Alright first thing is first… There are a lot of artists that have crossed backgrounds, multiple talents… but you are slightly different. Rally car? Racing? Interesting transition… How did you get started in that sport?
Kristine Elezaj: I suppose its rare that a singer would love to rally like I do, but its true. I got started in rallying through a celebrity car rally called Bullrun. I’ve had a love for cars every since I can remember. I like to dip into and learn about everything car related just because it excites me and it’s something I share with my family. It’s just one of many interesting hobbies I have. when I’m not working.
I hear you are going to be part of the infamous “Bullrun”, and this is your 3rd year doing it… How did you get involved in that? How excited do you get doing the event?
Kristine Elezaj: My brothers and I had followed the Bullrun since is was started a few years ago. When the 06 rally was coming around I contacted the company on how to enter my father and I in the rally. We were the first father daughter team for Bullrun which was really exciting! Besides Bullrun being an amazing event, I thought it would be a great experience to share a week of driving with my father who started my love for cars in the first place. It’s become a tradition and one of the most amazing weeks of the year for us. We are now getting ready to leave on the 08 rally and I couldn’t be more excited!
Now back to music… This summer is big for you. First album is on the way. What do we have to look forward to with this album? I hear you touch on some tough topics… When can we expect the first single?
Kristine Elezaj: Yes, my debut album I can’t believe it! Well first and foremost with this album we really wanted to bring back some live music elements to the pop genre. I really wanted my love for music and the elements from my collection of musical influences to show. I tried hard to pull from my Albanian roots, a lot of the drum sounds you hear are actually authentic Albanian drum sounds. I also tried to make my music reflective of my recent experiences. New Orleans has been one of the most supportive cities to me as my career has kicked off and I’ve been spending some time down there so one of the tracks on the album called peepshow has the most amazing horn arrangements influenced by the great Bourbon street flavor as a result. With the writing I just really wanted to have fun with it. As you say some of the topics are tough but I wanted to different emotional places and sing about them in ways people haven’t done before, especially since I’m a young woman. Its all good to sing about havin’ fun, which I certainly do, but I wanted to make sure people could connect with me. Needless to say your going to get a lot of surprises and it all starts June 24th which is when the single is going to be released.
I know you are working with other artists on this album… Who are going to be involved with your album?
Kristine Elezaj: I couldn’t have been any luckier on this album to get to work with such amazing people or get to work in such amazing places! I got to write in Nashville, New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, great cities with great writers and all different influences musically. It was quite an honor to work with people that are currently the hot multi-platinum producers such as Alex Cantrall, J.Marty The Pharmacy or will.i.am’s prodigy, Poet, but to know that industry vets like Rich Keller and Eric Pressly who wrote for Celine Dion or the fact that even Fergie wrote on this record! It blows my mind that there is such a great mix of people like this on my album, but I really think the music shows it.
Who were some of your musical influences coming up? Who were some of the artists you looked up to?
Kristine Elezaj: Oh wow I had so many growing up. I really do listen to all types of music. My mother introduced me to a lot of it when I was younger and it’s stuck with me to this day. I listen to everyone from Janet Jackson, Prince, The Beatles to Donny Hathaway, Alexander O’ Neal and John Coltrane. You should only see my i-pod it doesn’t look like it could possibly be just one persons taste.
Now that you are stepping into the spotlight in the musical world, any jitters? Any nerves? Do you get pumped up for a live crowd?
Kristine Elezaj: Of course I get jitters, but I think thats what keeps people grounded. I think thats part of the excitement of it all. That’s what feeds my energy for my shows. There are a lot of emotions that running through me before I get on stage. But as soon as I get out there nothing else matters, the nerves disappear and it’s me and the audience and the thrill of knowing I’m here doing what I love.
So you are still involved with sponsoring a Sprint Car on the weekend… Can you tell us a little about that?
Kristine Elezaj: Yes, my art director is actually involved in the sport and since I always love experiencing new things in motorsports I decided to sponsor a car this season. I’m new to the sprint car world and still learning about it. For those of you who have seen the cars they race with don’t be fooled. They are some fast race cars. I’m not sure if I would ever get behind the wheel of one myself yet, but I’m a fan of coming out and watching the races!
Off the track, when and where can we see Kristine Elezaj on the stage? Where are you performing? Any tours upcoming? Ongoing?
Kristine Elezaj: I actually have a lot of stuff that’s going to be coming up. I’m going to be having a busy summer. I’m going to be on Bullrun from June 20th to the 27th. This year we are heading from Calgary to Phoenix. I’m hoping to sneak in a special performance on Bullrun, but you’ll for sure hear me checkin’ in on the radio and doing special broadcasts from the rally. I can’t stop singing! Even when I’m driving, I always get it in there! There are some great appearances coming up this summer, keep checkin’ my website and MySpace for new dates.
Hot girl, hot rides… You might just be every man’s dream woman… What do you look for in a guy? And when are you going to be in DC! Haha… But seriously, what does a guy got to do to catch your attention?
Kristine Elezaj: Oh wow dream girl?! Thank you, I don’t know about that. haha. I’m just being me. Hmm, what do I look for in a guy? I don’t really have a certain type that I look for. I’m really big into nice eyes and smiles. I really just feel out his vibe when I meet someone. I do a lot of things out the norm for a girl so I just want someone who can hang and that I can have a good time with. Someone’s whose ambitious but at the same time just likes to enjoy life. As for DC, I am certain I’ll be rolling through at some point…. My east coast tour starts as soon as I get back from Bullrun, so you better look out, I’m comin’!!
You have a nice website… How important are websites, MySpace, etc… on promotion and getting your music out there? Where can people find you on the internet?
Kristine Elezaj: Thank you very much. I miss that old records used to have great artwork and photos and now with the internet taking over for physical cd’s a lot of that is missing, so I try to get all of that into my online world.
The Internet is critical in getting your music out there. The industry has changed so much over the last few years but I’m lucky to be a part of this new musical revolution and I look forward to the challenge of building content and new music for my fans. I love MySpace and all those other internet sites because they keep you in-touch and put your directly in front of your fan base. You get to really see how you are affecting people and reversely they influence me, what I write about, where I perform, I listen to all of it. I think that’s a perk that the musicians have today. As to where you can find me, well you can find me all over the internet. You can visit my official website (www.KristineElezaj.com) or my MySpace(www.myspace.com/KristineElezaj) I’m even on facebook now. =) I hope everyone comes and checks me out. I would love to hear from you!