Today we head to the Land of the Eagle, namely Albania for our 15th interview in our series of the 2014 Eurovision ESCToday Interviews. We travel to the beautiful city of Tirana where we have a tete a tete with the 2014 Albanian Eurovision representative Hersi Matmuja, who shares her feelings about representing her country at the forthcoming Eurovision edition and reveals more details about her Eurovision entry.
Hello Hersi! Congratulations on winning the 52nd Festivali I Kenges and getting the chance to represent Albania in Eurovision. How does it all feel to represent your country in the contest? How are you living this experience?
It is an unbelievably beautiful experience. At the first moment, I couldn’t believe it, it was surrealistic, because I had dreamed about for such a long time, and seeing it become true, it has been to me something of another dimension. After that, it took me long time to realize it was true. We started working, putting things up for the ESC stage performance, which is the most important thing, the final aim; representing my country worthily, and for that, I’m up to give the best of Hersi.
Could you tell us more about your active involvement in the FiK festival ? Namely you have entered the competition a total of 5 times. What has brought about this decision? Why haven’t you competed more actively in other music festivals in Albania? Was it because your ultimate goal was Eurovision? Is it because your music and genre fit well in within FIK framework?
It is partially because of the kind of music I like to sing, because other musical competitions in Albania aim for something a bit more commercial, and partially because of my commitment with the conservatory of Santa Cecilia of Rome, where I study since five years for lyrical singing. I could only visit Tirana in December, for vacations, and I also utilized this time for the Festival. Also, it is the biggest, most important live stage in Albania, and I insisted participating in this contest every year because I really felt it would improve me professionally. And yes, of course I dreamed about being selected as the Albanian rapresentator, but I had never considered it as a real possibility before this year. Having gained this experience all this years on the FiK, it finally created me trust and self-confidence.
Zemerimi i nje nate or One night’s anger, talks about thinking twice before saying something hurtful and always trying to hold yourself from getting angry. How does this message relate to you as a person?
I am a very impulsive person so, it is kind of the story of my life. This year I think I have grown up a lot, big changes have happened in my life and career, so I definitely had to leave behind the impulsivity, anger, the desire to say everything that came on my mind, and let out all the negativity I used to accumulate…I definitely feel much better, responsible, happier. That’s why the verses of the song carry such an important message to me!
Please tell us what is your song about? How did you select it to enter FIK and what message do you want convey to the European audience through your song?
It is generally about not allowing negative thoughts and feelings grow up on ourselves, because they won’t allow us be happy and self-confident. Destroying any kind of relationship we have with someone, because of an impulse, it really isn’t worth it. Genti, the composer created the melody of the song when he got inspired one of those days, and he had a general idea about not having a song just about love, but to include a wider rage of human feelings, and Jorgo wrote the lyrics.
Now that the official version of your entry and its videoclip are released, how do you plan to promote your entry? Do you plan to tour around Europe in order to promote your song? Which countries are you planning to visit?
The Albanian staff of ESC has been fixing some dates and places, so we could have a promotion of the song around Europe, which really makes me happy! On 3rd May we will be in San Marino! Then in some other places, to. I can’t wait!
Have you heard any of the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest this year? Which are your favourites? Which song would you give your 12 points to?
It is really hard to answer. Every year Eurovision Song Contest gathers so many good artists with very authentical entries, but I think this year has something, like a special touch (or maybe it’s just me, if you know what I mean!). There are particularly interesting songs this year, almost from every country. I think the competition will be full of surprises.
Whilst most Eurovision entries tend to be commercially tailormade and retain the common factor of targeting the masses, you have opted to bring an original production to the contest. A a song which unlike other entries, one needs to listen to several times in order to get its essence. What influenced you to opt for this entry?
Thank you so much! Me and Genti competitioned also last year on the FiK, with the song named “Kush ta dha kete emer”, which took us on the third place. So, we proved we had a good artistic chemistry, and decided to give it another try. The aim has always been to create something unique. That’s why I appreciate Genti as a composer, because of his distinguishable personality as an artist. It was all up to his inspiration; the way he conceived the song at the moment he wrote it.
How do you plan to plan to stage your entry in Copenhagen? How do plan to win the audience in order to vote for you? What should we expect from your performance on stage?
I think I will show on the ESC stage just the Hersi that I am. Hopefully, the best from what it is. I don’t like extravagances, I would like for people to listen to the song, its verses and the vocal performance more than focusing on the visual part. I think it will be something simple, classic.
What are your plans after Eurovision? Are you working on any new projects? Will we see you on the FiK stage again?
Oh, it’s a difficult question to answer to, because I never make long-termed plans, and also because, I think I’ll have to focus on my studies at the conservatory (it is my last year, I’ll have to work double after the ESC) which I have left a bit aside in this period. But of course, I won’t give up on pop music for a moment! And I want to see the stage of FiK again. It has given so much to me!
What message would like to give your international fans and our readers on esctoday.com?
I don’t know how to thank everyone who has been supportive, positive… Your beautiful words, comments, your appreciation means so much to me! It is essential for the being of every artist. Keep living on the sounds of any kind of music. My biggest hugs and regards!