Grammy nominee Katrina Leskanich, former lead singer of Katrina and The Waves, released her first studio album today in 10 years – ‘Blisland.’ The release coincides with the Retro Futura Tour of North America with Thompson Twin Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure and China Crisis. The tour has 16 dates scheduled throughout North America, with a stop near Dallas September 8th at the Verizon Wireless Theatre in Grand Prairie. Leskanich is slated to open the shows,
Blisland has eight songs, including a jazzy piano blues version of “Walking On Sunshine,” “Texas Cloud” with an unmistakeable ZZ Top driving beat, and a strong single worthy “Sun Coming Upper,” with a video (see below).
The record is named after a lovely small village pub in Blisland, Cornwall, a rural town that dates back to prehistory. The town has it’s own stone circle called “The Trippet Stones” similar to the more famous Stonehenge. Leskanich drew inspiration from the beauty of the gorgeous Cornwall area, and the video for “Sun Coming Upper” was shot there.
Leskanich’s father was a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force stationed in England when she met her future band mate in a church choir that would later form her band The Waves. Half the band was American and the other half English, but The Waves are technically an English band. Their hit song “Walking On Sunshine” is one of the most recognizable and highest grossing in the EMI catalog, having been used in advertisements and movies like “Look Who’s Talking” with John Travolta, danced to by Jack Black in “High Fidelity,” used by Christian Bale in “American Psycho,” and in the opening sequence of “Daddy Day Care” with Eddie Murphy. Dolly Parton even covered it.
The Waves toured worldwide and supported Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys, Don Henley, The Kinks, Wham, and many more. Katrina was also featured on Natalie Imbruglio’s ‘Torn’, sang a duet with Eric Burdon on ‘We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place’, a featured vocalist on Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey To the Centre of the Earth’, and performed at The Mall, Washington DC in front of 750,000 people.
Katrina continued to live in England after her band’s success. In 1997 Katrina and The Waves’ ‘Love Shine A Light’ won the Eurovision Song Contest with the largest ever margin, followed by an unprecedented four consecutive appearances on Top Of The Pops and a No. 3 in the UK Charts. The following year, Katrina and the Waves split up and Katrina pursued an alternative career on radio and TV. She was a TV presenter on Watchdog on BBC1 and was then offered her own show on BBC Radio 2 – where she presented a three-hour show, five days a week for the next year and a half. This was followed by a stint in musical theatre, where Katrina played the lead role (the songwriter Ellie Greenwich) in Leader of the Pack, singing some of the songs that had influenced her as a young singer.
Leskanich said she loves living in London, and her heart is divided in the middle as to which country her heart belongs to. Having grown up moving every few years as military “brats” are wont to do, she is all too familiar with the heartbreak of being from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. She loves England for the people, the city of London and the weather – as long as she gets her “fix of hot sweaty hot American summer weather” every once in a while.
She recently published a photographic guide called ‘Peggy Lee Loves London’, about cool places in London, featuring her poodle, Peggy Lee. June 2014 saw the release of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ the film – a musical comedy featuring ‘Walking on Sunshine’ as well as other upbeat 80s tracks.