Love Shine A Light was overlooked at the time, says Katrina And The Waves

Katrina from Katrina And The Waves has suggested her Eurovision-winning hit Love Shine A Light was overlooked in the UK because of when it was released.

Katrina Leskanich, who won the competition in 1997 with the anthemic ballad, said the music that was popular at the time was more “druggy and upbeat”.

But she said the song’s central role in Eurovision’s replacement coverage this year, after its cancellation due to Covid-19, had “rebirthed” the track.

Eurovision/Katrina and the Waves
Katrina And The Waves ahead of performing at Eurovision (Rebecca Naden/PA)

The 41 songs which would have made up this year’s contest featured in a non-competitive TV special in May, titled Shine A Light.

The evening culminated in a performance of Love Shine A Light featuring numerous current and former competitors, plus Leskanich.

The 60-year-old told the PA news agency: “I was shocked when they used Love Shine A Light on that show. They said, ‘Can you record a little bit?’ and I did the very last bit. But I had no idea that everybody was going to take a line.

“I watched it that night and I was absolutely astonished. The orchestra is playing and it was all guns blazing. It was Europe shine a light.

“It was almost better than winning it again, to have it featured in such a heavy way.

“I thought it was brilliant because it was so poignant and it worked so well for the times, and what everyone was going through. It really made it such a poignant and emotional moment.”

Bucks Fizz
Bucks Fizz (PA)

Leskanich, who was the last UK act to win Eurovision, added: “I was absolutely delighted because I always felt like Love Shine A Light was never…

“People talk about the UK and Eurovision and they will always think of Making Your Mind Up and Bucks Fizz.

“I remember winning with Love Shine A Light and feeling a little bit as if…

“I know Tony Blair and the Labour party had just come into power and it was a great time – it was a really up time.

“It was very 90s and the music was very… druggy and upbeat.

“I don’t feel as if Love Shine A Light got quite the look-in that other winners got because of the circumstances.

“So when it was rebirthed for the Eurovision show it was incredibly beneficial for me and rewarding. A happy time.”

Leskanich’s latest solo album, titled Hearts, Loves & Babys, tackles a number of personal topics including the recent death of her mother.

Explaining why she decided to explore more emotional topics, she said: “Reaching the age of 60 and having the courage to just spit it out.

“A lot of stuff I wasn’t prepared to deal with – lots of deaths and lots of personal hardships. I didn’t want to go there.

“When it started coming out, I wasn’t quite sure if I wasn’t on rocky ground with it all, but it just seemed to flow naturally so I just jumped at that. I just thought, ‘Let’s just do this’.”

However, the album also features upbeat tracks such as Drive and Holiday that were partially inspired by the music of Blondie.

“They have more of a free, fun, light-hearted, spirited take on the things people would expect from Katrina And The Waves,” she said.

Hearts, Loves & Babys by Katrina from Katrina And The Waves is out now, and the new single I Want to Love Again is also available.