Albania’s Festivali i Këngës is set to begin on December 27th, taking place once again within the Pallati i Kongreseve. One of the 20 artists announced for the festival is Janex, a music producer and indie-pop singer from Albania who currently resides in New York.
Together we spoke about how she first got into music and the industry, what songwriting looks like for her, and her decision to submit for FiK60.
Hello Janex – thank you so much for agreeing to sit down with us today! For those who have never encountered you or your music prior to your participation in Festivali i Kenges, what should we know about you as a musician?
Thank you for the invitation. Well, I am a singer-songwriter, music producer and sound designer, originally from Albania, and currently based in New York City.
What made you decide to pursue music as a career? Did you ever think that you’d get to the point you are at now when you started?
It was a calling. I was compelled to both visual arts and music, but music just kinda took over, and I decided to go for it. Music has been an unexpected journey from day one, so no, I did not expect it to become such an important part of my life.
I did notice that you have a 10-year experience in the music industry producing and writing music. What are some of your favorite songs that you’ve written, either for yourself or for others?
I have to say that I’m really impressed by the twist and turns I have experienced during the music making process. I love the RnB feel of “Déjame”, and the alternative soul of “Deluzional” (which by the way I am going to release in English very soon).
With so much experience writing music I’m a bit curious – what does the songwriting process look like for you? Do you just occasionally have moments where a song comes to you or are you more of a “tinkerer” where songs come together by experimenting over time?
The songwriting process it’s a journey between past, present and future for me. Often times I’ll have lines and melodies come to me in the shower, and then I’ll go on to write and produce the song in a day. (I like to take long showers)! I have way more songs on file that I have released. Each song it’s an opportunity to learn something new about music, and about myself as a songwriter or performer.
Now your Spotify bio mentioned that you are currently based in New York where you produce, write, and also went to university. What made you decide that you wanted to cross the Atlantic and enter Festivali I Kenges 60 this year?
I am lucky enough to call home two places at the same time, Albania and New York, so I thought a visit of this kind was overdue. I have to mention that my career started off in Albania when I was very young (14 years old), and I have a lot of supporters here that have been there for me since day one.
So you decided that this was the time to submit, you send the song off, what was your reaction when you got the call or email that you’d actually been selected to participate?
Knowing that I have been absent for quite some time now, I was not very confident about whether I would get accepted or not, but I did believe in “Delusional”, so I was very happy with the end result.
Your song “Deluzional” seems to have some pretty intense lyrics when translated into English. How would you describe the message within your song and why was this the message you wanted to portray on the FiK stage?
Good question. I am not big on strategy, so I did what I thought it was best to do in terms of performance and storyline for me as an artist. But if I am to analyze it a little deeper, I think people are tired of hearing the same old stories over and over again — it’s either about heartbreak or longing love. “Deluzional” refers to a certain type of person who is not used to taking no for an answer and have too much of what we call “macho ego”, which I find quite delusional. However, the english version is offering a parallel storyline, which is also quite spicy.
Speaking of FiK, the live shows will be coming up here soon and I know everyone has been busy practicing with the orchestra – what has the rehearsal process been like for you? Has anything about the process surprised you at all?
I can’t believe it’s closing in on us! The rehearsal processes it’s been great to get a little more intimate with the song. Recording it and releasing it, it’s one thing, owning it performance wise is completely another thing. No surprises, I am just very excited and honored to perform with the symphonic orchestra and all.
Is there anything you can tell us about what plans you have for the FiK performance? Any small teases you want to let slip?
Hm. Since my song is way too modern, I decided to go very, very old school with my look. Hopefully the jury will like it lol!! I believe that the song itself says a lot and often times, less is more.
Finally, for those who are fans of you and your song – how can they connect with you ahead of the festival, and even after?
Find me on IG, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, and watch out for upcoming projects. I’m planning on releasing several more singles over the coming months.
Well Janex I want to thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy scheduled to speak with us here at ESCUnited, we cannot wait to see you hit the stage next week. Best of luck!
Thank you so much ESCUnited for your wishes and this fun interview. All the best to you! Enjoy FIK 60!