Part of a series of 52 interviews with Albanian women in the public sphere #52GraShqiptare.
Denisa Gokovi is an actress, composer, pianist, singer, writer, philanthropist, human rights activist and goodwill ambassador.
She represented Albania as a goodwill ambassador for the FAAVM, and the Olympia Art Institute in the USA. She is also an honorary member of the International Royal Academy of the United Nations, an Ambassador of Culture and Art for the World Peace Committee, an Ambassador for Social Cultural Arts & Humanity in the Royal Society Group, and an Ambassador from the African Child Project.
Denisa has played the piano from the age of six and has won prizes in national competitions as well as performing in live concerts with her own material as a vocalist. As well as donating her time to fundraising performances, she also helps young artists in their professional development and training. She graduated from the University of Arts in Albania after formally studying piano and composition.
She is currently writing her first book ‘Deception of Truth’ through which she hopes to share her global perspectives on justice, equality, and freedom.
Denisa was born in Shkodra, a city in the North of Albania that is famous for its good-natured, rebellious, and creative people. She started playing the piano at the age of six and studied music at a local music school. During this time, she started to take part in several competitions, winning prizes for her musical prowess. As well as being a talented musician, she was also an astute student, obtaining good marks in her classes and being nominated as the School President.
After moving to Tirana with her family, her life changed as she was opened up to a bigger and newer world full of other opportunities. She reached out to other singers and musicians and began to record in professional studios. She continued her studies of piano and music and through her own hard work, began to sell her music to foreign companies that needed scores for short films.
Denisa explains that her family had faced many difficulties in the past due to corruption and the tumultuous political systems that destroyed their business and home life. But this she said made her realise that the individual power within us is the key to success.
“I never had any concrete help from anyone, I worked hard to create and find my opportunities and to work towards my successes. The recognition and honours I have today are due to my perseverance and tireless work, as well as my passion,” she said.
She goes on to explain how her journey has not always been easy and how she has had to overcome various violations, including sexual, in order to reach where she is today. Despite everything, she has managed to build her own personality and brand that is recognised in and out of Albania.
When I ask her about why she decided to pursue music, she speaks with passion.
“Musical composition is the purest and most spiritual creation. The highest level of awareness for an artist is when they are using their talent and creativity.
In terms of being an Albanian woman in 2020, Denisa tells me that she feels that they’ve lost their balance between the sacrifices they have and do make, and the profound experiences they desire to have. This, she says, means that women’s progression in the country is somewhat stagnated due to a mixture of cultural and historical issues that are not gelling well with the modern world.
In this current situation, she is worried that people and society as a whole is losing its capacity to love. With a weak interest in humanity, more risks, and poor representation of womanhood at a social level, she fears for what the future brings. But despite this, Denisa explains that she feels she can always count on the support of her family.
“They always support me in whatever my priorities are and when I encounter disappointment, they are there to pick up the pieces. They give me the courage I need, every day, to move forward,” she said.
Over the next five years, she is aiming high. Not only does she want to increase knowledge of her name and the trust that people put in it but she wants to further develop the social and cultural work she is involved in. Through sustained commitment and a focus on her own, and teaching others leadership skills she wants to continue collaborating with those that share her love of creativity and communication through art.
When I ask her what advice she would give to herself at the age of six when she first began to follow her artistic path, she tells me she would tell herself to be more tolerant and patient as these are key to weathering the storm that is life.
She adds that “everything happens for a reason” and that you must never lose sight of who you are, regardless of what successes, challenges, or falls you might have.
“Challenges are overcome with will, courage, and confidence-these three things are very important factors that guide human rights and human nature”, she says with a smile.
This article was originally published on The Balkanista.