“I FELT LIKE I WAS HEARD, SEEN, APPLAUDED, UNDERSTOOD & LOVED. I FELT THE WORLD & THE WORLD FELT ME!”
– says Anjeza Gega to Priyanka Singhal
ED: How did singing happen? Was it a childhood dream or you realized it at a certain stage? Tell us about the whole journey.
Anjeza: Singing was always an extension of my existence. As a child, I loved watching festivals and singing in Italian. At 9 years old I became fluent in that lan-guage and memorized every well known songs. Fal-ling in love with music was not a choice, was a ne-cessity. Music, acting, and dancing completed each other. They made up this magical triangle that kept me safe. Inside that triangle I felt I existed. I felt I was heard, seen, applauded, understood, loved. I felt the world and the world felt me.
ED: You’ve just released your first album. How does it feel to see your album going out to the world? Has the feeling sunk in yet?
Anjeza: It is definitely a beautiful feeling. You feel alive. You are moving. You are existing. And your dream picture start slowly transforming in a tangible desti-nation. You are definitely more inspired. But with me, achievements take a moment to sink in. I am always looking for the next step that sometimes I forget of the one that I just accomplished. My dream is to change the world, so often I get caught on the idea that I don’t have time to think of the present becoming past, but rather on how the future will be-come my present.
I know this might sound as if I am not enjoying every moment, but I truly am. My biggest joy is climbing the steps and being closer to making some-one smile, strong, beautiful, motivated, touched and transformed by my love and work.
ED: Has singing always been a passion for you? When did you dream about releasing an album and when did it turn into reality? How has been the response towards the album?
Anjeza: Yes, I always loved to sing. However, being consid-ered by your family “the smart child”, was not of advantage to me. While I craved to pursue art (ballet, music, acting), my mother, a teacher by pro-fession, would try to inspire me to pursue educa-tion, the safe route as they call it. However I man-aged to follow my heart and mind at the same time. Living in a financial disadvantaged family, where both parents struggle to make the ends meet, atten-tion on my artistic achievements were very small. They always saw it as a passion that would proba-bly fade away. To my happiness and their surprise, destiny took another route. While pursuing educa-tion and art…Passion for the second one increased. Music, Dancing, Acting, School, Work, I juggled them all.
Releasing an album has been a passion since a child. I tend to make this dream goals that are bigger then me at the present moment but that become part of me in the near future. It’s all about faith, trust, work, focus, discipline, love, and passion. You need to be honest to yourself. You need to tell yourself, is it love what I am pursuing, or is it just cool to do it? Is it my life? Or is it an option? My professional singing career started in Greece. I was performing cover songs in different venues. But the true singing opportunities became reality when I moved to Los Angeles, 5 years ago. One profes-sional achievement led to another until I released on I-tunes and 28 other digital medias my two singles “Fuego” and “Still Believe”. The response has been very good. And that response increased even more when I released the music video of my single “Fuego”. Putting the vocal work into a visual pro-spective made a difference.
Anjeza: I don’t have any idols, nor icons. I allow myself to get inspired by simple events, complicated issues, truth, and reality. I do like different artist, such as Lara Fabian (for her vocals) , Pink (for the raw songwriting), Shakira (for her charity work) etc. But I respect my individuality more. I don’t do good at following. I have always been a leader. And when it comes to my music I like to be me and have my own sound that is true to my heart. This mental-ity has been reinforced by my songwriting, by being a part time creative director, choreographer and pro-ducer of my own projects. I see a bigger picture. I understand the surface and the depth, and I love the process. I am the architect of my own career, and I love building and decorating something unique, that hasn’t been seen before.
ED: You’ve finally released your first album. When do you plan to start working on your next album ?
Anjeza: I am ready to start the new album as soon as I meet the right team to work with. It is important to work with someone that understands your vision and speaks the same language you do. It’s important to be a team and artistically grow during the process. And most importantly is necessary to feel comfort-able and be yourself in your working environment. However, these ideal situations are not always pre-sented. You just need to be solid on what you are looking for and not compromise.
ED: Since we know you can speak 6 languages, is there any chance of seeing you make a multi linguistic album? And do we ever hear you sing in any of the regional languages of India?
Anjeza: I have a knowledge of 7 languages. Albanian, English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Japa-nese. Although not fluent in all of them, I can sing, read, understand and translate accurately 5-6 of them. Is one of my goals to perform and record a multi linguistic album. Last Christmas I worked with a song producer in recording a cover song “Silent Night” in 4 languages. I sang the Albanian and Italian version, while another singer sang the English and Spanish version. One song, 2 singers, and 4 languages. It was beautiful. The unity was priceless.
I actually performed this year in Las Vegas. I worked with an Indian singer Parthiv Gohil. I sang in Hindi, English and Spanish. I performed “Dhoom Machale” as a solo accompanied by dancers, “Soniyo” and “Tera Hone Laga Hoon” with Parthiv and the dancers. I had to memorize the hindi songs. I think I did a pretty good job. The Indian organizers were left speechless, and the American guests thought I was Indian. (Well I was all covered by jewelries and Indian attires. They couldn’t see that I didn’t look Indian.) (hehe)
But it was definitely a great experience. I love In-dian music, clothing, and hospitality.
