Tifa (musician)

Tifa (musician)

Tifa live in Sarajevo
Background information
Birth name Mladen Vojičić
Born 17 October 1960 (1960-10-17) (age 51)
Origin Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Genres Rock and roll, hard rock, folk rock
Occupations Singer
Years active 1980–present
Associated acts Teška industrija, Vatreni poljubac, Divlje jagode, Bijelo dugme
Website www.mladenvojicic-tifa.com

Mladen Vojičić, widely known by the nickname/stagename Tifa (born 17 October 1960, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia) is a Bosnian rock vocalist. He became famous throughout former Yugoslavia for his brief stint as the lead singer of Bijelo dugme in mid-1980s.

Apart from Bijelo dugme, he sang in numerous bands with varying degrees of prominence (most notable being Teška industrija, Vatreni poljubac and Divlje jagode). Undisputedly a singer with great vocal capabilities, Tifa's impulsive personality and irrational character often stood in the way of him reaching bigger achievements career wise. He is one of the few performers in former Yugoslavia that openly discuss personal drug and alcohol problems.

Nowadays, Tifa maintains a semi-successful solo career.


Early life

Mladen Vojičić was born in the maternity ward of Sarajevo's Koševo Hospital, to a Bosnian Serb father Branko and a Bosnian Croat mother Jelena. He was nicknamed Tifa before reaching the age of 4 because he loved trains and would often shout "Ide lokomotifa" (properly pronounced "Ide lokomotiva" meaning "Here comes the locomotive") because he had problems pronouncing phoneme "v".

He displayed an early propensity for singing. By the age of 5, he knew the entire repertoire of Indexi. In primary school Tifa was an excellent student. Around that time he was a fan of UK band Sweet. He completed gymnasium, but did not excel at university. In order to please his intellectual father, he tried to work towards a "real job" by attending a number of University of Sarajevo faculties (mechanical engineering, architecture, civil engineering, geodesy), but ultimately abandoned each of them before devoting to music full-time.

Musical career

Early years

Tifa started out as a bass guitar player in the first group he was involved with (Prvi čin). After barely a month, he moved on to Kako kad and only started singing when the lead singer didn't show up for rehearsal one day. After some time the band dissolved as everybody except Tifa lost their interest in music. His last band before leaving for the mandatory army service in October 1980 was called Paradox.

While in the army he stayed in touch with Zlatan Čehić, Paradox's bass player. Together, they also started working on tracks by mailing packages back and forth containing audio cassettes with Zlatan composing and Tifa writing the lyrics. Upon his return from the army, Tifa learned that Paradox had been dissolved and that Zlatan joined another band named Top, so he took back all of his lyrics and sought a new band to play with, only to eventually end up in Top also. They lasted until January 1983.

In the meantime, word spread around Sarajevo about Tifa's excellent vocal, so people started coming to him with offers of joining their groups. This led to engagements in a few bands, none of which existed long enough to achieve any prominence. Briefly, he was even a fringe member of the freshly re-activated Teška industrija that made use of his lyrics in 1984 to record a few tracks on their comeback album Ponovo s vama ("Again with you"). Around the same time Tifa started drinking and abusing drugs, two vices that would plague him severely later in life.

Bijelo dugme

Just as he was trying to get in touch with Milić Vukašinović for a possible stint with his band, Tifa got a dream offer very few struggling musicians would dare refuse. Goran Bregović invited him to join Bijelo dugme, the biggest band in SFR Yugoslavia, as replacement to recently departed Željko Bebek. The year was 1984. Being only 24 years old, Tifa was ill prepared for the instant fame he was about to step into. To make matters even more difficult, his alcoholism and drug use were worse than ever. During most of the recording sessions Tifa was either drunk or stoned, or both, but despite numerous personality issues, Bregović was very much satisfied with the quality of his young singer's voice. After somehow finishing the album, the band embarked on what would prove to be an extremely troublesome tour. The burden of replacing Željko Bebek, lead vocal who spent previous 14 years with the band's various incarnations was just too heavy for Tifa to cope with. Bregović & co., all of whom were considerably older and more mature than their new vocalist, demanded discipline and professional approach, but got neither. To ease the pressure of playing in front of tens of thousands screaming fans every other night Tifa disappeared even further in his chemical addictions, making himself pretty much impossible to deal with. By October 1985, Bregović had finally had enough and kicked him out of the band. Tifa's last performance with Bijelo dugme took place in Moscow on August 2, 1985.


