His journey to Eurovision 2023 started with a prank tweet but now Luke Black will represent Serbia at Liverpool! Learn more about the man himself, his pre-Eurovision career and of course how one tweet catapulted Luke Black to a global audience.
Who is Luke Black?
30-year-old Luke Black was born Luka Ivanović in Čačak, Serbia. He came up with his stage name due to the anglicisation of his first name, Luka, and chose ‘Black’ as his surname due to a 40 day period of mourning he went into as a teenager for what he perceived as “the death of the Serbian music industry”, showing that he had a flair for the dramatic from an early age!
Luke also had a passion for music from an early age, writing lyrics and beginning to compose his own songs from the age of 12. He was introduced to the music of David Bowie and Liverpool’s own The Beatles by his parents. However, in an interview with Eurovision Fun, Luke said that he hasn’t “found anyone else with such an impact to my creativity as Lady Gaga.”
Luke’s music career began when representatives from Universal Music Group noticed his single ‘D-Generation’ and offered him a contract. This single, among others, appeared on his debut EP ‘Thorns’ in 2015, which Luke promoted at festivals across Europe.
In 2016, Luke would make his first attempt at representing Serbia at Eurovision with the single ‘Demons’. You can listen to the song below:
While Serbian broadcaster RTS would ultimately choose ‘Goodbye (Shelter)’ by Sanja Vučić instead, the single would herald a new chapter in Luke’s music career – this time in China! Luke performed solo shows in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, enjoying more success there than he had in Serbia. Speaking of this in an interview with Nova, Luke said:
I think that there has always been a barrier between the Serbian and English languages that unfortunately separated me from the audience – and in China before there was more openness towards foreign musicians. I think that I wanted to say a lot through the music and that in China they understood that message more.Luke Black, nova.rs
In 2017, Luke performed at Ivana Pilja‘s fashion show during Berlin Alternative Fashion Week, which took place at the legendary Berlin nightclub Berghain. However, in 2018, following the release of his second EP ‘Neoslavic’, Luke announced that he would be taking an indefinite hiatus from making music. In a recent interview with Popjustice, Luke said: “I was really disappointed with my reception here in Serbia and the inability to go any further.”
Instead, Luke moved to London and went back to university. Having previously studied English Language and Literature at the University of Belgrade, Luke enrolled at Point Blank Music School before completing a master’s degree in music production at the prestigious BIMM Institute in 2022. Luke has spoken highly of his time in London, telling Popjustice:
I think London definitely shaped me to be a better artist; there’s so much I’ve learned from living there. I went to every gig, from an unknown artist in a dingy bar, to concert halls where I could go and see people like Lorde. I felt really miniature in London and that was the best thing. I don’t think I was as interesting when I thought more of myself.Luke Black, Popjustice
The Road to Eurovision
As mentioned previously, Luke’s journey to Eurovision initially started with a harmless prank tweet. Watching Serbian national final Pesma za Evroviziju in 2022, as winner Konstrakta lifted the trophy, Luke jokingly quipped to his Twitter followers that he too had a song ready for Eurovision! To his great surprise, the reaction was immediately positive, with fans telling him he should go for it. Not wishing to let them down, Luke decided to apply for PZE 2023.
In addition to an obligation to his fans, Luke has also attributed Konstrakta’s success in both PZE and Eurovision to his decision to enter, telling Serbian publication Tegelgraf:
I can’t say I’m a singer or a songwriter, I’d rather say I’m an artist. That’s why I thought there was no place for me [at Eurovision], but since Konstrakta won […] somehow she opened my eyes and I realised that maybe I was wrong when it comes to the competition and what it represents. That’s why I came up with the idea to apply at the end of last year when there was a competition.Luke Black, telegraf.rs
Luke decided to send the song ‘Samo mi se spava’ (in English: ‘I Just Want to Sleep’) which was directly inspired by his own experiences, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic:
I spent the last years very alienated from the world, especially throughout the pandemic. I immersed myself into my bed, video games and anime and that’s how the song was created. It is basically about the feeling of isolation that people are feeling throughout the world. It is an embrace of the innocence. I think sleep is one of the most innocent places where one can go and feel safe outside of the world.Luke Black, Eurovision Fun
When Luke took to the PZE stage in the show’s first semi-final, this inspiration was immediately felt. Based around the concept of defeating a ‘boss’ in a video game, the performance started with Luke lying on a bed before sitting up to defeat his enemies, represented by four backing dancers, which he eventually ‘unplugged’ at the climax of the performance, defeating the boss. Audiences were immediately taken by the electronic, avant-garde feel of the song and it placed sixth in its semi, earning Luke a spot in the final.
On the night of the final, while Nađa won the jury vote and Princ the televote, neither scored enough points with the other half of the voting to reach a winning total. Instead Luke Black, who had placed second with both jury and televote, secured both a winning total and the opportunity to represent his country at Eurovision!
At Eurovision, Luke will perform third in the first semi-final on Tuesday 9th May. Interestingly, this is the exact same spot Konstrakta performed in at her semi-final last year. Could this prove to be a good omen for Luke? You’ll have to tune in to find out!