Author: MÁDI Sándor
Albania is participation at Eurovision since 2004. They have two top 10 places in the final. Last year they didn’t reach the final with the rock song, this year they have Hersi Matmuja to show what she can does in order to get a good final ranking. I talked with Hersi about her past, present and Eurovision plans.
When did your singing career start?
I started taking singing lessons when I was 8 years old. Since then, I started participating in various music festivals and competitions for children, and when I was 14 I entered the Tirana Music Conservatory to study lyrical singing. One year later, I participated on the talent show Friday Night Fever, where I was qualified between the 10 finalists. This were my first important steps of my career. Then, when I was 16 I participated on Festival i Kenges for the first time, winning the youth category, and then qualifying in the final. This has been my big break , I guess.
This year you were selected to represent Albania at Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Coppenhagen. What were your first impressions when you heared your name as a winner?
Wow, it was fantastic. Something I had never experienced before…I guess I had been dreaming for too long for this to happen, that’s why I became totally numb for all that night and the days that followed. I cried and laughed in the same time. It took me long time to get used to the idea.
What does it mean for you represent a country at Eurovision?
It means a double responsibility, beyond the emotional parts and my dreams. I have to represent Hersi, the singer together with the songwriters, and also my whole country, its art and music. We have had a very intensive schedule during this period, the song, the lyrics, the video…and it’s still not done, because now it comes the most important part: the stage performance, which I personally will have to work a lot on, because I want to have a good vocal performance, my very best.
We all know that you took part in FiK in 2010, in 2011 and again in 2012, but you didn’t win the chance to represent your country. Why did you decide to give it a try again?
Last year I arrived third on the FiK, with the same songwriters as this year (Genti Lako/Jorgo Papingji). Since then we decided to participate again this year, since we had proofed we had a good artistic chemistry, no matter where we would arrive.
How was your song (One night’s anger) created? Was it written especially for Eurovision?
It has been written on Genti’s inspiration, that’s all the truth.( He likes to fish and he gets inspired while fishing ) He than called me, while I was in Italy, and told me he had created a new song, I came to Tirana, heard it as a demo and…immediately started crying! It gave a very good feeling, made me have faith about something more this year…Then Jorgo wrote the lyrics, I only had to sing it!
What’s the message of your song, One night’s anger?
The song, which you now can hear in english, as it will be sung on the Eurovision stage, speaks about the anger of one night, that makes us speak and behave without thinking, hurt people we love, and create negativity inside ourselves…Everything passes, the night will be gone, the morning will be shining, so the lyrics tell us to calm down, think twice, because things like pride and anger destroy our own feelings and lifes…
Do you follow Eurovision Song Contest?
My first year was when Albania first participated on the contest, in 2004…since then I have watched it every year.
Who are your favourite singers? (In the world, not only Eurovision singers.)
There are a lot of different music genres, because I like to hear every kind of music, if it’s really good. I like listening pop, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, blues and jazz, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, and contemporan, europop, or experimental, Bjork, Nightwish, ABBA, albanian music, italian and…classical, one big passion of mine, which I study for on the Conservatory of Rome.
This year there will be 37 countries in the contest. Do you have your favourites?
I have listened them, and I can only say the competition will be hard!
Where did you shoot the videoclip to the song?
We have shooted it in Albania, in some very beautiful places of my country, on the mountain and seaside, also in the urban environment. It is a simple video-clip, nothing eccessive or extravagant. The staff of the video wanted something so that the people would focus more on the song.
What are your expectations, your main aims at Eurovision?
I will focus as I said on the vocal performance, it’s something I believe in- that singing is just about singing, and I’d like for the stage performance to be something simple, pure and classic. I hope people like the new version of the song, About the rest, I only want to give my very best…that’s all I hope for!
What inspires you?
I can’t remember ever considering myself a normal child since when I was very young…I don’t know, maybe my family has injected in me this big passion about music and arts, that I can’t understand the world differently or percieve myself in a different reality. I live with music, study for it every day, it fullfilles my whole spiritual needs!
What are your plans after Eurovision? Will you relax?
I would like to, but I can’t…Being commited with Eurosong in this period has made me leave aside my studies on the Santa Cecilia Music Conservatory of Rome, where I study on the fifth year for lyrical singing, and I’ll have to work very hard after May to recuperate…after that, I guess I will relax in a way I never did or will! 😀
What would you like to send to the Hungarian readers and fans of Hersi Matmuja?
I’d like to send you my whole affection and gratitude… to everyone who has been positive and supportive, thank you! It means a lot for us artists, especially in moments like this in our lifes…your approval is fundamental. I also wish for you to have a life full of art and music! Best wishes!
Thanks for Hersi Matmuja for this interview and special thanks to Kleart Duraj.
We wish all the best for you in Coppenhagen!