ED: We’ve heard you’ve travelled a lot. Which of your travels has been the most favorite? Tell us about the most adventurous thing you’ve done on your travels.
Every country has something amazing to offer, be it people, culture, experiences. Each of them carves a memory in your heart and mind and teaches you something you didn’t know. Each of them expands vyour soul just a little bit more. If I had to pick one of them, I would say Greece. I lived there for al-most 2 years. I was studying psychology while working as a dancer and singer. Introduced in two different realms of life, education and art with no knowledge of the Greek language. Luckily 90% of population spoke English. It was a very challenging time in my life. My education choice was difficult. My desire for art was big. I continued to balance them again. I loved every moment of it. Greece was the country that first gave me the opportunity to be a professional singer, buy my first microphone, per-form on different stages, etc. was difficult and my desire for art was growing. I continued to balance them again and loved every moment of it. Greece was the country that first gave me the opportunity to be a professional singer, buy my first micro-phone, perform on different stages, etc.
My Greek lifestyle was a challenge and an adventure in itself. Many Greek people did-n’t like the people from my country. (Albania) So when I was involved in the entertainment industry there, I said I was British. (I spoke great English and I had blonde curly hair- they didn’t understand accents over there at the time). In many venues I told people my name was Oresta, the name my father wanted to call me when I was born. I was having fun with my new identity. Oresta from England. I became a character of my own movie. Before, mov-ing to U.S. , I told many people the truth. And sadly, they walked away, no matter how long or how many memories we had built.
A typical day in Greece was this. Wake up in the morning, walk to college (40 min-utes), stay there until 5pm, back home , get ready for the show. Study for 2 hours. Per-form at night. In between performances, I would sit in my green room and study for my psy-chology test. Walk back home at 2am. Sleep 2 hours. Wake up and start from the top. It became insane. My body couldn’t handle it and my health start deteriorating. But I couldn’t give up what I loved and I couldn’t disappoint my parents and their investment on my education.
It was a crazy great adventure, that I will never forget.
ED: Usually after the first album release, music sen-sations shift their focus towards concerts and live shows. Have you thought about doing con-certs or any other musicals? How do you think would live singing be different from the re-cording?
Anjeza: perform in some great venues such as Conga Room, Mandalay Bay, La Fonda, Geisha House, Skinny Lounge, The Joint etc. It has been a great experi-ence and I have had the opportunity to work with great people. The difference between recording and live performance is day and night in my opinion. While recording gives you an ability to achieve per-fection in the sound and be more focused in the visualization of your lyrics and notes, a live per-formance gives you more freedom to walk away from that perfection and just become one with your audience. A true artist needs to know the difference and most importantly accept it. When you perform pop music, like myself, is hard to stand in front of the mic, without moving and just worry to hit the notes to perfection. I don’t. In a live performance the artist needs to learn to let go and be spontane-ous. Sometimes you will ad lib, other times you will make up a lyric, or cry from the emotion of the song, some other times you might sit on the corner of the stage and sing from there. I felt compelled to do that on stage while performing a cover of Nata-sha Bedingfield “Soulmate”. I curled up on stage and kept singing. I was a girl in pain of not finding love. The audience reac-tion was priceless. Seeing a performer bringing to life a common life experi-ence, is a memorable identification. I love per-forming in stage. It is home to me. It’s exactly where my triangle (music, dance, and acting) starts to shine. The lights are an inspiration to me and when my hand touches the mic and I hear my own sound, that’s when I feel my dream is real.
ED: We know that apart from singing the songs, you also pen down the songs yourself. Who inspires you to write your own music? Is there something particular that you write about? How does it feel at the end?
Anjeza:I have been writing since childhood. I had this fascination with metaphors. I enjoyed expressing my-self in an artistic way. Most of the people didn’t understand me. I enjoyed it. I liked being compli-cated, different, a foreign code. I thought being common was boring. Artistic expression was beautiful. Scientific explanation did not make sense to me. I wanted every truth to be overwhelmed by the touch of love, truth and passion. I write many poems, quotes, and songs. I am also planning to write a book soon. The preliminary title is “The eternal image of a heart that bleeds love.”
My inspiration does not derive from a precise destination. I can simply get inspired by an image in the movie, a friend’s life, a personal story, truth, a de-sire, a wish. I just allow myself to be touched and be taken in a world where art gives birth. And when I am done..I feel one strong emotion…my work is my baby.
My ultimate goal in life is to be a source of inspira-tion, a tool of difference, a voice of change. Seeing this makes me happy. Everyone in this world is a beautiful unique being packed with blessings and talents. I advice my fans to invest their time in knowing themselves. Learning what they really love. And then focus. Appreciate every minute of life and shine in what you love. Expand. Learn. Travel. Get to know your soul. More you know you, clearer your path will become. Stop watching others make their dream come true, It’s time for you to live yours.
As far as people that want to start their career, I ad-vice them to be bold. Take the first step. Trust you. Don’t calculate much. Let your heart lead you. Many time people don’t feel ready. You will never be. So just take the step and learn in your journey. Every step of the way has a different equation. And the only way to resolve it , is to live it. Nobody will teach you the stage presence. You will probably never be able to control your nerves, but I promise you will get used to them.
Know more about Anjeza aka Angie Gega http://www.facebook.com/ANJEZAMUSIC