Former lead singer from Katrina and The Waves, Katrina now has a career both as a solo artist and with her new band.
Born in the U.S., Katrina grew up with the West Coast sound (Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Heart) before moving to the UK in 1976 where she formed the band Mama's Cookin' with future Wave, Vince de la Cruz, .
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 and the band became Katrina and the Waves. They were signed by an independent Canadian label Attic Records and released their first album 'Walking on Sunshine'.
The album was re-recorded and remixed, with Scott Litt producing 'Walking on Sunshine' it was his idea to add the drum intro which made it irresistible to radio DJs - and he went on to produce REM and Nirvana. Walking on Sunshine was a worldwide hit earning top ten spots around the globe. (No. 8 UK, No.9 US, No.3 Canada, No.4 Australia). Since then, the song has been broadcasted over 2,000,000 times in the U.S. and was the highest played track on radio in the summer of 2008 23 years after its release!
It has been featured in many films, including being danced to on-screen by John Travolta (Look Who's Talking, 1989), Michael J. Fox (Secret of My Success, 1987), and Jack Black (High Fidelity, 2000). Dolly Parton covered it in her Treasures album and during the last year it was featured in the hit TV show, Glee, as well as on American Idol. I have performed 'Walking on Sunshine' for so many years in so many different countries that it's become the one constant in my life and the one thing I can count on to bring happiness to myself and others, says Katrina.
They were nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist and constantly toured the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan.
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 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 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 February 2010 the Glee Cast had a UK Top 10 hit with a mash up of Beyonce's 'Halo' and Katrina & The Waves 'Walking on Sunshine'.
In 2010 Katrina celebrated the 25th Anniversary of 'Walking on Sunshine' with the release of a new CD, 'THE LIVE ALBUM' and the EP 'Spiritualize' was released in May 2011.
In 2012 Katrina reformed her band in the UK with Darren Loveday (guitar), Ed Carlile (drums) Trevor Newnham (bass) and Steve Turner (keyboards) plus a horn section and performing at numerous festivals across Europe including Ultimate 80s Festival, Rewind Scotland, Here and Now at Ascot Racecourse.
Katrina has also covered a couple of Beatles tracks for a compilation album with Kim Wilde, Toyah Willcox and several other female artists for release next year.
Best known for the ultimate feel good song 'Walking On Sunshine' when fronting Katrina and the Waves. Katrina is a Grammy nominee and was the last UK Eurovision Winner with ‘Love Shine A Light’.