Malta: The Golden Voice Belonging to Lawrence GrayWritten by Marc Calleja Bayliss
Following a sixteen year break from the Eurovision Song Contest, the Public Broadcasting Services made a successful returning by virtue of finishing in the top ten on each and every occasion until 1998 when the country had been represented by Chiara and the track, The One That I Love which almost won on the night noting that the representative still became one of the most iconic individuals in the country. Nevertheless, that year, during the Malta Song for Europe, it was the beginning of a new chapter for the local music industry with the introduction of male artists such as Fabrizio Faniello as well as Lawrence Gray who has since been dubbed as the man with the Golden Voice due to the fact that he brings a certain tone which when mixed with a stunning vibrato, sounds absolutely incredible in every sense of the word. Together, we will be looking back at the history of Lawrence Gray within the competition and how close he has been on representing Malta at the event.
The very first participation of Lawrence in the Malta Song for Europe came in 1998 with the track New Born Heart composed by Joe Brown and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia. The piano ballad was very much in the zone for those years and considering the fact that there was live music on stage made it even stronger in terms of presentation. The debut is always important but everything seemed carefully planned noting that in the backing vocals, there was also none other than future representative, Julie Zahra. This was not the one according to the jury who did see it fit to finish in the top ten at the end of the night, giving it a total of 76 points and thus a respectable ninth place. He would return in 1999 with the even better track The Right Time composed by Philip Vella and penned by Paul Abela. This seemed like the swansong and apart from Claudette Pace, nobody was being earmarked as the next winner of the competition yet it seems that by some weird disastrous fate, the group Times Three would finish at the top of the board pushing him into second place with a total of a 114 points, missing out by just five (5) points in the long run.
Following his runner-up finish, he decided to stay put and take a break, ultimately returning with a brand new style in 2001, through two songs, the first one being none other than A Song in My Life written by Ray Agius which would end up in a respectable sixth place position and the second track being entitled Count On Me composed by Paul Abela and penned by Philip Vella, the same team that had brought him success two years before. In the year 2002, Lawrence managed to make it through with another two songs, the first track being entitled What Happened To Our Love composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant and the second one entitled Moment of Truth composed by Paul Abela and penned by Alfred C Sant. This had to be one of his least successful times in the competition though as the tracks would only finish in fourth and eighth place respectively. Thus, he was to make sure that he was ready to put the result behind him and come back stronger than ever in one of the largest Malta Song for Europe editions yet. He entered in 2003 with the song Why Not? written by Ray Agius as well as And The Music composed by Dominic Galea and penned by Mark Doneo. The first song would come in second place whilst the other was languish in thirteenth place unfortunately.
The defeat in 2003 was very much unexpected because as soon as the songs were played for the very first time, it seemed that everything had been aligned for him to finally end his drought of being close yet not winning. The very fact of the matter remains that he was being by Lynn Chircop whose ridicolous performance of the song To Dream Again earned us just four points at the Eurovision Song Contest despite the fact that the vocals were upped amazingly well by a strong team of backing vocalists. The very fact that he was beaten once more still gave him the energy to come with something in 2004 and the track that was submitted was You're On My Mind composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Chircop. It ultimately finished in fourth place and this gave Lawrence his final beating, going incognito for the Malta Song for Europe for a very long time actually noting that he would only submit a song six years later in 2010 when things had settled down and somewhat falling into place once more. His return to the competition was published through online media, escflashmalta.com. The track entitled Stories was a song which spoke volumes about the life of Lawrence Gray and it was composed by Ray Agius and penned by Godwin Sant.
The song did not do as many people expected it to place even though public support was still very much evident noting that there were a lot of screams in the hall. Stories was performed to perfection but the jury along with the public pushed it into seventh place. He found the right formula to return into the competition and therefore, he decided to also submit a song into the 2012 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest this time working with composer Philip Vella and lyricist Cher Vella who just happens to be his daughter. The song which bore the name In Your Eyes was a beautiful pop/rock type of ballad and really sounded well in the hall. One had to consider that Lawrence did not have a voice going into the final on the night and it was nothing short of a miracle that he did eventually finish in seventh place, cementing that position for yet another time. It will be interesting to see whether Lawrence can come close to finishing at the top or finally winning the trophy and representing Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest because he is an individual who truly deserves the position. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of such features in the weeks to come.
Source: National Finals