What is your philosophy on spatial planning?
Inclusion, or a planning process open towards all interest groups from the beginning of the process.
Which of your songs are your favourites and why?
I don’t separate my songs; all of them have a certain story and a moment that made me attached to them. Thus, they are also part of my projects.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Smiling, dreamer, and fighter.
Which building in Prishtina is the most aesthetically pleasing?
Although I had some preferred buildings from the Ottoman period, the socialist one and even rarely even some post-war constructions, most of them haven’t been maintained for a long time now, and they have lost their aesthetic splendour.
What part of the city you would change?
The city is a body that changes each day, the important thing is that changes have to be in the function of time and to serve the community for a new way of life in it, never to deprive any period, a style or important architectural traces that marks its history, landscape, and identity. A city’s layering through time is the best mirror in which we are able to see our real selves.
Two of your best childhood memories?
Being on stage at the festival ‘Akordet e Kosovës 1981’ on children’s music night for the first time, and my first bicycle.
Do you think there is any connection between bad taste in architecture and bad taste in music?
It is unavoidable. Shape and structure in music is architecture in itself. The way these elements come together in a song creates a certain melody. The same language exists in architecture as well, except that in this case physical elements are involved. Shapes, structures, and rhythm in architecture tell a certain story which usually coincides with the musical language of the time. This is evident in many cities in the world, where both music and physical layering have a mutual relation as they belong to the spirit of development. On the other hand, what is going on in Prishtina at present is a real cacophony. Judge for yourself.
Who are some Kosovo photographers that you like?
There are a few, and it depends mostly on the genre. For landscapes I like Afrim Spahiu, for documentary photos Afrim Hajrullahu, Hazir Reka, Ridvan Shlivova , etc., and for fashion photos Bashkim Hasani, Arton Humolli, Avni Selmani, and Artan Korenica.
How did you survive the cold in February?
By paying enormous amounts to KEK (Kosovo Energy Corporation).
Where was the first building you grew up in, and what do you remember about it?
Sunny Hill (Bregu i Diellit); I don’t remember anything particular about the neighbourhood in those years since it was still in the process of further development, but at least there were less cars and more space for breathing and playing.
Barcelona plays against Manchester - who do you support?
What would you call Kosovo’s architectural style?
No-name architecture. In Kosovo one can sometimes come across bits and pieces from the Ottoman period and socialist modernism, but to say that Kosovo has a particular style in architecture does not stand, therefore there is no name for Kosovo’s architecture. Architectural expression in Kosovo is missing along with architects, along with their role and real influence in society and the overall image of our cities in our country.
What is your book “The City and Love” about? What inspired you to publish it?
Initially, my inspiration came naturally from the environment I live in and the many challenges we face every day as citizens, but also as a professional. Since I cannot be indifferent to all these physical deformations in city, in 2007 I started to reflect about them in the daily newspaper Express in a column titled “Urban Diary.” My work usually tells stories about city life, challenges, troubles, and unfulfilled promises. Even when I stopped writing, other newspapers such as Zeri encouraged me by offering me a new column, for which I am grateful. In the meantime, many of my friends came up with the idea of compiling these stories into a book in order to avoid them being scattered in different daily newspapers. Thus my book got published and was titled “The City and Love.”
Your favourite Albanian movie?
I don’t have any favourites.
Do you know the words of Gjurmët’s song “All roads go to Prishtina” (“Të Gjitha Rrugët të Çojnë në Prishtinë”)?
From all of the Gjurmët songs only one verse can stand today … “come on, let us go to Prishtina, let’s hang out with nice girls”….everything else is just another memory on memory lane, while today, starting from scratch is the basis for our “self-indulgence”. Sad, but true.
Do you have any rituals you do before going on stage?
What is the first thing the Mayor of Prishtina should do to help fix the city?
First, start loving his city without any strings attached. Once this happens, all processes in the city would take another journey, spirit, smell, and view.
Isa Mustafa or Halil Budakova for the Mayor of Prishtina?
(Laughs)…Isa Mustafa is the opposite of Halil Budakova.
Maybe if Halil Budakova was the Mayor of Prishtina the “Municipal and Urban Development Plan of Prishtina” would be completed while he was still making promises during his election campaign. (Laughs) You never know! Further, Isa still has not started the main development plan for Prishtina's municipality and capital city, even after promising twice in two different elections – even after 5 years in office.
If you were offered 1 million Euros, would you make a tallava album?
Which are your three favourite public spaces ever?
It’s difficult to choose only three such spaces, since a lot of them have their own meaning and significance, depending on context and time. Regardless, I value many public spaces that are not only visually beautiful, but are first and foremost full of life, offering citizens a broad spectrum of options for expression and absorption at the same time… such spaces around the world are the Plaza di San Marco in Venice, Italy, and Luxemburg Park in Paris, France, and many more, but in Kosovo there are very few of these spaces.
Who was the first musician you loved?
Stevie Wonder and I continue to adore his style of interpretation.
The last book you've read?
“1000 Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini
Who would you like to collaborate with musically?
Up until now I have worked with everyone that I’ve wanted to collaborate with.
The view from your apartment?
The only view that cannot be seen anywhere else in Prishtina, a direct view of the only park in Prishtina.
Does the city shape people or vice versa?
The city is the product of the spiritual and mental state of the people. Whatever kind of city we produce, it will impact our culture, consciousness, and behaviour and that of future generations as well. It’s a vicious cycle.
What is the nicest thing a fan of yours has ever said or done for you?
I have a fan base which has been loyal to me since my first album…the thing I’ve heard most from them, apart from many nice words, was to “not to run away from being myself and what I have done up until now.” This pushed me each day to believe that the choice I made and my position in music carries weight for a lot of people, it made me more secure in my path and my choices.
Which artist would you like to see in the Kosova Art Gallery?
There’s more than one… the important thing is that the Gallery has started to open up and to breathe with dignity as an environment that promotes artistic values on a local and global level.
Your favourite place to go out in Prishtina?
Papillon, Dit’ e Nat’, and Germia park.