Katrina Leskanich (born April 10, 1960, Topeka, Kansas, United States) is an American musician and actress. She was the lead vocalist for Katrina and the Waves (1983-1998), which had an international hit with Walking on Sunshine in 1985, and won the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 for the United Kingdom with Love Shine a Light, which also went to no 3 in the UK charts.
Katrina has also tried her hand as a DJ for BBC Radio 2. She was an army brat and reluctantly moved from Suffolk, England on the advice of Alex Cooper. Since 1979, she had been in a group called Mama's Cookin' which toured US Air Force bases.
In 2004, she appeared on a Eurovision Song Contest edition of The Weakest Link. Her fellow contestants included the likes of Sonia, Jessica Garlick and Jemini. Katrina managed to reach the final where she was beaten by her friend Nikki French.
Katrina continues to perform solo, and has just released her first CD since the split with the Waves, Turn The Tide, which has quickly become a collectors item among fans, as it was a limited edition.
In early 2005, she formed a fresh band in a startling bid to repeat her Eurovision triumph for a different country. Katrina and the Nameless' song As If Tomorrow Will Never Come was one of the entries in the fourth semi-final of the Melodifestivalen - Sweden's national pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 in Kyiv - but failed to qualify directly for the final, and was definitively eliminated the following day in a 'second chance semi'. The group's bizarre name was a reference to the last-minute shedding of the original choice Katrina and the New Wave, following opposition from members of the original 'Waves'.
In mid-2005 she was quoted in the New York Times reacting to the fact she shares a name with the hurricane that devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, and neighboring states in the southeast part of the United States:
"Katrina Leskanich, former lead singer of Katrina and the Waves, commented on the odd experience of sharing a name with the storm. "The first time I opened the paper and saw 'Katrina kills 9,' it was a bit of a shock," she said in an interview. "It's a very sad situation, but I'm sure the strength and good will of the survivors will turn it around." Katrina and the Waves had a huge hit in 1985 with "Walking on Sunshine" and received a Grammy nomination for best new artist that year. "I hope that the true spirit of 'Walking on Sunshine' will prevail," Ms. Leskanich said "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."" The MSNBC news program Countdown with Keith Olbermann dubbed its coverage of the hurricane "Katrina and the waves".
Her latest CD "Katrina Leskanich" is available through Universal Records in the UK. It is her first solo commercial release since her split with the Waves. The album has received generally positive reviews.