With the second heat of Pabandom iš Naujo set for this coming Saturday, we were fortunate to get an interview with returning artist Petunija!

2023 will mark Petunija’s third appearance in the national selection, with her first appearance happening back in 2016 under the Eurovizijos Atraka format. In late October of 2022 she released her new EP “Two In Somnia”, and during our conversation we learned a second EP is on it’s way within the year.

Welcome to ESCUnited.com Petunija, we’re excited to have some time with you and to help our readers get to know you better. Why don’t you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello ESCUnited.com readers! 

My name is Petunija, I am an independent music artist from Vilnius. Recently dropped my newest dream pop album “Two In Somnia” that I’ve written with my husband. There’s so much love there, and you can find songs for your late night drive, or a night in. It really has an evening vibe. 

I used to lean more into electronic sound, but as the more I go, the more “live” sounding music I want to create. Currently I am in the Netherlands for the ESNS music conference, getting to know people from the European music industry. Hopefully this will help us lean more into the European music scene. I want to travel with my music and spread the word about Lithuania and Lithuanian music. 

How would you describe your music to our readers? Are there any other artists or pop culture references that influence your sound?

My music is inspired by dream pop, trip – hop, rock music and Lithuanian traditional music. Throughout my career in this industry I’ve tried many genres, and finally I feel like it’s crystallizing into a pretty unique mix that is authentic to me. 

You can probably feel the soul of 90’s and 2000’s alternative and pop. Basically, music that I grew up with. Radiohead, Portishead, No Doubt, Dido, Reamon…but  I also love current music too, especially European. One of my passions is discovering artists that are not yet mainstream internationally, but might be successful in their countries. My newest music crush is Marina Satti from Greece- she’s amazing in connecting pop and her heritage. 

What is one thing that our readers would be surprised to learn about you, like a funny fact, talent, obsession, etc.?

I don’t think I have something to be really surprised about. Maybe the fact that I haven’t played piano for almost 13 years and actually was afraid of the instrument for a long time. Since last autumn I felt that my hands opened up, it became easier to write songs. And one of those I played myself for the first time in my concert in November. And look where it brought me. Straight to Eurovision national selections. 🤣

You first appeared in the music industry as a solo artist back in 2016 and then just like that you were competing in the Lithuanian national final. What was the most important thing you learned about yourself as an artist because of that experience?

Well, I needed to gain more experience. I understood that playing in the venue and on television is not the same thing at all! I was very nervous, and you could  probably see that. You can never know how your body will react if you never experienced this kind of rush. That’s why it’s so important for us artists to try things, just so we would know how to prepare for anything. 🙂 Now I’m really excited to perform in PiN and can’t wait.

Now this is your third time participating in the Lithuanian national selection, with your last appearance being in 2020. What made you decide to return this year after such a long break?

Actually, my plan was to come back in 2024 with a song “Yesterday”, to complete the meme on twitter that I found after 2020. But this song had ruined the plan. The song was born and it dictates everything that comes afterwards.

Was your song “Love of My Life” originally written for Pabandom iš Naujo or was it originally part of your recent EP Two In Somnia?

“Love Of My Life” was actually written for my future EP, which should come out some time this year too. 

I just wanted to play the song in my secret concert that we filmed this autumn, but couldn’t finish the lyrics, it just didn’t feel right. During one of the evenings hanging out with my girlfriends I asked for their input on how to end it, and in an hour the song was finished and prepared to be performed. After the concert a lot of people came to say that they were deeply touched by the song and that it would be a wonderful Eurovision entry. So we sent exactly the live version to the LRT and here we are. 

You are credited as a songwriter for many of your songs so I wanted to ask you about the songwriting process for your PiN entry. What was the process like for you and your team, and how long did it take to land on the final cut?

Usually my songwriting process takes time. I like to sit on it to “marinate” the song. This time it was the opposite. Quick and easy with a load of emotions, of course. I wanted to write a song that could be relatable. When my husband first heard the song, he said that it’s like a white paper sheet and anyone can interpret it in a way that is relatable to them. We left the arrangement very simple with just piano and voices- everyone can create the arrangement for themselves- some people hear an orchestra, some feel the need for the guitars and drums.

By that everyone can be the creator of this song in their minds. That is what makes music so wonderful – it can free our inner children, stimulate the imagination, help us rest and travel the world. I’ve received so many lovely messages that I can say that the success of this song has  already happened. Hopefully it will reach more and more hearts. 🙂 

Now as you know the winner of the preselection will get to compete at Eurovision 2023. Do you consider yourself a big fan of the contest? Any favorite entries you’d like to share?

I am a huuuuge fan of Eurovision, to the point where I watch loads of interviews, reaction videos, snippets – everything. It’s a huge thing in Lithuania too, everyone watches this contest. 

One of my favorites from the last few years were Monika Liu and Hooverphonics. From earlier years I was mesmerized by  Portugal’s 2019 entry, unforgettable all time favorite Margarets Bergers – Feed You My Love. 

Well hopefully you’ll be watching some of our content regardless the outcome this coming Saturday! For those who want to connect with you ahead of or after the selection– where can they find you and your music?

You can always find me on my instagram @iampetunija, my followers always get to know things first, and of course Spotify and Youtube. On my Youtube channel you can already hear the live version of this year’s Eurovision song, and on 23rd of January you’ll hear the studio version on my Spotify. 

In closing, do you have a final message you’d like to share with the readers of ESCUnited

Stay open and kind! Always. 🙂

Petunija is set to compete in the second heat of Pabandom iš Naujo 2023 set for January 28th at 20:00 CET. The winner of the show will earn the right to represent Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool this coming May.

Are #YOU team Petunija this year? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

 

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