Rona Nishliu has done well. Despite dividing opinion in 2012, she came second in our Wiwi Jury rankings, and went on to achieve a Top 5 placing in Baku. She returned to Tirana as a national hero, and has been riding that wave both domestically and internationally ever since. At another popular song festival in Russia, she placed second, and wowed both the audience and judges alike. During the Festival I Kenges 51, her performance reminded us of her musicality and vocal power. She was a tough act to follow, and her successors crashed out in the semis. On the night of the ESC finals this year, she flew to Vienna to wow ESC fans with a performance that is still being talked about today.
But Rona isn’t just devoting time to the Eurovision circuit. She has also been channeling a lot of energy into charity work. She recently released the official video of Se vetem zebra flet skate, which raises awareness about gender-based violence among adolescents. Its message comes from her heart and you can really feel it. The video is part of a wider public awareness campaign lead by the Kosovo Gender Studies Centre, with support from The European Commission.
Unlike many stars that ride the charity bandwagon, Rona campaigns tirelessly against adolescent gender violence. Se vetem zebra flet skate isn’t marketing for its own sake, nor is it meant to further her career. The single won’t be included on her upcoming album, nor will it be available for commercial release. This project is meant solely to raise awareness about this important issue.
Recently, I caught up with Rona and asked her what the video was about. “The video intends to present those critical moments of anger, sadness, and nervousness of adolescents, and the importance of managing the difficult and stressful situations through self-restraint,” she said.
Her response reaffirms the depth her fans have always associated with her. From previous interviews, we know that Rona is a highly articulate and eloquent visionary.The English translation of “Se vetem zemra flet skate” is ‘Because Only The Heart Speaks Right’. In a world where many stars use Eurovision as a platform to resuscitate their ailing careers, Rona uses the contest to shed light on a national crisis, and address important causes.
At wiwibloggs, we honour artists such as Zlata Ognevich for following in the footsteps of Rona Nishliu for vocal power. The good news is that Rona isn’t just a voice for sweet music. Her lungs have the power to turn the ESC into a platform for social change.