• Roni Klein

18 year old backing vocalists dream comes true, as he prepares to represent Albania in this years Eu

The name of Xhoni Jesku (red. In English his name would be pronounced Johnnie) , was published from our page immediately after the official confirmation of the Albanian National TV Broadcaster (RTSH) of the news that, it was going to be him and two other artists that would be the ones providing backing up vocals of the Albanian representativ Eneda Tarifa in May at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest 2016 in Stockholm .

But who is this only 18 year old guy? How did this oportunity come by and what about his dreams? We had the possibility to talk to the nice youngster, who was born in the city of Pogradec, a guy that together with two other backing vocalists, the artists Venera Lumani , will be helping Eneda on her mission of bringing her Albanian ”Fairytale” in front of more than 200 million viewers worldwide.

Xhoni, first of all let us congratulate you for being selected and let me ask you:How do you feel and how did your receive the news of the selection to be one of Eneda’s backing vocalists?

I am extremely content and full of emotions. To be getting on the stage, that I’ve dreamt of since my childhood days, it’s not a small deal for me. The news was confirmed from the songwriter, Olsa Toqi, one day after I had been for the audition.

Who is Xhoni Jesku? Apart from being selected as backing vocalist, the Albanian audience don’t know so much about you. What can you tell us, about yourself?

Right now I’m studying for canto and it is of course the music that takes the first place on my list of passions. I am trying to be very modest when I talk about myself, but I would describe myself as a very ambitious and persistent person.

Do you come from a family of musicians and if so can you tell us a little about them?

My origins are not from a family of musicians, but from a family that undoubtedly loves the arts and I’ve noticed that a few particles of my talent are inherited from them.My family consitst of my parents and my little sister, all living in the city of Pogradec.

This is not the first time for you on a stage, can you please tell a little bit about your repertoire?

Initially, I’ve been part of childrens music festivals in Albania. Few years after, I started the studies on the music school and took part in international music events 3 years in succession, both in Turkey and Germany, where amongst 140 other countries I represented Albania in the song category. There I started also experimenting with singing in the Turkish language.

How old were you when your interest for music started?

I was 5 or 6 years old. It was the pedagogues at the kindergarden who were the ones that discovered my talent for music and they were the people who pushed me in that direction. Slowly afterwards, the music became a very important part that would accompany me through my life.

Can you tell me about any artist names (Albanian or international) that have affected your taste in music?

The first I’d think of, is Saimir Pirgu (red.Albanian well known opera tenor), because at the same time I really do appreciate classical music. Of international artists I would mention Adele, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, etc.

Did you follow the Eurovision Song Contest before and what are your first memories from it?

I have been following the contest since 2004, when Albania began it’s participation. Even though at a very young age back then I can clearly recall going through big emotions while I was watching the Albanian artists getting on stage. I really liked the opening of the show from Sertab Erener (red. The winner of ESC 2003), who later in my life I had the chance to meet.

Sertab Erener – how and where did you meet her?

It was on the festival of Turkish language and culture "Dil ve kültür Festivali" immediately after the performances that were made in front of the Turkish audience at the Istanbul Arena , a festival where also big artists where taking part.After my performance of the song "Süperdin,Sessin mükkemel" Sertab approached me and said ; “You were magnificent and have a wonderful voice”

To return to Eurovision, did you listen to any of the participating songs of this year and do you have any favourites?

Of course I did and I have been paying a lot of attention. I like the songs of Iceland, Malta, Denmark, Spain etc.…but I must say that my favourite is still Russia.

There are only a few days left before the rehearsals start. Are you thinking about the emotions of getting on the stage?

Oh, I cannot wait to get on that huge stage. I think that the Eurovision will be giving so many emotions for me and it will help to form me as an artist.

What are your future plans regarding school and career?

First I’d like to achieve satisfying results in the exams after the end of my music school and then to begin my studies at the art academy. At the same time, I’d like to expand my career with participating in the most important music events in Albania.

What is your message for the readers of this interview?

The Eurovision Song Contest is a huge challenge for me. My part in this challenge it is to give the best I can, and as contributing to a decent Albanian participation. From the readers of this interview and not only them, I’d like to ask that they contribute by giving the maximum support to the Albanian song and for the wonderful artist Eneda Tarifa.

Shënim: Të drejtat në shqip dhe anglisht për këtë intervistë i mban eurovision.al (All rights for this interview are reserved)

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