Eurovision 2022 Albania profile: 'Sekret' by Ronela Hajati
Albania at Eurovision
Albania is one of the newer countries at Eurovision, debuting in 2004 where they finished seventh with Anjeza Shahini's 'The Image of You'. Overall, Albania has been hit and miss with the Eurovision audience, qualifying for the Grand Final ten times out of 17 entries.
Their best results since their debut include 'Suus' by Rona Nishliu which finished fifth in Baku in 2012 and 'Mall' by Eugent Bushpepa which placed 11th in Lisbon in 2018.
In the most recent 2021 competition, it was Anxhela Peristeri who took Albania to the Final once again, placing 21st with her song 'Karma'.
2022 entry: Ronela Hajati - 'Sekret'
Semi-final: Albania will sing first in the running order of semi-final 1
My Eurovision Scoreboard ranking: 5th
Odds to win ranking: 25th
(Odds accurate as of April 11)
Who is Ronela Hajati?
Ronela Hajati is a 32-year-old singer who was born and raised in Tirana, Albania. She studied ballet and piano in her early years and has been performing for more than a decade. She rose to prominence in the early 2010s, releasing a number of popular singles including 'Mala Gata', 'A do si kjo' and 'Marre', all peaking in the low teens on the Albanian charts. Ronela appeared on the popular show 'Kënga Magjike' in 2013, where she won the internet award.
Ronela attained her first #1 single in 2019, with 'MVP' reaching the top of the charts. 2019 was a prosperous year for chart success, releasing three other singles which all made the top 10. She announced her debut album 'RRON' in March of last year, featuring two more hit singles; 'Prologue' peaked at number two, and 'Aventura' reached number three on the Albanian charts. Ronela is a well-known name in Albania and surrounding Balkan countries - winning a music award in Montenegro and collaborating with a Kosovo-Albanian musician.
About the song
'Sekret' can best be described as a "banger". The track was written by Ronela herself and produced by Marko Polo. 'Sekret' is sung in Albanian and English, and combines pop elements with traditional ethnic sounds, delivered in a powerful package.
Ronela has stated that the three "versions" of the song - the National Final performance, the music video, and the stage performance at Eurovision - will be treated as three separate entities. At the National Final, she was joined on stage with 20 or so dancers, which cannot be replicated due to Eurovision rules. The recently-released music video shows a secret world with a love interest and some beautiful Game-of-Thrones style nature. Ronela is opening the contest, and is sure to deliver a great vocal and a high-energy stage show.
How was 'Sekret' chosen for Eurovision?
Albania has used their National Final 'Festivali I Këngës' ('Festival of Song') to select its Eurovision entry since 2004, but the show has been running since 1962. The 60th anniversary show was held early in the National Final season in December 2021, making 'Sekret' one of the first entries to be selected. It was a two horse race between her and Alban, but Ronela got the ticket to Turin.
Since then, the track has been revamped to fit into the three minute guideline for Eurovision, where Ronela added some English lyrics and tightened the production. The magic and flare of the original version still remains.
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Albania will compete in semi-final one on May 10 (European time) in Turin.