An Interview With Bravo Star and International Recording Artist, BLEONA!
Posted On 21 Jul 2015
Tag: @Jonnydog, Albania, All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Beyonce, Bleona, Bravo, Bravo TV, Celine Dion, Dennis Leupold, Drunk In Love, Euros of Hollywood, Fuego, Hollywood, House Of Pionieri, J. Lo, Jeffrey Kelly, Madonna, Madonna of Albania, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Roccstar, Shoe Dazzle, ShopBleona, Take You Over, The Mickey Mouse Club, Timbaland, Whitney Houston, X Factor
Bleona is referred to as the Madonna of Albania, having sold more than 1.5 million records worldwide, with sold out stadium tours and more than 35 international magazine covers to her credit.
She will release her first English language video “Take You Over,” followed by an EP (with Timbaland, Fuego and Roccstar) this summer.
She just completed her stint as X Factor judge in Europe which you can check out here: http://youtu.be/JUHEAjdeaaM.
Additionally, she has a shoe line with ShoeDazzle and a jewelry and hand bag line.
Bleona made her U.S. debut to American viewers as the star of Bravo TV’s “Euros of Hollywood,” based on five successful Europeans coming to America to make it in the States.
Check out Bleona’s most recent video for “Take You Over”:
Learn more about this rising pop singer in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! You seem like an incredibly busy person. How do you balance it all? What’s a typical day look like for you?
I genuinely make an effort to balance it all, but I’m not 100% successful all of the time to be honest. But I do try my best! I believe if you don’t have balance in your life, nothing else matters after some time. Taking into consideration that I have had a professional career for over 20 years – since I was a kid – having a balance in my life is a must! I do have a lot of support from my family and that really helps.
A typical day for me: I wake up in the morning, my assistant brings me coffee and green juice and that’s breakfast. My mom brings over my dog – by the way he has his own Instagram @Jonnyjdog. Soon my trainer comes over and we head to the gym.
At home, after my work out I personally respond to and oversee all my emails and correspondence. I’ll also manage to squeeze in a meeting before lunchtime.
After lunch, If I don’t have to go to the studio, I see my vocal coach and I practice yoga. Then I schedule all of my meetings with different producers, which usually extends from the afternoon into work dinners.
At night the only thing that makes my day feel complete is watching movies. So I drag my mom and dad out of bed and I take them to the movies – this is a way to balance out my workday and personal life.
No nightclubs for me; only on a rare occasion when there is a party that I can’t miss will I go. Other then that, it is literally torture for me to go out to a club.
What was it like being a celebrity judge on X-Factor in Europe?
Coming back to my own country and re-connecting with my core fan base was a great experience!! My phone rang constantly with all my old friends and colleagues calling with invitations for lunches and dinners. And I still somehow managed to keep up with my emails in America, even though the time difference meant I was working most nights until 5am.
I was only in Albania during the general rehearsal and for the show two days a week. The rest of the week I traveled to Italy, Germany, England and France setting up the promotion of my upcoming EP. It was kind of crazy between all the traveling and being on TV in between. But overall, it was great to go back and get amazing, unconditional love from my fans.
Also the life for me back home is very different from my life in the States. In Europe I can’t go out in public without make-up as I can in Los Angeles. And I couldn’t leave my hotel room even for a simple jog without security.
Growing up, can you remember when you first wanted to be an artist? Was there ever a time when you thought about being something else?
Since I was three years old, I was “forced” to sing and dance at all the dinners that my mom and dad would organize for their friends;
I think this is what set me on my path to be an artist. I have NEVER considered any other option but being a performer. As far as I’m concerned, I have NO idea how the rest of the world could exist without having music in their lives.
At just 5 years old, you joined House Of Pionieri, which is known as the Albanian equivalent of The Mickey Mouse Club. Did that really start your love of performing? How did you wind up on that show?
Again it was mom and dad who took me there. And from then on, I grew up on tour buses. I can definitely say that I have spent more nights of my life in hotels and tour buses then in my own house, that’s for sure. Even back home as a judge on X Factor, I stayed in a hotel despite the fact that my home was less then five minutes away from my hotel. I just love living in hotels.
Do you feel some kind of pressure to be considered the Madonna of Albania? That’s quite a HUGE compliment! Are you a big fan of her’s?
Madonna is an icon. And, yes – that title has followed me around because of my high-energy performances, the outrageous visuals, fashion sense and the support I receive from the gay community. It’s an honor any time you are compared to someone who is that successful and I have incredible respect for her, but I am the first Bleona! I have a pressure of a different kind. No matter how high I set the bar I feel the need to “beat” myself and make a better performance next time I am on stage – and that’s a big pressure when you reach the ceiling. I am referring to my home market and to the fans who have known my songs and have followed my performances since was a kid.
This summer, you will be releasing your first English language EP. What made you decide to finally release one in English?
As an artist I have done it all in my country and the time has come for me to expand and go global. If you are good at what you do, if people love you and your music, it doesn’t matter what language you sing. I came to America for a concert and I fell in love with this country! But if I live in the USA, I can’t LIVE without my music…. So the only way to have both was to live here and record an album in English.
On the EP, you got to work with Timbaland, Fuego and Roccstar. What was it like working with those big names?
I try to be the best and I try to work with the best. I have sacrificed a lot of things to be who I am today. Success has followed me around because of my hard work. I never dreamed of my success, but I have worked hard for it. So naturally at this stage there is no room for mistakes. And of course it’s a challenge, but I LOVE challenges. This is what drives me.
What was the inspiration for your single “Take You Over”?
I think this song describes exactly who I am. After I spent some time in the studio with Roccstar, he saw what I’m all about, and he just took a pen and paper and put everything into a song. When I heard the song I thought, “WOW!” Nothing can represent me as a human being better than this. It felt as if Roccstar had known me my whole life. That is talent!
How’s your shoe line with Shoe Dazzle going? What about your jewelry and handbag line?
Some of my shoes were already on the bestseller page so I am very happy about that! And very soon all of my shoes, bags and jewelry will be available on www. ShopBLEONA.com. I am finishing up the last designs.
What artists have consistently inspired you and your music?
I grew up listening to Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. These three artists have definitely been a huge inspiration to me, but I don’t think the world needs another replica of these icons. I think the world loves originality. It’s better to fail in originality, then to succeed in imitation.
Since I wasn’t born in America, I want to bring an international flavor to my music in order to leave my fingerprint in the music world. The world has become more global so I want to create a unique sonic blend of American Pop music with a global approach that appeals to every culture.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or your music?
I am a pop singer. Fashion, music and crazy visuals are what I do. This is how I express myself and this is what I have been doing for years. My music is dance-pop and it’s fun, but it also has a very strong message about female empowerment. Back home, I have always been known as a rebellious entertainer and my music in English is no different.
My new video “Take You Over,” is a high fashion project, directed by Dennis Leupold, who is an extremely well respected high fashion photographer. He works closely with Rihanna and J.Lo. The D.P. was Jeffrey Kelly, who has worked on numerous high profile videos including Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love”. As far as my style goes, I want to bring the golden era of Hollywood glamour back, but in a modern, pop singer kind of way.