Eleni Foureira

Eleni Foureira

Greek singer, actress, dancer and fashion designer of Albanian origin
Date of Birth: 07.03.1987
Country: Albania

Biography of Eleni Foureira

Eleni Foureira, a Greek singer, actress, dancer, and fashion designer of Albanian origin, is representing Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 with her fiery song "Fuego". On May 8, 2018, she advanced to the final. She claims to have hidden her Albanian heritage for a long time, fearing a negative reaction from Greeks.

Eleni Foureira

Eleni Foureira was born on March 7, 1987, in Fier, Albania. Her mother is a seamstress, and her father works in construction. She has three sisters. When she was eight years old, she left Albania during the turmoil and settled in Greece. Foureira grew up in the Kallithea neighborhood of Athens. She started pursuing music at a young age, learned to play the guitar, and then worked in theater for three years. Her music career began in the girl group Mystique, where she was discovered by producer Andreas Giatrakos. Mystique released their debut single "Se alli selida" in 2007 and achieved notable success with the single "Min kaneis pos de thymasai" the following year, featuring Greek hip-hop group NEVMA. The trio disbanded in 2009. In the same year, Eleni signed a contract with Universal Music Greece. She later participated in the charity program "Just the Two of Us", hosted by Mega Channel. Eleni released her first solo album, "Eleni Foureira", in December 2010, which achieved platinum status in Greece. She signed a contract with Minos EMI and released her second album, "Ti poniro mou zitas", in 2012, followed by her third album, "Anemos agapis" in 2014. From 2015 to 2016, Foureira played the role of Sofia in the musical "Barbarella: the 80's Musical" in Athens, alongside other Greek stars including Ivi Adamou and Katy Garbi. Eleni served as a judge on the third season of the Greek version of "So You Think You Can Dance". Her fourth studio album, "Vasilissa", was released in 2017.

Eleni Foureira

Foureira made several attempts to represent Greece in Eurovision. In 2010, she participated in the Greek national final with the song "Kivotos tou Noe" alongside Manos Pyrovolakis, finishing in second place behind Giorgos Alkaios. In 2013, she performed "Wild Dances" with Ruslana on the show "Eurosong 2013 - a MAD show", which aimed to select a new Eurovision participant. She was also scheduled to appear on "Eurosong 2015 - NERIT & MAD show" but did not ultimately participate. In 2016, she tried again to compete in Eurovision for Greece with the song "Come Tiki Tam", but was denied by the Greek Broadcasting Corporation (ERT). In 2017, ERT rejected her candidacy once again. In February 2018, it was confirmed that Foureira would represent Cyprus in Eurovision with the song "Fuego", composed by Greek-Swedish songwriter Alex Papaconstantinou.

Eleni Foureira

Responding to questions from prominent Greek journalist and TV presenter Tasos Tryfonos about her upcoming performance, Eleni stated, "I feel safe with my team! We are waiting for choreographer Sacha Jean-Baptiste, who is coming from Sweden. I will also travel to Sweden for rehearsals." She expressed her trust in her team, who had previously participated in Eurovision, but also admitted to being nervous because she is a perfectionist.

Eleni Foureira

On May 8, 2018, Eleni advanced to the final after competing in the first semi-final.

Since 2016, Foureira has been in a relationship with Spanish footballer Alberto Botía. Throughout her career, Eleni's true origins sparked questions and media speculation. As a member of the group Mystique, she claimed to be Brazilian. However, she later insisted that her father is from Athens and her mother is from Ioannina, while also claiming to have Mexican ancestors in her family tree.

In 2010, her attempts to obtain Greek citizenship raised more suspicion about her background. In 2013, Greek media reported that Foureira was born in Albania under the name Entela Furerai. She remained silent until 2014, when she confirmed the information that had been revealed about her.

She stated that she concealed the details of her heritage to avoid rejection by the Greek music industry. Andreas Giatrakos, who invited her to join Mystique, later expressed his desire for Eleni to be proud of her roots. He assured her that he would never have turned away from her, even if he had known from the beginning that she was from Albania.

Foureira also revealed that her grandfather had Greek origins, but she never wanted to discuss her connection to Northern Epirus (the term Greeks use for southern Albania) out of fear of jeopardizing her career.

To demonstrate her unity with Albania, Eleni made the "eagle gesture," crossing her arms, with singer Eugent Bushpepa, who represented Albania in Eurovision 2018. The photo of the two performers went viral and was well-received in Albania, while opinions in Greece were divided.

In an interview with Tasos Tryfonos on March 6, 2018, the singer discussed recent verbal attacks and racist incidents she had faced. Some people demanded that she abandon representing Greece and instead take the stage with the Albanian flag.

"It's sad to hear such words from young people. We are all humans, and music should unite us, not divide us," she said.

Tryfonos asked, "Eleni, can we expect to receive 12 points from Albania?"

With an optimistic attitude, the singer replied, "I think if the Albanians like the song, they will vote for it, and we can get all twelve points."