Katrina formerly of Katrina And The Waves

katrina and the waves

Official website of Katrina formerly of Katrina & The Waves

Katrina Leskanich formerly of Katrina and The Waves - Biography

Katrina was born in Topeka, Kansas and came from a big air force family, moving every couple of years; arriving in England in 1976 where Katrina formed the band Mama’s Cookin’.

In 1983 Katrina joined The Waves and the band became Katrina and The Waves gigging around England and the London pub and club circuit at venues like Dingwalls, the Hope and Anchor and the Marquee.

Katrina & The Waves

Katrina and The Waves had their first big break in 1984 when The Bangles covered their song Going Down to Liverpool and they were subsequently signed by Capitol Records.

The first Capitol album, Katrina & The Waves released in 1985, was a substantial critical and commercial success and ‘Walking on Sunshine was a worldwide hit earning top ten spots around the globe. (No. 8 UK, No.9 US, No.3 Canada, No.4 Australia).

The single Walking on Sunshine gave Katrina and The Waves a worldwide hit in 1985 and a Grammy nomination.

Katrina and The Waves
Katrina and The Waves

The single Walking on Sunshine gave Katrina and The Waves a worldwide hit in 1985 and a Grammy nomination.

Walking on Sunshine has been streamed over 750,000,000 times on Spotify alone (with 0ver 6 million monthly listeners) – making it one of the most popular songs of the 80s decade.

Katrina and the Waves

Films featuring ‘Walking on Sunshine’ include:

  • Ask Max (1986) Disney movie.
  • Secret of My Success (1987) Michael J Fox – walking on the treadmill.
  • Look Who’s Talking (1989) danced to on-screen by John Travolta.
  • High Fidelity, (2000) danced to by Jack Black.
  • American Psycho (2000) with Christian Bale – to tone down a dark event.
  • Daddy Day Care (2003) Eddie Murphy – opening sequence.
  • Walking on Sunshine (2014) Leona Lewis in musical featuring upbeat 80s song.

Katrina and The Waves Song Covers

  • Bangles ‘Going Down to Liverpool’ (1984).
  • Dolly Parton ‘Walking on Sunshine’ on her Treasures album (1996).
  • Celine Dion ‘That’s Just The Woman in Me’ (2008).
  • Glee cast mash up of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ (2010).
  • ‘Walking on Sunshine’ has recently featured on American Idol, X Factor and The Voice.

Katrina and The Waves follow up success

Katrina & The Waves were nominated for a Grammy for “Best New Artist” and were constantly touring the US, Japan, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Their follow up single, ‘Do You Want Crying’ was a top 40 hit in the US.  ‘Sun Street’ was a UK Top 30 hit in 1986. In 1989 Katrina & The Waves recorded a more rock-orientated album for Capitol subsidiary SBK Records. The album, Break of Hearts included ‘That’s the Way’ which reached No. 16 in the US charts.

katrina and the waves

The band toured worldwide with artists such as Wham, The Beach Boys, Don Henley, Pointer Sisters, Chaka Khan, The Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, Coolio and Run DMC. ‘Walking on Sunshine’ was followed by more chart hits – ‘Do You Want Crying’ and ‘Que Te Quiero’ in 1985. ‘Sun Street’ in 1986 and ‘That’s The Way’ in 1989. Katrina and The Waves performed at Madison Square Garden, The Mall, Washington DC, The Marquee Club and CBGBs where Katrina sang with Joey Ramone.

In 1997 Katrina and the Waves’ Love Shine a Light won the Eurovision Song Contest with the largest ever margin. This was followed by an unprecedented four consecutive appearances on Top of The Pops and a No. 3 in the UK Charts.

katrina and the waves

Solo Career

The following year, Katrina and the Waves split up and Katrina pursued an alternative career on radio and TV. She was a TV presenter on Watchdog on BBC1 and was then offered her own show on BBC Radio 2 – where she presented a three-hour show, five days a week for the next year and a half. This was followed by a stint in musical theatre, where Katrina played the lead role (songwriter Ellie Greenwich) in Leader of the Pack, singing some of the songs that had influenced her as a young singer.

In 2001, Katrina began a solo career, performing live in the UK and in Europe and resumed writing and recording. Her first solo album, ‘Katrina Leskanich’ was released in 2005. Katrina wrote and produced many of the songs on the album, which includes collaborations with Phil Thornalley, (‘Torn’) and an acoustic cover of Kirsty MacColl’s ‘They Don’t Know’.

In 2006, Katrina put together a new band, performing their first gig at The Borderline in London. In 2007 Katrina covered ‘Hitsville UK’ on The Sandinista! Project – a new compilation and tribute to The Clash Sandinista! Album. She toured Australia on the Countdown Spectacular tour and Norway with Gylne Tider. Katrina’s single ‘They Don’t Know’ was included on the Gylne Tider 2 album which went platinum. The following year, Katrina had a UK club hit in 2008 with a dance version of ‘They Don’t Know’.

Katrina celebrated 25th Anniversary of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ with Katrina and The Waves in 2010, with the release of a new CD, The Live Album. And the Glee Cast had a UK Top 10 hit with a mash up of Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ and Katrina & The Waves ‘Walking on Sunshine’.  The EP Spiritualize was released in May 2011.

Katrina published her first book – Peggy Lee Loves London: My London Guide (Metropoodle Press 2013) where Katrina explores London in a new city tour guide series which is also available on Amazon Kindle. In 2014 Katrina performed on the Retro Futura Tour of North America with other 80s artists including Thompson Twin Tom Bailey, Howard Jones and Midge Ure.  Katrina also released her first studio album for 10 years – Blisland.  In 2015 Katrina toured South Africa and again in North America.

In 2016, Katrina took part in the BBC’s ‘Eurovision: You Decide’ and toured Australia on the ‘Totally 80s’ Tour and Sweden during the summer.

Katrina toured the USA with the Retro Futura Tour 2017 with 80s artists including Howard Jones, Paul Young and The English Beat, and released a compilation album, The Very Best of Katrina. In 2018 Katrina released her Christmas single, ‘I Can’t Give You Anything but Love’.

Katrina Leskanich Holiday

In 2020 Katrina released two new singles, ‘Drive’ and, ‘I Want to Love Again’ which was followed by the release of her  album, Hearts, Loves & Babys (KATSWEB) later in the year

2022 Katrina released the single ‘Holiday’ to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘Love Shine A Light’ winning Eurovision. In 2023 Katrina released a new single ‘Shut Your Mouth’ and was one of the guest artists of The Beach Boys on their Caribbean Beach Boys cruise and performed at the Grand Final party in the Eurovision Village when the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Liverpool in May. And toured Sweden with ‘The Greatest 80s’ tour for a month in November and December.

2024 Sees the release of ‘I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love’ (May 2024) and the publication of ‘Peggy Lee Loves Cornwall: My Cornwall Guide (Metropoodle Press June 2024).


Holiday - Katrina formerly of Katrina & The Waves