Albania was the first country to select its entry for the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest back in June 2016. Klesta Qehaja performed her song Bosoj in Valetta. Aged 10, she was the youngest performer in the 2016 competition. We spoke to her to learn more about her experiences at Junior Eurovision in Malta.
Klesta was born in 2006 in Kosovo and started singing at the age of four. She currently studies music in Pristina and in her spare time Klesta enjoys dancing and playing with her friends.
- What have you been up to since the contest?
Since the contest, which actually gave me the best experience ever, I returned to my usual obligations, such as regular school, musical school, my music vocal courses and my other obligations.
After a long wait came the snow and as all the children, I love the snow! I am emotional girl and at the same time, I am worried and I pray for those people, especially those poor children not only in my country, but from all around the world that don’t have the comfort and warm houses that we have. As I was saying several time in Malta my song talks about peace and I hope that the song will find a place in peoples' hearts and hope that there will be no child in the world who will suffer from war.
Only few days after I came back from Malta the tragedy in Aleppo happened and pictures of many children that are suffering were spread around the world. I was, and I still am, heartbroken when I see children suffering in war. I believe that there’s enough room in our hearts to be filled with love, caring and forgiveness.
- What is your favourite memory from the week?
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest is one of the biggest music events in Europe. I liked very much to discover and share new music and the competition of contest. It was really exciting. There were so many beautiful things from that week.
First, the new music I discovered from every corner of Europe and the amazing friendships I made with the other contestants. In addition to that, my favourite memories are; the first open rehearsal, the common song, the postcard song and press conferences and interviews. The best memory that I will carry all my life with me is the award I got from journalist as a “Top Personality award at 2016 Junior Eurovision”.
Second, the organisation was perfect, there was a great team, because they were so busy with their own responsibilities and they even had time to make every contestant happy.
Third, I loved Malta. Malta is a small and beautiful island. I loved every minute during that week in Malta and I am looking forward to visiting again sometime in the future. The Maltese people are friendly and welcoming and during the entire time I met kind and helpful people. I saw so many incredible places, beautiful views, but my favourite was the view from the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta, overlooking the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities. I also visited Mdina Old City, St. John's Co-Cathedral, the science museum.
I would like to thank all the jury members – adult and young who voted for Albania, thank you for the wonderful friendship that we shared during the contest and I hope that, sometime, Albania gets the 1st place. Personally, I was a little bit disappointed of course. Not only me, but also a lot of people in my country expected much higher results. However, I hope the people who were watching live in the hall and others watching the contest on TV enjoyed my performance. I am always very focused on new ideas and I will explore further musical experiences and concepts that could work - so I will work hard to participate in the near future in the Eurovision Song Contest itself. My life motto is "All our dreams could become true if we have the courage to pursue them".
- What advice would you give someone who is thinking about participating in 2017?
My vocal teachers told me many times that hard work combined with the talent is key for the success. I would give the same advice to all of those who are thinking of participating in this contest in 2017. Work and practice hard, eat healthy food, have courage, believe in yourself and live that magic moment, no matter if you win or not. Love to you all!
Watch Klesta's performance in the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest below: