Orgesa Zaimi: “I love being able to have a career next to singing…”

After competing in 2015 with “Nje shishe ne oqean”, Orgesa Zaimi is back in Festivali i Kenges this year, and she is competing to represent Albania in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Ngrije zërin”. She is also no stranger to Eurovision, as she was there in Moscow as a backing singer for Kejsi Tola.

We had a great pleasure to have a chat with Orgesa Zaimi about her participation in this year’s Festivali i Kenges. In between other things, we asked her about her song, her team, and she told us about the ‘bad luck’ she has ahead of important performances. You can check out everything she told us in this interview right here:

Orgesa, first of all I would like to congratulate you on being back in Festivali i Kenges! How was your experience in the 2015 Contest, and what made you come back?

It was a great experience. I was very happy to be part of Festivali i Kenges in 2015 for the very first time. I had built my career outside of Festivali i Kenges since 2005, and two years ago I was given a very strong song about a very delicate time almost all over Europe in 2015, with the tragedies of the immigrants found dead in the sea, whilst trying to find hope and their future homes. The lyrics of “Nje Shishe ne Oqean” and then the music – a modern waltz, was a big challenge for me, and I have great memories out of my participation.

You mentioned your career started back in 2005. What sorts of things have you tried yourself in since then?

Since 2005 I work as a live singer in different venues and locations in Albania. I have my band, I sing a lot, and in very different styles and genres. This is a way of expressing myself ,and also being present in my own image and duty of rock’n’roll-ing life. I am also a happy mom of two wonderful and cool kids.

Can you tell us more about the meaning of your song “Ngrije zërin”, and the team behind it?

Well, it’s a very nice story, as first of all, I didn’t think of entering Festivali i Kenges this year, cause I was pretty busy with my other projects. However, things changed when I met up with Briz Musaraj, who is a very talented producer. We used to know each other from taking part at the same music competitions or having mutual friends, so now we came up with the idea of having a song for this year’s Festivali i Kenges. We thought about doing something different for me, because I am used to sing a lot of rock or pop rock, and we realized that we both like a lot of British music, their groups and artists. We stayed for about 3-4 hours at the studio and we recorded a demo of this song in English, and then we sent this demo to our friend Olti Curri, who works as a lyricist.

Orgesa Zaimi 1Olti loved the song so much that he wrote the lyrics for it in only 10 minutes. I remember saying to him: “Please don’t write anything about heart break or love, because I want to sing about something like being free or standing up for myself”… he than said: “Ok shut up, I got this” and then “Ngrije Zerin” was made. The song is very rhythmic, in drum’n’bass style. And it is a very big challenge for me, but I’m sure that it will sound great with the big orchestra. I love this entire project, and I am very excited and can’t wait to perform it on stage.

How are your preparations for Festivali i Kenges going? Do you have some ideas about your stage performance, outfit, how is everything going to look like?

I am getting there. First of all, I have to concentrate on my performance in terms of my shape and doing my best as a vocalist. I am taking care of being away from flu or cold, because every time I have a concert or a big stage performance i get sick hahaha, so I hope not to ruin it. And then also, my very good friend Miranda Dupi, my stylist, is taking care of my outfit, and then I will be ready.

Have you had a chance to hear any of the other competing songs in this year’s FiK? Who do you think is that one act, who is going to be your biggest competition?

I haven’t had the chance yet to hear all the songs yet, but my dear friend Bojken Lako played me his song, and I loved it. But I have to hear all of them to see and think about which one is the best one 🙂 

If you win Festivali i Kenges, and represent Albania in Eurovision – would you sing your song in English or Albanian, and why?

I know that who wins Festivali i Kenges will represent Albania in Eurovision, also if I will be the chosen it will be a big responsibility. But right now I am trying to have fun and not think about whether I will win or not, whether I will sing in English or not. But as I mentioned, the demo version of my song was in English.

You were already in Eurovision in 2009 together with Kejsi Tola. How was your experience, and how do you see the other Albanian Eurovision entrants?

Yeah, I was in Eurovision 2009 in Moscow as a backing vocalist for Kejsi Tola, and I remember it as a great experience. Also, I followed from time to time the other participants as well of course, and I think that the Albanian artists are all very talented, and all of them have great range and vocals. They all are great performers.

Albania now failed to qualify for the Grand Final two years in a row. Should you win Festivali i Kenges, what would you do to make sure Albania is back in the Grand Final?

Well maybe it’s bad luck, I don’t know, because both Eneda and Linda were great. I can’t imagine what I would do to make Albania a finalist again, or either if I can do it. Let’s see how it goes with Festivali i Kenges, and then we will talk again.

Orgesa Zaimi 2Are you engaged in any other projects currently, apart from Festivali i Kenges?

Apart being on stage every weekend rocking it, and having new projects and videos coming up, I am very focused in my role as a mom, I love my kids, and I feel inspired by them every day.

What do you normally do when you are not singing?

I am a radio host. I have my daily radio show at Club FM Radio, called “Music Box”. It’s something I am very passionate about, and I love being able to have a career next to singing, and that is very close to it 🙂 . Every day my listeners at the radio get to know my other side, as I love to talk about music legends, new records and all sorts of the “music planet” as I like to call it. I am thrilled to be able to educate audiences with my tastes in music.

We also have a couple of questions for you just to get to know you a little bit better. What would be your favorite book?

Lately I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood, a Canadian author. I read “The HandMaid’s Tale” and also “Alias Grace”, and I see her as a great feminist, but also a very talented novelist and human.

What type of music do you personally like to listen to? Any favorite artists?

I love all kinds of good music, especially gold and legendary music of the ‘50s ‘60s ‘70s ’80s and the ‘90s. I am a big big biiiiig fan of Queen, especially of Freddie Mercury. Everybody loves Freddie, he inspired me the most.

Favorite movie?

I am also a big fan of cinematography. I can’t choose one, but I can say that I love all the 8 movies of Quentin Tarantino, and I am waiting for the 9th one.

Your own signature dish?

My risotto is to die for hahaha 🙂 

In a movie about your life, who would be playing you?

I never thought about this, so i’ll skip this question 😀

What would you bring to a desert island?

I don’t know… maybe some good music 😀

Favorite taste of ice-cream?

Mmmm I love vanillaaaaaa

Your ideal duet-partner would be?

I have a big big list but I will choose David Coverdale from Whitesnake, or Steve Tyler from Aerosmith… I love them 😀

The last song you listened to was…?

Today i listened to the new song of Kelly Clarkson called “Meaning Of Life”, I love her 😀

Favorite Eurovision winning song?

I have more than one, but lately I loved Sweden and Loreen in “Euphoria”. It was very powerful.

The song you heard and wished it was yours instead?

“Bohemian Rapsody” by Queen. I wish I was there 😀

Thank you very much for your time Orgesa, and we wish you the best of luck at Festivali i Kenges!

To keep up with all the latest news on Orgesa Zaimi, you can follow her official Facebook page. You can also give a listen to Orgesa Zaimi’s entry in this year’s Festivali i Kenges – “Ngrije Zerin” (Eng. transl. Speak Up)

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