The 17-year-old performer is still a student, and her duet partner
is a football referee They have only once sung together on stage, and with their first joint duet they won the “Burgas and the Sea” song contest. 17-year-old Dani Ilieva and 20-year-old Emin Al-Junaid are the child prodigies for the musical history of the competition, having won three prizes – a statuette and a check for BGN 4,500, the prize for the most votes from the online voting and a text prize. The song with which they appeared – “I do not forget you”, is written by Krasimir Eftimov and music and arrangement by Eftim Chakarov.
Dani is only 17 years old and is the youngest participant in the competition. She is still a student at the “Vasil Levski” high school in Karlovy Vary. From the age of 8, she studied at the Karlovois music school, where her mother, Anita Ilieva, is the music director. Emin is three years her senior and is now a student at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht, the Netherlands (Hogeschool Utrecht). He chose to study the creative business specialty, which combines several specialties – design, directing, music production and fashion.
The young singer Dani was nurtured with music not only because her mother is a vocal teacher, but also because her father is the conductor of the Military Brass Band. According to her, her talent for singing is genetically inherited because her older sister has nothing to do with music. “My sister studies medicine and defines herself as the musical invalid of the family. Sometimes he tries to sing to me, but it doesn’t always work,” says Danny. As a musical family, everyone sings together, and recently her father has been teaching her to play the piano and cover her favorite songs. Her first memory on stage is her participation in the children’s show “Who is the best” with host Bate Encho. Then she was supposed to sing a song, but got worried at the last moment and said a poem. A little later, when she starts going to music competitions, her anxiety goes away and she gets used to the music scene. Since then, he feels no fear, only adrenaline.
Unlike Danny, Emin’s parents are not professionally involved in music, so he considers his singing to be a gift. “My mother used to sing folk songs, but she comes from Razlog – a city of culture and traditions, where there is a lot of emphasis on folk music. Apparently, I was touched by God and he ordained that I should be able to sing”, says Emin. His first contact with singing on stage happened spontaneously when he was in the 7th grade. Before that, he always hummed different tunes to himself at home.
“Mom, not me busy Me and
singer – I won’t get things”,
this is how Emin answers his mother’s question about taking him to a vocal teacher. Ever since he was young, however, he was never worried about an audience. In kindergarten, he participated in various plays where he sang and danced, but he was never embarrassed by people watching him.
“At the end of the 7th grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Marieta Minova, asked me to sing “One undivided class” at graduation. I agreed, as I wouldn’t be alone”, says Emin about his first appearance on stage. At the school concert, when the song begins, his classmates break down in tears and hug each other. Then he comes to the front, takes the microphone and begins to sing alone. Then his English teacher saw his talent for singing and put him in touch with the vocal teacher Emil Strundjev.
“I started going to him at a late age for the boys – 13 years old. Then the boy’s voice mutated. I was lucky because these chants as a child did not allow my voice to be closed completely”, says the 20-year-old performer.
So Emin started going to Emil Strundzhev, who is still his vocal teacher to this day. His participation in song contests introduced him to his duet partner Dani Ilieva. Two years ago, he took part in the Bulgarian song contest “Song Palette”, organized by Dani’s mother – Anita Ilieva. Then he met both of them and the producer Eftim Chakarov, who is a member of the jury. “Eftim told me: Friend, you are no longer for contests, we need to hear something original from you. He even wrote on his assessment protocol: there is no need for competitions, it’s time for original music”, says Emin, who then won first place. The following year, as the winner of the grand prize, he must participate in the youth jury of the competition, where Danny is also. “I really liked her voice, it is a tenderness, softness, beauty, it touched me a lot”, says Emin about the 15-year-old girl at the time. Therefore, he suggests that they perform a duet song. The two choose “Fire of Love” by Vasil Naydenov and realize that their voices blend very well.
“We have opposite characters, he is
impetuous, impetuous, very energetic, me
I am chosen, innocent
Our contrast is very attractive on stage”, this is how Dani describes his duet partner Emin. They last saw each other a year ago. One day, the producer Eftim Chakarov called the 20-year-old singer and offered him to sing a song with which to enter the “Burgas and the Sea” contest. Emin just has to choose who to perform it with. “I saw Krasimir Trifonov’s text, it was incredible, very touching and tender. I immediately associated this tenderness, carelessness, love of the sea with Danny. No one else can sing it so tenderly and so beautifully. I called Yeftim and he asked directly: Is it Dani Ilieva?”, says Emin. In just a few days, however, the quickly formed duo has to record the song because Emin will have to return to the Netherlands, where he is studying. The very next day he traveled to Karlovo, rehearsed live with Dani and then left for Asenovgrad, where the producer is from. They recorded the song in two days.
“When I found out that we were approved with only 11 more songs, I already said to myself that we are winners. Singing with proven professionals was enough. But Emo had very high expectations. I didn’t want us to be disappointed and I kept saying that we are winners anyway”, says Dani Ilieva. As soon as he appeared on the stage, Emin made the audience applaud him, and at the end, everyone rose to their feet.
The young performers also released a video for “I don’t forget you”, which was shot at the sea.
They don’t know yet if they would
continued as a duet,
or they will develop independently, but they certainly want to do at least one more song together.
Besides music, however, both have other interests. In his spare time, Danny shoots videos for his vlog. They are on a different theme, showing how to make up or cook. Her favorite food is sushi, which she prepares herself. Besides being in front of the camera, she also enjoys editing the clips.
And Emin is a football player a judge
He has been playing football since he was 5 years old, as his father encouraged him in this sport. He was a part of “Tsarsko selo”, children’s football club “Lavcheta”, children’s and youth football school “Levski – Rakovski”. Before leaving to study in the Netherlands, he gave up his football career but wanted to join the referee family. “I asked the presidents of the BFS if it would be possible to stay in the Bulgarian rankings during the vacations. They agreed and I became a judge there as well”, says Emin. In this season, he will lead matches in “B” group. And when asked which of the two he prefers more, he answers: “Judging is sport, sport is life, life is health.” Accordingly, judging keeps me healthy to be fit to sing”.