The 54th Festivali i Kenges, the long-running Albanian music competition which has served as the country’s national selection method since their debut at Eurovision in 2004 will take place in late December. Last week, the participants were revealed and we can find many familiar names on the list, fighting for the opportunity to represent Albania in Stockholm next year. There are also a few fresh newcomers, one of whom is Aslaidon Zaimaj, the winner of “The Voice of Albania 4” who will perform the song titled “Merrmë që sot” in first semifinal of Festivali i Kenges. Will Italian-born Aslaidon follow Elhaida’s steps and participate in Eurovision 2016 after winning The Voice?
First of all I would like to congratulate you as your song will compete in Festivali i Kenges. How did you react for this news?
Thank you, obviously I feel excited about that and I think it will be great.
As it’s your first time in this festival, Eurovision fans don’t know you very well. Can you tell us more about your career, music and participation in “The Voice”?
Well, I was born and raised in Pisa (Italy). I immediately began singing and playing the guitar, because I felt the passion for music since I was a little kid watching Michael Jackson and Nirvana’s performances on TV. I created my own band that still exists, and we play alternative rock. One year ago my father listened to our EP and without telling me anything, he sent our material to “The Voice of Albania”. I was hyped and surprised so I went there and with a lot of luck I won the competition. Afterwards, I participated in another Albanian festival “Topfest12” and I won the “Best new artist” award. On the other side I still make underground music with my band.
Why did you decide to submit the song ‘Merrmë që sot’ to Festivali i Kenges? Can you tell us more about that song? What can we expect?
This song means a lot to me, it is about a really hard and dark time of my life and for the first time I feel very vulnerable and 100% true on what I sing. The song is a little melancholic (I love sad music) but at the same time powerful and full of hope for my troubled generation.
How are the preparations for FiK going? Do you have any ideas about your stage performance, outfits etc.?
Every night I imagine how I could move and sing in front of people, in this moment it’s all clear, but just in my mind.
If you will win Festivali i Kenges, would you like to sing your song in Albanian or English during Eurovision Song Contest?
In English, because I first sang it in English. It comes really natural to me, more than any other language.
Are you an Eurovision fan? What’s your favorite Eurovision song?
Yes, my two favourite songs are “Euphoria” and “Suus”, I also really appreciated the guy who won this year.
What do you think about previous Albanian Eurovision participants?
My favourite ones are Rona Nishliu and Anjeza Shahini, they are amazing singers.
Finally, do you have any message for Eurovision fans who will watch Festivali i Kenges online?
Of course. I hope you will catch the message of rage and emotion of my song, I put all myself in this song.
Our team at ESCBubble would like to wish the best of luck to Aslaidon Zaimaj at Festivali i Kenges!