Preceding the annual Eurovision Song Contest, Gianluca was asked on a regular basis if he had heard any of the competing entries in the competition and he had always signalled his favourite to be the track from Iceland entitled Ég Á Líf, co-written by Örlygur Smári & Pétur Örn Gudmundsson. The track which will be performed in slot number #8 meaning just over three minutes after Malta is a beautiful ballad which has been coming across beautifully on the screens. There is a strong visual lighting presentation but an even stronger vocal interpretation by Eythor Ingi who is proudly showcasing his skills in musical theatre.
Since arriving in Malmö, Sweden for this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, the two had yet to meet but when they did it seems that things got an extremely friendly reception considering that the two artists who had a small chat exchanged promotional discs and called the support of both nations. Iceland and Malta should have a strong relationship because of the fact that we have both sent the same amount of entries to the Eurovision Song Contest without ever finishing in the top position yet managing two first runner-up slots. Eythor Ingi has another intriguing link to Malta, noting that he is signed to Hands-Up Music, which is the same record label behind Chiara's recent releases, including the debatable Żarbun, a number #2 charting sensation on iTunes. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news.
Source: escflashmalta.com, tvm.com.mt
RTP, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest was set to be privatised earlier this year but it seems that the decision was overturned by the Government at the last minute. This was seemingly the reason behind the non-participation in the event noting that the Western nation is the one of the countries with the most nods in the competition without having yet won. Vida Minha, performed by Filipa Sousa was the entry to be performed under the Portuguese flag last year but could only muster up thirteenth place despite an impeccable performance in the second semi-final.
In 2008, following four years of disappointment, the country made it through to the final for the very first time since the system was implemented with Senhora do Mar (negras Aguas) receiving the first runner-up position before achieving a mid-table position in the final.This was the case in the next two years with their last successfully qualified entry coming in 2010 in the form of Ha Dias Assim performed by Filipa Azevedo. Portugal is seemingly set to show the final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which is a requirement for all of the participating countries. This shows that their great respect towards the competition continues and with insiders saying that they will be returning in 2014, one will be hoping that this is the case. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Malta has finally kicked off the campaign to find Kurt Calleja’s successor in Sweden. Kurt Calleja managed to get Malta back in the finals after a three year gap and also managed to achieve the best ever result for the country since Chiara's second participation in 2005 with her self-penned entry Angel, finishing 21st on the scoreboard on the night following a relatively mediocre performance from the lead vocalist. By virtue of doing this Malta has officially confirmed its participation in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest that will be taking place in Malmo which last hosted the same event back in 1992 hosting Mary Spiteri and her entry Little Child which had finished in third place behind Linda Martin for Ireland and Michael Ball for the United Kingdom.
The songs have to reach Public Broadcasting Services by the 30th and the 31st of October; once again foreign composers and authors are eligible to take part in the selection but the main performers have to hold a Maltese citizenship. The songs submitted will be heard on a CD in front of a panel of judges where they will shortlist 24 songs that will make it to the first final stage of the festival, 16 of which will then compete in the grand finale. The final 24 songs shall be announced on the 30th of November 2012 through the official website of the Public Broadcasting Services which could be found here. The 16 entries will once again be decided by a mix of jury and a public vote, and so does the final result. The date of the festival has not been established but it would be safe to assume that this will be taking place either in January or in February.
Source: MESC Team, www.eurovision.tv
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
The participation of Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest has always conjured up a lot of interesting noting that they were the country who everyone would to be like during the nineties due to the fact that they managed to win the competition on four (4) occasions, including three (3) in succession totally their amount of victories to seven (7). In the past two years, the Irish broadcaster responsible for the participation of the nation being RTÉ had a national selection where a set of mentors brought forward act and songs to compete against each other and both times, it was Jedward who were selected noting their major fan-base amongst the teens, a new demographic brought about to the Eurovision Song Contest when it comes to Ireland. On both occasions, the boys were accompanied by a set of backing vocalists, one of them being the lovely Leanne Moore.
