Special Interview with Kristine Elezaj

Carlos: I see that you got your professional start at the hip New York venue Sugar Bar owned by Ashford and Simpson. How was it like when first meeting them?

My dad is actually friends with them. In beginning, when I was going to the bar, I thought I was just going to have dinner with my dad and get up and sing during the open mic night. I was so surprised when I got there and Nick and his wife Valerie started singing back up while I was singing Aretha Franklin’s Respect! They are such amazingly warm people so they just make you feel so comfortable and at home.

Carlos: The song “Warpath” is blowing up everywhere. Did you think it would be a hit and why?

It’s funny because you never really know what’s going to be a hit but, when I heard “Warpath” for the first and saw everyone’s reaction to it, there was just such an energy that it gave off which made me realize that it was something special.

Carlos: Will your second song be an mid-tempo or slow ballad song?

We’re thinking it’s going to be another up-tempo song called “Barbwire” and then we are going to release a ballad. Most likely “Light Years” It’s so pretty I love that song!

Carlos: So what should your fans expect from the No Questions Remain Album?

To me It’s a perfect balance of fantasy having fun with my alter ago and being vulnerable by putting some of my personal feelings on paper. I did so much writing on this album really finding myself as a true writer. It’s truly my baby and I’m so proud of it. I did it in a way where people can listen to any song and really relate to it anyway that it speaks to them. I grew up dancing so the majority of the album allows me to join my two loves of singing and dancing on stage still making sure that people got to know me as a voice, so I recorded two amazing ballads “Lights Years” and “Momentum”. Talk about real instruments like guitars and like the horns/strings of “Momentum”. Always is another pretty ballad that we turned into a dance song as well.

Carlos: So who are some of the producers on the album?

I worked with a few different amazing producers on this album. Brandon Beal, Goodwill & MGI– (Sean Kingston, Justin Beiber), Chris & Teeb (50cent), Mach1Music (Colby O’Donis, Backstreet Boys) Paul Edmunds, J.Marty (Lumidee)

Carlos: How do like being compared to the likes of Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Pink and Shakira?

I think it’s flattering! People have compared me to some of the best and most beautiful women in this industry!

Carlos
: Would you say that Britney Spears is one of your main influences in the music  business and why?

I think she is a great artist and an amazing performer but Janet Jackson has always been one of my main influences ever since I was little. Her music, performances and just her overall presence. The fact that she’s been in this industry for as long as she has and still be so humble through all of her success!  I really admire that about her.

Carlos: What inspired you to become an singer and why?

I grew up loving music and I just loved the way it made me feel. I loved even more, the way I was able to feel my emotions through singing and dancing; every word, every step. There’s something so beautiful about being able to connect with so many people through something that truly inspires me. You can actually make a difference in someone’s day or moment.

Carlos: What do you attribute to your drive as an artist?

There has always been this feeling in me that life is so much more then what most people portray it to be. I’m always learning something new about myself through what I do. I met so many amazing people too and they inspire me just as much as my own experiences.

Carlos: Do you think in your opinion that it’s easier for a female singer to break into the industry nowadays and why?

I think it’s equally hard for anyone whether female or male. Music is always changing, People’s opinion about music are also constantly changing. Radio has their own opinion about what’s “good” or “hot”, rather the executives behind radio to clarify better. You have these people who have been in the business for years who are stuck on what they like and their ways of doing things as well as the people just coming into the business, starting their work at the labels. You’re not just having to prove yourself to one entity, such as: the labels in this business but also radio and finally the fans. It’s a pretty level playing field for both male or female if you ask me.

Carlos: What has been your strong influence to continue performing?

Being in rehearsals is one thing, but once you hit the stage there is an entirely and completely new whole other energy that happens up there. The fans keep are what really keeps me going. You can’t describe it in words to be honest. It’s not just about the music with performing, it is about conquering and learning more about yourself because you are really able to totally feel yourself. You feel everyone in the room. When you get off and you take that with you, you’re excited for the journey to keep going and excited to hit the stage and continue to grow.

Carlos: Is there anything you do before you come on stage?

Ironically I get extremely quiet right before I go on as I’m getting ready. It makes me nervous having too many people around me so I’m normally just alone with my dancers and some tea. Right before I go on my dancers and I say a prayer together. They are like a whole other family for me. Their energy is so amazing that it is all I want around right before the show.

