Eurovision fans were first introduced to Cleo and Donatan back in 2014, where they were selected to represent Poland upon their return to the contest. Their song ‘My Słowianie’ was a parody of Polish stereotypes, and that filtered through to the live performance. Cleo was the face of the duo, with Donatan not on stage for the performance. Instead, the iconic performance featured butter churning and a washboard, because even Eurovision stars need their laundry washed!
The performance led Poland to the final, and with all the votes received, the nation finished in 14th place overall. Beyond the results, the performance continued to stand out as one of the most quintessential Polish Eurovision acts, especially since their return to the contest.
Who is Cleo?
While Donatan was credited for the song, we are going to focus on Cleo as the face of the duo. The 38-year-old singer-songwriter graduated from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, however her career has since been focused around the entertainment industry. While we know her as Cleo, her real name is Joanna, and she originates from Szczecin.
The Journey to Eurovision
Prior to Eurovision, Cleo sang in a gospel choir called ‘Soul Connection’ and was the winner of the first season of the Polish contest, Studio Garaż in the Rhythm and Blues category. Back in 2011, she participated in the first season of the X Factor Poland, however failed to reach the live shows. Interestingly, Michał Szpak also participated in this season and went on to finish as the runner up.
Since 2013, Cleo worked with Donatan, and it was in 2013 when their Eurovision song, My Słowianie was released. Poland announced their return to Eurovision, and immediately there were rumours surrounding Cleo and Donatan and their potential to participate. It was later announced that the duo would represent Poland at Eurovision with that song, which was performed in both Poland and English at Eurovision.
The song was a hit at Eurovision, particularly with the public vote. Poland managed to finish 5th in the televote, however it was the jury vote which placed the duo further down on the results table. Nonetheless, 14th place was a respectable result for a nation returning to the contest.
What Happened next?
Since Eurovision, Cleo has partaken in a number of different projects. With Donatan, she released a number of singles such as Cicha Woda, Ten Czas, Brać and Sztorm. The singles were featured on the collaborative album, Hiper/Chimera.
In 2015, she participated in the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars, where she finished in third place. In December of that year, Cleo signed a solo record deal with Universal Music Poland. On December 30th, she released her first single, Zabiorę Nas.
In 2016, she released a number of solo singles including Wolę być, N-O-C and Na pół. All three songs made it onto the charts, with Wolę być and N-O-C both reaching platinum status. In 2016, Cleo was nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards for Best Polish Artist, however lost out to Margaret.
In 2017, she re-released her second album Bastet which included two new songs Pali się and Serce as well as instrumental versions of the songs from the album. In 2018, Cleo released a number of singles, with the highest charting song Łowcy gwiazd which reached 6th in the charts.
New music was released in 2019, but in addition, Cleo became a coach on the Polish version of The Voice Kids and is still a judge on the show. In 2020, Cleo released a number of singles, including chart toppers ‘Za Krokiem Krok’ and ‘Dom’. Another single, titled ‘Alfabet Świateł’ was produced by Donatan. The album superNOVA was released in September 2020.