Tonight sees the final of Albania’s “Festivali i Këngës”, the winner of which will go on to represent Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in May.
One of tonight’s finalists is 26 year old Tahir (Tiri) Gjoci, who is no stranger to Festivali I Kenges, having participated in 2017 and then reached the final in 2018, losing out to Eugent Bushpepa’s “Mall” . He is also lead singer of the group “Bon Bon Band” who have been going since 2007 and have achieved success in Kënga Magjik, being crowned Best Band in the 2014 edition. Tiri won Voice of Albania in 2016, and has been achieving great success with his solo singles since.
Tiri, welcome and thank you for chatting with us here at ESCBubble! We are delighted to see you in the final of Festivali i Këngës. How are you?
Thank you, it’s a pleasure! I feel great and looking forward to sing once again in the final with my entry “Me gotën bosh” (With an empty glass).
Tell us more about “Me gotën bosh”, written by Pandi Laço and Everest Ndreca. How did this song end up as your entry?
I and Everest Ndreca are friends, we have studied Musicology together. The idea to compose this music started 1 year ago. With Pandi Laco, its the first time that we are collaborating. I am very pleased that Everest has composed this rock-ballad for me and that Pandi’s lyrics fit so perfectly.
You have achieved great success this year with your self-written songs Zemer and Kujtimet. Were you tempted to write your own song for Festivali i Këngës?
Thank you! Yes with Zemer and Kujtimet I succeeded and 2019 was definitely my year. I would say soon, I have it in my future plans that I will write and compose my own song for the FIK.
Albania has a rich history of music competitions with both Festivali i Këngës and Kënga Magjik happening at the end of every year. How do you decide which one is the best to showcase your songs?
In order to succeed and to bring to the public a good material you have to concentrate and work hard. This year has been very productive for me, I have been working on new projects and songs which will be published soon, at the beginning of 2020. In my opinion it is good that competitions as Festivali i Këngës and Kënga Magjik continue to happen, I could have done them both, but this time I choose FIK.
As the winner of Festivali i Këngës has the opportunity of being the Albanian representative at the Eurovision Song Contest, does this have any extra significance for you?
I had the opportunity to appear on the stage of Eurovision in Israel in 2019 as backing vocalist of Jonida Maliqi and I can say that for each artist that appears at Eurovision, there is a good possibility to present themselves and to gain a great experience.
You have been singing since the age of 14, both with Bon Bon Band and as a solo artist, do you still get nervous when it comes to big competitions? What keeps you excited about being a competitor?
Yes its true i have started performing live music since age of 14 and I can say that it doesn’t matter how many years that I have been performing or touching different stages, each time in a stage with live orchestra and a massive audience, for me it’s just like the first time. When I sang this Friday in the semi-final, it was amazing, I enjoyed it so much and I was so grateful to hear the public calling my name so many times.
Tiri, thank you so much for finding the time to chat with us in the build up to what is sure to be a fantastic contest tonight. Best of luck to you!
Thank you very much for this interview, I enjoyed it very much! I look forward to singing tonight in the final and to please all my fans. Best wishes!
ESCBubble will be live blogging tonight’s final – be sure to stick with us hear from 2030CET as Albania’s song for Eurovision becomes the first song chosen and the contest season is officially open!
Watch Tiri’s semi final performance of “Me gotën bosh” here