“I think it’s something to do with the way that music can be so powerful. When it transmits the right kind of energy, it can break all the boundaries,” explains 22 year old Era Istrefi, the Albanian star in the throes of a meteoric international rise to Noisey. “It’s the first time in history that an Albianian-language song is becoming a global hit – it’s never happened before so how could I expect it!” she muses when asked if she predicted the wildfire-like success her single, BonBon, would have world-wide.
Loaded with all the hallmarks of an EDM/dance hit, the track fuses reggaeton and dancehall influences with almost eerily Rihanna-like vocals, made infinitely more catchy when listened to in Istrefi’s native Albanian (for the record, she’s singing about smoking blunts, loving oneself and kicking a f*ckboi to the curb). Although the bonus Post Malone rap verse on the English version is definitely worth a listen.
With her hyper-sexy, streetwear style and chameleon locks (from pink to platinum to purple ombre) and strong, smooth vocals, it's little wonder she's just inked her first record deal with a US label.
"I just want people to like it - whether it's sad, happy, crazy, stupid or whatever," Istrefi explains of her music. "Whatever the emotion, I want it to be intense. I want people to get goosebumps when they hear my songs, and nothing any less than that."
Take a look at BonBon below - but prepare for all the feels.