Sunday, May 03, 2015

ESC 2015: MEET ELHAIDA DANI (ALBANIA)

Elhaida Dani (22) has been winning things for years already: Star Academy Albania 2009, Top Fest 2012 with S'je më, The Voice of Italy 2013 where the judges described her a devastating force of nature, a hurricane, fantastic and basicly fought over her but she chose legendary Riccardo Cocciante and finally Festivali i Këngës 2014 with Diell.... and now she's representing Albania in the Eurovision 2015 in Vienna with I'm alive. And that's this year's drama event of Eurovision national selection season as the composer of Diell withdraw the song the last minute and she needed to find another song quick. But it seems no one complained and Albania's chances skyrocketed with the change of song and for the first time Albania is not sendind the revamped Festivali i Këngës winner to Eurovision. I wouldn't be surprised they will adopt this for years to come after she does very well in Vienna.

Elhaida started singing at four and obviously went to music school, but not to study singing but piano. She claims she never had singing lessons. Through various talent shows and competitions and a string of released songs (Si Asnjëherë from Kënga Magjike 2008 festival, Fjala e Fundit and Vetmia as well as Mijëra vjet from Festivali i Këngës 2011) and she moved to bigger international shows and won a couple of them, Sunčane Skale 2011 in Montenegro and Nova Musica in Bulgaria in the category for new artists. In 2013 she went to Italy and won the first edition of The Voice and released When love calls your name and Baciami e basta and released her debut album. In the final she sung also Adagio and won with 70% of the votes.
I kinda liked Diell and I kinda liked Elhaida even before she was selected for Eurovision. When I'm alive came out I was a bit perplexed and not entirely convinced as I felt the song was a bit messy and shouty. Then came the Albanian version Në Jetë. Usually the original Albanian version is a bit mess thanks to a language I can't figure out at all in any way. This time around that version opened the melody for me. Albania could be this year's shocker doing a lot better than anyone believes so far if the staging is done well and she delivers on the night. Go Elhaida! 
I know you'll come with the speed of light
You're my everything , all that I need.
You shut down my dreams but I’m not gonna cry
You live within me, that’s why I’m alive, I am alive
Cuz you are my life, you are my sun, 
I am alive, cuz you are my life

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