That same year Tifa managed to escape criminal persecution despite being at the wrong end of a drug bust that saw a handful of dealers get arrested. Many have since wondered about the circumstances of the takedown, especially in light of the fact that Bijelo dugme drummer Ipe Ivandić ended up serving 2 years in jail for similar drug possession offence some four years earlier. The widely circulated unofficial story claims Tifa took a snitch deal from the police whereby providing the information they wanted about his suppliers in return for having the charges wiped off.

Back on the music front, his first post-Dugme move was a duet with Željko Bebek for Bebek's new project Armija B - they sang on a track called "Široko nam toplo polje glamočko". Two former Bijelo dugme frontmen even went on tour together, however proving once again he doesn't function well on the road, Tifa quit right in the middle of it, reasoning that it wasn't very successful anyway.

In the autumn 1986, he finally joined Milić Vukašinović's Vatreni poljubac recording 100% Rock'n'roll album with them.

After failing to settle down there too, Tifa ended up in Divlje jagode, fulfilling Sead Lipovača's wish of replacing Alen Islamović with someone from "Bregović's clan" as revenge for Alen's transfer to Bijelo dugme. Tifa participated in the recordings of their album titled Konji and even contributed a track of his own - "Zauvjek tvoj".

After making one album with Divlje jagode, he left the group in 1988 and recorded new material under Tifa & Vlado moniker with keyboards player Vlado Prodan (who earlier also played in Divlje Jagode and Armija B). However, no record company showed sufficient interest in releasing the album.


In 1989 he successfully released his first solo album No1 which he recorded with Tifa Band, a freshly assembled group consisting mostly of musicians from bands he previously played with: Aleksandar Šimpraga (ex Top), Vladimir Podany (ex Divlje jagode), Mustafa Čizmić (ex Bolero), and Veso Grumić (ex Top) with the help of Djordje Ilijin (ex Tako) who played keyboards during studio sessions. Tifa wrote most of the songs for the band. Around the same time Tifa tried to negotiate a personal transfer to Atomsko sklonište, which sought to replace Sergio Blažić - Đoser, but that never happened.

In early 1990 Tifa performed concerts with new lineup of Tifa Band with Zlatan Čehić (his old collaborator from Paradox days) as one of the members. Tifa then put together a second solo album Samo ljubav postoji together with Zlatan.

He remained in his hometown during most of the siege of Sarajevo and even managed to record an album Šareni dan during that time. After getting viciously beaten up by some local heavies, an incident he vehemently refuses to discuss, Tifa left Sarajevo in 1995 for Germany. Once there, he first hooked up with Divlje jagode again and then formed his own band. Shortly thereafter he returned to Sarajevo and carried on with a solo career.

2005 Bijelo dugme reunion

In June 2005 he took part in Bijelo dugme reunion for 3 large farewell concerts, but even then the reports of trouble were not far behind. Apparently Tifa and Bebek got into a verbal bust-up backstage at the Sarajevo concert (the first in the series). Then one day before the Belgrade concert (the final one in the series), irritated Tifa blasted Bregovic and manager Raka Maric in Kurir daily tabloid: "Wouldn't you be mad if someone tortured you like this. I haven't had a bite to eat since this morning, I barely had time to take a piss. What's he jerking-off inside now [referring to Bregovic] why aren't we starting already. What am I, a scumbag with nothing better to do than running like a dog after his master!?"

Tifa then continued: "I'm mad at Brega and Raka. It's ridiculous to think we got back together because of emotions. Like we're all just trembling with excitement. Please, gimme a break, this is a swindle of the lifetime and everything is put together for nothing other than cold cash. They paid me well to sing my Dugme songs - I'll gladly do that and then it's see ya later. I hear some are already talking about continuing on with the Dugme thing. No problem, but not with me. After this concert I don't wanna see them again in this or in the next life. Maybe only in the third one. They took a year and a half out of my life, my kid has forgotten what I look like."[1] He would reunite with Zeljko Bebek and Alen Islamovic to form a group called "Kad Bi Bio Bijelo Dugme" in 2006 and go on a North American tour. They returned once again in 2007 and began their world wide tour which lasted until the end of 2010.

Solo discography

  1. No1 - 1989
  2. Samo ljubav postoji - 1990
  3. Šareni dan - 1994
  4. Dani bez tebe - 1995
  5. Grbavica (compilation) - 1997
  6. No1 ("Hitovi") (compilation) - 1998
  7. Ostaću s'tobom - 2000
  8. Skenderija - live - 2001

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Vlado Georgiev
Sunčane Skale winner
with Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Makadam

Succeeded by
Croatia Ivana Banfić

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