Interview Elhaida Dani: ‘I want to empower strong women with my song’

Elhaida Dani interview ALbania
Image Source: Orsola Mema

In the coming days and weeks, I will present to you some interviews I did with the participants of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. First up is Elhaida Dani from Albania. The singer who is famous for winning the Voice of Italy, but is originally from Albania, won the national final in her country with a song in her mother tongue, but later was decided she would go to Vienna with the powerful midtempo song ‘I’m Alive’. Elhaida tells me all about the song change, what ‘I’m Alive’ is about and why she wants to empower strong women.

You had to change your song after winning the Albanian national final. Tell me what happened and do you think you stand a better chance of winning Eurovision now?
We had to change the song ‘Diell’ that initially won, because the composer withdrew it. So we had to come up with something else and composers worked on ‘I’m Alive’ for three days. I’m very happy with the song as we made it in just a few days and it feels like every part of me is in it, because I was there from the first note to the last arrangement. I don’t really want to worry about winning Eurovision, but I want to have a lot of fun and enjoy my performance on the big stage.

What is the song ‘I’m Alive’ about for you? What do you think about when you sing it?
For me it is about a girl who is in love and the fact that love makes you feel strong and gives you the impression that you could move the world. It is also about the empowerment of strong women, something that comes back in the video as well. You see a police woman, a female fire fighter and a doctor. These are the women that save our lives every day, but still they fall in love and get their heart broken. But they will never cry and that is why you see the tears go back into their eyes instead of falling down. They can still smile.

That’s a great message Elhaida! How will you express this on stage in Vienna?
Well, of course I am not going to tell you all the details, but I will say that we are working hard on it. I will be joined by three backing vocalists and we are trying out the best way to get the message of the song across to the viewers all around Europe.

You won The Voice of Italy. What experience from this TV show will you use on the big stage in Vienna?
I think the most important thing is that I learned to be comfortable on big stages. I try to experience everything like it is the first time and I want to enjoy this. I just want to be myself on stage. I won’t be afraid, but calm enough to enjoy what is about to happen.

Are you hoping for the 12 points from Italy?
I know my Italian fans will vote for me and that is the most important to me at the moment. By the way, Italy has a great song as well!

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The best Eurovision result for Albania so far is the fifth position. Are you going to do better?
Oh, I don’t know about that, but Albania usually does really well in Eurovision, so it is already a big honour for me to represent my country and go down in history as the singer of one of Albania’s songs in the contest.

What do you think about the other songs in the competition this year? Do you have any favourites?
I think there are a lot of good songs in this competition. I heard many great voices as well. I do have my preferences, but it wouldn’t be fair to single out just a few as I love so many of them. It will be great to hear them all again in Vienna.

Last question! What song of the history of the Eurovision Song Contest would you like to cover?
Of course I do not know all the songs of all the years, but for now I would go with Pastora… Pastora Soler from Spain. Her ‘Quedate Conmigo’ is such a great song!

Update: Elhaida actually performed ‘Quedate Conmigo’ during a party in Vienna!

Read more Eurovision 2015 interviews:
Azerbaijan: Elnur
Germany: Ann Sophie
Latvia: Aminata
Norway: Mørland & Debrah Scarlett
Slovenia: Maraaya
Sweden: Mans Zelmerlöw

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