Genta Ismajli, the Kosovan pop star who has many fans worldwide is entering the Swiss selection for Düsseldorf 2011 with the song "This is my night", composed by the Turkish composer Cuneyt Cakim and Stephen Leuenberger. Switzerland's last success was a 3rd place in Dublin 1993 and 8th in Kiev 2005. Switzerland has never qualified for the final since 2006.
How did you start your music career?
Genta Ismajli: I was born a dancer and I have always been a singer. I would always sing at family gatherings, music was in our home since I can remember. I got my big break from my mother she always told me I had a gift so she wrote me my first hit song called Dridhem.
She wrote the song in New York with some friends of hers and then we went to Kosovo to try to perform and they wouldn't let us even audition because they said there was no room for no more artists on the program well my mother certainly wasn't going to take that so she demanded at least I should get a chance to perform on the stage, since we flew all the way form America and ever since that performance It became a career. I guess that's all I am looking for western Europe is a chance to perform to show Switzerland what I have.
What message does the song convey, and how this international team came together and this project started?
Genta Ismajli:The international team came together a few years ago when I met Cuneyt Cakim and we started working on some projects back then. I had always dreamed of being in Eurovision but I have been waiting for Kosovo to be able to send a participant and I wanted to be the first artist to represent Kosovo in Eurovison. We were told in Kosovo that RTK, the official national Broadcaster would be in in 2010. They have been trying to get in since independence and it's not happening, so Cuneyt was working with Stephen Leuenberger on a song for Eurovision called "This is my night for" me to enter in Swiss Eurovison were they dont have residency requirements for participants and they had secured one of Sweden's leading producers Niclas Kings who was responsible for many hits. The only problem really was time - we only had one week to fly to Sweden to record master and make a video to it. Let me tell you it was stressful but I really want to thank my Manager John Goci from Detroit, Michigan, USA for being the glue and helping us get it to this point the rest is up to the people.
When I first listened to the demo track of the song, it made me feel good. It reminded me of summertime having fun, dancing with my friends, about putting all my inhibitions behind me ,about letting all my fears go and being truly free like a bird, free like a river and welcoming everyone to my life and to my party. But when I visualize my performing to it, dancing to it, you will really love it. Now we want be one soul and one voice in Europe and welcome everyone to a peaceful life.
Why Switzerland must vote for you to represent this country?
Genta Ismajli:Switzerland is one of my largest fan bases outside Kosovo. It's my second home. I have many relatives living there and thousands of fans. The Swiss people have always been good to Albanians and to me personally. I believe them to be good open minded people, hard working and fair. If I should be so lucky to get a opportunity to perform they will see that I can win Eurovision for them. I feel that I have a great song a great show planned for my performance not to mention 153,000 fans from all over the world that will support me. I have a truly international team behind me it is very diversified just like Europe is and we love each other and I think this song is a product of that love and respect for one another and it shows what different people with different backgrounds and cultures can do when they work together and help one another, they make beautifully music.
In your opinion, why has not Switzerland been very strong at the Eurovisionong Contest in the last years?
Genta Ismajli:The songs they choose never charted Internationally and they never had a artist with International fan base. Overall they had some good entries but there is a lot of completion with some great performances and the others were just a little bit better. In the end success and failure is defined by a very thin line.
Which are your favorite songs in the Eurovision Song Contest history?
Genta Ismajli:Songs of Celine Dion (Ne partez pas sans moi has also a Swiss composer with Turkish roots like This is my night), Dana International , Anna Vissi, Azúcar Moreno, Sertab Erener, Imaani, Lena and lot of other songs and singers.
esctoday.com would like to warmly thank Genta Ismajli for granting us this interview. Good luck![/font]