Enisa Nikaj (/ɛnsɑː ˈnk/; born March 5, 1996), known professionally as Enisa (stylized in all caps), is an American singer, songwriter and model. Enisa began her music career in 2015 performing cover songs, and began releasing original music in 2016. She signed to Atlantic Records and Highbridge The Label in December 2019, and competed in the American Song Contest in March 2022.

ENISA
Birth nameEnisa Nikaj
Born (1996-03-05) March 5, 1996 (age 26)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Instrument(s)Piano
Labels
Websiteenisamusic.com

Early lifeEdit

Enisa was born in Brooklyn, New York to Albanian parents from Tuzi, Montenegro.[1][2][3] Her father emigrated from the SFR Yugoslavia to the United States at the age of 25, and was later followed by her mother.[4] Enisa is a middle child, and has an older and a younger brother, both of whom took up playing basketball while Enisa leaned towards music.[5] She began singing at home as a young child.[6] Enisa attended PS 130 The Parkside elementary school,[7] where she participated in theater and the school choir,[3] graduating as valedictorian.[7] At age seven, she played the role of Dorothy in a school play of The Wizard of Oz in the fourth grade.[4][8]

Enisa attended J.H.S 259 William Mckinley and Edward R. Murrow High School, graduating in 2015.[9] Rapper Joey Badass was one of her schoolmates.[10] She attended Brooklyn College, graduating early with a bachelor's degree in business administration in May 2018.[5][8][11] She plays the piano, and has done internships at advertising agencies.[12] Enisa grew up listening to Albanian music, in addition to artists such as Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone and Justin Timberlake. She has cited Adele and Amy Winehouse as her inspirations.[1]

Musical careerEdit

2015–2017: BeginningsEdit

In 2015, Enisa began performing cover songs to artists such as David Guetta and Sia ("Titanium"), Hozier ("Take Me to Church"), Justin Timberlake ("Cry Me a River") and Adele ("Hello"). After graduating from high school she had wanted to get into the music industry,[8] and filmed her first video with a photographer friend who wanted to get into videography.[1] Her cover of Hozier's song hit 100,000 views on YouTube within three months,[13] while a reupload posted by a Facebook page amassed one million views in three days.[14] Enisa has stated in interviews that her lack of connections in the industry prompted her to post herself performing cover songs as a way to showcase her talent and she hoped that it would grab the attention of a music producer or a manager.[5][8]

The whole experience helped me realize that I don't need to rely on anyone for anything but myself, because I have the power to achieve whatever my heart desires, as long as I believe in myself first.

Enisa on her writing "Burn This Bridge".[15]

In 2016, she released her debut single "Burn This Bridge" on September 15,[16] with the music video releasing on November 23.[17] Enisa had been inspired to write the song after being discouraged by someone in the industry who she thought would help her instead tell her that "I didn't have what it takes and I wasn't good enough basically ... I just took it out on the studio. I wrote a song and I was feeling it like 'I don't need you, I could do this on my own.'"[8] The song went on to be used in a Beats Electronics advertisement starring soccer player Alex Morgan in June 2017.[18]

In 2017, she released her sophomore single "Glory Days" on May 26.[19] It went on to be her first placement in a film soundtrack when it was featured in the opening scene of Miss Virginia (2019).[20] Enisa released her third single "Freedom" on August 25, with the music video releasing on September 10.[5][21] She was featured on Statik Selektah's single "Ain't a Damn Thing Change," alongside G-Eazy and Joey Badass, released on November 30.[10]

2018–2019: Record dealEdit

Enisa released her fourth single "Reunite" and its music video on February 4, 2018. It was a tribute song to her uncle who had died years earlier.[22] After graduating from college in May, she began pursuing her music career full-time at age 22.[11] On October 18, she teased a collaboration track with French singer Scridge, which went on to be "Karma (Remix)".[23] Following prolonged delays, Enisa confirmed in June 2019 that the French label had canceled its release.[24] After the track was leaked in October 2019,[25] it was officially released on November 15.[26] Enisa performed a number of cover songs from 2018 through 2020, one of which was her cover of "Mockingbird" by Eminem that she released on December 9, 2018, which went on to amass 10 million views on YouTube by December 2020.[27]

In 2019, she released her fifth single "Wait For Love" and its music video on July 6.[28] Enisa was featured on Termanology and Dame Grease's single "Travel The World", alongside Bun B, released on September 19, with the music video releasing on January 29, 2020.[29] She released her sixth single "Something Beautiful" and its music video on December 15, being a tribute to the victims of the 2019 Albania earthquake which had struck on November 26.[30]

