|Birth Date:||April 10, 1960|
|Origin:||Topeka, Kansas, U.S.|
|Genre:||New wave, rock, pop|
|Occupation:||Singer, rhythm guitarist, Actress, Radio DJ, TV Presenter|
|Associated Acts:||Katrina and the Waves|
|Label:||Capitol Records, Universal Records, Virgin, Warner Bros. Records, BMG, EMI, Katsweb|
Katrina was born in Topeka, Kansas. Her father was a Colonel in the United States Air Force, and Katrina and her five siblings (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, Germany and the Netherlands before arriving in Norfolk, England, in 1976. Katrina has lived in the UK 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", based in Feltwell, England. In 1981, after some lineup changes, the band titled themselves "The Waves" and began playing original music. In 1982, after yet more lineup changes, the band changed their name once again to Katrina and the Waves, with Leskanich as the lead vocalist; by now they were based in the city of Cambridge.
The band had several international hits, including, most notably, "Walking on Sunshine" in 1985. Their song "Sun Street" was also a minor hit in 1986. They also received a Grammy Nomination for Best New Artist. The hits continued with "Do You Want Crying", "Que te Quiero", "Rock and Roll Girl" and "That's The Way" which reached No. 16 in the U.S.A.
In 1997, after having somewhat faded into obscurity, the band won the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 for the United Kingdom with "Love Shine a Light". Reacting to the win, Leskanich said it was the second landslide victory in a week; the song won by a record points margin, and Tony Blair had won the 1997 British general election two days previously. The song won by a then-record margin of 70 points over the Irish runner-up. The song went to No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart (becoming the band's biggest-ever hit) and Katrina and The Waves performed an unprecedented four weeks running on the BBC One TV show Top of the Pops.
Katrina and the Waves broke up in 1999.
When Hurricane Katrina and its storm surge devastated much of the US Gulf Coast in September 2005, the MSNBC news program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, dubbed its coverage of the hurricane, "Katrina and the Waves"; the name also appeared in numerous headlines and blog postings. A New York Times reporter contacted Katrina Leskanich, who 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."
After the Waves broke up in 1999, Leskanich 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. And the single - Leskanich's cover of Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know" was played on Radio 2. In 2005 she also participated in the Swedish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest (Melodifestivalen 2005) with the song "As If Tomorrow Will Never Come". In 2005 Leskanich (with Renars Kaupers) hosted Congratulations - 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest, in Copenhagen.
Currently Leskanich is performing in the UK, Europe and in the US as a solo performer and with her new band, which also includes Darren Loveday (guitar), Elio Pace (keyboard), Jack Pollitt (drums), Andy Coughlan (bass) and Paul Newton (horns).
Katrina covered a Clash song, "Hitsville UK" for a compilation album put together by Jimmy Guterman, which is a tribute to The Clash Sandinista! album and was released on 15 May 2007 in the United States.
Katrina performed in the 1980s show Gylne Tider which toured Norway in the early summer of 2007 and transferred to the Christiania Theatre in Oslo from October to December 2007. Katrina's cover of "They Don't Know" was included in the compilation Gylne Tider 2 which was released in 2007 and went platinum.
To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of "Walking on Sunshine", Leskanich released her first live album - THE LIVE ALBUM in July 2010. The album includes 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. In September 2010 Katrina re-released her solo album 'Turn The Tide' with a couple of bonus tracks - club mix of 'They Don't Know' and the Espirito mix of 'Walking on Sunshine'.
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 2011, Katrina 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.