Kristine Elezaj, the twenty-something pop bombshell that Billboard magazine called a cross between Britney Spears and Rihanna, is 1 of 25 nominated to be in the running for Macy’s iHeart Radio Rising Star. Now in its sixth year, the iHeartRadio Music Festival is biggest music festival in radio. The two-day event features a multi-genre mix of superstar performers, along with the winner of the iHeart contest.
Kristine Elezaj, who was born in NYC but based in LA, is currently traveling promoting “Could You Be The One,’ the official nominated Rising Star song from her forthcoming EP, which she co-wrote. The album will feature a mix of powerful, soulful urban world influenced pop anthems mixed with a newfound vulnerability only found when you decide to truly be comfortable with trusting yourself. “I’m not afraid to be myself through my music and take risks. This album has become a purge of the deepest parts of my heart & is truly me at this moment and the skin of the woman I’m continuing to grow into,” Elezaj explains.
Getting her start at the famed Sugar Bar in New York City when legendary duo Ashford & Simpson were in the audience and began singing backing vocals on Kristine’s rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” “After the show, Nick came up to me said he wanted to help me and he ended up being my mentor. He encouraged me to write and I took his advice and worked really hard. I really have blossomed from those days and will always be humbly grateful,” says Kristine.
Macy’s and iHeart Radio Rising Star program supports unsigned and independent artists that will be featured on hundreds of radio stations across the country and includes exposure on all of iHeartMedia’s platforms including: on–air, digital, social, etc. This year, the competition is open to emerging country, urban, pop and rock artists. The campaign runs for six weeks, which kicked off in May. Listeners vote on their favorite music, the Rising Star winner will be featured in a multi-platform campaign, delivering millions of impressions. To top it off, the winner will receive a performance spot at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival and Jingle Ball Pre-Events. Artists were found by a combination of music industry insiders from across the country at over 800 iHeartRadio local radio stations and Macy’s national entertainment scouts. From that group, a panel of music fans was constructed to rate the artists based on who they were excited to hear more of and see in concert. Those scores were added to the artists’ social media standings, and points were awarded for regional diversity to come up with this top 25.