Interview: Andri Xhahu - Everything Eurovision (An Interview with the commentator of Albania)
The Albanian National TV Broadcaster (RTSH) confirmed just few days ago that it will be Andri Xhahu’s voice, the one that for the 4th consecutive time will be guiding the Albanian audience through the Eurovision Song Contest semifinals and final. Andri will also be presenting the points of Albania on the final evening of the 60th edition of the show. Lately he has been working on a TV show called “Everything in Albanian”(in Alb: Gjithcka Shqip), a show that is about the actual music scene in Albania and a show that is one of the nominees for this years television award in Albania IMA Award 2015 (more info at www.imalbania.com) (UPDATE: the show won the award "Best showbiz 2015) But what’s connecting Andri to the Eurovision, what are his favorite Albanian entries and what is the right “recipe” according to him, for winning the Eurovision? Eurovision Albania had the chance to ask him personally.
Andri, first of all let us congratulate you for being chosen as the commentator and the points presenter for Albania in the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest, first of all allow me to ask you on the definition of the word Eurovision according to your personal vocabulary and when did you first start following this contest?
I started following the Eurovision in a laid back sort of way, almost 15 years ago and after the first participation of Albania, with more focus. From the beginning and in continuity, every year I’ve been introducing the radio show on Radio Tirana (Albania National Radio Service - part of RTSH) called “Waiting for Eurovision” a show that is all about the Eurovision. And now for the past four years, I’ve added also the biggest task, the one of commenting the show and the presentation of the points for the Albanian vote. Eurovision is the event of the year that I can’t wait for. It’s a three nights journey full of emotions, while the other 362 days are just a waiting time for it.
Could you please tell us the 5 titles of songs from your “25 Most Played” list on your PC or smartphone?
There are so many songs that are a refrain within me in every moment, but I would say: Euphoria - Loreen, Undo -Sanna Nielsen, For real - Athena, Dancing in the rain - Ruth Lorenzo, Milim - Harel Skaat.
What genres of music you like the most and which genre of music you don’t like at all?
When a song it’s beautiful, I listen to it and it doesn’t matter who sings it or what genre of music it belongs to. If the Cypriot artist was ashamed to have Britney Spears song “Toxic” on his mp3layer, I wouldn’t be.
Which years Eurovision Song Contest is your favorite and which Albanian entry do you hold in highest esteem?
For so many reasons, I would say the 2012 Eurovision: It was the first year for me as a commentator on the Albanian National TV and the first year as the presenter of the points. This would also become the year of Albania achieving the highest position to date with the song “Suus” sung by Rona Nishliu. I liked very much the organization, the scenography and everything else.
If you could choose between Festivali I Këngës (FiK) and Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) without which of those two could you survive?
I would survive also without both of them, but I must accept that I appreciate both of them highly as music events. I grew up with Festivali i Këngës and later on as a part of it, both on the scene and behind. Eurovision has other taste, but together they become and get a joint name: Good music.
What is according to you, the right “recipe” to win the Eurovision Song Contest?
If only I knew that, I would have taken part myself (red. laughs). I cannot tell what exactly one needs to win, but I am able to say what you need to have an entry to be proud of.
It is very simple, all the 11 entries of Albania have been more or less a testimony of something to be proud of.
When do you feel more full of emotions, when commentating during the semifinals and final night of Eurovision, or when you give the points?
Emotions cannot be compared as they differ from one another. Both things demand responsibility, prep work, professionalism and dedication. I feel bad that sometimes the 30 seconds appearance on TV gets more comments than my commentary of the three evenings. Maybe it’s the interest on the results and the power of the image.
“Eurovision Song Contest” and the show “Everything in Albanian” how much are they connected to one another and could you please tell us a little more about your show?
"Everything in Albanian" has for several years now been the space for promoting the songs and artist that have been representing us in the Eurovision Song Contest. The show is now a brand and it’s experiencing the moments where the artists want to be a part of the show, so they could get the chance to launch their song during this radio show.
What is your message to the readers of Eurovision Albania OGAE and would you like to add something more?
I want to compliment you on your good work promoting the Albanian entry in Eurovision Song Contest. I often click on to your web address, to follow up with the latest news. This years Eurovision wants to build bridges so Europe and not only, could become a big city. This is achievable through music. We add also love and we get closer to the perfection: Love, peace and good music.
Andri, thank you very much for your compliments and for the time you’ve dedicated to us. Best of luck and keep up with the good work!