Hersiana Matmuja interview: I like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Mozart

Hersiana Matmuja has been keeping busy since winning Festivali i Këngës 52, the Albanian national selection for Eurovision 2014. Besides posing for the promotional photos above, she’s been working with her team to shorten her song to the required three minutes and debating whether to record “Zemërimi i një nate” in English, Italian and Spanish. In the interview below you can get to know Hersiana a little better and learn more about her plans for Copenhagen.

First of all, WiwiBloggs.com would like to congratulate you on winning Festivali i Këngës 52.

Thanks so much!

How did you feel after you were announced as the winner?

Well, I couldn’t believe it. My first and last thought was, “Is this really happening or is it a dream?” It’s like when you have dreamed infinitely about something, and when you see it becoming true, touchable, you get totally numb!

Your song ‘Zemërimi i një nate’ translates as ‘One night’s anger’ right? What is the song about?

Yes, and the song speaks about the anger of one night, the momentary anger you can’t control and that makes you say words you shouldn’t, and hurt people. So the lyrics warn us to think it over before speaking, to think for one night, because you’ll wake up clearer in the morning, and the anger will be gone. Anger can destroy beautiful human relationships, like friendship. That’s the meaning of the lyrics.

Eurovision fans might not know much about you, so could you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Kukës, a city in the north of Albania, and came to live in Tirana when I was 5 years old. I started taking singing lessons when I was 8 years old, and also began to participate in many music competitions and concerts for children. When I was 14, I entered the Tirana Music High School, for lyrical canto, and that was my first step into the world of classical music, which is a big passion of mine. When I was 15, I competed on the talent show “Friday Night Fever” (Ethet e se premtes) and entered on the top 10 finalists. One year later, I got the chance to compete in the FiK for the first time, in the youth category, where I was given the first place, then entered the final of Festivali I Këngës. Since then, I created a particular affection to the FiK stage, where I have sang 3 other times, before winning this year. Besides pop music, I have never abandoned my other love for the lyrical canto, and I am actually studying in the fifth year in the Santa Cecilia music conservatory in Rome. I also continue doing classical concerts or competitions on the weekends. That’s my whole life, all about the music! It keeps me fulfilled and entertained.

Hersiana at Festivali 51

Will you be singing your song in Albanian or in another language?

I think I will sing it in English, but we’re still considering all the options.

Will you record the song in other languages?

I think I will make an English version anyway, but I’d personally like to make one in Italian, and Spanish!

I know it’s early, but how will you stage the song?

It’s early as you said. I can only have an idea about the performance in general, which I want it to be simple, but catchy. I don’t like to have many elements on the stage, just the needed few. I want people to listen to the song, more than to see it. I hoped, but didn’t expect! The song created trust in me, since the first time I heard it as a demo at the composer’s studio, because it caused me to cry. I always try to give my best, no matter what place it’s given to me on the competition.

What’s your link with Italy?

I wanted to study singing professionally outside my country, and I picked Italy, because it is well known for its culture and history in this field. So I competed to get the right of studying on the Santa Cecilia music conservatory, in Rome, and entered the school, as first on the list. This was my big approval on the world of lyrical singing, which I also love and dedicate most of my time to.

Have you ever watched Eurovision before?

Sure. I started watching it since Albania first entered the show. I was very young then, but it made me dream.

Who are your musical influences?

I like listening all sorts of music. I like everything that’s good, even if it’s commercial or underground, pop or classical, because I believe that’s how I can create my own personality as a singer. So I like Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Etta James, Billie Holliday, Bjork, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, ABBA, Puccini, Mozart…

Hersi Hersiana Matmuja EurovisionDo you have a favourite Albanian Eurovision song?

I liked all of them. It’s hard to choose when you know and appreciate all the Albanian contestants that have been there.

Are there any plans of doing a promotional tour?

We haven’t still discussed anything concretely, but it would be very good for the song promotion.

As you know, all songs must be around 3 minutes long. Do you have any news about shortening your song?

Yes, we are shortening the song, and we’re also going to rearrange it to make it a bit stronger, and of a better sound quality.

Do you plan to film a music video for your entry?

Yes, I think we will! But after finishing the final version of the song, of course.

There are two other countries Ukraine and Belarus have picked their entry for Eurovision 2014. Have you heard them?

Yes, I have! They’re different, but nice.

We have seen pictures of you getting ready to shoot promotional pictures. Could you tell us more about that?

We made a new photo shoot on the studio of the photographer Avni Selmani, in Prishtina, so we could have new photos with our Eurofestival entry conception. It was a beautiful experience. We shot for two days. These photos will come out soon, and you’ll see them on the official Eurosong sites.

The studio version

Finally do you have a message for our readers on WiwiBloggs.com?

Thanks for your attention! I’d like to thank everyone who has been supportive and positive. It means so much to me! Have a good year and never stop listening music!!

On behalf of the WiwiBloggs team, we would like to thank you for the interview and good luck in preparations for contest!

Thank you!

You can follow Hersiana Matmuja on Twitter @hersjanamatmuja and by liking her official Facebook page here.

Stay tuned to WiwiBloggs.com for the latest news on Hersi’s journey to Copenhagen. 

Ramadan is an Albanian-Australian correspondent for WiwiBloggs.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ESCRamadanYou can also keep up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.