Eurovision 2023: Serbia’s Luke Black on Lady Gaga, rabid fans and his favourite Eurovision song ever

Eurovision 2023 act Luke Black in front of a colourful background.

Eurovision’s Serbia representative Luke Black opens up about being inspired by Lady Gaga, finding friends among his fanbase, and why LGBTQ+ people love the Eurovision Song Contest.

“Happy Eurovision week,” one post begins on Twitter. “AKA, Luke Black serving c**t week.”

It’s fair to say that Luke Black, who is representing Serbia at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, has acquired quite a religious following over the past few months.

“Good morning, Luke Black enjoyers,” another Tweet reads. A third features a photo of the 30-year-old electro-pop star looking down at the camera: “This pic changed my life,” the caption says.

As the first Serbian artist to be signed by Universal and with three EPs to his name, Black is already fairly well known in his home country. But his broody, pulsating Eurovision song “Samo Mi Se Spava” has catapulted him to new heights of recognition and adoration. 

Searching your name on social media, it’s clear that a big part of the Eurovision fanbase is rooting for you. How does that feel?

I never imagined this happening to be honest. It was like a switch just turned on and people were excited by my music.

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There’s a lot of people who struggle and disenfranchised communities that are still under a lot of pressure from society and in my mind, when I was younger, I really wanted to become the voice of people who are struggling because I was being bullied and struggling myself.

I noticed that I’ve woken up the anime and gaming fans but I’ve also woke up loads of beautiful artists. There’s a lot of fan art happening and i’m glad to be able to showcase their works of art at the same time when I’m showing mine. 

I feel like we’re speaking the same language. We have the same type of humour. We’re becoming friends in a way. It goes beyond Eurovision from what I’ve seen. I’m really happy that they relate to me and I help them out in any shape or form.

With your song, “Samo Mi Se Spava”, I can spot influences from Grimes, Lady Gaga’s 2011 album Born This Way, maybe a bit of SOPHIE. Who inspires you musically?

I think you’ve nailed the three artists, and add Björk to it. It’s kind of a concoction of artists. The song’s producers – Shurk and Majed – they both have SOPHIE as one of their main influences.

Going out in London, visiting so many parties, you could see producers that SOPHIE has breathed life into. It’s definitely influenced this song heavily.

With the visuals, I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan. I do think Born This Way and that era have inspired the staging.

The song definitely gives me “Government Hooker” vibes. 

God, yeah, that’s one of my favourite songs.

What is it about Eurovision that you think draws a big LGBTQ+ fanbase?

The competition is all about artists expressing one’s country. In a way, I think there’s a sense of uniqueness there and there’s a sense of being brave. Like myself, I’m really scared of the stage, I don’t think that [because] I’m scared of the stage, I shouldn’t be performing.

I think I should do hard things. That’s something that the LGBTQ+ community appreciates, that expressiveness, bravery, music, passion.

I also feel that there’s a lot of love and acceptance. Something that I’m really against is any kind of bullying or hate. I can’t understand it. I think the community feels at home, they feel accepted. They can be themselves. It’s a really beautiful thing.

You’ve mentioned wanting to speak out for disenfranchised people. where does that desire come from?

That’s the only way that I can be 100 per cent unique. Right now, I’m just being 100 per cent myself and letting people see the awkward side, the mistakes, the imperfections.

I struggle loads, and I would’t wish it on anyone, so I think if I’ve got the platform, let me use it for that. That’s the true thing I can offer. I don’t believe in anything else. 

You’re based in the UK but representing Serbia. Have you had a lot of love from your home country?

I do have a lot of love from there. Obviously, being an artist with the concept and using darker aesthetics and creating something that’s a bit more eclectic, there have been some misunderstandings of the song and some negativity that was sent my way.

But I never really play it safe as an artist, so I have to understand that there will be those things as well. The majority of things I feel is love. There’s a lot of support coming from Serbia.

One last question: what is your ultimate Eurovision song of all time?

It’s Ukraine’s Ruslana and “Wild Dances”. I can imagine my friend from Serbia dancing to it at 5am at the party, when you get out of the ‘Oh, we’re cool, let’s play cool music, let’s play techno’ way, and then at 5am you just play Ruslana and the real party begins.

Luke Black will perform in the Eurovision grand final on 13 May.

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