© EBU/Thomas Hanses
Manuella Brečko, also known as Manu (previously ManuElla), is a Slovenian singer and songwriter born on January 31, 1989, in Celje. She represented Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with her song “Blue and Red.”
Her musical journey began at the age of 6 when she started playing the piano accordion. By the age of 9, she had picked up the bass guitar and began learning solo singing. At 12, she joined a music group and performed with them for 6 years. She showcased her talent on the second season of “Bitka talentov” (Battle of Talents) at 16. She also made a notable appearance in “Misija Evrovizija” (Mission Eurovision) in 2011, where she reached the semifinals while competing to represent Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku.
After completing her studies at the Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics, and Media in Celje, she graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana in 2012 with a degree in production from a recording studio. In the same year, she collaborated with StereoTipi on the duet “Raztrgaj me nežno” (Tear Me Gently). Her debut solo song, “Il futuro,” was released in January 2013. The track was a collaboration with Kevin Koradin from the group Tide and Dutch producer Clifford Goilo, with lyrics penned by Manuella herself. That year, she also participated in the Slovenian popevka competition, securing the 5th position with “Zadnji ples” (Last Dance).
In 2015, Manuella was invited as the sole Slovenian artist to the RetrOpatijski Festival, a retrospective celebration of the Opatija Festival, where she performed the song “Vozi me vlak v daljave” (Take Me on a Train to the Distance).
On February 27, 2016, Manuella emerged as the winner of the Slovenian national selection, EMA, with her song “Blue and Red,” co-created with Marjan Hvala and featuring lyrics by Leon Oblak. Although she achieved the 14th place in the second semifinal of Eurovision 2016, her performance garnered attention. Later that year, she and Hvala relocated to Stockholm, Sweden. However, her subsequent attempt to return to Eurovision with the song “Glas” (The Sound) did not qualify for the final.