Era Istrefi | ‘No I Love Yous” feat. French Montana
Era Istrefi made her debut in her native country in 2013 with "Mani për money", eventually releasing material sung in Gheg Albanian—featuring English phrases. A few months later, she released a follow-up recording, "A Po Don?", which was promoted with a music video; it similarly achieved recognition. Her third single "E Dehun"—inspired by Nexhmije Pagarusha's recording of the same name—as well uses lyrics and some parts of the recording's instrumental. Upon its release, "E Dehun" assured Istrefi three Videofest Awards, including one for "Best New Artist". In December 2014, the singer made the pop ballad "13"—which was produced in the United States—available for consumption. Its accompanying music video was viewed almost 200,000 times within 24 hours on YouTube, which later resulted its featuring on V Magazine. That year, she expressed her support of LGBT rights. She received Albanian citizenship in 2016.
In 2016, Istrefi gained international recognition following the release of her single "BonBon", which drew comparisons to the works of Barbadian artist Rihanna and Australian singer Sia. Following the song's success she signed to American record labels Sony Music and Ultra Music one month later.In 2017, she won the European Border Breakers Award.
“ I want people to get goose bumps when they hear my songs, and nothing any less than that.”
Channeling her love of Rihanna and Lana, Era wrote "BonBon," a song about being scared of the single life, and it became a monster hit overnight.
Forbes Magazine's Steve Baltin:
Do you find that your interest in psychology helps you as a songwriter?
Istrefi: It really does, yeah, because every time I write a song I’m like, “Okay, I feel down, I feel small at some point of life, I feel broken.” But I’m not gonna write how I currently feel, I’m gonna write how I want to feel in the future. So I go one step ahead I try to empower myself in my songs so when I sing them I automatically feel that way. I always try to empower myself and people in my songs. I think that’s sort of my calling.