Era Istrefi is a talented Kosovo-Albanian pop singer who rose to fame after releasing the popular dancehall-leaning dance-pop cum EDM song ‘BonBon’ in 2015. The singer is also known for her mixed musical style of combining elements from a wide range of genres including pop, dancehall, EDM, R&B, dubstep, and trap. She is often compared to popular modern-day singers like Rihanna and Sia Kate Isobelle Furler due to the many similarities in their singing styles. Istrefi has delivered quite a few hit singles in the last few years and has received a number of accolades too. She won the VideoFest Award for Best Performance and Best Styling for her single ‘E dehun’ and was given the VideoFest Award for Best New Artist for her single ‘Mani për money’. Others of her singles like ‘Shumë pis’ and ‘BonBon’ have also fetched her awards in different categories. Istrefi performed in the final ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, and was one of the singers of the official song ‘Live It Up’. The talented singer kindled controversy when a woman appeared semi-naked, roaming around the Church of Christ the Saviour, Pristina, in one of her music videos recently.
Era Istrefi’s career started in 2013 when she officially released her debut single ‘Mani Për Money’ in her native country. The song was in Gheg Albanian but it contained a few English phrases as well. Istrefi won the Best New Artist award at the 2014 VideoFest Awards. Her second single, ‘A Po Don?’, followed soon after. A music video, it too became fairly popular. The idea of a music video looked very promising to her and she decided to release her third single as a music video too. The shooting for the third song ‘E dehun’ took place at an Orthodox church. The song became a huge hit and earned Istrefi two awards at the VideoFest Awards for Best Performance and Best Styling.
In 2014, she released a pop ballad titled ‘13’, which went on to receive over 12 million views on YouTube as of August 2018. The music video was viewed over 200,000 times on the first day of its release. The popularity of this video earned her fans from all over the world and made her famous in the international music scene. On December 31, 2015, she released her next single, ‘BonBon’, which would later become one of the most successful singles in her career. The song became an instant fan favorite and went viral on various social media sites besides YouTube. It has over 602 million views on YouTube as of today.
Soon enough, Era Istrefi was being compared to the likes of Rihanna and Sia for her singing style which resembled theirs. She then signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment and later moved to Ultra Music following her recent success. The following years saw Istrefi releasing some more popular songs like ‘Redrum’ (featuring Felix Snow), ‘No I Love Yous’ (featuring French Montana), and Origami’ (featuring Maphorisa). In May 2018, Istrefi, Will Smith, and Nicky Jam were announced as the singers of the official song of the FIFA World Cup 2018. They performed the song ‘Live It Up’ at the closing ceremony of the grand event on July 15, 2018.
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Era Istrefi was born in Pristina, Kosovo, on 4 July 1994 to Nezir Istrefi, a filmmaker, and Suzana Tahirsylaj, a popular singer in Kosovo during the 1980s and 1990s. After her father died in 2004, she and her sister Nora Istrefi were brought up by her mother alone. Her mother left the music industry to focus on raising the children.