The ‘Euros of Hollywood’ Cast Member and Madonna of Albania Introduces Herself and Her Plans to be the Next Pop Star of America.
By Inez Barberio
Fearless, driven, outspoken, yet irresistible, Bleona Qereti, cast member of the hit Bravo TV Reality series ‘Euros of Hollywood’ has all the assets to become a household name in the music industry here in the U.S. Having been dubbed as the Madonna of Albania, the singing sensation knows that she has a challenging road ahead, but Bleona won’t let that hold her back as she pursues her mission to be known worldwide!
“Madonna is an icon. That title has followed me around because of my high energy performances, outrageous visuals, and fashion sense as well as the support of the gay community. It is an honor anytime you are compared to someone who is that successful. I have incredible respect for her but I want be the first Bleona.”
Since she was 5-years-old, Bleona has been doing what she loves best, singing and performing. By the age of 14, she already gained the title of a diva as she performed in Albania’s National Music Festival, a music award show similar to the Grammy’s of the United States.
Not liking to be told what to do, Bleona made her own rules.
“I became this sensation overnight. I was told not to do certain things, but I still did them. I decided to go onstage in super short leather pants and I put a shawl on top during show rehearsals. The producer said ‘You’re not wearing that’ and I was like ‘ok, no problem.’ The next day during the live broadcast, I wore the same exact thing, but made sure I was covered before going onstage. Nobody noticed me because they were taking care of all the big shots. The minute I entered onstage and in the middle of the song, I took everything off, and of course it was a scandal!”
Grabbing attention from the public with her scandalous and outrageous fashions has become second nature to Bleona.
Her fishnet, “naked dress” at the American Music Awards was deemed over the top and she made headlines everywhere. For the Grammy Awards, Bleona took her creative nature a step further.
“Following the fashion commotion that I caused at the AMA with my ‘naked dress,’ I had to come up with a statement piece. The dress I wore to the Grammy’s was literally a piece of art that was cast onto my body for a performance at last’s year’s White Party. I loved it so much that I had it made in four different colors.”
Bleona’s designer made a custom feathery train to top off her metal plated breasts and her look once again drew the red carpet attention she was looking for. The dresses will live on as the AMA dress was donated to ‘Music Cares’ silent auction and her Grammy dress will be donated to the ‘amfAR Gala’ as an auction item.
Bleona does not believe in holding herself back, under any circumstance. Arriving in the U.S. as an experienced performer with eight Albanian albums produced, Bleona wanted to work with no one but the best in the music industry. Through her never ending persistence and determination, she had her first American single ‘Pass Out’ produced by Timbaland and has since worked with other big name producers including Rodney Jerkins and Grammy winner David Foster.
Accustomed to taking control of her own career, Bleona faced challenges of representing herself here in the U.S. where people did not take her seriously.
“I called people myself to get my songs out without representation. In my mind, in the country that I come from, if you are really big, you pick up the phone and call other people. You don’t have your manager talk for you because it is arrogant. It’s like ‘oh, you are that big that you have someone else talk for you?’ It’s a super cultural difference.”
Bleona thus hired a management team to help make her dream of making it big in the U.S. closer to reality. Christa Shaub, who once managed Rihanna saw the star power of Bleona after viewing a reel of her where Bleona took a comedic stance of herself and her life.
“I saw this and said, ‘that girl is serious, she’s a star.’ I was blown away,” said Shaub.
After partnering with record promoter Erik Olesen, formerly of Island Def Jam Music Group and Epic Records, Bleona was soon introduced to Core Media Group that was producing the Bravo TV reality show, ‘Euros of Hollywood’ which featured six Europeans trying to make a name for themselves in America. Within days, Bleona was signed on as a cast member.
“This show is an amazing platform for me to release my own music. I am very honored to be on this show in America, because it is going to bring me closer to my fans, and to the new fans who don’t know who I am.”
On ‘Euros of Hollywood,’ Bleona’s parents, who she has had a close relationship with throughout her life made regular appearances.
“My parents are on the show, they are adorable! Not because they are my parents, but because they really are adorable! I have had the support of my family 100% of the time in all my life. I would never be who I am in my life if I didn’t have this amazing support from these two people.”
While America has started to recognize Bleona as a television personality from ‘Euros of Hollywood’ it is still important for her to have people realize that she is a singer.
“It’s just so weird for me for people to say ‘Bleona, from Euros of Hollywood?’ Yes, I’m Bleona from ‘Euros of Hollywood’ and I have eight albums.”
Bleona was able to showcase her music on ‘Euros’ with her performance at the White Party in Palm Springs. She has targeted the gay community with her flashy costumes and catchy lyrics and has gained their love and support as they have given for singing icons Madonna and Lady Gaga.
As she has performed for everyone from royalty to America’s own Donald Trump, Bleona still dedicates herself to be nationally recognized on a larger scale. “Google me, baby” is one of Bleona’s favorite catch phrases. From being a known celebrity on the streets of Europe to being a stranger in LA, Bleona has simultaneously lived two separate lives.
“I would call for a restaurant in LA and say that I need a reservation for two and say just put it under Bleona. They would say, ‘Could you spell your name?’ I’m like, ‘Google me, baby.’ It’s my attitude right? I have been a star since I was 5-years-old.”
As she continues to jet set from Europe to LA on a regular basis, it’s hard to believe that Bleona has time for any other ventures. In addition to focusing on her singing career, she has partnered with ShoeDazzle.com and designed a line of shoes and handbags named Bleona for Scene. In February of this year, she launched ShopBleona.com for her fans.
“For me, there is no such thing as too much bling. Since the ShoeDazzle idea went amazingly well, I couldn’t resist designing jewelry to go with the shoes! I get my inspiration from my high-end jewelry that I own and I wanted to extend my style and my vision of what I think of as being fabulous to my amazingly devoted fans who have never let me down during all these years. My e-commerce website ShopBleona.com launched on Valentine’s Day because there is no better day to give a gift for the people that you love!”
Bleona recently flew back to Albania to be a judge on Albania’s ‘X-Factor’ and is also in the works of producing her first US music video ‘Take You Over’ which will debut in mid-April.
“It was a big pressure actually as I have set my bar pretty high on my videos back home always bringing innovative ideas, and to go further I always have crazy visuals on live performances as well. So making my first U.S. debut video I wanted to bring something different – something that represents high fashion! So I hired the absolute best people in the business to execute my vision. Denis Leupold, an amazing high fashion photographer and video director was the best way to go! We have worked together before on my first photo-shoot in U.S. and Dennis has an amazing portfolio from Rihanna to Jennifer Lopez. He was the perfect person to do this. We also added on the team the amazing Jeffrey Kelly who has amazing talent when it comes to camera and lighting! He has worked on ‘Booty” with J. Lo, Beyoncé ‘Drunk in Love’ and most of her videos on her last album. I couldn’t resist working with the best team ever on my first video debut in US.”
“So this is where my life is. I currently have my singles on iTunes. It’s refreshing for me when I meet music people saying, ‘Oh my God, we heard your music and it sounds really great.’ This is really refreshing. It’s not just a fan telling you, but a real music person that tells you it sounds great. It’s incredible.”
And incredible she is. As tough as Bleona may be, she has an undying love for her profession as well as her family.
“I want to rock the world! If you make it in the US you pretty much have it all. I love this country and I am privileged to live here! A lot of Americans don’t understand how lucky they are to be born in U.S. Coming from a different country I understand that nothing is impossible in America.”
Bleona and her female empowerment are here to stay! Google her, baby!
You can follow Bleona and her high fashion lifestyle on her Instagram and Twitter account @IAMBLEONA.