As a singer, Katrina was inspired by Motown 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 in 1983 they recorded an album of original material, at their own expense, which was shopped around various labels and sold at gigs. They were signed by an independent Canadian label – Attic Records and their first album ‘Walking on Sunshine' was released just in Canada.
The band's first album was re-recorded and remixed. Scott Litt who went on to produce REM and Nirvana, produced ‘Walking on Sunshine' – it was his idea to add the drum intro which made it irresistible to radio DJs. The first Capitol album, ‘Katrina & The Waves' released in 1985, was a substantial critical and commercial success and ‘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 2,500,000 times in the U.S. and was the highest played track on radio in the summer of 2008 – 23 years after its release.
Katrina & The Waves were nominated for a Grammy for “Best New Artist” and were constantly touring the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan. Their follow up single, ‘Do You Want Crying' was a top 40 hit in the US and ‘Sun Street' was a UK Top 30 hit in 1986. In 1989 Katrina & The Waves recorded a more rock-orientated album for Capitol subsidiary SBK Records – ‘Break of Hearts' which included ‘That's the Way' which reached No. 16 in the US charts.
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.
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 2005. Katrina wrote and produced many of the songs on the album, which includes collaborations with Phil Thornalley, (‘Torn') and an acoustic cover of Kirsty MacColl's, ‘They Don't Know'.
In 2006, Katrina put together a new band, performing their first gig at The Borderline in London.
2010 – Katrina celebrated 25th Anniversary of ‘Walking on Sunshine' with the release of a new CD, ‘THE LIVE ALBUM' and the Glee Cast had a UK Top 10 hit with a mash up of Beyonce's ‘Halo' and Katrina & The Waves ‘Walking on Sunshine'. The EP ‘Spiritualize' was released in May 2011.
Tags for Katrina (ex Katrina and The Waves)