• Chris Hannaford

Anjeza Shahini (Connolly) Talks To Eurovoxx


The next Eurovision Star we were honoured to talk too was Albania's very own Anjeza Shahini, although she goes by her married name of Connolly now. We were so delighted to see her, and were all taken aback as to how much she had blossomed into this incredibly beautiful woman. Anjeza dressed very elegantly with a black and white long striped jacket, accompanied with a multi coloured dress looked the part and was more than willing to answer our questions. For all who followed the contest after 2004, Anjeza is famous for making history by being Albania's first ever representative at the Eurovision song contest where she placed a respectable 7th. Check out the interview below:

The interview began with all smiles as Anjeza flashed her very impressive wedding ring, to which she told us that she is now half a Brit, having married Paul Connolly in September 2015. Of the nights performance she said she felt really good, and that, "it feels like going back many years, and still feels fresh". She added, "it always feels good being back". She acknowledged the Eurovision fans, and how much they mean which certainly is a lovely touch.

On her song, "The Image Of You" and being so young she said, "it was huge for me". After winning Albanian Pop Idol in 2003 she told us she then decided to participate in "Festivali I Këngës". She just wanted to sing with some of the big names. She won it, and that was massive enough for her, only to realise she'd also represent Albania in Eurovision next. Anjeza told us, "I was a little bit un-prepared, although fortunately it went really well".

It was extremely lovely and refreshing to also see the honesty come from Anjeza who admitted that as it was Albania's first time they were not prepared. Even when it came to the outfits, they faced the same issues of trying to get it right. She did say, "I really enjoyed it, as it was all genuine". This certainly comes across in the interview.

Of the contest itself Anjeza said, "when I was there I didn't really realise what was going on... you don't feel tired of the pressure, or the pressure... when you rest and look back in years you understand how challenging that could be". She does look back and thinks she could have done more relaxing though, and de-stressed. She definitely is "No diva" though. Anjeza also acknowledged that she tried to participate in Eurovision again, and came second twice in FIK.

In regards to "Festivali I Këngës" and it being used as the platform for Eurovision she said, "there are some discussions about it... because there are other festivals, competitions that are around that are doing a lot more modern music. However, I do believe the Festival has the experience to know what's going on in Eurovision, and what kind of music and style maybe". She hopes they can have different options within the same Fesitval though.

Andy put it to Anjeza that the songs that tend to win "Festivali I Këngës" tend to have a revamp and maybe the Fesitval itself could. "In the year that I participated there was 50% public vote, and 50% jury vote. I do strongly believe that it is so important because most of the time the public choses. It's been better". She does believe in the critics, however it's good to give young singers a chance to participate as well as established artists. Anjeza also was judge on the show this year too.

Anjeza delighting her fans at the EuroStarz in Concert"

Andy asked "What is the Chances of Anjeza making an appearance on the Eurovision stage again"? She joked about representing the UK, however she doesn't believe she will go back to "Festivali I Këngës" again. However, if there was the right chance, at the right time and moment maybe Anjeza would take on the Eurovision crown again.

Since moving to the UK in 2015 Anjeza tells us that she has done a little bit with music and her post grad, however she has taken a step back. "I would like to release new music, but it is a bit challenging for me. It's a new area, and not my home country". Anjeza also told us that she would love to do some vocal coaching, which may find the next Eurovision star.

Anjeza is a home girl, and misses Albania, her family and coffee with her friends. However, she did admit it was a good time for her to move on. She feels welcome in the UK, and enjoys her life in Britain. What is Albania's loss is the United Kingdom's gain.

If you would like to see more of Anjeza click the links below:

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