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Era Istrefi

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Era Istrefi
Era Istrefi 2018.jpg
Istrefi performing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final in Moscow
Background information
Born (1994-07-04) 4 July 1994 (age 24)
Pristina, FR Yugoslavia
Years active 2012–present
Associated acts
Website www.eraistrefimusic.com

Era Istrefi (born 4 July 1994) is a Kosovar singer and songwriter.[1][2]

Istrefi has released a number of singles in both Albanian and English. In 2016, she gained international recognition following the release of her single "BonBon", which drew comparisons to the works of Barbadian artist Rihanna and Australian singer Sia.[3] Following the song's success she signed to American record labels Sony Music and Ultra Music one month later.[4] In 2017, she won the European Border Breakers Award. In 2018, she featured as one of the singers in the FIFA World Cup song "Live It Up".[5]

Life and career

1994–2014: Early life and career beginnings

Era Istrefi was born on 4 July 1994 in Pristina.[a][6] Her parents are Suzana Tahirsylaj, a Kosovar singer during the 1980s and 1990s; and Nezir Istref, a journalist. Following her father's death in 2004, her mother left her career in entertainment. Her sister Nora Istrefi is also a singer.

Istrefi made her debut in her native country in 2013 with "Mani Për Money", eventually releasing material sung in Gheg Albanian—featuring English phrases.[7][8] A few months later, she released a follow-up recording, "A Po Don?", which was promoted with a music video; it similarly achieved recognition.[9] Her third single "E Dehun"—was filmed in desecrated orthodox church. Upon its release, "E Dehun" assured Istrefi three Videofest Awards, including one for "Best New Artist". In December 2014, the singer made the pop ballad "13"—which was produced in the United States—available for consumption.[10] Its accompanying music video was viewed almost 200,000 times within 24 hours on YouTube,[11] which later resulted in it being featured in V Magazine.[12] That year, she expressed her support of LGBT rights.[7] She received Albanian citizenship in 2016.[13]

2015–present: International breakthrough

Istrefi experienced international recognition with her single "BonBon", which was released on 31 December 2015 together with a music video shot in Kosovo.[14] The song became an immediate success, becoming viral on social media.[15] Additionally, the singer began gaining support from American actress Chloë Grace Moretz,[16] and various publications referred to her as the "Rihanna and Sia of Kosovo".[17][18] In February 2016, Istrefi signed to American labels Sony Music Entertainment and Ultra Music.[4] It was reported that Istrefi will record her upcoming debut studio album in collaboration with RCA Records.[19] In June 2016 an English version of "Bonbon" was released.[20]

On 24 February 2017, Istrefi released a new single, titled "Redrum", which features producer Felix Snow.[21][22] Few months later, on 29 September, Istrefi released another new single, titled "No I Love Yous", which is in collaboration with French Montana.[23] On May 21, 2018 it was announced that Istrefi had joined with Will Smith and Nicky Jam to release the Official FIFA World Cup Song on 25 of May.[24][5]

Era performed the official song "Live It Up" alongside Hollywood actor Will Smith and American singer Nicky Jam at the closing ceremony of World Cup 2018.[25]

Music video controversy

Istrefi received criticism from the Serbian Orthodox Church after the release of the music video for her third single "E Dehun". The video depicted a woman semi-nude woman dancing around the abandoned Church of Christ the Saviour, Pristina. The Serbian Orthodox Church called her actions "demonic" and "blasphemous".[26] Astrit Ismaili reacted to the controversial act, citing that there was no intention to offend Serbians and that he had the permission to shoot the video in the entrance of the church.[27]



As a lead artist

List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album

US Dance
"Mani Për Money" 2013 Non-album singles
"A Po Don?" 2014
"E Dehun"
(featuring Mixey)
"Njo Si Ti" 2015
"Shumë Pis"
(featuring Ledri Vula)
"BonBon" 2016 46 19 39 95 38 29 10 68 39 13 TBA
(featuring Felix Snow)
2017 45
"No I Love Yous"
(featuring French Montana)
(featuring Maphorisa)
"Live It Up"
(with Nicky Jam and Will Smith)
21 65 42 21 78 32 2018 FIFA World Cup Official Theme Song
"Prisoner" TBA
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Songwriting credits

List of songs written or co-written for other artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Artist(s) Album
"As Ni Gote" (featuring Nora Istrefi)[38] 2018 Mixey Non-album single

Awards and nominations

Year Event Category Nominated work Result
2014 VideoFest Awards Best Performance "E dehun" Won
Best Styling Won
Best Female Nominated
Best New Artist "Mani për money" Won
Zhurma Show Awards Best New Artist "E dehun" Nominated
2015 Best Collaboration "Shumë pis" Nominated
Internet Award Won
Best Song Nominated
2016 Top Music Awards Collaboration of the Year "Shumë pis" Won
Song of the Year Nominated
"BonBon" Won
Female Artist of the Year "Herself" Won
Avantgarde Artist Nominated
Kult Awards Song of the Year "BonBon" Nominated
2017 Eurosonic Noorderslag European Border Breakers Award "Herself" Won
Public Choice Award Nominated


