Let the music play on
ALBANIA MUSIC STARS
Albania is a tiny nation in southern Europe that is primarily populated by Muslims and has a wide variety of captivating folk music. It is a part of the Balkan countries and throughout its history, other countries or cultures—most notably the Ottoman Empire and the former Yugoslavian provinces—have ruled the region most often. Although Albania's traditional music is very distinctive, compared to other European folk music, it has received less research. This folk music embodies Albania's rich cultural and artistic legacy. This music coexists with Mediterranean and Balkan music, but it also has its own distinctive features. The variety of music and culture among so many various ethnic groups in such a small area is fascinating. The socialist administration of Enver Hoxha ruled Albania for a long time. There were many restrictions on Albanian traditional music at this time. Albanian folk music was able to regain its independence after 1991.
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However, many aren't aware of the the stars the country as produced across the Europe and other countries across the globe. Albanians have left a lasting impression on music all over the globe, moving from folk music to pop and soul. Get to see our ranking of the top 10 Albanian artists you may not be familiar with.
1 DUA LIPA
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Dua Lipa, a famous vocalist, was raised by Kosovo Albanian parents in London. She was raised in a musical family because her father was the main singer of the Kosovo rock group Oda.She studied music in school and picked up the cello and singing as she got older. She attempted to join the school choir, but a music teacher informed her she couldn't sing, so she started taking singing lessons. Even though Lipa didn't put out her debut record until 2017, she has already established herself as one of the most well-known musicians.
In the US in 2020, Er's single "Don't Start Now" had the biggest commercial success. Future Nostalgia, her second album, was nominated for numerous Grammy Awards and earned Best Album at the 2021 at Brit Awards.
2. ERA ISTREFI
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Era Istrefi, a singer, followed in the footsteps of her elder sister, singing sensation Nora Istrefi, who was born to Albanian parents in Pristina, Kosovo. The Istrefi family has a lengthy history in music thanks to their mother Suzana, who had a ten-year singing career. 2013 saw Istrefi's debut single release, and by 2014, she had a song ready for American release.
She gained the moniker "The Rihanna of Kosovo" and achieved international success with "Bonbon" in 2015. In 2018, she worked on the World Cup's official anthem with rapper Nicky Jam and actor Will Smith, and she performed with them at the tournament's closing ceremony.
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Noizy, an Albanian vocalist, rapper, and songwriter from Sukth, was born Rigels Rajku. He comes from a Catholic and Muslim household. When Noizy was just a year old, they left Albania during the Albanian Civil War and moved to England.
In 2006 and 2007, he participated in "Top Fest" in Albania. In 2015, he released the single "Gangsta Love," which performed well in Germany and Albania. By 2018, he had accumulated a fanbase throughout Europe and had gold records in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
4. AVA MAX
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Ava Max, also known as Amanda Ava Koci, is an Albanian vocalist and songwriter who was raised by musically inclined parents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her mother was an opera vocalist with classical training, and her father was a pianist.
She chose her stage name, "Ava," at the age of 14, because she was so determined to achieve. Max, regrettably, battled with alcohol and homelessness after dropping out of high school and having several of her demo albums rejected.
Max began a SoundCloud in 2016 and put out a number of songs, including "Salt" and "Not Your Barbie Girl," that debuted in Eastern Europe in 2018. That same year, she released "Sweet But Psycho," which was well received in the US and launched a career that included numerous hit songs and albums.
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Before relocating to California, Bleona Qereti, also known as Bleona, an Albanian singer and songwriter from Korç, had eight albums published in her native country. In 2011, she attained US citizenship.
She began singing when she was five years old, and at the age of 14, she was named the main vocalist for the Skampa Theater. She had gained recognition in Albania by the age of 15. she as had different English-language songs, including "Take It Like A Man" and "Take You Over," which peaked in the UK's top 10 and reached the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. In addition to speaking multiple languages, Bleona served as a judge on the Albanian edition of "The X Factor."
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Bleta Rexha, better known by her stage name Bebe Rexha, is an Albanian-American vocalist and songwriter who was raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her interest in music began when she was a young child and she later trained herself how to perform the guitar and the piano. Her singing talent is a coloratura soprano. She submitted a song into the "Grammy Day" competition as a teen and won.
In 2013, she began her official solo career. Since then, Rexha has worked with a variety of artists, including Nicki Minaj, Florida Georgia Line, and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. Each record featured a number of her top hits, and she received numerous Grammy nominations for both her songwriting and performance work.
7. RITA ORA
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Rita Ora, an Albanian singer and composer, was born Rita Sahatçiu in Pristina, Kosovo. When she was a year old in 1991, her family moved to London. She also went to a performing arts institution when she was younger. She appeared in one of Jay-music Z's videos in 2009, which launched her career. She provided vocals for DJ Fresh on a single in 2012.
Her debut album's lead song, "R.I.P.," peaked at number one in the UK charts and catapulted her to fame. She was a special guest performer at the performance commemorating Albania's 100th anniversary of independence in Tirana in 2012, and in 2016 she took part in the Mother Teresa canonization concert. Ora has two studio albums with numerous hits, and she has appeared in TV shows and movies.
8. ELVANA GJATA
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Elvana Gjata is an Albanian vocalist, songwriter, and actress who hails from Tirana. Migena, her elder sister, established herself as a musician in Germany.Gjata initially wanted to be a film director, but after winning a talent contest when she was just 14 years old, she decided to focus on singing instead. She published a number of songs without much success up until 2011, when she took first place in the well-known "Top Fest" music competition in Albania. With "Forever Is Over," a song in the English tongue, Gjata achieved several #1 hits in Albania. In Kosovo and nearby nations like Romania, her music frequently makes the top 100 lists.
9. DHURATA DORA
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Dhurata Murturi, also referred to as Dhurata Dora in the music industry, was born to Albanian parents in Nuremberg, Germany. 2011 saw the release of Dora's debut song, "Vete Krkove," in Kosovo. Her second single was more famous, and each new song she released seemed to increase the recognition of the previous ones.
In 2019, she and the Algerian rapper Soolking collaborated on the single "Zemr," which peaked at number one in her home nation and charted in several European nations. The music has achieved Platinum certification as a single, and the accompanying YouTube video has amassed nearly 700 million views.
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Singer Dafina Zeqiri, also known simply as Dafina, was raised by Kosovo Albanian parents in Varberg, Sweden. Her mother, who had been a singer in the 1980s, reared her alone while her father was away when she was a child. One of her main inspirations was Aaliyah. Zeqiri won the 2007 Polifest Festival competition and received recognition for the song "Adios" in 2008. She released her debut album in 2008, and its commercial success led to collaborations with well-known musicians Blero and F-Kay as well as the success of some of her tracks in Albania.
From her four studio albums, a number of her tracks, including "Dua Q Ta Di" and "Told Ya," have reached the top 40 in Albania, Sweden, Switzerland, and other European nations. Zequiri also frequently promotes LGBTQ rights and causes related to mental health.