Hana:

It’s not easy finding interesting people in towns where you don’t know anyone. However, in all this time I managed to figure out some tricks, and one is to look for interesting people on YouTube. Sometimes, I find there video coverage of some people, and sometimes I find songs. One of them led me to Dejan Dević, who has a peculiar nickname – Lemon. He said that he inherited his nickname from his father, and that everybody calls him that, except for his Mom. Dejan also keep a small store on the side, but music is  his passion and his priority. I listened to his song „Budan“ (Awake), in which Dejan sings about some relevant current topics and it was enough to spark my interest and make me look him up.

Dejan Dević – Limun:

Music is my passion, and it so happens that I also earn most of my living as a musician. For years I have done it, and in time I built my own studio, in which I write and compose my songs. I have been writing songs since high school, I played music and sang, but only in the last few years I began recording, and making it all sound a bit more serious. I also post on YouTube and there you can hear it all.

Your songs contain some civic-minded themes?

Well, it’s true. In principle, I prefer to write love songs, and such songs that include a fun aspect, as I am by nature cheerful and positive, and I despise depressive topics. But, simply, one cannot avoid mentioning our present situation, so I turned my attention to the current situation in a couple of songs. Such tracks like „Ne laži me“ (Don’t Lie to me), the song „Budan“ (Awake)… there is another one that I have still to publish.

How are people reacting, what do they prefer?

I get more reactions to these politically engaged songs, but many hear the tune, find the chorus catchy, they keep humming it without giving any thought about the content and to what the songwriter wanted to say. A few people came to me and said it was good and they liked it.

You can’t live solely from your music? Do you do anything else?

It depends on the type of music you play. For example, I do not make money by playing my own songs, I would starve if I did that. One of these days, maybe I would be able to, but I am not embarrassed to play anything that brings money. Because, unlike most people, and perhaps it has something to do with my age, although I have always felt this way – it is important to me not to be dependent. I like to earn my own money, not to think about the price of bread, of a kilo of meat. And my buddies criticized me when I was around 20, 25 years old – „You go and play at christenings, weddings, who knows what.“ „What does it matter, I get paid for it, and then I can afford the guitar I want, the keybord I want, I can build a studio and record the songs I like.“ I wish I do not have to do this, and for the most part I no longer do this, I very rarely still to such gigs. But if I stuck exclusively to my own music, we are too poor a country for it to work.

Leaving BiH – and you are still here? Have you thought about emigrating?

I have thought for years about leaving. When the war just ended, it was not easy to leave, we were pretty shut in. Later, when the borders opened up a little, then I already had a life of my own, I had loans to repay, I could not affort this luxury to leave, to look around, because I had no time, I had to work. Now, the times are different, I succeded in building a foundation for myself.

I see myself as one of the rare members of the middle class, which used to be commonplace, but now no longer is.

I believe that I managed to get myself into this sort-of middle class, so that I can afford to travel, on occasion, and also to have a decent life here. I don’t fear whether I’ll be able to pay the bills when I get them. I can pay them, not that I have much more, but it is OK for now. If the times become worse still, and if I see that I can no longer earn a decent living here, I would certainly leave as well.

What do you think could be a way to stop this exodus?

I don’t think that individuals can to much about it. A few moments ago, when we chatted informally – I believe that such things will start sorting themselves. The time will come when even our local capitalists will face labor shortages. They alredy do, at least here in Teslić. And then they would have to start paying higher wages, if they want people to stay, if they want to preserve their profits, otherwise they will lose it. I believe that this will start happening very soon. But, there are still other things that need to happen. Many people did not leave because of the money, but because of  the quality of life.

I had a chance, I went to a couple of countries, I saw. Quality of life is greater, and it is all true, but wherever you go, you must work. Nothing is free. And, say, to get a decent life in Germany, to live well, you need to work for at least five years, to get to a point when you can afford that you and your family can afford a life. You need to learn the language, there are many other things, and, in the end, you are still a foreigner. You are in a great country, ten times better than Bosnia, but you are still a foreigner there.

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