  1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 113 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ Rishty, David (March 22, 2016). "Ultra Music's Patrick Moxey on New Signee Era Istrefi, Rihanna & Sia Parallels: Exclusive". billboard.com. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  2. ^ "Era Istrefi: The Albanian artist drawing comparisons to Sia and Rihanna". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-06-09. 
  3. ^ "WATCH - IF YOU MERGED RIHANNA AND SIA YOU'D GET ERA ISTREFI - BONBON". ixdaily.com. IX Daily. Retrieved 26 Feb 2016. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Era Istrefi firmos me Sony Music - Lajme rozë". GazetaExpress.com. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  5. ^ a b "Will Smith, Nicky Jam & Era Istrefi to collaborate on official 2018 World Cup song | Goal.com". Retrieved 2018-05-23. 
  6. ^ "Kosovo's Istrefi Tastes Sweet Success With 'Bonbon' :: Balkan Insight". www.balkaninsight.com. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  7. ^ a b "Yjet shqiptarë mbështesin legalizimin e martesave gej dhe lezbike (Foto) - Privé - Faqja Zyrtare". Prive.al. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  8. ^ Rosenzweig, Mathias. "Introducing Era Istrefi, the Eastern European Singer With Pipes Like Rihanna". Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  9. ^ ""A Po Don" thotë Era Istrefi!". telegrafi.com. Telegrafi. 
  10. ^ "Era Istrefi lanson baladën "13" (Video)". Telegrafi. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  11. ^ ""13" drejt rekordeve të para (Video) - Lajme rozë". GazetaExpress.com. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  12. ^ Stagg, Natasha. "Meet Era Istrefi". V Magazine. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Era Istrefi requires Albanian citizenship, meets with President Nishani". ocnal. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Era Istrefi Is the 22-Year-Old Albanian Singer Who Got Famous in 24 Hours - Noisey". noisey. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  16. ^ "ChloĂŤ Grace Moretz on Twitter: "Era istrefi. New star. Watch out. she's amazing."". Twitter. 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  17. ^ "Era Istrefi, biografia". TeksteShqip.com. 
  18. ^ "Era Istrefi ne rubriken Instagram dhe te rejat e fundit 07.06.2015". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  19. ^ "Albanian Popstar Era Istrefi signs to Ultra/B1/Sony Music". Ventsmagazine.com. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  20. ^ Wass, Mike. "Era Istrefi Drops English Version Of Global Smash "BonBon"". idolator.com. Idolator. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  21. ^ Wass, Mike (24 February 2017). "Era Istrefi's "Redrum" Video Is A Sexy, Red-Hued Fantasy". idolator.com. 
  22. ^ staff, bigFM (2 March 2017). "ERA ISTREFI: MIT "REDRUM" UND SUPERSTAR-PRODUZENT FELIX SNOW". bigfm.de. 
  23. ^ Desk, Music News (29 September 2017). "Singer Songwriter Era Istrefi Returns with New Song 'No I Love Yous'". broadwayworld.com. 
  24. ^ "Will Smith & Nicky Jam Will Perform Official FIFA World Cup Song With Era Istrefi". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-05-23. 
  25. ^ [http:s://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/6783281/era-istrefi-albanian-singer-live-it-up-will-smith-nicky-jam-world-cup-closing-ceremony/ "Who is Era Istrefi? Albanian singer performing Live It Up with Will Smith and Nicky Jam at the World Cup closing ceremony"]. theSun. Retrieved 15 July 2018. 
  26. ^ "Serbian Church Slams 'Blasphemous' Cathedral Pop Video". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  27. ^ "qartesim ne lidhje me shfrytezimin e objektit te pa perfunduar te kishes ortodokse". Lajmi. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  28. ^ "australian-charts.com - Discography Era Istrefi". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  29. ^ "Era Istrefi - Bonbon". Austriancharts.at. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  30. ^ "Era Istrefi - Bonbon". Ultratop.be. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  31. ^ "Era Istrefi - Chart history (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 December 2016. 
  32. ^ "Era Istrefi - Bonbon". Danishcharts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  33. ^ "France Top Singles Charts (Week 21, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 28 May 2016. 
  34. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Offiziellecharts.de. 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  35. ^ "Era Istrefi - Bonbon". Dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  36. ^ "Era Istrefi - Bonbon". Swisscharts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  37. ^ "Era Istrefi Chart History". billboard.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  38. ^ https://gazetablic.com/nora-istrefi-dhe-mixey-publikojne-kengen-ni-go/