The leading lady of the talent show You're A Star just after being dropped as the national selection method has been trying to succeed in the Irish music industry and following the victory, she went onto release her debut single entitled On Wings which debuted at #1 on the charts meaning that she had momentum but nevertheless, other stuff came first for the performer and lost her way at some point. Nevertheless, she has been working hard on her comeback and even tried to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2010 with the track Does Heaven Need Much More? written by Tommy Moran and John Waters. Unfortunately, it did not perform well finishing in fourth place in total but nevertheless, she has been diligently working with Louis Walsh in recent years, noting her choice with Jedward. She is currently the odds on favourite to represent the seven time winning nation according to Paddy Power beating Jedward in second place and then Johnny Logan in third place. Other interesting performers coming in positions four and five are Mikey Graham of Boyzone and Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Source: Paddy Power
One of the most important assets in the music industry is definitely experience and we have gone onto talk to one of the most experienced performers from the local sector in the form of three time representative Chiara who up till now has also released four studio albums, three of which are of original material and the other one featuring a number of cover versions. In the past couple of months, Chiara has been reinventing her musical taste noting that she has gone onto a current sound, one which is being played on the radio. She has also joined the cast of entertainment on the programme Ħadd Għalik hosted by Angie Laus on Television Malta (TVM). She has found some time to answer some of our questions about her career in the past, present and even the future!
In the past couple of months, the local music scene has continued to grow in strength and prowess and it seems that this idea has spurred on a lot of people to work even harder. One of the most interesting careers which is still developing to this day is yours noting that you have very much changed since 2009 by virtue of taking up a brand new genre, one which shows a completely different image to what many have become used to over the years. What could you tell us of this sudden change and you should we expected an album any time which would maybe correspond to the new you?
Well, change is something that all of us have to go through and I embrace it always, this change came on me slowly, step by step and as you say now I find myself far from where I began but I am in a good place, I like the way I am singing now and it gives me as much satisfaction as my old ballads did. To be honest albums are always on my mind and I was thinking that all the songs I did in the last couple of years should actually be put on an album to be more reachable to my fans as well, so I cant say I’m not thinking of it.
Your rise to fame commenced during the 1995 edition of the Ghanja tal-Poplu competition when you had entered the competition with the track ‘Ismaghni ftit Habib’ composed by Jason Paul Cassar and penned by Sunny Aquilina. This was just the beginning though because despite the fact that the song had a strong message, you returned with an even more iconic track in the form of ‘It-Tlett Ibliet’. Competing against some of the countries’ leading talent, you still managed to achieve the results but looking back at the beginning, would you consider taking part in a festival in which you would have to perform in Maltese again or is that part of your career completely over?
Malta is my beloved country so singing in Maltese gives me a certain satisfaction. I love to sing in Maltese but taking part in festivals is over for me. Obviously The Eurovision for me is just part of my life and “Chiara” so I am not talking about it. I would go to Eurovision even tomorrow if I had the chance as it is such an important part of my life and carreer and also as I am a big fan. But competing in other festivals, I don’t think I would be comfortable doing that anymore.
Entering the Malta Song for Europe for the first time in 1998, you were gunning up against some of the most notable names in the local music industry at the time including former representatives Georgina and Miriam Christine Warner as well as notable runner-up Claudette Pace yet the track that you presented entitled ‘The One That I Love’ composed by Jason Paul Cassar and penned by Sunny Aquilina was the one that made the upset and ultimately, the decision did pay off because Malta was just a couple of points away from winning in Birmingham. What can you recall of winning over here on our shores and being so close to victory abroad?
It was overwhelming, I still think back today and feel all the astonishment I had that night, and still feel the grandness of what happened to me. I feel that that night, maltese people opened a door for me which gave me so much, It was what made me fall in love with the festival and what gave me all my fans around Europe who today, after all these years have become personal friends, so it is a very deep emotion for me to think of the festival in 1998. the victory was very close and up till today when I watch the last part of the festival of 1998 I still half expect Macedonia to give Malta 12 points and we win..but unfortunately it never happens!
When asked about the possibility of future participation back then, you never discounted it and therefore, when you submitted two tracks to the competition in 2005, the people were somewhat excited to see what you were ready to bring to the table this time round. Both of the tracks being ‘Angel’ and ‘Sail Away’ would make the album cut and are still very much favourites of the public but you had to take up a song which you believed could take you all the way and chose the former. Do you believe that your second song would have been received differently by the respective viewers of the Eurovision Song Contest?
