Singer from Slovenia of Yugoslavian ethnicity, born December 1, 1965 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
»I’m a charlatan. I don't have a degree, I can't read music, but I compose movie scores. I figured out playing music is the highest level of charlatanism and para-science. It's made for people like me.«
These are the modest sentiments of the singer-songwriter Magnifico, a consummate showman and superior craftsman serving up Balkan clichés with a nod and a sly wink. In a career spanning thirty plus years, he has had a succession of big hits throughout the Balkan region. Building on his impish exuberance and taboo-breaking lyrics, he had long established himself as the unchallenged master of the genre he dubbed Balkan-disco-schlager. As the RootsWorld magazine put it in November 2010: 'He has a stage name to match a pastiche persona whose insouciant excesses allude simultaneously to Liberace, Madonna, Borat, Duane Eddy, Ennio Morricone, Clint Eastwood, and then some.'
Sound and Image, on the other hand, had this to say about him: 'Far away from the serious brass sound of the Serbian gipsy-orchestras and beyond the scope of Kusturica and Bregović, Magnifico has built his own crossover-world which mashes up everything in the pop business that smells of... Read More|
... apocalyptic entertainment.'
Magnifico is real, and thus doesn't need to be plausible. Having long hypnotised his native Slovenia into considering him a national treasure, his latest songs are a shaken-but-not-stirred mix of pop, R&B, techno, twist, Latino, turbofolk and Balkanfunk, sprinkled with the cheapest of Europop. Even his language is absolutely his own – a raunchy mélange of Slovenian, Serbian, Italian and broken English.
His breakout moment came in 2004 when Sony Music Entertainment released his fourth studio album ‘Export/import’, featuring the smash hits ‘Hir ai kam, Hir ai go’ and ‘Giv Mi Mani’. His fifth studio album ‘Magnification’ was put out by Piranha Musik, the albums's first single ‘Zum zum’ blending a barrage of surf guitars with the sound of the gypsy saxophone wizard Ferus Mustafov.
One key to explaining the Magnifico phenomenon is the fact that he is revered both by the highbrow intellectuals and the nameless masses thronging to his concerts. Then there is the matter of his inspired choice of collaborations. In 2002 he was the mastermind behind the Slovenian Eurovision entry ‘Only Love’, putting a trio of transvestites on the pan-European stage long before Conchita Wurst. Stereotypes, prejudice, homophobia and xenophobia have always been among his favourite topics, and he has never been one to shy away from controversy. In his home laboratory of Slovenia, the single Magnifico Is a Faggot earned him iconic status among the LGBT community.
Yet it was another, altogether more traditional-minded collaboration, that netted him his biggest success to date.
The soundtrack for the 2010 Serbian blockbuster 'Montevideo bog te video' was neither the first movie score Magnifico composed, nor the last. But it was the first time he joined forces with the Serbian Army Orchestra Stanislav Binički, and the result has now all but supplanted the national anthem at the matches of the Serbian national football team.
'Pukni zoro', the soundtrack's crowning ballad, is the perfect example of a piece of art transcending its author. Its feel of an authentic timeless classic struck such a profound chord with the Serbian people that a number of myths instantly sprang to life surrounding it.
Most notably, a large percentage of the population became convinced that 'Pukni zoro' was really a traditional war song composed sometime around the first World War. To this day, people still enter bar-fights defending the notion the song was originally written for 'Gvozdeni puk', or 'The Iron Regiment', the most decorated unit in the history of the Serbian army. Even in the face of irrefutable evidence, many are unable to believe such an authentic, heart-rending folk song could have been conceived by so modern a performer.
By now, the track has firmly established itself as a staple at the high-level national sporting events. Hearing it being sung in unison by 50 000 voices at the legendary Belgrade Marakana stadium is an experience one isn't likely to forget. Magnifico himself is fond of musing: »My friends, the Gypsies, are clapping me on the back, shouting: 'Magnifico, well done! This is the most lucrative song in our repertoire by far. Whenever we play it after midnight, the money just comes pouring at us in a flood!'«
The follow-up soundtrack to the movie's 2014 'Montevideo, vidimo se' sequel only cemented Magnifico's reputation as one of Balkan's hottest artists, while also sparking a groundswell of interest elsewhere.
“You might think that he is one big prank but nobody puts that much musical magic into a mere prank and you should listen, mere mortals, to how Magnifico the Magnificent bounces between languages as lesser mortals would bounce between the choices in a pizza