When landing in Madrid on a Sunday afternoon in March, with the city at half gas from the pandemic, Gjon Muharremaj, 22, could have looked like one of those young French people who come to drink the streets of the capital. Nothing is further from what awaited the young man in the city, in the less than 24 hours he spent there. Yes, Muharremaj has that singing accent, but his life is very different, far from merrymaking and partying. He is a musician and he came to act as the only guest on a program in which he was not the protagonist but which, probably and without him knowing it, was going to give him a fame that can have almost immediate consequences on his career. in Barajas, Muharremaj crossed the corridors of Mediaset to sit at the piano on a then empty set and perform his song Tout l'univers in front of the audience gathered before the screen: more than 3.7 million spectators . He was in charge of starting the documentary program Rocío, telling the truth to stay alive, in which after 20 years of silence Rocío Carrasco, Rociíto , daughter of Rocío Jurado and Pedro Carrasco, gave her version of the family drama in which lives immersed.
And among all that media noise, Muharremaj's melody accompanied Carrasco's words and left its echo in the audience. It won't be the last time they hear it. For the young, stage name Gjon's Tears (Tears of Gjon) is the representative of Switzerland, his country of birth and the one that welcomed their parents after leaving Albania in the next Eurovision Song Contest. And in it he will interpret this theme, Tout l'univers .
The story of Gjon in Switzerland is similar to that of Blas Cantó in Spain: both were popularly chosen to represent their countries in the 2020 song festival , that the pandemic was carried away. And both were the safe option of their national televisions for the next edition, which will also be held in Rotterdam, as the previous one was scheduled. If he sang he exchanged his Forgive me for Universe,Gjon starts from an even better position, because last year his song – then Répondez-moi , Answer me – was a clear favorite, something that places him in a prominent starting place for Eurofans this 2021.
We don't have Eurovision 2020, but we do The participating songsThis is 'Universo', the song with which Blas Cantó will represent Spain in Eurovision 2021
Although born in the popular cheese town of Gruyère, considered one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland, Gjon Muharremaj has its origins further afield . His father is Kosovar and his mother is Albanian. His family has always been aware of his love for music, a passion that he developed since he was a child. In fact, that's where his name comes from: his grandfather played a version of Can't Help Falling in Love , the ballad popularized by Elvis Presley, and the man cried in front of him. The boy thought he had a kind of superpower and incorporated those tears, tears in English, to his stage name.
He has said that origins are not something that defines people, not for him, who maintains strong ties with his homeland , and has participated in various television competitions there (as in the first edition of Albania's Got Talent , in 2011 and only 13 years old), but also in Switzerland, in another Got Talent , and in France. In fact, in 2019 he was a semifinalist of the gala version of La Voz, forming part of the team of the Israeli singer Mika, who chose him for his interpretations of Elton John, Bowie or George Michael.
Besides having a band, Gjon's Tears & The Weeping Willows, already in 2019 released his first solo song, Babi , an intense ballad in English – with Albanian choruses – that reached number one on the Albanian charts. This has been followed in the wake of Répondez-moi and now Tout l'universe . Both are very popular in his native Switzerland and in France. The video clip of the first achieved more than three million views and that of the second has surpassed it: the song premiered on March 10 and in just over two weeks only the main video clip has 1,600,000 views (although there are others that accumulate 400,000 and 100,000 visits).
This second Eurovision attempt has also brought out his facet as a composer. To create this Tout l'univers that is making him famous in Europe, he attended a songwriters camp, and created 20 songs in a month and a half. As explained by the Swiss television SRF, a panel of 100 people and 20 experts chose their favorites and gave their opinion on how to improve them, then those changes were incorporated, videos were recorded (to see their voice live) and they were sent back to the jury. The young man said that he was looking for a song with a message that was universally understood. "I had to find producers, composers and authors for the festival, but for me the most important thing was to find the most beautiful song that I was capable of writing," explained in the SRF.
For him it was “strange” to go through so many filters, because he usually teaches his subjects to his “close circle, the family”, and those opinions were alien and strange to him. But that helps him to start getting to know everything he can hear next May in Rotterdam, where he will first have to overcome the semifinals in order to reach the grand final on the 22nd. It had been 10 years since Switzerland had come with a song in French to the contest, where he has participated from the beginning, except four times. In fact, it welcomed it in its first edition, and won it with the also melodic Refrain , by Lys Assia. It took him 32 years to get another triumph: in Dublin, with Céline Dion and Ne partez pas sans moi , in 1988. It may have taken another 33 for the Swiss boy of tears to shed them, like his grandfather, with happiness .
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116