Photo Credit: Eurovision.tv/Tjaša Barbo
On the 12th December 2023, during a press conference by broadcaster RTVSLO, it was revealed that Raiven will follow in the footsteps of Joker Out and represent Slovenia at Eurovision 2024. Raiven will have big shoes to fill as, despite their 21st place result, Joker Out have gone on to major success in Slovenia, have performed all across Europe this year and are embarking on a major European tour in 2024!
In this article, we take a deep dive into Raiven’s career up to now, find out more about the talented singer and instrumentalist, and learn a little more about her Eurovision 2024 song.
Raiven, whose real name is Sara Briški Cirman, was born in 1996. She is a mezzo-soprano singer, harpist and songwriter.
Her love of music started at the young age of 4 when she learned to play the harp. She went on to study at the Music School of Ljubljana.
Her love of music continued into high school where she continued to develop her craft. In 2013, she won First Place at the Antonio Salieri International Harp competition. She later studied at the Ljubljana Academy of Music where she graduated in solo singing and more specifically in the opera genre. She released her first single in 2014 with ‘Jadra’. Raiven has also been a lifelong fan of Eurovision since she first watched the contest as a child.
First Attempts To Represent Slovenia
In 2016, Raiven first took part in Evrovizijska Melodija (EMA) in an attempt to represent Slovenia at Eurovision. She sang the song ‘Črno bel’, where she did very well, finishing in 2nd place. However, she just narrowly missed out, by 100 votes, to ManuElla who sang ‘Blue and Red’.
The following year she tried to represent Slovenia again with her song ‘Zažarim’ but finished in 3rd place overall which was still another great result. That same year, she released her first album ‘Magenta’, which was critically acclaimed, showing her achievement from the Slovenian artistic and cultural association.
Her 3rd EMA appearance was in 2019, and she returned with her experimental electro-pop anthem ‘Kaos‘, which caught the attention of many eurofans for its unique nature and quickly became a fan favourite. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as she finished in 2nd place again, losing to zalagasper with the hypnotic ‘Sebi’.
Aside from EMA, Raiven produced her next EP entitled ‘REM‘ which was produced in Metropolis Studios in London, and it was also met with universal critical and public acclaim.
After her EMA success, she returned to her studies in opera, singing and earned a master’s degree in the subject. She had also received the Prešeren Prize for Students presented by the Academy of Music in recognition of her outstanding contributions to music. She went on to sing in various operas including a role in the first ever Tamburitza opera ‘Ambrož and Katarina‘. She also turned her attention to theatre productions and played many different roles such as the lead ‘Urška‘ in ‘The Water Man’ in 2021. As well as performing opera on stage, she has also sang with orchestras across Europe such as in Malta and the Czech Republic. Raiven also has a scholarship at the Berlin Opera Academy.
While balancing opera and theatre productions, she also took part in Popevka 2021 which is a Slovene music festival which celebrates the music of Slovenia and has sometimes been compared to Italian music festival Sanremo. She went on to win the contest with her song ‘Volkovi’.
In 2022, she began to further broaden her horizons by exploring the electro-opera scene, once again proving her skills as a musician and continuing to challenge herself. It’s no wonder she’s been described as a ‘musical alchemist’! She unveiled the project ‘Dolaroso’ which combined these two genres to a sold out concert at the prestigious Cankar Hall in Ljubljana.
You can listen to her sing a cover of ‘Ave Maria’ with Gregor Ravnik here:
In 2023, she returned to Popevka but as a host and she performed her new single ‘Ivona’. Performing with her co-hostess Helena Blagne, the song combines modern day electro-pop and opera elements.
Eurovision 2024 and ‘Veronika’
Originally, it was reported that EMA would be returning with only four competing acts and songs. However, RTVSLO subsequently announced they would select their artist internally and Raiven would be flying the flag for Slovenia.
In a lot of her music, Raiven likes to tell the stories of various iconic women over the course of history and her Eurovision 2024 entry is no exception. The song will be called ‘Veronika’ and it tells the story of Veronika Deseniška, who was the wife of Frederick II, the Count of Cetje from the 1400s. She had been accused of witchcraft and although she was found not guilty in court, she was subsequently murdered supposedly under the orders of Frederick’s father Hermann II who disapproved of Veronika and his son’s marriage due to Veronika being of lower class. She has also described her song as “The symphony of the sirens”.
Speaking to Eurovision.tv, Raiven expressed her joy at being chosen to represent her country:
“Representing Slovenia at Eurovision is a stepping stone I envision for my career’s progression. When I told my mother I was going to Eurovision, she said she knew I would be standing on that stage one day. She knew it since the first time we were watching this music spectacle together – I was five years old.“
The song will be released in January and Raiven released a teaser of the song on social media which you can watch here.
Continuing her interview with Eurovision, she explained;
“The song was not written with the idea of going to Eurovision. When creating it, I focused primarily on the dramatic quality, which is key to telling Veronika’s story effectively. I wanted her story to not only be expressed but also resonate with the year 2024. The idea that she needed music, which was just right – cinematic and contemporary – was present throughout the creative process.”
‘Veronika’ was also co-written by Bojan Cvjetićanin who Eurovision fans will remember as the frontman of Joker Out who represented Slovenia last year. Her song will be performed in Slovene. Raiven explained why she didn’t want to sing in English.
“I don’t think this kind of song needs English for the Eurovision performance. I am convinced that both the story and the music are strong and expressive enough that their essence and emotional depth will be perceived and understood even by non-Slovenian speakers.”
‘Veronika’ will finally be revealed on Saturday 20th January at 8pm GMT/9pm CET and will be premiered on the Eurovision YouTube channel which you can watch right here.
Raiven will be hoping to put the juries and public under a spell and for them to be entranced by her song. Slovenia’s best ever Eurovision result to date has been 7th place in 1995 and 2001. Could she beat that in 2024?
Are you excited to hear Raiven’s song? Do you think Slovenia made the right choice?
Let us know in the comments!