THE fame of Albanian singer has spread well beyond her homeland since she won The Voice of Italy two years ago.

Born in Shkodra, Elhaida started singing aged just four. While at school she studied piano. In 2009 she won the talent show Star Academy. After this show she released her first song Si Asnjëherë and later two more songs Fjala E Fundit and Vetmia.

Elhaida has taken part in several music competitions in Albania and abroad, winning prestigious awards, among others the best New Artist of the Festival Suncane Skale in Montenegro and the Grand Prix in the festival Nova Musica in Bulgaria.

In recent times she has toured in Italy and performed on the same stage together with Patti Smith, Elisa, Fiorella Mannoia, Dolores O’Riordan, Fausto Leali, Giovanni Allevi, Caro Emerald and many others.

Last night she came through the first semi-final to qualify for Saturday's final and we caught up with her to ask her about the importance of her parents on her singing career "My mum told me she was young her father, my grandfather, who was a musician used to take her to his concerts and it was there that she started to sing.

"And during that time he was very passionate but realising how hard it was to become an artiste, he discouraged her, so she never got the chance to follow her dream of becoming a singer.

"And although that was sad it was maybe why she encouraged me as a kid. I don't remember from when because I have always been singing "And aged six I started studying music at my local school, but I never used to sing - really because no-one knew that I could. And coupled with the fact that I was also very shy it meant I never really told anyone."

"Despite that, when I was 16, I decided to enter a talent show and I won and this was the first time and people were like: 'Oh Elhaida you can sing'!"

So when she takes to the Eurovision stage on Saturday her mother's unfulfilled dreams will be one of the things going through her mind.

"I am very happy she can do this because I can see she is so fulfilled, so I am happy for her, for me and for everything."