It’s not long until Albania’s Festivali i Këngës, the country’s selection for Eurovision 2015! On December 26, the traditional Festivali will begin at the Pallati i Kongreseve in Tirana. This is the 53rd edition of the long-running show, and we will be interviewing some of the top Albanian artists vying for the winGjirokastritë Klajdi, who was a backing singer for Anjeza Shahini back in 2004 in Istanbul, wants the Albanian ticket for Eurovision 2015. We recently had the chance to talk with Gjirokastritë about his song ‘Vetëm te ti bësoj’ and much more! 

Hello Klajdi. Congrats for being picked to be a part of Festivali i Këngës 53! How does it feel?

It’s certainly a special feeling to sing at the Song Festival, which was organised by the Albanian public television radio, and for many reasons. The environment, the atmosphere, the feeling — this festival is quite different from others. At the festival only the singer navigates between orchestra and piano, and there arises precisely the effect of magic and live music and special feeling that creates this event.

KlajdiHow did you celebrate the recent Albanian Independence Day?

Not only me but every Albanian all over the world celebrates national holidays with great spirit and pride. Albanian Flag Day, the day of liberation, or the independence of Kosovo, are holidays with a special theme and bring big emotions, and as such bring in each country a very different atmosphere filled with a proud history. When we celebrate these holidays we dream that ethnic Albania is great and united again, and of course celebrate believing that one day we will return again into a single nation and not separated.

It’s been quite a while since you’ve entered Festivali i Këngës. What made you decide to submit a song again?

The first thing that brought me back to the festival is love and passion, which I continue to have for music, and my fans who always have encouraged me to go up! I never renounced my first love, music, but just in these years I have been doing other things besides music. I have graduated in communication sciences and mad another version of the popular children’s cartoon series, “Ben 10”. After that, I decided to become involved with Albanian politics, supporting the LSI party. I never forgot my love for music, and I’m so glad that I’ve submitted another song for this fantastic festival!

Some readers outside of the Albanian diaspora might not know much about you. Could you tell us about yourself?

I was born on 10 April 1983 in the town of Gjirokastra, which is in southern Albania. My father is originally from Skrapari and he was a senior officer in the Albanian army. I have two sisters who currently live in Italy with their families. I live with my mother because my father died back in 1997. My family has moved to different cities, from Tirana, Gjirokastra, Berat and Tirana again, which I’ve lived in since 1996. When I was a child, it was always a dream to become a singer. This started back in 2003 when I was second in ‘Friday Night Fever”, which is a talent show similar to Pop Idol. After coming second, the Albanian public started to get to know me. So far I’ve released one album, two videoclips and have done many concerts here in Albania, but also outside Albania, including Kosovo and Macedonia. I currently work as a journalist at the Albanian Telegraphic Agency.

We know your song is called is “Vetëm te ti besoj” which translates to ‘I only believe in you’. Could you tell us a bit about your song?

I rushed a little for calling the song “I only believe in you” because it would be better to call it “First Love”, since it speaks exactly to his first love, which in fact “I believe”. I’ve created the music, and the beautiful text by Jorgo Papingji and orchestration by Lambert Jorganxhi. I think we bring the memory of first love to all who will listen to the song, and I am sure that anyone who will listen will find themselves.

It’s not long until the competition. How are you preparing?

I am ready and cannot wait to be on stage between and in front of my colleagues and friends, and wish all success with this competition.

Have you seen who will be competing in Festivali i Këngës 53? In your opinion, who is your biggest competitor?

All singers, composers, and songwriters who participate in the festival are really important and highly favored. I do not differentiate any name because everyone in the festival is set to win not by name, but with the song, so the melody and theme. Each song is so beautiful can be a strong competitor of mine.

Are you a Eurovision fan? Do you watch Eurovision yourself?

In 2004, I was in Eurovision with singer Anjeza Shahini as representatives of Albania with the song “The Image of You”. Turkey hosted the show. I was a backing vocalist for Anjeza. After being at Eurovision and seeing what happens, of course I want to go, but not back as a backing vocalist, but as a representative of my country and good music!

Who’s your favourite Albanian act from Eurovision?

Anjeza Shahini, of course!

Since 2003/2004, Festivali i Këngës has been the song selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. What does it mean for you to represent Albania in the biggest song contest in the world?

For me it would be an honour, great responsibility, and a pleasure to represent Albania, and to have a place in the biggest song contest in the world! So I wish to be offered the chance to represent the culture of my country in Eurovision.

What genres of music are your favourite?

I like pop music, pop rock, dance, Latin, but also classic. Marc Anthony is my favourite singer!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I really like to watch and play football. I follow the Italian football club Juventus and the English National football team. Not only that, I like to travel and drive cars.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited?Klajdi2

The world is too large to separate the beautiful or less beautiful because there are many places that we cannot compare, but wanting less sea and wanting to stay in the Balkans say I prefer Thessaloniki. It is a city which for me is one of the most beautiful.

For those who haven’t been to Albania, what places would you recommend they visit?

Albania has plenty of beautiful places! Saranda, Vlora, Thethit, Skrapari, Berat, Kruja and Gjirokastra, Albania are all so beautiful. They offer not only the generosity of the Albanians, but also the sea, castles, museums, canyons and many other things that are associated with the history of a small country, but very welcoming with a special history.

Do you have a message for the readers of wiwibloggs?

Thank you wiwibloggs readers, and I hope that after having learning a little about me, you will check me out on Youtube and you might even become a fan of mine!

Thank you from all of us at wiwibloggs. We wish you all the best of luck in Festivali i Këngës 53!

Thank you once again, and to the wiwibloggs readers!