CZECH REPUBLIC – Martina Bárta is a young, ambitious, and talented singer – a new discovery on the jazz scene, endlessly travelling between Prague and Berlin, a combination of respect for the classics and a love of everything modern and innovative. With her song, “My Turn,” Bárta brings immense enthusiasm, positive energy, and an exceptional style of expression to Eurovision. She captured the attention of the ESC Czech Team’s management both with her strong and captivating voice as well as with her energy and musical sensitivity.
Czech fans know Martina from her performances with the legendary Felix Slováček Big Band as well as from the successful project, Sinatrology. She also often performs with her older sister, Kristina, who is a successful jazz pianist and composer. Together, they have won such awards as the “2016 Best Jazz Composition” at Bohemia Jazz Fest. However, she truly came into the limelight thanks to her win in the television casting show, ” Robin Hood – cesta ke slávě” (“Robin Hood – The Path to Fame”), which offered her the opportunity to play the leading female role of “Maid Marion” in the musical Robin Hood by Ondřej Soukup and Gábina Osvaldová in Prague’s Divadlo Kalich Threatre.
It is in Germany, however, that Martina has experienced her most significant success and popularity. She performs regularly with various musical projects, has appeared at many jazz festivals, works on her own project, “Scotch and Soda,” and makes guest appearances with the band of German rock legend, Henning Protzmann, famed member of the bands Karat and Panta Rhei. Her artistic activity abroad has earned her the privilege to meet and collaborate with global musical leaders such as the Roy Hargrove Quintet and American percussionist, Gregory Hutchinson. Last year, she had her first opportunity to travel to the United States of America when she participated in the Jazz in Port Townsend workshop under the leadership of American contrabassist and Grammy Award-winning arranger John Clayton.
A large share of the brilliance of her expression can be attributed to her studies in classical music and French horn performance at the Gymnázium Jana Nerudy grammar school, popular vocal performance at the Prague Conservatoire, and, most importantly, her studies with leaders in their field at the prestigious Jazz Institut Universität der Künste in Berlin.
How would you describe yourself?
Optimistic, sometimes too crazy and absentminded. Loving life, my family, friends and music. Often unnecessarily choleric and inpatient.
You are a jazz singer with a great talent. How do you perceive your participation in the contest of predominantly pop songs? For me, the participation in the Eurovision is a huge challenge. The biggest music project I have ever participated in. I don´t take the fact that my main focus was mainly on jazz music in the past as a disadvantage.
Your professional life is straddled between Prague and Berlin. Where do you actually feel at home?
I simply have two homes. I love Prague and Berlin. Both cities are completely different and each of them has its own, for me very inspirational, energy.
What on the song My Turn appealed to you? How do you perceive it?
“My turn” is a song with a particular story. It has a soul. It is not exactly typical, but that makes it stronger.
So, what is the story?
Every one of us should be ready to offer a helping hand. Anytime, anywhere and to anyone. We should appreciate our closest and the people we are surrounded by. You never know when you are going to need help, yourself.
Are you looking forward to participating in the contest?
I very much look forward to the participation in the Eurovision. I am preparing intensively. I regularly attend vocal lessons, I work on my physical appearance, and the psychological well-being is important as well. I am very proud I get to represent the Czech Republic.
The results of the Czech Republic get better every year. This year success is expected as well. What effect do these expectations have on you and what is your personal goal?
To feel the responsibility that motivates me enormously. And plus, I am not alone in this, but the whole team of people supports me. Of course, I will be extremely happy if we manage to get to the finals and to achieve the best place possible. I think we do have stuff to offer and we are doing the maximum for it.
Considering the type of the song, the success largely depends on the quality of singing. How are you preparing?
I regularly attend singing lessons of Hana Pecková who is the best vocal trainer in the Czech Republic for me. She knows very well how to work with her students in order for them not to be afraid of the participation in this type of contests. “Si canta come si parla,” or “sing the same way as you talk.” She often reminds me of this, and she is right. Singing should come naturally out of your soul.
Event of this size with a huge interest of journalists and fans is a new challenge for you. How do you feel in this role?
The first week after my nomination was really hectic. Luckily, I have great people around me who will be happy to help me in case I need it. I am not alone in this and that calms me down. And at the same time, it confirms the importance of the message of the song My Turn.
Which songs of the other states are closest to you?
I like the Australian singer. Mainly his appearance.
This year the Eurovision will be held in the Ukrainian Kiev. How are you looking forward to this city?
I have never been to Ukraine, but I have heard Kiev is a nice city. I will definitely visit a nice jazz club, and I would like to get to know the traditional Ukrainian culture. I like travelling, in general, very much and I really look forward to the stay in Kiev with the Czech crew, delegations from other countries and all the fans of Eurovision.