avatar 14 Jan 2013; 9:58 CET
written by Andy Simon


At the beginning of the year, Zeljko Joksimovic won the Euro Friends Song Contest 2012, a prestigious online competition to determine the Best Eurovision Song Ever. The trophy went to his song 'Lane moje'.

Zeljko Joksimovic can be considered one of the biggest stars in the entire Balcan-region. At the age of 12, he won his first international competition: First Accordeon of Europe in Paris. He plays 11 instruments and fluently speaks 6 languages. He graduated from the Music University in Belgrade and the launch of his career came in 1998, when he won the Pjesma Mediterana Festival with 'Pesma sirena'. Later that year, he would also win 2 festivals in Belarus.

Zeljko Joksimovic - Pesma sirena

In 1999, a deal with City Records, led to the release of his debut-album Amajlija. One of the tracks, 7 godina, that Zeljko wrote himself, together with Leontina Vukomanovic, became his first number 1-hit in Serbia and was also extremely popular in the other Yugoslav countries.

Zeljko Joksimovic - 7 godina

In 2000, the album 'Rintam' followed and in 2002 '111', that as the title suggests, went to #1 in the Serbian album charts. In 2003, Zeljko wrote the song 'Cija si' for Those Proeski. This winning formula brought them to #1 in Beovizija. The year after Zeljko participated in a contest again, Evropesma, this time as singer of his own composition 'Lane moje'. He won Evropesma and the right to represent Serbia & Montenegro in the Eurovision Song Contest in Istanbul. He easily won the Semi-Final, but in the final, Ruslana from Ukraine jumped over him on the scoreboard and Zeljko had to settle with 2nd place, nevertheless an amazing achievement. The press awarded 'Lane moje' with the title 'Best composition' and the Marcel Bezanšon Award. 'Lane moje' became #1 in Serbia and Montenegro and was a big hit in many other European countries.

Zeljko Joksimovic - Lane moje @ Evropesma 2004

After Eurovision, Zeljko founded his own record label. His new song 'Ledja o Ledja' also became a huge success. He continued being intrigued by Eurovision and tried his luck again in 2005 with 'Jutro', performed in the national final by Jelena Tomasevic. She finished 2nd behind No Name from Montenegro. That same year, Zeljko released his 4th album 'IV'. In 2006, he wrote the Bosnian entry 'Lejla' for Hari Mata Hari. Once again, he reached the top 5. 'Lejla' finished 3rd, until today the best result for Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Zeljko once again won the composer award.

Zeljko Joksimovic & Hari Mata Hari - Lejla -

2007, 10 years after the start of his career he released a greatest hits-album and performed in front of 18 000 people in the Beogradska Arena. The year after, he would once again appear in that arena, this time as host of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Marija Serifovic had brought the contest to Serbia and Zeljko hosted it with Jovana Jankovic, who would later become his wife. Zeljko was also in competition as composer of the Serbian entry 'Oro', performed by Jelena Tomasevic. The song finished 6th on home ground.

After a break of almost a year, Zeljko returned to the music scene with his 5th album 'Ljubavi' from which the songs 'Ljubavi' knew a huge success in the Balcan.

Zeljko Joksimovic - Ljubavi

In 2012, Zeljko accepted the offer of RTS to represent Serbia again in the Eurovision Song Contest. He went to Baku with 'Nije ljubav stvar', a song that he of course had written himself, on lyrics this time from Marina Tucakovic and Milos Roganovic. Zeljko finished 3rd in Baku behind Loreen from Sweden and the grannies from Russia. In total, Zeljko participated 4 times in the Eurovision Song Contest in the past 8 years. All 4 times, he finished top 6, on 3 occasions even top 3. The only thing missing on his pal mares is a Eurovision victory. That could still happen as composer, although he already stated in an interview with Andy Simon for the Euro Friends Show, that he will not come back as a singer anymore.

Zeljko Joksimovic - Nije ljubav stvar @ Eurovision Song Contest 2012

At the beginning of 2013, that victory came, sooner then expected, in the Euro Friends Song Contest 2012. The search for the Best Eurovision Song Ever had last for 14 months and people from over 40 countries from all corners of the world had participated in the voting. The 3rd edition of this annual online competition turned into a landslide victory for 'Lane moje' and Zeljko Joksimovic.

Zeljko Joksimovic - Lane moje @ Eurovision Song Contest 2004

Andy Simon and the Euro Friends Team congratulate Zeljko for this amazing achievement and wish him a fantastic continuation of an already wonderful career.

- written by: Andy Simon
- sources: Andy Simon
- selection: Andy Simon
- sources: Andy Simon