Viktor Tahiraj: “A true professional must be prepared for every situation”

After competing in Festivali i Kenges four times, last time in 1993, Viktor Tahiraj is now back in the Contest 27 years later, he is competing for his second victory at the Festival, and for representing Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest.

We had a great pleasure to chat with Viktor, find out more about his career, his entry in Festivali i Kenges, how does he feel about competing against Manjola Nallbani (who he won Festivali i Kenges with), and a lot more. Check out everything he told us in this interview here:

Hi Viktor, first of all thank you for accepting our invitation to speak to us. For the beginning of the interview, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and about your career so far?

Thanks to you for giving me this opportunity. I participated in Festivali i Kenges in the years 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993. Then, in 2000 I moved to Italy, Tuscany, until 2017. Before migrating I worked as a professional singer in the Petro Marko theater in Vlore. In 2018, when I returned, I continued to do my job as a singer and showman in the theater. This year I return to the biggest screen and compete for the fifth time in the most important Albanian Song Festival.

In your previous participations you also won Festivali i Kenges, back in 1992, together with another contestant from this year – Manjola Nallbani. How did you decide to come back this year?

Yes, I won the Festival in 1992 together with Manjola Nallbani. I am happy to have had an artistic partner like her, for her vocal and physical skills and this year she will also participate in the Festival.

How do you feel competing against Manjola this year?

I am proud to have her as a competitor and I absolutely do not see this competition with cynicism, on the contrary, it is the clear demonstration of the high artistic level and Manjola is an added value to the Festival.

You wrote your own song “Nënë”, which translates to “Mother” in English. What can you tell us about it, and how personal is it to you?

It’s true, I wrote a song dedicated to my mother… Not just mine, but all the mothers of this world, for their immense love and for all their selfless sacrifices for their children. I feel I can value them as best I can, expressing my gratitude and my affection through this song, giving my heart and my voice.

How are your preparations for Festivali i Kenges going? Now that all will be in the open air, do you have some ideas about your stage performance, how is everything going to look like?

Yes, for the first time in 59 Festivals, it will take place outdoors. The reasons are related to COVID and I believe it is necessary to respect the rules that protect our health. For me it is not problematic to perform outdoors, because I believe that a true professional must be prepared for every situation, whether it is legislative or climatic and that it does not matter where he performs, whether it is outside or inside, in a club or in a field. As long as the artists commit to their work with passion and professionalism.

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 have listened to all the other 25 songs of my colleagues and of course I congratulate each of them, who have put their hearts and emotions in front of the microphone and will give their best, despite the unusual conditions and I consider them heroes. I really like their songs. Beyond everything it is a party and we must live it with joy, but the competition that is part of the system and I feel I can highlight the extraordinary Manjola Nallbani as the winner.

Why should you be the one to win FIK?

I am not worried about victory. Being present on that stage is already a huge success in itself. I am a performer who sings live and I also follow the performances of others. Participation in this Festival is an extraordinary honor, not only for me but for any other singer.

If you win, would you keep your song in Albanian, or would you have it re-written into English or maybe another language for Eurovision?

If I win the Festival, first of all I would like to continue singing it in Albanian, my mother tongue, but I would also rewrite it in Italian because it is my second home and it would be even better for me.

Thank you very much for your time Viktor. We wish you the best of luck at Festivali i Kenges, and hope to see you in Eurovision 2021!

I also thank you for the opportunity for talking to you, it was an exciting interview. I wish you a lot of good things and we hope that Albania can sometimes win the Eurovision Song Contest too.

Give a listen to Viktor Tahiraj’s entry “Nënë” right here:

If Viktor is your favorite, make sure you cast your vote for him and for up to four other acts in our poll right here:

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