Katrina Leskanich is a name you probably would not know or recognize. But for the one thing she and her group did back in the early 80's she is someone you would have never heard of. She had a brief moment in the sun, or more to the point, in the sunshine.
For a year or two she was on top of the music world for the one super hit that her group Katrina and the Waves had. It is still a song you hear all the time on the radio. Today I ask the question: Whatever happened to Katrina and the Waves?
"It's the one constant in my life. It cheers me up. I love to see that it cheers up the audience."
Katrina's father was a Colonel in the United States Air Force, and Katrina and her four sisters and one brother moved frequently as children. After she was born, they moved from Kansas to New Mexico, and then California, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Stuttgart Germany and the Netherlands before arriving in Norfolk, England, in 1976. Katrina has lived in the England since 1976, moving to London in 1998 where she currently lives.
In 1978, Leskanich and her then-boyfriend, Vince de la Cruz, formed the cover band "Mama's Cooking". In 1981, after some lineup changes, the band titled themselves "The Waves" and began playing original music. In 1982, after more lineup changes, the band changed their name to Katrina and the Waves, with Leskanich as the lead singer. By then they were based in the city of Cambridge, England.
In addition to "Walking on Sunshine" the band had a few minor hits. "Sun Street" was one of those. The hits continued with "Do You Want Crying", "Que te Quiero", "Rock and Roll Girl" and "That's The Way". But none of those ever came close to Walkin On Sunshine, and they are long forgotten. Until I wrote this blog, I had never heard any of them, not even once. You likely haven't either.
As the years went on and the band didn't reproduce anything close to Walkin On Sunshine they faded away. There were attempts to resurface and in 1997 the band won the Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom with "Love Shine a Light".
"hey, all you need is another Walkin on Sunshine. Yeah, what a great idea. Why didn't we do that?"
Katrina and the Waves then broke up in 1999. Leskanich then launched a solo career, first as a DJ for BBC Radio 2 and then in 2001 she played the lead role in the musical Leader of the Pack. She released her first solo CD, Katrina Leskanich, through Universal Records in Britain in 2005.
In November 2010, Katrina was a guest coach on the Austrian TV show Helden von Morgen on ORF1. All her contestants went through to the next round including Lukas Plochl who sang a rap of Love Shine A Light.
In May of 2011, she released an EP 'Spiritualize'
"In 1999 I wrote, collected and compiled some songs I thought would come together for an uplifting and spiritual type of album. I thought I'd try to make this a bit more personal," said Leskanich.
To do this blog, I listened to Katrina and The Waves whole catalog. When you do that, you realize why they faded off. They had one great song and 100 others that would only be good enough to be a bar band. She had her moment in the sun because that was all she deserved. She didn't blow it on drugs, or the rock and roll lifestyle. She hit with one great song and she got the most out of it.
For a brief time, Katrina Leskanich was walking on sunshine, and I am sure it felt very good. But like the rest of us, she had to come back down to earth and get on with life, as she has done. She will always have that hit song, which will be played for the rest of time.
She faded out of the spotlight because that light was only meant to shine for a short time. Some hang on to that and keep trying to relive it. It seems that Katrina Leskanich has avoided that pitfall and has seen it for what it was. A bright light for a brief time. You can't rekindle a fading flame. It flames out when it does because that is all it is meant to be. Good for her for making the most of it and getting the most she can out of the rest of her life.
"I'm a working girl and I love my work."