Interview: Janex – “Festivali i Këngës 60“ Participant (Albania)

Today we are happy to introduce you to an interview with one of the talented artists from Albania.
She will participate in “Festivali i Këngës” for the 4th time.
In previous editions, she collaborated with her sister Enxhi.
Together, they competed in the festival in the year 2012- 2014 (editions 51-53).
This year, she brought us one of the modern and unique songs from the festival.

We are talking about Xhejn Kumrija (better known as Janex).

The 29 years old Albanian singer-songwriter and music producer found some time to answer our questions and reveal more about her personality.

In 2013, Xhejn & Enxhi performed the song “Kur qielli qan” and ended up in 6th place:

In 2014, they performed the song “Njeri”, but didn’t qualify for the final:

This year, she will perform as a solo artist, for the first time in “Festivali Kenges“!

Hi Janex, thank you for accepting our interview invitation during the last rehearsals for “Festivali Kenges 60“.

Thank you Doron, I appreciate the support and I’m glad to be here.

1. It will be your 4th participation in the festival. How have you changed as an artist since then?

Before I was only a singer-songwriter, now I am also a producer. My writing skills have evolved, and I am more confident on what I am doing music wise, and why. 

2. Can you tell us what led you to submit an entry for this edition?

I had a lot of songs sitting around, so I said why not. It was a good opportunity to come back and visit family during the holidays, and participate at “Festivali Kenges“.  

3. How was “Deluzional” created? 

Deluzional” was originally created in English at my home studio. I made a beat and chords, then I was playing around with electric guitar with the idea of some funk-inspired lines. 

4. What’s the story behind the lyrics of the song?

The song talks about a type of person who can’t separate fantasy from reality. It’s about a past relationship that has no hope for return, but where the other person believes  there is. 

5. On your Instagram story, you promised a unique outfit with 18th-century influences. Can you shed some more light on that?

You’ll see me soon! I received a lot of feedback that this song is way too modern for Albania, so I thought I would counterbalance it a bit with something that was a bit of a throwback. However, since this is a past-present and future edition, I thought this was a perfect choice!

6. Currently, you split your life between New York and Albania. What’s your destination audience? What’s the difference between creating music in Albania than in America?

There are plenty of Albanians in America! But seriously, Europe tends to support the performing arts a lot more, whereas in the U.S it’s harder to get a break. My goal is to reach people across continents. 

7. In the past, you’ve participated in “Kenga Magjike”, as well as in Festivali i Këngës. What’s the difference between them from an artist’s perspective?

Well, “Festivali i Kenges” has more pressure because of the structure of the competition as it selects Albania’s representative in Eurovision, whereas “Kenga Magjike” ends at “Kenga Magjike“. However, each has its own magic. 

8. What’s the meaning of performing as an Albanian singer that defines herself as a queer artist?

I represent myself, but I also represent modern Albania.
It is an honor to represent all kinds of people, including the queer community.

9. Your song is probably the most modern song at the festival. Will it be an advantage or disadvantage?

It’s probably a bit of both. I am hoping that it’s more of an advantage though. 

10. What do you think about the festival this year? Which songs are your favorites?

I think the festival has included a very diverse selection which I appreciate and enjoy. I think there are a lot of good songs this year, and I can’t just pin point favorites. 

11. What are your staging plans?

Keep it minimal. We’re doing something different with the camera panning which people may or may not notice, but yeah, minimal. 

12. Suppose you’re the winner of the festival. Will you perform the English or Albanian version of the song at Eurovision?

Absolutely in English, I want people to connect with my lyrics,  not just my music. Albanian is not a widely known language, so it makes sense for such competition to use something that is more universally spoken and understood. 

13. Why do you think Albania hasn’t won Eurovision, despite the fact the country has plenty of talented artists to suggest?

Maybe being a small country has its own disadvantages, but I also think that Albania has tried to play it safe more than it was necessary by pleasing traditional factions. 

14. What’s your favorite Festivali i Këngës song that didn’t end in the first place?

Maybe Evi Reci – Tjerr 

15.  What’s your favorite Albanian song at Eurovision?

I love Jonida Maliqi’s instrumental “Ktheju Tokes”, it reminds me one of my favorite artists “Woodkid”.


16. What’s your favorite Non-Albanian song at Eurovision?

Will have to mention Romania’s entry from 2020 : Roxen – Alcohol You!  This could’ve easily been a pop hit. 

17. When can we expect your new album? Will it be in Albanian / English/ mixed?

Sometimes in the near future. As I have previously mentioned, I want it to be perfect — It will most likely be in English

18, What’s your message to ESCBEAT readers?

Thanks for reading, thanks for watching and thanks for listening! Enjoy the show! Much love from JANEX. 

We wish Janex good luck in the national selection.
It was an honor to have an interview with such a personality and talented artist!
Very soon, you’ll be able to listen to the English version of her song – “Delusional

Doron Lahav is 30-year-old, who lives in Israel. Doron has been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and shows interest in singing and writing.

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