🇦🇱 From Rita Ora to Eleni Foureira but still no Eurovision trophy for Albania
Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece)
EDITORIAL – I was thinking the recent years success of Albanian singers aboard and the relation with the Eurovision Song Contest. Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha, Era Istrefi. It is the year 2018 that boosted the Albanian singers to frame internationally.
The time when the world only knew Albanians from the prejudices about crime and communism is definitely over. International successes from Albanians all over the world, in sports and culture, contribute to an outstanding image. Next to that, countries like Kosovo and Albania keep developing in fields like tourism. 2018 was the year of breakthrough, and gave this people world fame.
Born in Kosovo, raised in the United Kingdom. Rita Ora became the first Albanian pop star with world wide fame. But 2018 was a special year. Rita set a new UK chart record for the most Top 10 singles by a British female artist! Once a war refugee from Kosovo, now the most successful female singer in the UK, having 13 top 10 hits. Rita is an honorary ambassador for the Republic of Kosovo.
The Spice Girls, Lady Gaga, One Direction, and Justin Timberlake. Pop acts that once won the MTV Award for Best Pop. 2018 was the year where Dua Lipa, a Kosovan Albanian girl from London, won the biggest recognition for being a pop idol. Her debut album was one of the most streamed albums on Spotify, in 2018. Dua Lipa became one of the best ambassadors for Kosovo and Albanians world wide.
For the first time in history, an Albanian singer is nominated for the ‘Oscars for the music scene’. And not just one, but two can win an award. Bebe Rexha, an Albanian from New York, and Dua Lipa, an Albanian from London, are both nominated in the category Best New Artist. Besides that, Bebe can win ‘best country duet, and Dua can win ‘Best dance recording’. The two girls were both in tears when hearing about their nominations.
Eleni Foureira is now the co-relation factor of international success and the Eurovision Song Contest. A girl who had to hide her decent for years from the public eye managed to two Greek and Cypriot music industry and got as close as anyone before to the Eurovision trophy.
Still Albania has no trophy in the contest. Is Festivali i Kenges to blame? Albania is using a national song festival for its Eurovision Song Contest entry selection. The event is one of the most glamorous egentsand over the years has been revamped and its production is simply exquisite. The outcome in thee monitors is simply spectacular. But unlike Italy, Portugal and Sweden, Albania hasn’t win Eurovision yet.
Italian Sanremo Festival is the mothers festival of Eurovision itself and its always embraced music that anyone could love. After all the Italian music has something special and in 2015 Italy actually won the public voting in the contest, proving that three tenors can do the job.
Portugal, using the Festival da Cancao managed their first ever Eurovision. trophy in 2017 through an artist who’s personal story touched thee entire European audience. It was almost sure he will win, having heard that Salvador could even die before singing to the contest.
Sweden is an exceptional example of a country using its national song festival for Eurovision purposes. Sweden’s state television is collaborating with the record labels as closely as possible (just like Italy) and it is wide known that Swedish record labels have direct collaboration through their artists and authors with the top International market, that of the USA.
So what’s wrong with Albania? Thee use of the festival is not thee wrong recipe for me. The issue with Albania is that they lack a song that can become a hit and more over an artist who’s story would be appealing to the European media. I think thee answer is as simple as that. Overall since there debut in 2004, Albanian entries have been rated as very good by the eurofans.
Albania has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 15 times since its debut in 2004. The Albanian broadcaster, Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH), has been the organiser of the Albanian Eurovision entry since the country’s debut in the contest and has used the long-standing Albanian song contest, Festivali i Këngës, to select the Albanian Eurovision entry. In 2004, Albania’s first entry at Eurovision, Anjeza Shahini, finished seventh in the final. This remained the country’s best result in the contest until 2012, when Rona Nishliu placed fifth.
Somehow I have thee feeling that the rise of Albanian (Kosovar) singers in the international music scene, the success of Eleni Foureira and Ernal Meta in 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will wake up RTSH and I have the feeling that in the next ten years, Tirana will host a great Eurovision Song Contest.