Katrina and the Waves
Katrina is the former lead singer of Katrina & The Waves and is one of the few women from the 80s who is still performing and recording.
Katrina is busy performing at corporate events, festivals and parties with a superb mix of 80s and classic hits along with (of course) 'Walking On Sunshine'.
Born in 1960 in Kansas, U.S., Katrina Leskanich moved to England in 1976. Growing up with the West Coast sound (Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Heart) she, together with fellow American and future Wave, Vince de la Cruz, formed the band Mama's Cookin'.
As a singer, Katrina was inspired by Motown, Dusty Springfield and girl groups such as The Shangri-Las and The Shirelles. In 1983 Katrina and Vince joined The Waves (a Cambridge based band with ex Soft Boy, Kimberley Rew) and she picked up on some of their musical influences such as Etta James, Velvet Underground and the Stones.
The band became Katrina and the Waves, and after two albums and five years washing dishes she became an international pop star with the massive hit 'Walking On Sunshine', which has become a timeless summer anthem. During the same year Katrina and the Waves were also nominated for a Grammy for best new artist.
'Walking On Sunshine' has been used in countless films - American Psycho, Secret of My Success, Look Who's Talking and Hi Fidelity to name a few, and numerous commercials. It was even covered by Dolly Parton.
Ironically it was written in the depths of an English Winter and back then it used to empty the dance floor. Between 1983 and 1985, 'Walking on Sunshine' was rejected by every major record company.
Katrina and The Waves had their first break in 1984 when The Bangles covered their song 'Going Down To Liverpool'. This drew attention to the group and lead to an international deal with Capitol Records.
The band toured worldwide with artists such as Wham, The Beach Boys, Don Henley, Pointer Sisters, Chaka Khan, The Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, Coolio and Run DMC. 'Walking on Sunshine' was followed by more chart hits - 'Do You Want Crying' and 'Que Te Quiero' in 1985, 'Sun Street' in 1986 and 'That's The Way' in 1989, with performances at Madison Square Garden, The Mall, Washington DC, The Marquee Club and CBGBs where Katrina sang with Joey Ramone. Katrina was also the featured vocalist on Natalie Imbruglia's 'Torn'and albums made by Hanoi Rocks and Holly Valance. She recorded 'We Gotta Get Out of This Place' as a duet with Eric Burden and sang a guest track on Rick Wakeman's 'Return To The Centre of the Earth'.
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 Number 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 with Anne Robinson 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.
In 2001, Katrina began a solo career, performing live in the UK and in Europe and resumed writing and recording. Her first solo album, 'Katrina Leskanich' was released in October 2005. Katrina wrote and produced many of the songs on the album, which includes collaborations with Phil Thornalley, ('Torn') and a stunning acoustic cover of Kirsty MacColl's, 'They Don't Know'.
In 2006, Katrina put together a new band with Darren Loveday (guitar), Elio Pace (keyboard and newly appointed MD of BBC Radio 2 Weekend Wogan), Jack Pollitt (drums), Andy Coughlan (bass) and Paul Newton (horns), performing their first gig at The Borderline in London.
In 2007 Katrina covered 'Hitsville UK' on 'The Sandinista! Project' - a new compilation and tribute to The Clash Sandinista! Album. And toured Australia on the Countdown Spectacular tour and Norway with Gylne Tider. Katrina's single 'They Don't Know' was included on the Gylne Tider 2 album which went platinum.
Katrina had a UK club hit in 2008 with a dance version of 'They Don't Know' and during the last year she has been singing as a solo artist and playing with her new band in the U.K., America, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland.
In February 2010 the Glee Cast had a top 10 hit with a mash up of Beyonce's 'Halo' and 'Walking on Sunshine'.
Katrina celebrates the 25th Anniversary of 'Walking on Sunshine' with the release of a new CD, 'The Live Album' recorded at her shows in London and Germany, which includes Katrina and The Waves hits, songs from her solo album and new material. 'The Live Album' will be released on 29th June 2010.
Katrina is currently working on her autobiography 'Don't It Feel Good' and a photographic book about London.