tick-Tock" missed out on the Final by only five points, there were even prominent figures in the country that suggested Croatia to stay out of the competition.

Luckily, that didn't happen. Since last year with the participation of controversial Let 3, the love for the song contest has been growing again. In Liverpool the band managed to qualify for the Final and even came in 13th in the Grand Final.

In 2024 Croatia selected Baby Lasagna to compete in Malmö. He's currently the bookmakers' favorite to win Eurovision and really could bring the crystal microphone home for the first time.

Croatia 2024: Baby Lasagna – "Rim Tim Tagi Dim"

Baby Lasagna's real name is Marko Purišić, and it was just recently that he made the decision to venture into a solo music career. Until 2022 he served as a guitarist in the Croatian rock bank, Manntra (Dora 2019).

Marko’s family is mostly dedicated to teaching. Therefore he admits that he'd probably have ended up being a teacher as well if music didn't show up his way. Well, it did, and just a year after going solo he's competing in Eurovision.

Did you know that Baby Lasagna's "Rim Tim Tagi Dim" wasn't even supposed to compete in Croatia's national selection, Dora? That's right, the singer only got his chance given a last minute withdrawal from Zsa Zsa.

It's crazy to even think you weren't supposed to compete!

– I know, it's so weird. It's even weirder that somebody quit because that generally doesn't happen, he says.

– Also, I didn't initially think of competing. It was a friend of mine that suggested I should after listening to "Rim Tim Tagi Dim."

A national hero

We met the Croatian singer in Amsterdam, a few hours before taking the stage for the last pre-party he had to attend. The night before he was a special guest in the Dutch TV show, Beau, where he got to perform his entry.

– I've had 10 hours of sleep so I am doing amazing today. You know, it's not easy coping with this schedule, he says.

We certainly do know the Eurovision schedule isn't easy, but we could say it's a fair preparation for all of those who aim at becoming global sensations.

I no longer feel I am doing this just for me.Baby Lasagna

While he isn't a global star just yet, Baby Lasagna has taken Croatia by storm. In Dora, he scored a total of 321 points while the runner-up didn't even crack the 100-point mark. Since then, everybody in Croatia knows about him.

– You know what? To be honest with you, I am not the type of person who spends a lot of time watching the news or reading articles, so I wasn't very aware of the impact of my song in Croatia, he says.

– But today, before coming here, I saw a video recorded in the biggest city in the country where many people got on its main square and danced to "Rim Tim Tagi Dim." I cried my eyes out for like two hours. I felt pride and humbled.

– If you had asked me about my experience with fame some weeks ago, my answer would've been completely different. I no longer feel I am doing this just for me now.

Baby Lasagna performs "Rim Tim Tagi Dim" in Dutch TV

It'd seem obvious that such response and noise around the entry would create pressure and a bigger sense of responsibility, but not to Baby Lasagna who chooses to see only the good aspects around it:

– I actually don't feel any pressure around it. I feel like people are happy that we're doing so well and they feel proud, he states.

– I obviously want to win, but my long-term goal is to share my music, earn new fans, and make a career out of this.

What triggered you to try out a solo career?

– I just felt the need. My main way in life was writing songs for others, which I did for two-years-and-a-half. After a while, I just felt the need to do it on my own, and I did.

And what a start. On the Eurovision stage.

Rim Tim Tagi Dim

Baby Lasagna is currently working on his debut album that still does not have a release date. Besides "Rim Tim Tagi Dim," he's released two other songs: "Don't Hate Yourself, But Don't Love Yourself Too Much" and "IG Boy."

While "Rim Tim Tagi Dim" was always the option for Dora and Eurovision, he admits that his upcoming single (or in his own words "98% sure will be the next single") "Biggie Biggie Boom Boom" was among the choices.

What's interesting about Baby Lasagna's act, among many other things, is the way he tackles real and serious issues in his songs lyrically, yet sonically they just sound fun. His Eurovision entry is a proof of that.

While the production and instrumental makes it sound like an upbeat song you can just jump to in a club or in a concert, its lyrics examine a very relevant matter: The need for younger people to leave their hometown in search of better opportunities in other countries.

Is this your story?

– It isn't. It's a story of my friend's, and in general the climate we live in Croatia. But I was very surprised to know that the issue is the same in Spain, for example. I did think it was a Balkan thing.

That's the motto for his upcoming Eurovision performance, as well as the subject of anxiety and, of course, the Balkan culture. Unlike many acts who opt to be completely secretive about their staging, Marko confessed it'd be very similar to what he did in Dora. He certainly didn't lie:

– I will keep the same concept but elevate everything. If in Dora there were three sets of fires, in Malmö, there'll be 100. It's going to be everything times 10, or whatever, he shares.

– We're more flexible with our resources here but it will be the same vibe.

On stage, Baby Lasagna is joined by a band and two dancers. The instruments are covered in traditional embroidery, and the dancers dressed in what seems to be inspired by Balkan characteristic clothing.

Besides the story of the song, Marko hopes people will feel his energy as well as the song's energy since that's the most important thing for him in music. As of now things are looking good, and after the first set of rehearsals he's managed to become the leader of the oddsmakers again.

Can this serious matter disguised in an energetic punk-pop song bring Croatia its first victory? We'll see. Before that, Baby Lasagna will perform "Rim Tim Tagi Dim" in the first Semi-final of Eurovision 2024 on 7 May.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 30 years old and graduated in journalism. He has attended Eurovision Song Contest three times live - 2018, 2019 and 2022 - and covered the show twice more (2021, 2023) but his first Eurovision memory takes him back to 2007 when Sarbel delivered his catchy "Yassou Maria" performance. Pedro's favorite Eurovision song is Albania's 2015 "I'm Alive" by Elhaida Dani which is also his favorite Eurovision edition.

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