Katrina Elizabeth Leskanich (/lɛˈskɑːnɪtʃ/ leh-SKAH-nitch; born April 10, 1960) is an American musician and the former lead singer of the pop rock band Katrina and the Waves. Their song "Walking on Sunshine" was an international hit in 1985. In 1997, the band won the Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom with the song "Love Shine a Light". Both of those songs were written by her long-term bandmate Kimberly Rew.
After the Waves broke up in 1999, Leskanich launched a solo career. She released her first solo CD, Katrina Leskanich, through Universal Records in Britain in 2005.
In February 2005, Leskanich participated in the Melodifestivalen 2005 which is the pre-selection for Sweden's Eurovision Song Contest entry. She did a duet with the band 'The Nameless' in the 4th semi final. Their song 'As If Tomorrow Will Never Come' came 3rd in the semi-final, progressing to the Second Chance round where they came 6th and did not qualify for the final.
In 2005, Leskanich reflected on sharing her name with a hurricane that devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast in late August and early September of that year, after the name "Katrina and the Waves" appeared on numerous news television shows, headlines, and blog postings that were covering her namesake hurricane. When a New York Times reporter contacted her about this, she said: "The first time I opened the paper and saw 'Katrina kills 9,' it was a bit of a shock. ... I hope that the true spirit of 'Walking on Sunshine' will prevail. I would hate for the title to be tinged with sadness, and I will have to do my own part to help turn that around." She also stated that she hoped that "Walking on Sunshine" would become an anthem for the Gulf Coast's recovery.
To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of "Walking on Sunshine", Leskanich released her first live album The Live Album, in July 2010. The album includes both a live version and a blues version of "Walking on Sunshine". "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," said Leskanich. As part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations, Leskanich also performed 'Walking on Sunshine' on GMTV.
In September 2010, Leskanich re-released her solo album Turn The Tide with two bonus tracks: the club mix of "They Don't Know" and the Espirito mix of "Walking on Sunshine". In May 2011, Leskanich released an EP entitled 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.
In 2013, Leskanich and her new band performed at festivals in the UK and Europe, including the San Fermín festival in Pamplona in Spain on Plaza del Castillo, and the Steinegg Festival in Italy. In 2014, Leskanich, a firm believer in animal rights, supported Wildlife Rocks with an acoustic performance. Other performers included Queen lead guitarist and founder of the Save Me organization, Brian May. The event raised awareness for vital wildlife projects, and was attended by several members of Parliament.Year end saw Leskanich perform on Hubei TV's Global New Year Revelry in Beijing
Leskanich released her second solo album, Blisland, which was inspired by the genre of music from her formative years. "I wanted to record an album that reflected my love of all the genres of music I grew up listening to, from Peter Frampton Live (sic) to Neil Young's Harvest. I fell in love with the South West of England; the beautiful beaches reminded me of California, and a little village called Blisland not only had a fantastic little pub but also gave me the perfect name for my new album."
In the Summer of 2014 Leskanich performed at many UK and European festivals including Festival Too in Norfolk, Guilfest in Surrey, Audley End in Essex, Nostalgie Beach Festival in Belgium and the Flashback Festival at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. Leskanich went on to tour North America on the Retro Futura Tour with other 80s artists including Thompson Twins, Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure and China Crisis. In 2015 Leskanich performed at the Lasko Beer and Flowers festival in Slovenia, Rewind North at Capesthorne Hall, Pride Cymru, toured South Africa on the Rewind Tour and toured on her own in North America.
In 2016, Leskanich performed at festivals including We Love the 80s at the Telenor Arena in Oslo, Maspalomas Pride in Gran Canaria, Let's Rock the Moor in Cookham, Let's Rock Bristol, Let's Rock Leeds, and took part in the BBC's Eurovision: You Decide, toured Australia on the 'Totally 80s' Tour and toured in Sweden during the summer.
In 2017 Leskanich performed at various festivals including the Lotos 2017 Music Festival in Boca Raton, Florida with other 80s and 90s artists including Boy George and Ace of Base, Let's Rock Exeter, Let's Rock London,Let's Rock Southampton, Bristol Pride, and Manchester Pride. Leskanich toured the US with the Retro Futura Tour 2017 with 80s artists including Howard Jones, Paul Young, The English Beat and Modern English and in May 2017 released her first compilation album, The Very Best of Katrina. In 2018 Leskanich released her first Christmas single, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love". Leskanich also performed at Let's Rock Xmas at the SSE Wembley Arena and for the BBC's Children in Need Rocks the 80s charity fundraiser also at the SSE Wembley Arena.
In 2018 Leskanich performed on the 80's Cruise with 80s artists including Billy Ocean and Rick Springfield and at various festivals in the UK and Europe including Let's Rock Norwich, Let's Rock Scotland, Let's Rock Shrewsbury, Irlam Live in Manchester, W-Fest in Kluisbergen, Belgium.
2019 saw Leskanich performing at festivals around Europe including Yo Fui a EGB at Palau St Jordi in Barcelona, Donauinselfest in Vienna, Austria, Roze Zaterdag (Venlo Pride) in Venlo, Netherlands, Forever Young festival, Dublin, Ireland, Hestholmen Retrofestival in Norway, Skeikampenfestivalen, Gausdal in Norway, Top of the Top Sopot festival in Gdansk, Poland, and Gottschalks 80s TV show in Hanover, Germany.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore the EBU decided to organize Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light as an alternative. The name was inspired by the song "Love Shine a Light" by Katrina and the Waves which won the Eurovision Song Contest 1997. Closing the show, most of the artists performed "Love Shine a Light" from their respective home countries with Leskanich singing the last line.
In July 2020, Leskanich released the single "Drive" which garnered many plays on BBC Radio 2 and BBC local radio stations. This was followed by the release of her album, Hearts, Loves & Babys and a second single, "I Want to Love Again".
Covid-19 put an end to any further touring until the Summer of 2021 when Leskanich performed at Rewind North, Rewind South, Back to the 80s 90s festival in Leicestershire and Feile an Phobail in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In 2022 Leskanich performed at various festivals in the UK and Europe, including the Upton House Concerts in Poole, Fest i Vest in Stord, Norway, Bristol Pride, Ravnedalen Live in Kristiansand, Norway, Here and Now at Tamworth Castle, Night of the Proms in Koksijde, Belgium, City of Guitars in Locarno, Switzerland and Arena Suzuki in Verona in Italy.
Leskanich joined The Beach Boys on the Beach Boys Good Vibrations Cruise, together with The Temptations, The Isley Brothers and many more. Other performances in 2023 included Tinghallen in Viborg, Denmark, Israel Calling in Tel Avis and Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam.
Leskanich released a new single, 'Shut Your Mouth' on 21st April 2023.