Want to know more about the Cypriot singer for Eurovision 2018? Check out 10 Things About…Eleni Foureira!
1. Eleni Foureira was born in Fier, Albania on 7 March 1987 and is a Greek singer, actress, dancer, and fashion designer. Her parents are Marjeta (a seamstress) and Kristaq (a construction worker) Fureraj as Entela Fureraj. She has three siblings; Ioanna, Margarita, and Giorgos. When Foureira was young, the family left Albania and settled in Greece due to the civil war in the country. She grew up in the Kallithea neighborhood of Athens.
2. Eleni began pursuing music at a young age, learning how to play the guitar and later working in a theatre.
3. Eleni began her music career in 2007 as a member of the Greek girl group Mystique, before pursuing a solo career after the group disbanded in 2009. She was discovered by Andreas Giatrakos, and the group also consisted of Alkmini Chatzigianni and Maria Makri. They released their debut single ‘Se alli selida’ in 2007, and later achieved success with the single ‘Min kaneis pos de thymasai’ featuring Greek hip hop group NEVMA the following year. They broke up in 2009.
4. Following the break up of Mystique, Eleni signed a solo contract with Universal Music Greece and has released four albums to date including ‘Eleni Foureira’ (2010), ‘Ti poniro mou zitas’ (2012), ‘Anemos agapis’ (2014) and most recently ‘Vasilissa’ (2017).
5. From 2015 to 2016, she starred as Sofia in the musical ‘Barbarella: the 80’s Musical in Athens’, alongside other Greek pop stars such as Ivi Adamou (Cyprus’s Eurovision artist for 2012) and Katy Garbi.
6. Eleni was a judge on season three of the Greek version of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.
7. Eleni has courted controversy over her denial to recognise her ethnicity. Since starting out in the girl band Mystique she claimed that she was Brazillian, later she said she had Mexican ancestry, that her father was from Athens, before finally admitting her Albanian heritage in an interview in 2014. She claims the reason that she hid her Albanian roots due to Albanophobia in Greece, and that she would have been denied from record labels if she was known to be Albanian.
8. Since 2016, Foureira has been in a relationship with Spanish footballer Alberto Botía of Olympiacos F.C.
9. Eleni has a long history of trying to make it as a Eurovision star. In 2010, she competed in the Greek national final for the Eurovision alongside Manos Pyrovolakis with the song ‘Kivotos tou Noe’ but they came in second place. In 2013, she performed ‘Wild Dances’ with Ruslana at Eurosong 2013 – a MAD show. She once again attempted to represent Greece in 2016 with the song ‘Come Tiki Tam’ but was ruled out by ERT. She threw her hat into the ring last year and was again ruled out by the Greek broadcaster.
10. In February 2018, it was confirmed that Foureira would finally get to make it to Eurovision, representing Cyprus with the song ‘Fuego’. The song was composed by Greek-Swedish songwriter Alex Papaconstantinou.