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Hailing from the small town of Peje in Albania, Arta Kabashi always dreamed big. Her sense of “non-belonging” and ambition put her in direct contrast to others around her who stayed put deep inside their comfort zones “too afraid to dream or do anything outside the ‘system’.” But her passion for music became her escape, her art and her “companion” throughout.

“Growing up was not an easy thing for me so my relationship with music grew with me. I found out that writing about the things I felt also helped me cope with everything that was going on; I had found something worth losing sleep over; something that filled the void I had within.” Faith in her from those around her developed a confidence in herself and her music, helping her learn to “not apologize for things I shouldn’t apologize for”, and “sing, write and believe in myself.” This desire for expression led her to performing on 2010s Albanians Got Talent with her sister, resulting in third place. “It was my first appearance in front of a public like that, so you can imagine my excitement.”

Since then, her music has become more than a way of coping with life but a vehicle of self-discovery, garnering inspiration from “stories, people and nature” and ‘finding little pieces of herself in everything’. Music-wise, inspiration for her songs stretches from pop artists like Destiny’s Child, who she quotes on ‘Lets Play’ to Arabic singer Yasmine Hamdan, “I don’t understand one word – but there’s something about her music..” “I admire every artist that loves what they do, because that love reflects into me.”

Now, she wants to “make music that withstands time, music that reflects the emotions of a human being. Whether it is love, happiness, joy, anxiety, depression or hurt. Emotions that impact the way you live and what you grow up to be.”