Albania will be represented by Jonida Maliqi in 2019. Find out more about the singer with our 10 Things About…Jonida Maliqi!
1. Jonida Maliqi was born 26 March 1983 and is an Albanian singer, television host, media personality, philanthropist, style icon and entrepreneur.
2. Jonida’s singing talent was discovered at an early age by the renowned Albanian pianist Nora Çashku who was impressed with her singing of a song by Parashqevi Simaku and suggested to Maliqi’s mother to enroll her at the music school.
3. She is a graduate of the University of Arts in Tirana and studied the violin and guitar.
4. Jonida first rose to prominence as a contestant on the first series of Big Brother Albania in 2008.
5. 2019 is not Jonida’s first time competing at the Albanian Eurovision selection festival. In fact she has competed at Festivali i Kenges 4 times. Before winning the contest in December, she had also placed in second in 1999 with ‘Do jetoj pa ty’ and third in 2004 with ‘Frikem se më pëlqen’. Her 1997 attempt ‘Flas Me Ëngjëllin’ (‘I Speak With an Angel’), a duet with Kastriot Tusha, was dedicated to Mother Teresa who had died earlier that year.
6. More recently Jonida has turned her attention to TV presenting, having hosted the fourth season of Albania’s version of Dancing with the Stars.
7. She has also served as a mentor on the Voice of Albania since 2016.
8. Jonida is also an accomplished actress and has starred alongside Alban Skënderaj as the leads in the Albanian musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
9. Jonida’s talents know no bounds, in 2009 she launched her own haute couture boutique and a shoe salon in 2017. Among her customers are various Albanian celebrities and television personalities. Maliqi does also frequently front for local and international luxury brands and has oftentimes made product endorsements and placements on her Instagram page. Her range of commercial deals also includes health and beauty products.
10. In 2000 she married the Albanian businessman, Gent Prizreni, in a private luxury wedding that was attended by renowned names of the Albanian music industry. In March 2017, the couple announced their divorce after seventeen years of romance. Jonida and Gent have a son named Dan.