Serbian hitmaker Željko Joksimović returns to London stage

Zeljko London3Serbian singer-songwriters do not come much greater or more successful than Željko Joksimović, the man behind many of this century’s best Balkan ballads.

London audiences will be able to judge for themselves when the charismatic star performs at The Troxy on Friday (24 March).

“This will be my third performance in London and I’m very happy to be coming back,’ Željko told Marcus Agar.

“I have received many messages from people who like my music, who can’t wait for the concert to start. I feel the same. I am sure it will be a great night.

To many outside Serbia, Željko is best known for his two highly placed Eurovision performances – the sublime Lane moje (2004) and Nije ljubav stvar (2012).

The power behind the ballads

Željko also wrote many of the most memorable entries for neighbouring Balkan states, such as Bosnia’s 2006 entry Lejla, which he wrote for Hari Mata Hari.

As well as having an uncanny knack for penning crowd-pleasing song contest ballads, the multi-instrumentalist has stacked up scores of hits across the Balkans and in Europe, including the haunting Ljubavi.

Such an impressive songbook from which to call upon will provide plenty to call on for his upcoming London concert. “People in London will be able to enjoy my regular hits,’ Željko said.

“There will be many old hits, like Varnice, Drska zeno plava and others in my set list. You can expect new songs from Zvezda, my latest album, which are very popular in the Balkan region and across Europe.

Balkan hits on the London stage

“I am really satisfied with the response to his album, because there are many songs people really like.

Zeljko Joksimovic Zvezda“These songs became hits in a very short period of time. You can see the numbers on YouTube.

“Olovni vojnik is one of my personal favourites, but I should also mention Dama, Zvezda, Isto je, and Nisam te zbog lepote voleo.

“They all have a story behind them. I devoted a lot of time to each of the songs from the album, and everything turned out really well.”

Since Zvezda was released to a positive response in 2015, Željko has been on an extensive touring schedule, including some dramatic swing-style reworkings of his catalogue of hits.

Željko gets intimate

As well as the stadium spectacles for which Željko has become known across the Balkans, his new show has also allowed him to perform in more intimate venues, as he explained.

“In previous years, I performed at stadiums like Kosevo in Sarajevo in front of 30,000 people, and at Skopje’s Filip II stadium, where more than 60,000 people gathered, as well as for 20,000 people in Belgrade and 18,000 in Zagreb.

“However, I do like intimacy with my audience and the special atmosphere that delivers, and that is why I enjoy performing in nice theatre halls, and in other smaller places, such as the Troxy in London.”

Zeljko London6

London is a city that embraces you

Although it is some time since he performed in the UK, Željko is a regular visitor to London, attending events such as Wimbledon and visiting his many friends here.

“London is a wonderful city,’ he said. “I like the greenery, the architecture, the English culture, the fact that there is a story behind every brick. I like the people there, and I feel that London is a city that embraces you, no matter where you come from.”

With the focus for this UK visit being his concert at London’s recently-restored 1930’s club venue The Troxy, there will be little likelihood of getting out and about in the city.

“All my plans are related to the concert, to the rehearsal, and to the band,’ hesaid. “If there is time, I would gladly spend some time out during the day. I hope we will have a nice weather. I have many friends in London, and I would like to see them and catch up.

After his trip to London, Željko will fly to Germany for a concert the following night (Dortmund) before making a welcome return to Belgrade.

Family is the source of my energy

With Easter just around the corner, his thoughts turn to family. “I plan to celebrate Easter at home with my family,’ he said. “It is a special day, which should be spent together.”

It is the support of Jovana Joksimović, his TV presenter wife and their children that fuelling his positivity and help to maintain his busy schedule, Željko explained.

“Family is the best thing that happened to me. It is a source of my energy, for sure.”

“My recording studio looks a lot like my home. My son Kosta often comes there to play with the instruments, while my daughter Mina uses the studio for creating music of her own and records demos there. I am blessed for having such a life.”

Zeljko Joksimovic studio

Like the small team that he keeps close, Željko is a consummate professional and a true gentleman with an unshakably positive approach to life.

Maintaining such an outlook on life could be difficult in a business where such attributes can be scarce.

“I always look on the bright side of life and spend energy on things worth spending it on,’ Željko said. “I try not to let negative things take away my energy and focus. It is a matter of practice, not a mere theory.”

• For the few remaining tickets to Željko’s performance in London, visit:

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