A person connected to Highbridge the Label had heard Enisa's music in 2017 while at a Philippe Chow restaurant in Manhattan, New York. A waiter had been playing "Freedom" and introduced him to Enisa's music after being asked about it. Enisa was eventually invited to the studio by rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie and his team in January 2018.[9][31] Over a year later, while she was speaking with RCA Records, Enisa had a chance encounter with A Boogie and was invited to the studio again to play her unreleased music. She was later introduced to higher-ups at Atlantic Records and was eventually offered a contract in May 2019, and subsequently signed her first record deal on December 6, 2019.[9][32]

2020–2021: Breakout singlesEdit

In 2020, she released her seventh single "Love Cycle" and its music video on September 18.[33] After it went viral and gained particular attention among Nigerian fans, she adopted the name 'Eniola' in their honor in December 2020.[34] Enisa released her eighth single "Dumb Boy" and its music video on November 20.[35] She recorded the song at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic which forced her to become proficient with video editing and Ableton audio software. Enisa styled her own hair and makeup, and recorded, edited and color corrected all her video releases that year.[9][36] Both music videos went on to amass 12 millions views each on YouTube within a year from their respective releases.

In 2021, she was featured on Tanzanian singer Rayvanny's "Number One (Remix)" released on February 1,[37] with the music video releasing on February 24.[38] Enisa released her ninth single "Count My Blessings" and its music video on February 26.[39] The song sampled Tunisian singer Saber Rebaï's rendition of "Sidi Mansour."[40] Enisa released her single "Love Cycle (Remix)" featuring Nigerian singer Davido on March 26.[41] She released her tenth solo single "Tears Hit The Ground" and its music video on July 4,[42] which went on to serve as the lead single for her debut EP released in 2022. A live acoustic version of the song was released on October 28, 2021.[43]

2022–present: Fake Love EPEdit

In 2022, Enisa released her debut EP titled Fake Love on February 18.[44] The music video for "One Thing" was released on January 28 and for "Get That Money" was released on February 18. On March 3, Enisa was announced as one of the contestants to compete in the American Song Contest, representing New York state.[45] On October 14, she stated in a tweet that she was supposed to represent Montenegro in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool, shortly after the country's broadcaster announced that it would not be participating.[46]

Modeling careerEdit

Enisa was the cover model on the annual 2014 edition of Prom Guide magazine.[47] In November 2013, she had been shortlisted as one of the top five contestants selected from nationwide submissions before gracing the cover in January 2014 and winning a $5,000 scholarship.[47] After her foray into music in 2015, Enisa was approached through social media by record labels and managers. She chose to sign with Wilhelmina Models in January 2016 and was managed by Bobby Gutierrez.[1][48] During this period, she appeared in fashion magazine editorials for C-Heads in February 2016, Vulkan in April 2016,[12] Slimi in November 2016,[49] and Twelv in October 2017.[50]

She has described her style as being "timeless and classic with a modern edge and a hint of Brooklyn attitude,"[12] and as being "more conservative. Rather than being flashy and all that. But it's very New York City."[5] Enisa describes the city as her biggest inspiration, "I'm influenced just by walking down the street in SoHo or on 5th Avenue. I just get influenced by so many people," and admires the style of Victoria Beckham.[1] Enisa is known for her long hair as her signature look. When asked about it in 2021, she stated that she avoids heat treatments and receives a haircut each month, with only her mother being allowed to cut her hair.[51]

She appeared in the promotional campaign for Puma's "GRL PWR" Nova sneaker in January 2019.[52] She appeared in editorials for Flaunt in March 2021,[9] and Out Now in June 2021.[36]

DiscographyEdit

Extended playEdit

  • Fake Love (2022)

SinglesEdit

As lead artist
  • 2016: "Burn This Bridge"
  • 2017: "Glory Days"
  • 2017: "Freedom"
  • 2018: "Reunite"
  • 2019: "Something Beautiful"
  • 2019: "Wait for Love"
  • 2020: "Love Cycle"
  • 2020: "Dumb Boy"
  • 2021: "Count My Blessings"
  • 2021: "Love Cycle (Remix)" (ft. Davido)
  • 2021: "Tears Hit the Ground"
  • 2022: "One Thing"
  • 2022: "Get That Money"
  • 2022: "Just A Kiss (Muah)"
As featured artist

