Hersi Matmuja was born on February 1st, 1990. She has pursued a dual career path, which led her to be successful in both modern and classical music. Despite being still very young, Hersi has already five times participated in the annual Festivali i Këngës, which doubles as the Albanian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. This year her song One Night's Anger, originally titled Zemërimi i një nate, did the trick, taking her to the Eurovision stage in Copenhagen!
Career in modern music
Hersi started her music lessons at the age of eight, taking part in various music events for children. She took music lessons from Professor Luan Bakiu. In 1999 and 2000 Hersi participated in the festival “Çelësi i Artë”, followed by the Festival “Ylberi” in Macedonia in 2001, where she won the first prize. In 2002 Hersi participated in the Children Festival of Shkodra with the song Zogu dhe djali, and she won the prize “Violeta Filaj” in the competition “Ëndërra për muzikën”.
Her first major TV success came in 2005, when she took part in the talent show “Ethet e së premtes”, reaching the top 10 finalists. One year later she took part in the Albanian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Festivali i Këngës, youth category, and won the first prize in this category and thus qualified to the final. Hersi kept up her ambition to represent her home country in the Eurovision Song Contet: In 2010 and 2011 she participated again in Festivali i Këngës, and in 2012 she ranked 3rd with the song Kush ta dha këtë emër. On her fifth attempt, she finally won Festivali i Këngës and will thus represent Albania in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest.
She has collaborated with various composers and lyric’s writers in Albania. Her most notable successes to date were the launching of the video clip to the song Kthehu, and her her collaboration with the singer songwriter Gjergj Leka. She has also participated in two of the most prestigious festivals on the Southern Balkans, Top Fest and Kënga Magjike.
Career in classical music
In 2004 Hersi started studying lyric canto in the Artistic Lyceum “Jordan Misja” in Tirana. She studied for one year in the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. She later took part in concerts in the Theater of Opera and Ballet of Tirana and reached the final in the national competition of classical music “Këngët e Tokës”. In 2008 Hersi reached the final in the national competition “Jorgji Truja”. One year later, she started studying at the National Academy of St Cecilia in Rome, ranking an amazing first in the admission competition. In 2010 she ranked first in the musical contest “Ars Kosova”.
Hersi has taken part in many concerts like Carmina Burana by Carl Orff in 2010 or projects like “Let’s Britten” in honor of the composer Benjamin Britten that took place in some of historical buildings in Rome in 2013. In 2012 she took part as soloist in the concert in the Theater of Basilica of San Pancrazio in Rome. Last year Hersi took part in several concerts in the Greek Theater in Rome, in Sala Magna in College of Rome, and in the National Museum of Rome, among others.