JosipaLisac is a performer like no other on the Croatian music scene. With a career that has lasted more than 40 years, she is a vocally superior singer with distinctive interpretation and unconventional style, on which she has built her signature identity.
Born in Zagreb, as a child with exceptional talent for music she began to sing classical repertoire in the children’s choir of the Zagreb Radio-television, directed by Dinko Fio, at the age of ten. Towards the completion of her secondary education, her interest turned to rock music and she began to sing in a band called O’Hara (later renamed Zlatni akordi). It was not long before she got an opportunity to perform independently at the most important popular music festival of the time, in Opatija in 1968, where she won several awards with Arsen Dedić’s song ‘Što me čini sretnom’.
In the early 1970s she met Karlo Metikoš (aka Matt Collins), a famous rock musician that youths in Yugoslavia had infatuation with following his rise to fame in France. Josipa’s and Karlo’s life together and their shared passion for music resulted in about a dozen records with music written and produced by Karlo and sung by Josipa. The most notable among these was the first album – Dnevnikjedneljubavi (The Diary of One Love). This was the first conceptual album in former Yugoslavia, for which Josipa Lisac, Karlo Metikoš, and Ivica Krajač received the Porin award for exceptional achievement in Croatian music 42 years after it was released.
What followed was several years’ work on the first Croatian rock opera – Gubec Beg (by Karlo Metikoš, Ivica Krajač, and Miljenko Prohaska), in which Josipa appeared in the demanding role of Jana. This opera premiered in 1975 and the one song that particularly stands out is the ‘Ave Maria’ aria, which has been at the opening of Josipa’s every concert ever since.
Also in 1975, Josipa recorded a jazz album on which she collaborated with musical greats such as Ernie Wilkins, Clark Terry, Albert Mangelsdorff, and Johnny Basso, under the watchful eyes of Boško Petrović and Karlo Metikoš as producers.
Made in USA was a record that came as a result of her three-year stay in the USA in late 1970s. Recorded at Studio 55 in Los Angeles in 1979, this album features Ira Newborn (both as a performer and arranger), Paulinho da Costa, Joel Peskin, Steve Schaeffer, and others.
Josipa was back in her homeland in the 1980s, very busy recording and giving concerts. She also appeared in two American films. The sound of her music began to grow closer to pop and she rounded off the decade with a very successful album Boginja (Goddess) in 1987.
The context of her professional work changed considerably with Karlo Metikoš’s sudden death in late 1991 and the politically turbulent beginning of the 1990s.
For the past 20 years, she has been giving a series of special concerts, dedicated to the love of her life.