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Engel, Lauren (February 16, 2016). "'Everything happened organically, sharing is everything': A Talk with Enisa". www.c-heads.com. C-Heads Magazine. Archived from the original on April 6, 2017.
  2. ^ "Producenti amerikan, Timbaland shpreh interesim për 'Vallen e Shotës'". Telegrafi (in Albanian). August 19, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Turishta, Kozeta (April 24, 2017). "Ekskluzive: Enisa nga Nju Jorku, një shqiptare superstar". Dritare.com (in Albanian). Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Rexhepi, Blerand (August 24, 2019). "ENISA: Një 'Amy Whinehouse' shqiptare!". www.koha.mk (in Albanian). Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e Rose, Audrey (October 6, 2017). "Enisa Exclusive Interview: Fashion Story 'Freedom'". twelvny.com. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  6. ^ "Enisa Nikaj, shqiptarja që mund të bëhet një yll muzike". AnabelMagazine.com (in Albanian). September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  7. ^ a b @IAmENISA (November 21, 2020). "Fun Fact I was Valedictorian at my school 😌 🧠 Smart girls don't need no DUMB Boys‼️" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ a b c d e Bonilla, Brian (February 28, 2017). "Star on the Rise: Enisa Nikaj from Brooklyn College". www.tun.com. The University Network. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e Ju, Shirley (July 20, 2021). "Enisa: The Albanian Recording Artist Talks Latest Release 'Tears Hit the Ground'". Flaunt. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Setaro, Shawn (November 30, 2017). "Premiere: Statik Selektah Grabs G-Eazy, Joey Badass, and Enisa for 'Ain't a Damn Thing Change'". Complex. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  11. ^ a b @IAmENISA (May 31, 2018). "My graduation is at the Barclays Center today, hopefully next time I'm back here I'll be performing 🎤😬🤞🏼 #LetTheUniverseKnow #DreamBIG" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ a b c Ntoi, Kevin (April 19, 2016). "'Enisa'". VulkanMagazine.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2016.
  13. ^ @IAmENISA (November 21, 2015). ""Take Me To Church" became my first ever 100,000 views on YouTube! Thanks to every one watched, liked & shared 🙏" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ @IAmENISA (December 9, 2015). "So a page on FBposted a clip of my "Take Me To Church" cover and it just passed 1,000,000 views in 3 days #ONEMILLION people heard my voice!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Mastrogiannis, Nicole (November 23, 2016). "Enisa Debuts 'Burn This Bridge' Visual". iHeartMedia. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  16. ^ "Enisa, shqiptarja e rradhës që nis rrugën drejt suksesit". Bota Sot (in Albanian). September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  17. ^ Stutz, Collin (November 23, 2016). "Enisa Isn't Looking Back in 'Burn This Bridge' Video: Exclusive Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  18. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/BU1UypMlrTO/
    @IAmENISA (June 3, 2017). "So honored and excited that my song "Burn This Bridge" is featured in the new and special @beatsbydre commercial st…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on March 5, 2022 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ @IAmENISA (May 26, 2017). "MY SONG "Glory Days" IS OUT NOW! Own it, stream it and share with friends! :)" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ "Kënga e yllit të ri shqiptar në filmin e Netflix". Gazeta Telegraf (in Albanian). July 12, 2020. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  21. ^ @IAmENISA (August 25, 2017). "Excited to share with you my new song "FREEDOM" !! Share with friends! Show support & download if you like..." (Tweet). Retrieved September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
    @IAmENISA (September 10, 2017). "MY NEW MUSIC VIDEO "FREEDOM" IS FINALLY HERE!! Share with friends and let me know what you think in the comments!!😀" (Tweet). Retrieved September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ @IAmENISA (February 4, 2018). "Finally releasing this song tomorrow! It's about my uncle that had passed away years ago - Be ready to get emotiona…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ @IAmENISA (October 18, 2018). "Excited to share a snippet of this new collab coming SOON!! 🇫🇷 🇺🇸 🇦🇱 😆 #Karma" (Tweet). Archived from the original on September 29, 2021 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ @IAmENISA (June 9, 2019). "@EsmaPoljakovic Hey love, I been trying to get this dropped now for the passed 8 months...@ScridgeOfficiel label is…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
    @IAmENISA (July 14, 2019). "@bakIIava @Hirushja_ It's not my fault, Scridge's label does not want to release it 🤷🏻‍♀️ they lied to me for months smh 😔" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ @IAmENISA (October 6, 2019). "So I heard a French hacker leaked the full version of "Karma" & people telling me they got the full version on thei…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 6, 2019 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Camaj, Margaritë (November 22, 2019). "'Karma (Remix)' from Enisa, Scridge, and Ghenda will have you moving to the rhythm". Earmilk.com. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  27. ^ @IAmENISA (December 27, 2020). "Wow! My version of Eminem's "Mockingbird" is my first video to hit 10 million views on YouTube! Crazy🖤 Shoutout to…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  28. ^ @IAmENISA (July 5, 2019). "My new song "Wait For Love"🎶 Available everywhere tomorrow: Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube, etc! 💛💛💛" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
