Zeljko Joksimovic is a Serbian singer, composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. He plays 12 different musical instruments including accordion, piano, guitar and drums. Joksimović is multi-lingual, being fluent in Greek, English, Russian, Polish and French as well as his native Serbian.
He has a career as a solo pop artist and at the same time he is a composer for other singers. He can be called a master of The Balkan Ballads for having written four of the most famous: “Lane moje”, “Lejla”, “Oro” and “Nije ljubav stvar”. He also composes music for films, television series and theater shows. He represented Serbia and Montenegro in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Lane moje”, placing second. He represented Serbia once more in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan and finished third.
Zeljko Joksimovic was born on 20 April 1972 in Belgrade and grew up in the city of Valjevo. His first international success came at the age of 12, when he won the title of First Accordion of Europe at the prestigious music festival in Paris. He graduated music at the University of Belgrade and launched his professional music career in 1997. In 1998 he won a contest at the Pjesma Mediterana festival with the song “Pesma Sirena”, which led to opportunities to perform at more prestigious festivals in Belarus. The Serbian musician won the “Grand-Prix” award at two festivals in that country.
In 1999, Joksimovic signed with City Records. The young singer was promoted then as a folk and pop artist. His first studio album, titled Amajlija, included “Pesma Sirena” along with seven other tracks. His first big success was with the single “7 godina”, written by himself and Leontina Vukomanovic. The song went to No. 1 on the Serbian pop music charts, and became very popular in other former Yugoslav countries.
In 2000, he released his second studio album Rintam named after a song on the album. Other tracks on the album included “Vreteno”, “Balada”, “Gadura” and the duet with Haris Dzinovic “Sta ce meni vise od toga”. Three music videos were produced for songs on this album.
“111” was released in 2002, and was No.1 on the pop charts of Serbia and other countries of the region. Some of the song included are “Varnice”, “Zaboravljas” and “Karavan”.
In 2003, Joksimovic wrote the song “Cija si” for Macedonian music singer Tose Proeski which led him to win Beovizija.
Serbia and Montenegro, sending an entrant for the first time to 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, decided on their representative through Evropesma 2004, a music festival and contest in Serbia and Montenegro. Zeljko Joksimovicwon the contest with “Lane Moje”, composed by Zeljko himself, along with lyricist Leontina Vukomanovic.
In the semi-final, Joksimovic placed first. However, in the final he placed second behind Ukrainian singer Ruslana, but received the “Marcel Bezencon Press Award” (Best Composer Award). “Lane Moje” was the best selling single in Serbia and Montenegro.
After the success in the Contest, the same year, Joksimovic founded MINACORD PRODUCTION. Since then, he works and composes in his own studio. In middle time he composed and released the single “Ledja o Ledja” which gained a large popularity over the countries where Zeljko usually performs. In 2005, he once again composed a song for Serbia and Montenegro’s national pre-selection for Eurovision called Beovizija. Željko composed the ballad “Jutro” which was performed by Jelena Tomaševic. In October 2005, he composed and performed a duet with Austrian singer Tamee Harrison. The song was titled “ I Live my Life For You” which was a success throughout Europe.Around this time, Zeljko wrote his first film score. In cooperation with Cobra production he composed music for the movie “Ivkova slava”. The same year he released his fourth studio album “IV” or “Ima nesto u tom sto me neces”. In this album he changed the music style that was typical about him. The songs in the album are Pop ballads with some ethnic Serbian folk elements. The CD sold over 800,000 copies over former Yugoslavia.In 2006, he composed the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 song Lejla for Bosnia and Herzegovina, performed by Hari Mata Hari. The song finished in third place, making it Bosnia’s best performance in the contest. He also won the prestigious Best Composer Award (COMPOSERAWARD 2006), assigned to Zeljko by all composers who participated in that festival.
In 2007, he released his second greatest hits compilation called Platinum Collection which included two new singles “Devojka” and “Nije do mene”. He also composed the music for the TV series “Ranjeni orao” and “Ono nase sto nekad bejase”. The same year, in front of 18,000 people Joksimović made a concert where he sang all of his hits in the Belgrade Arena released in the DVD titled “Koncert Beogradska Arena”.
In early 2008, Željko Joksimović composed a song that was performed by Jelena Tomaševic in the Serbian national final for the Eurovision song selection, Beovizija 2008, called “Oro”. The song is a folk ballad with traditional folk Serbian elements. Because the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 has been won by Serbia, the contest that year came in the country. On 24 March 2008 it was announced by the 2008 Eurovision organisers RTS that together with Jovana Janković he would host the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, giving him two roles in the contest.Tomašević’s song finished on the 6th place over 25 countries in the final. Also OGAE Greece awarded the song and Jelena Tomasevic as the best song in Eurovision 2008.
After a year of a music pause he released his fifth studio album named Ljubavi (2009) by the production of Minacord and City Records. “Ljubavi” is the name of the pilot single of the album too. The single has a large success in Serbia and the neighbouring countries.In early 2010 he released the second single from the album called “Zena Za Sva Vremena”.
On 12 June 2010, he performed his biggest concert yet. It was held on the Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which can seat 37,500, though attendance for concerts can be expanded to reach about 80,000, in front of over 40,000 persons.
Zeljko Joksimovic represented Serbia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The song was called “Nije ljubav stvar” composed and performed by Joksimovic. The lyrics are by Marina Tucakovic and Miloš Roganovic. The English version of the song called “Synonym” by Ljilja Jorgovanović. The arrangements of both versions were done by Zeljko Joksimovic and Alek Alekov. The postproduction and mastering was done by James Cruz, an award-winning audio-mastering engineer in his New York studio. The song was a great success, finished on third place.
He married Jovana Janković in January 2012.