Eleni Foureira (Greek: Ελένη Φουρέιρα; born Entela Fureraj; 7 March 1987) is a Greek singer, actress, dancer, and fashion designer. She began her music career in 2007 as a member of the Greek girl group Mystique, before pursuing a solo career after the group disbanded in 2009.
Foureira signed a solo contract with Universal Music Greece and released her self-titled debut album in 2010, which received a platinum certification in Greece. She later signed with Minos EMI, and went on to release her second and third studio albums Ti poniro mou zitas and Anemos agapis in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Both albums were well-received in Greece and Cyprus. Foureira left Minos EMI in 2015, and signed with Panik Records. Her fourth studio album Vasilissa was released in 2017.
She represented Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 with the song "Fuego". On 8 May 2018, she qualified from the first semi-final to the grand final, where she placed second with 436 points. This is the best result Cyprus has ever achieved in the contest.
Foureira was born in Fier, Albania to parents Marjeta and Kristaq Fureraj as Entela Fureraj. Her mother is a seamstress, while her father works in construction. She has three siblings: Ioanna, Margarita, and Giorgos. When she was young, the family left Albania and settled in Greece due to the civil war in the country. She grew up in the Kallithea neighbourhood of Athens.
Foureira began pursuing music at a young age, learning how to play the guitar and later working in a theatre for three years.
Foureira began her music career as a member of the girl group Mystique. She was discovered by Andreas Giatrakos, and the group also consisted of Alkmini Chatzigianni and Maria Makri. They released their debut single "Se alli selida" in 2007, and later achieved success with the single "Min kaneis pos de thymasai" featuring Greek hip hop group NEVMA the following year. They later broke up in 2009.
After the break up of Mystique in 2009, Foureira signed a solo contract with Universal Music Greece, the label which Mystique was signed to as well. She later appeared on the charity program Just the Two of Us, hosted by Mega Channel. She managed to win first place along with singer Panagiotis Petrakis. Foureira released her self-titled debut studio album in December 2010, which went on to become certified platinum in Greece. Afterwards, she signed with Minos EMI. Her second album Ti poniro mou zitas was released in 2012, while her third Anemos agapis was released in 2014. From 2015 to 2016, she starred as Sofia in the musical Barbarella: the 80's Musical in Athens, alongside other Greek pop stars such as Ivi Adamou and Katy Garbi. Following the release of Anemos agapis, she left Minos EMI and signed with Panik Records. She was a judge on season three of the Greek version of So You Think You Can Dance. Her fourth studio album Vasilissa was released in 2017.
Foureira has made several attempts to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2010, she took part in the Greek national final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with Manos Pyrovolakis, performing the song "Kivotos tou Noe". They placed second behind Giorgos Alkaios. In 2013, she performed "Wild Dances" with Ruslana at Eurosong 2013 – a MAD show. She later considered taking part in Eurosong 2015 - NERIT & MAD show, but ultimately did not. She once again attempted to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song "Come Tiki Tam", but was rejected by Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT). She was rejected by the broadcaster for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 again.
In February 2018, it was confirmed that Foureira would represent Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 with the song "Fuego". The song was composed by Greek-Swedish songwriter Alex Papaconstantinou. On 8 May 2018, she qualified from the first semi-final to the grand final. In the final held on 12 May 2018, she finished as the runner-up to winner Netta from Israel, having received the fifth most votes from the international juries and the second most votes from the public televoting process; this marked Cyprus' best Eurovision placement in history.
Since 2016, Foureira has been in a relationship with Spanish footballer Alberto Botía.
Since the beginning of her career, Foureira's ancestral origins have garnered intense speculation from the Greek media. As a member of Mystique, she claimed to be Brazilian. However, she later began claiming that her father was from Athens and her mother from Ioannina, although she had some Mexican ancestry as well. In 2010, reports of Foureira attempting to naturalize as a Greek citizen further increased speculation regarding her origins.
In 2013, it was reported by the Greek media that Foureira was born in Albania and that her birth name was Entela Fureraj. Foureira did not comment on the reports until 2014, when she confirmed them. She claimed that she did not reveal her origin in order to be accepted in the music industry in Greece. She continued claiming she never understood the issue, since she always felt Greek and she has received only Greek education. Andreas Giatrakos, who discovered Foureira and recruited her to join Mystique, later stated that he wanted Foureira to be proud of her origin and would not have rejected her if he knew she was born in Albania. Foureira also said that her grandfather was of Greek origin, but she was even reluctant to declare herself a Northern Epirote, because this would possibly have a negative impact on her career. She simply declared that she was born in Albania.
During the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, Foureira made the Albanian patriotic eagle gesture in a photo with Albanian singer Eugent Bushpepa. The image went viral in Albania and Greece, being well-received in the former but caused controversy in the latter. After the first semi-final, Foureira stated that she is taking part in a musical competition that unites people, declaring that Greece is her home country, the country she grew up in, and that she has proved that she adores Greece, sο the controversy is unnecessary.
Eleni Foureira (2010)
Ti Poniro Mou Zitas (2012)
Anemos agapis (2014)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Eleni Foureira in the news
|Songs by Eleni Foureira|