  29. ^ "Video: Termanology ft. Bun B & Enisa – Travel The World". BlackoutHiphop.com. February 8, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  30. ^ "Albanian singer sings for earthquake victims: 'All profits go to them'". AnabelMagazine.com. December 16, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  31. ^ @IAmENISA (January 9, 2018). "When A Boogie @ArtistHBTL and his team hear about your music then invite you to the studio to hear more of your unr…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
  32. ^ @IAmENISA (May 21, 2019). "After my meeting, my pops wanted a pic w/ Aboogie & he saw him throw up a sign so my dad threw up his sign too LMAO…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
    @IAmENISA (December 7, 2019). "@SAB39432129 @AtlanticRecords My lawyer & I have been Reading the contracts for 7 months now 😂" (Tweet). Archived from the original on December 7, 2019 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ @IAmENISA (September 18, 2020). "My song "Love Cycle" is OUT NOW EVERYWHERE 🌎✨Stream it, dance to it, share it! Full music video on YouTube 👉🏼…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on May 15, 2021 – via Twitter.
  34. ^ Ukpong, Cletus (December 7, 2020). "American singer adopts Nigerian name, after 'overwhelming' love from Nigerians". Premium Times. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  35. ^ @IAmENISA (November 20, 2020). "My song "Dumb Boy" is OUT NOW EVERYWHERE 🌎✨Stream it, dance to it, share it! Full music video on YouTube 👉🏼…" (Tweet). Retrieved October 1, 2021 – via Twitter.
  36. ^ a b "New Standard: ENISA Spikes Pop With Raw Soul and Endless Attitude". OutNowMagazine.com. June 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  37. ^ "Rayvanny announces Tracklist To 'Sound From Africa' Album". EastAfricaHerald.com. January 31, 2021. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  38. ^ @IAmENISA (February 24, 2021). ""Number One (Remix)" with @rayvanny ft Me OUT NOW⚡️‼️Link:" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 21, 2021 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ @IAmENISA (February 26, 2021). "My new song "Count My Blessings" IS OUT NOW EVERYWHERE‼️🌍✨🙏🏼 Stream it, dance to it, watch the video & share It! Re…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
  40. ^ @IAmENISA (April 11, 2020). "Wrote this song last month called "Count My Blessings" & I feel like dropping it because at times like this, counti…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 26, 2020 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ "New Music + Video: Enisa feat. Davido – Love Cycle (Remix)". BellaNaija. March 26, 2021. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  42. ^ "Highbridge the Label & Atlantic Records Officially Welcome Enisa". BroadwayWorld. June 4, 2021. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  43. ^ "Enisa Releases Live Version of "Tears Hit The Ground" via Atlantic Records". frontview-magazine.be. November 1, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  44. ^ @AtlanticRecords (February 18, 2022). ".@IAmENISA's got no time for that Fake Love.The singer's brand new EP is out today with all new hits to heal from…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 27, 2022 – via Twitter.
  45. ^ "American Song Contest: Michael Bolton, Macy Gray & Jewel among acts". Eurovision.tv. March 3, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  46. ^ @IamENISA (February 18, 2022). "Sad, I was suppose to represent them in #Eurovision 2023. But they couldn't find a way to financially support it 😕" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  47. ^ a b "Meet Your 2014 Prom Guide Cover Model". Prom Guide. 2014. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015.
    "Meet Your 2014 Prom Guide Cover Model". Prom Guide. 2014. p. 8 – via Issuu.com.
  48. ^ @IAmENISA (January 9, 2016). "So excited to join the @Wilhelmina family! What a great way to start off 2016! 😁 #WillyFam #WilhelminaArtist" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
    @Wilhelmina (January 24, 2016). "#NOWREPRESENTING: ENISA, check out her latest cover of #Adele's "Hello"" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  49. ^ "ENISA on Instagram: "Honored to be apart of @slimimag 's first American Issue 🇺🇸Such an awesome feeling to be holding and reading my first physical magazine feature❤ Get a copy and check out my interview! Thank you @urivaldolopes & @carlosfiasco22"".
  50. ^ Rose, Audrey (October 2017). "'Freedom' By Enisa" (PDF). twelvny.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2021.
    Gutierrez, Bobby. Enisa x Twelv Magazine. Vimeo. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  51. ^ "Mblidhuni vajza! Sekretin për flokë sirenash na e tha Enisa Nikaj" (in Albanian). Televizioni Klan. December 9, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  52. ^ Mowatt, Robyn (January 14, 2019). "Exclusive: Lola Plaku & Puma Reveal Their First Colorful Nova GRL PWR Collab". Hypebae.com. Retrieved October 7, 2021.

External linksEdit