This year, Gjon’s Tears was our favorite to Eurovision Song Contest. The sad news is that Eurovision has been cancelled. The best news is that Gjon will return next year on ESC stage with a song at least as good as “Repondez moi”, which is a true work of art.
Originary from Albania, with Kosovan roots, living in and representing Switzerland, Gjon is that type of artist eager to learn more and more, discover more and more and sing his heart out. After an one hour interview-conversation on Skype, when I felt like I was talking with a friend, I discovered the great person that is Gjon’s Tears. And I also teached him few words in Romanian language 🙂
Today, we present you, as special as he is, with an exclusive interview, Gjon’s Tears, and we are eager to meet him soon on stage!
Hello, Gjon and welcome to Romania. It is a true pleasure to do this interview. Firstly, tell us a bit about your musical career path.
I started doing music when I was around 8 years old, because I wanted to find a passion and a hobby. I was looking for something that I liked, and I tried different things, like ice skating and karate, but I found something very deep when I started playing the piano. The first time I sang a song was for my grandfather, who started to cry when he listened to the song, and those tears became so much important for me, and they are so symbolic, that I want to keep them in my artist name, Gjon’s Tears. Tears can represent a lot of things, tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of nostalgia. My grandfather told me then that he will create my career and that he will be my manager. This seemed so unrealistic to me. But the next year he told me that he found a TV show for me and that I had to learn a song in 2 days. So, my career started when I was 9-10 years old, with a TV show in Albania. After that, I participated to Albania’s Got Talent, where I finished on the third place. I participated also to the French and Swiss version of this show, and after all this entire experience, when I was 12 years old, I decided that I did a lot of TV shows, and I needed to focus on what I wanted to do, to construct myself and my career. 6 years later I participated to a music academy, because I wanted to learn to work with a band and to understand more the Swiss music industry. Last year, I did The Voice, and I got to the semifinals. Then, the Swiss duet Aliose called me, telling me that they had seen me on The Voice and they were looking for a singer to work for. They asked me about making a camp with them, that I did not know what was about, but I enjoyed their proposal. When I met them, they told me they were making a camp for Eurovision. Their idea of telling me this at that moment, and not from the beginning, was brilliant. Because I did not want to do TV shows anymore, I wanted to have my own singer career, but ESC is the biggest contest ever and I said, “let’s do this”.
You have a very special voice. How did you train it?
My secret is that from 12 to 20 years old, I took the time to listen to all types of music and all types of voices. I’ve always tried to understand technically how people sing, how people share feelings. From USA to China, and especially ethnical voices. At the same time, I’ve always worked in a classic way, I took lessons in the Conservatory, and that is how I learned lyrical and Opera voice. I think that if you want to do the best you can, you have to know the basics, like classical music, and then you need to open your mind to all types of music. And, of course, a lot of training, like everyday singing, etc.
This year’s Eurovision has been a carousel of emotions After having been directly and internally chosen as the representative of your country, Switzerland, due to the international situation, the 2020 edition has been cancelled. But you have been chosen again for 2021. What do you think and feel about this entire situation?
I am really sad about what is happening now. The situation is very strange and I have no words to describe it. The whole world is shocked about what is happening and tries to cope with it. To be more precise about Eurovision, it is very important to remind people that health is more important than everything else. I think they have their own reasons for cancelling and not postponing the event. But it is a bit strange that they did not have another solution. Because there are still some shows on Tv, etc, and I think that sometimes there is good to have things on TV that make you think about other things, and not let yourself be overwhelmed by the reality. Those kind of TV shows are like hugs for people right now. The strangest thing for me is that some contestants are not allowed to take part next year, as it should have been normal. We have spent much time, and energy, and money, for our songs. The story behind “Repondez moi” is very big and important and it was done with innocent eyes, because I did not know that I will enter ESC. Now, that I know, is different, because I have the pressure to compose something as good as this year. But it is also an opportunity that I cannot refuse, because I will not have something as big like this. The situation is really weird and I hope that we will find fast solutions to help and save people, because the long it will continue, the more problems we will have to go on after such hard times.
Which is the message that you want to get to people’s hearts through your song, “Repondez-moi”?
“Repondez moi” speaks about origin and identity. I wanted to speak about this because these ideas represent me today. We always want answers to some questions, but we know that these answers are just temporary, and that the answers are not so important. The most important thing in a question is the way you get to the answers. For example, regarding origin, my name is pronounced John in English, but it is written differently. And it looks like people, I do not why, like to show to everyone that you are different. And I never understood why. I also never understood why I had to choose my origin. I am from Albania, with Kosovo roots, and I am proud of this. When I was a kid, in my classroom, if they asked me, I used to tell that I am from Albania, but when I got home, I could see that my passport is from Switzerland. At the end, now, I understand that it is not a problem if you do not feel from a certain country. Because it is just a name on a passport. And the most important thing is to feel the people. I do not want to choose where I am from, because I am free, and I do not forget where I’m coming from. I do not forget the fact that my parents are from Albania, where conditions are not the same like in Switzerland. I love my family, I am proud to be just myself and I am not proud just to be from somewhere. Origin is important, but it does not define you as a human being.
Which are your personal top three questions that you are still looking for an answer?
I am still asking myself sometimes what I will do for a living, because I do not know if I will sing all my life, if I will have a career to live from music. I also like to question myself how will I be in 10 or 20 years. But a lot of those questions are linked to my future career.
How is the world of a teenager that has been always surrounded by music, behind the stage?
I am a really big fan of movies, so I try to watch every movie I can. I like classic horror movies, like the ones made by Alfred Hitchook. I enjoy very much the movies from 30’s or 40’s, black and white, with great actresses like Grace Kelly. My favorite movie is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn. When I am in Paris, I always go to the cinema. I always spend 2 days in cinema if I go there for one or two weeks.
What does always make you happy?
People and arts. If I was not a singer, I would probably be a pianist or a painter, because I am really fascinated by art. I like art in general, I like museums, I recently painted my wall in the Monreal style. I also spend a lot of money on food 🙂 And I enjoy a lot art galleries and museums. I am focused more on images and what you can see with your eye and that remains in your head.
Which is the best advice personally received and the best lesson learnt in your career by far?
The best advice was, I think, last year, when I was afraid that I will not be able to sing as good as I would have wanted to, because I was a bit sick, and my vocal coach told me “Just be the better version of yourself everyday. Do not try much more.” The best lesson that I learnt is that I need to enjoy more, because I am so focused on so many things. Sometimes, I am overthinking and I think that I need to enjoy more all the things around.
What is in stock for now?
I am trying to make my album and my music , I am working on it. The album will include also the song “Repondez moi”. And I am dealing with a lot of interviews and press materials that I prefer to do on Skype or face to face, like this interview, because I enjoy human interaction, rather than on mail. I enjoy people that want to know me or interview me.
Share a message for all Eurovision fans and your supporters from Romania!
Mulţumesc pentru tot suportul vostru! Thank you for your support! Stay healthy! See you in 2021, in Eurovision! 🙂