|Bleona in Ibiza, 13 June 2013|
|Birth name||Bleona Qereti|
Bleona Qereti , professionally known as Bleona is an Albanian singer and actress. As of 2009, Bleona has resided in the United States where she has worked with producers such as Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, and Grammy winner David Foster. She has released four singles since, titled "Show Off", "Without You" and "Pass Out," the latter co-produced by Timbaland. On September 10, 2013 she released the single "Take It Like A Man".
Bleona was born on 14 May 1979 in Korçë, Albania. She began her career at Skampa Theater in Elbasan, and then moved to Tirana to pursue her singing career. At age 15, she began singing and performing at Albanian music festivals. She released her first single, "Lermeni (Let Me Be Free)" in 1996, and a year later released her first album, Kam Qejfin Tim (I Run My Own Game). Bleona's first major tour took place that year, and she performed over 25 summer shows at concert halls in Switzerland and Germany. In 1997 she toured in support of the Albanian Democratic Party (headed by Sali Berisha), and released a music video for the track "Kam Qejfin Tim." Since then she has released approximately one new music video a year.
At age thirteen, Bleona's father and mother encouraged her to leave singing and go to business school. Her parents later sent her to a German school to learn the language. which she can speak and sing in English, Albanian, Italian, German. She studied the Stanislavski System of acting, graduating with a BA from the Academy of Performing Arts in Tirana. She also plays violin.
From 1999 through 2002, Bleona released three more albums, all of which reached the charts in southeastern Europe. In 1999 she headlined the Humanitarian Tour for the People of Kosovo, where she played a number of concerts around Europe. From 2000 to 2001 she performed at 80 concerts in Europe and the United Kingdom, and by 2002 she was headlining outdoor concerts. In that same year she released the DVD, Nje xhiro neper Shqiperi (Walking Through Albania).
In 2003 Bleona released the album Ti Nuk Di As Me Ma Lyp" , Within 3 months of being released the album had sold 300,000 copies. Over the next four years she again toured throughout, England, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, and co-headlined with the rock group, Elita 5.
Bleona’s 2005 album, Boom Boom was recorded in both English and Albanian. That same year her single "S'dua" won the Media Award at the "Magic Song Festival Awards," Albania's version of the Grammy Awards. In 2006 Bleona became the youngest recipient of Albania’s VMA "Excellent Career Award" in the award's history. Her eighth album Mandarin sold over 800,000 copies in 2007, breaking her previous record.In theme with the album, which means "tangerine," she dyed her hair red in 2006 and kept it that way until 2007, featuring the color in three music videos. In 2007 she campaigned for the then-newly formed New Kosovo Aliance, a political party formed by Behgjet Pacolli.In 2008 Bleona won "Media Award" with song "Magnetic" in "Magic Song Festival Awards".
Moving to the United States
Bleona's first tour of the United States was in 2004, when a club promoter invited her to New York City to perform at New York City’s legendary Webster Hall. Since then, she has continued to perform in both the United States, the Middle East and in Europe.
Bleona moved to the U.S. in September 2010. Shortly afterwards she met producer Timbaland while both were attending the Grammy Awards ceremony. After a year of delays, she began working with him on three new tracks. She has worked on songs with Rodney Jerkins, Makeba, and engineered by Jimmy Douglass. Her English language single "Show Off" was released on September 27, 2010. In February 2011, Bleona became a citizen of the United States.
"Pass Out" single
In September 2012, Bleona’s co-produced single with Timbaland, "Pass Out" featuring Brasco was released. She toured Europe to promote the single, performing in Albania in the cities of Vlora, Elbasan, Shkoder and Tirana; the capital city of Pristina in Kosovo; Tetovo in Macedonia and Düsseldorf, Germany. Supporting her on tour was DJ Freestyle Steve and Brasco. Concert attendance ranged from 50 to 70,000 people per performance.
In the summer 2013, Bleona announced the release of her single "Take It Like A Man" produced by StopWaitGo. Maximum Pop called it "an uplifting dance floor filler that screams "GIRL POWER" at the top of its europop lungs". To coincide with the release she headlined Las Vegas Gay Pride on September 7, 2013.
In February 2014, Bleona started shooting a new reality television series titled Euros of Hollywood which premiered on November 3, 2014 on Bravo network. The show followed Bleona recording her first album in English and her life in America. In 2015 Bleona she returned to Albania where she was a member of the X Factor jury. In 2016 she was member of Your Face Sounds Familiar jury in Albania.
- Bleona Official Website
- Billboard - Spotlight on Bleona
- Bleona Qereti - "I Told Timbaland To Give Me A Chance" (Global Grind, August 2011)