Former lead singer from Katrina and The Waves, Katrina now has a career both as a solo artist and with her new band. Katrina is an American living in London and is one of the few female artists from the 80s who is still performing and recording.
Born in 1960 in Kansas, 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 and used by John Kerry for the Democratic Party in 2004.
Ironically it was written in the depths of an English Winter in 1981 and was a dance floor emptier until Katrina & The Waves teamed up with a hot American producer and an equally hot American summer. Katrina has performed this song over 3,000 times in the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and Africa.
The band toured Internationally with artists such as Wham, The Beach Boys, Don Henley, Pointer Sisters, Chaka Khan, The Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, Coolio and Run DMC. They released a further 6 albums charting 10 top 30 singles 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 albums made by Holly Vallance and Hanoi Rocks and on Natalie Imbruglia's 'Torn'. 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.
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 with Anne Robinson and was then offered her own show on 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, when Katrina landed the lead in Leader of the Pack, singing some of the songs that had influenced her as a young singer. Ellie Greenwich (who wrote the songs in the show, 'Be My Baby', 'Baby I Love You', etc.) came over from New York to see the London production and joined Katrina on stage to sing 'Da Doo Ron Ron', as a duet.
In 2001, Katrina began a solo career, performing live in the UK and in Europe and resumed writing and recording. Her first solo album, was released in October 2005 under her own label Katrina's Web. 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), 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 in Norway.
Katrina had a UK club hit in 2008 with a dance version of Kirsty MacColl’s 80s hit 'They Don't Know' and performed as a solo artist and with her new band in England, America, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Scotland.
In May 2009 Katrina will be releasing some new club mixes of ‘Walking On Sunshine’ in the UK which will then go on digital release in the summer of 2009.