Get to know the Eurovision 2020 Albanian artist better with our 10 Things About…Arilena Ara!
- Arilena Ara also known mononymously as Arilena was born on 17 July 1998 in the city of Shkodër located at the foothills of the Albanian Alps.
2. She performed in diverse dancing and singing competitions as a child such as the ‘Gjeniu i Vogël’ where she finished in the third place.
3. Arilena gained prominence following her participation in the second season of the Albanian television talent competition ‘The X Factor’.
4. She won the competition 31 March 2012 when she beat the other finalist Aldo Bardhi. In the final she sang the songs ‘No More Drama’ (Mary J. Blige) and the Rihanna hits ‘Man Down’ and ‘S&M’, the latter was a duet with her mentor on the show Tuna.
5. Following her win on the X-Factor, Arilena released her debut single ‘Aeroplan’ in February 2014. The song was written by Rozana Radi and produced by Darko Dimitrov (who also produced her Eurovision 2020 song ‘Shaj’, as well as Elena Risteska’s ‘Ninanajna’ and Tamara Todevska’s ‘Proud’ which also appeared at Eurovision).
6. Arilena’s career has spanned eight years and has included the hit singles ‘Snow in December’, ‘Vegim’, ‘Zemer’ and a collaboration with KDDK ‘Last Train to Paris’ which peaked at number 1 in the Bulgarian Singles Chart.
7. In November 2016, Arilena was announced as one of the participants in the 18th edition of ‘Kënga Magjike’. Her song ‘Nëntori’ made it to the Grand Final where she placed third overall and won the award for Best Ballad. The song also reached number one in Romania.
8. In 2017 Arilena was added to the line up for the Russian Festival ‘Europa Plus Here’ she shared the stage with artists such as Bebe Rexha and Era Istrefi.
9. Arilena joined the judging panel of ‘the Voice Kids Albania’ for the show’s third season alongside Aleksandër & Renis Gjoka and Miriam Cani. Anisa Shabani from Arilena’s team finished runner up to the winner Altea Ali.
10. Arilena won the 58th edition of ‘Festivali i Këngës’ with the song ‘Shaj’. She will therefore represent Albania at Eurovision 2020. She won the Contest despite tough competition from fellow Albanians Elvana Gjata, Sara Bajraktari, Bojken Lako and sixteen others. She has announced that her song will undergo an English language revamp ahead of the Contest in May. This was revealed last week as ‘Fall From the Sky’.