Carlos: Someone once said write what you would want to perform over and over. With that in mind, what song do you love to perform the most?

I can’t pick just one because each song has it’s own energy that’s exciting to perform. “Let You Know” was the first (1st) song I wrote on the album, coming out of a bad place in the industry and starting a whole new chapter professionally. “Light Years” has that emotion that strips everything down and makes me vulnerable in front of everyone, and then there “Kidnap the DJ” which is just a fun party song. Then there are also songs from the album that I haven’t even performed yet, which I am dying to perform, so I can’t really pick just one yet.

Carlos: Have you ever had to deal with “negative publicity” or “pushy media” people? If so, how did you handle it?

I’ve never had to deal with any really bad publicity. There have been things that people have said that are not so nice about my music but everyone is entitled to their own opinion so I don’t take it personally. The fact that people are paying attention says enough. You just have to focus on you and tune everything else out.

Carlos: If you had to change one thing about your music what do you feel would be the best change to benefit you overall and why?

We’ve done it in some songs but I really want to bring back as many real musical instruments as possible. Momentum has some horns that were played live and Light Years has the live piano, and Do or Die has a sick guitar!  I love them ALLLL.

Carlos: If you could perform with anyone in the world, either dead, alive, or broke-up
who would it be? Why? (Name up to three)

Janet Jackson because she is one of my all time favorite performers so I would love to share the stage and some dance moves with her.

Prince. I’ve always loved him as an artist but I saw him live in Vegas a few years back and thought to myself:  “How cool it would be to perform with him. He’s so unique!

There 3rd is really hard.. There are so many different artist out there I could just keep going.. haha

Carlos: What got you interested  in rally car driving?

My brothers would watch it and talk to me about it and then I started getting into it with them. They then showed me this rally called Bullrun that happens once a year which goes cross country. I contacted them wanting to know how to get involved in their 2006 rally, and from then on I’ve done it every year since. It is just SO much fun!

Carlos: How long have you been a rally car driver?

I’ve been doing cross country rallies since 2006.

Carlos: Will you still continue to pursue rally car driving even though your focused on your music career?

Of course. The music business keeps you busy but cars and racing are something I do for me, It’s important to always make time for yourself and do the things you love.

Carlos: What are some things you do when you’re not performing on stage?

I really am a homebody. I like just being around my friends and family when I’m not working. Besides the racing, a bunch of people in my family also paintball. I also love to sketch and paint. I spend a lot of time working out as well. I think I’m addicted. haha

Carlos: Is there anything else you would like to achieve besides music and rally car driving?

I love fashion so I would love to dive into designing my own fashion line one day. My Mother, since I was younger, would always design her jewelry and got me interested in it, so we always discussed doing a line of jewelry together, when the time is right that is.

Carlos: Where would you like to see yourself within the next five years as an artist? What are your long-term career goals?

I just want to see it grow and take me as far as I want to go. I don’t dwell on the future. I know that I want to be on tour and always performing but it’s what I’m focused on now in my career that’s going to dictate if I get there and how long I stay for. It’s being aware of whats around you now and being creative enough to stay ahead of the curve. Living in the actual now so that tomorrow I can say that I completely lived yesterday without dwelling on that for too long as well LOL. Balance.

Carlos: Is there anyone special you would like to thank for making your dream come true as an artist?

First and foremost my parents. I was fortunate enough to have both my mom and dad supporting me from the beginning cheering me on. They help me and have the best words of encouragement through the high and low’s of this business. Of course everyone behind the scenes – my manager (Roy), producers, choreographers and dancers and of course all of my fans!! They all make the dream that much more real. I couldn’t do it without them.

Carlos: What are your up-to-date performance plans? New releases? tour? new?

Right now I’m working on all the promo for “Warpath” I’m doing a lot of club dates and were talking about touring in the near future. The full album “No Question’s Remain” is going to be dropping October 5th!

Carlos: Are there any other “behind the scene” secrets, tips, or additional information you would like to share with our readers?

You need to put in the work. That goes for everything not just the music industry. It’s the stuff that happens behind the scenes that is going to make the work that’s out there, in public, that much more amazing. You have to be just as in love with the “grind” as you are with the talent.

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