Balkan Superstar and Icon Željko Joksimović is an inspiration both on and off stage. The Serbian vocalist, composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer can play 12 different musical instruments and is fluent in Greek, English, French, Russian and Polish in addition to his native Serbian.
Joksimović first came into the public eye at the age of 12, when he won the title of First Accordion of Europe at the prestigious music festival in Paris. Since then, the musical genius hasn’t slowed down, twice competing in the Eurovision contest- and placing in the top 3 both times- and composing/hosting the contest several times. He travels the world, often packing stadiums of 50,000-80,000 fans to watch his show.
If you would like to see the legendary Zeljko Joksimovic perform stateside, he will be performing at 3 exclusive concerts in Toronto (Aug. 30th), New York (Aug. 31st), and Chicago (Sept. 1st)- tickets can be purchased here. Until then, read our exclusive interview, where the Balkan Superstar tells us what inspires him, what he eats, and even a secret you didn’t know:
HFR: What is your daily exercise and nutrition routine?
Joksimović: I start my day with a full-grain toast combined with different ingredients – avocado, cream cheese, smoked salmon, eggs, etc. After breakfast, I’m done with carbs for the day. I eat mostly proteins and vegetables, while I completely ditched sugar from my diet. Of course, I eat something sweet once in a few months or so, but that doesn’t happen every year.
Regarding other eating habits, I eat every 5 hours and I try to avoid acidification at all costs, because it turned out to be the biggest problem for my body.
I work out regularly combining different types of exercises. For instance, I love cycling, and I drive around 10K per day, but often I do quite longer routes through Belgrade. There are plenty of places for cycling there, and Ada Ciganlija lake is one of my top choices. The bike I favor is my BMW bicycle, I got from my wife as a birthday present. The hydro-formed frame and carbon elements make the bicycle light and strong at the same time. It has cool hydraulic disc brakes, and I really enjoy riding it.
Besides cycling, I swim at least three times a week, and go to the gym every two days. I have friends who are fitness coaches, and we practice together, which enables me to implement the best programs for my body, and for the job I do.
HFR: What keeps you motivated to stay healthy?
Joksimović: Being a musician is a really challenging and hard job. Let me remind you that I had four big concerts last week, in different countries in the region, where each gathered more than 50 thousand people. I traveled more than 2000 miles by car during these several days, had live concerts that lasted several hours, with many rehearsals, meetings, fan activations, press conferences, etc. Therefore, you need to be physically fit and strong. This is directly connected to healthy nutrition and exercising, which are very important for me since I want to give the best to my fans.
HFR: Do you believe that being fit and healthy has contributed to your successful career?
Joksimović: I think it definitely did contribute in some way, even though the focus of my career has always been on the actual music I create. However, good looks are certainly a great benefit within our profession and I would be lying if I said that it didn’t matter, especially when I was at the beginning of my career. On the other hand, having a healthy lifestyle is something almost obligatory nowadays as our fans and followers look up to us and our habits, and we have to make a good example.
HFR: What inspires you, in general?
Joksimović: Every time I’m working on a new song, I really try to make it different than the previous ones as they are all supposed to be telling a different story and that means I need a lot of inspiration. I personally find it everywhere – in the people I meet, my family, different life events and experiences. The inspiration is actually deep inside all of us and sometimes only a small and valuable moment can awaken it, and bring it out to the surface.
HFR: What tips would you give your fans and our readers to stay healthy?
Joksimović: Enjoy every single thing you do for your body and your health. Try out different types of workout, different diets and ingredients and find something you really love doing or eating. I often meet people who force themselves to run every morning or eat something just because they heard it’s healthy, but they actually hate every second and bite of it.
Let me tell you, you won’t be able to endure for long and you will just give up in the end. Don’t let this happen and make your own routine and your winning combination.
HFR: Share something that most people don’t know about you.
Joksimović: Even though health, fitness and the lifestyle I just described are not the first things that come to your mind when thinking about motorbikes and Harleys, there is an exception to every rule. Most people don’t know or don’t expect this about me, but I’m a huge Harley Davidson fan – it’s almost an addiction. I really enjoy that feeling of power and freedom when I’m on the road. By the way, those moments are a good source of inspiration as well.