On Air Now
Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
15 May 2019, 14:17 | Updated: 15 May 2019, 14:28
Albania are hoping to win with their 2019 Eurovision act Jonida Maliqi who began her showbiz career at just 13.
Albania are set to make their 16th appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest this year after only joining the lineup in 2004.
Despite being relatively new to the contest, they were the first country to announce both their artist and song last month in the hopes of getting their first ever win.
So, let’s meet Albania’s Eurovision 2019 entry Jonida Maliqi and find out what she’s singing…
Jonida is a well-known face of the showbiz world over in Albania having competed in a whole host of singing competitions. She is also a graduate of the University of Arts in Tirana and studied the violin and guitar.
At the age of just thirteen, she made her debut at the Festivali i Këngës - a major Albanian song contest - with the track “Planeti i Fëmijëve”. She’s been taking part in the contest ever since and even hosted it in 2010.
As well as releasing her debut studio album in 2006, Jonida has also starred in theatre production The Ten Commandments: The Musical, and played Juliet in the Albanian musical version of Romeo and Juliet.
The star has since turned herself into a TV personality and in 2016 Jonida appeared as a judge on the fifth season of "The Voice of Albania".
Jonida will be performing a track called “Ktheju tokës” at Eurovision this year which translates as "Return to the Land" in English.
During an an interview with Eurovision fansite Wiwibloggs, Jonida explained the meaning behind the lyrics, revealing it centres around Albanian emigration, especially regarding the Kosovo War.
The Eurovision hopeful said it was written "for Albanians, for immigrants, for all the people around the world".
A video of Jonida’s dramatic performance at the Festivali i Këngës song contest is already online, giving viewers a glimpse of what’s to come.
The routine includes three backing singers, while images of fire are seen in the background and a powerful eagle is displayed on screen right at the end.
The singer will reportedly be dressed in a full-length black gown decorated in gold as she takes to the stage.
After many attempts, in December 2018 Jonida took part in the 57th edition of the Festivali i Këngës and finally won.
According to the rules of the show, this means she became the country’s representative at Eurovision.
Yes, the singer has 460k followers on Instagram and you can join them @jonidamaliqi.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 final will air on Saturday May 18th, 2019 over on BBC One. The first semi-final took place on Tuesday 14th May and the second semi-final will follow on Thursday 16th May.
Jonida will perform 14th in the second Semi-Final on Thursday 16 May at Expo Tel Aviv in Israel.