I can never say how it would have been, I think I made the right choice with Angel. Being that I wrote angel myself for me it was very special and I am always very glad to be able to transmit this special feeling to the audience in front of me, I know that today Angel is special not just for me but for a lot of people around Europe too.
We are moving forward in time and this brings us to your final participation up to this point in time as you made one final return in 2009 with the track ‘What If We’ composed by Marc Paelinck and penned by Gregory Bilsen. When speaking about this participation, you cited that it was clearly representative of your fathers’ wishes and ultimately when it won in Malta, the track was received well. In the semi-finals of the foreign competition, you made it through to the final stage for the first time since 2004 when Julie & Ludwig had done the honour with ‘On Again .. Off Again’. Three years on, many people believe that the track was not as strong as other material that you have presented to the competition but would you have done anything differently or do you believe that you were in the right?
In this industry you sing because you love singing but you have to be loved by your audience or else the sense is gone out of what you do, so I never say I was in the right, obviously it is a matter of opinion and my fans opinion is very important to me. What if we at that point in my life was very strong for ma, also because of the emotions wrapped around the passing of my father so I would not change a thing. Although I do agree with most of them that probably the remix of What If We would have been more effective but as you know it is very difficult to change a song after you have won a national selection with it.
The Public Broadcasting Services have seemingly shown increased attention to the participation of Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years having taken up the competition under their wing directly and initiating a former format to the national final, one which includes both a semi-final and a final round giving the majority of the weighing to a panel of jury, most of which are foreign. Nevertheless, the issue lies at hand that despite this, the favourite of the public has triumphed two years in a row due to the fact that he achieved a respectable top three placing by the same professionals. Do you believe that the system needs to be altered in order to have more of a representative feel?
I feel that the Maltasong is becoming more and more professional and I like the fact that they are always changing and keeping up with the times. I feel that the people’s opinion is very important as when we go to eurovision its people like maltese in other countries who will then vote for our song, true if you are famous here it helps, but this happens in all the countries not just in malta and we always have the jury to balance it out so I don’t think I would alter anything just now. Some countries go out of their way and get singers from all over the world to try and win the festival, again it is a matter of opinion and of how strongly the country would like to actually win the Eurovision at the end.
Keeping in line with the present, just a couple of weeks ago, Malta was rerpesented int he Eurovision Song Contest by Kurt Calleja and his band who performed the tune ‘This Is The Night’ written by Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås and the main performer himself. During the semi-final, there had been a lot of talk that the performance was crucial to whether our country could qualify for the very first time since you had done so in 2009 and when the eighteen (18) semi-finalists had performed, many had been saying that we had a very good chance and ultimately, we did qualify only to suffer a disappointing result in the final, one place better than you had achieved. What was the difference from one performance to another in your opinion and what is your view about the winning entry?
Euphoria for me started the race with a lot of advantage, It is a song that captures you immediately when you hear it and in my opinion it was a full set of things which made it win. Sweden have been working really hard for the past years to win , the song is an amazing piece, the production of the song put Euphoria above all the others in the festival and Loreen is captivating on stage, her presence steals your attention for the whole duration of her song. It was just the winner without doubts. As for the performance of Kurt, I must say that the performance of Thursday was amazing, they were very concentrated and it showed, i felt personally that Saturday was a little bit different but I do understand that the pressure and all the responsibility of the final night can play tricks on you, so I still think they did really well also on the final night.
Chiara has been involved in a number of projects in recent weeks noting that the past year has been quite busy with activities both on local and foreign soil bringing about people of different countries together to enjoy your music. One of the most recent activities that comes to mind is a tribute to the Late Whitney Houston in a concert in which you featured as a guest performer to the lead performer of the evening being none other than former Malta Eurosong runner-up Eleanor Cassar. Each experience is surely a different one but what do you draw from each one and do you have anything coming up in the weeks and months to come?
I am now preparing to go to Germany for a concert I will do there with Hera Bjork from Iceland and other Eurovision singers. For me every performance gives me a new memory to be proud of, by now I have come to know so many singers who I love and I am very proud to say I sang with them. When I sing in Malta its always more special as my Maltese audience is my family and I want to give them my best , also singing with singers like Eleanor and other maltese singers for me is more special and emotional as these singers are actually my personal friends so for me it is honour when I am asked to take part in such concerts.
This years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has just finished but many countries are already preparing for the next one which will be held in Sweden. The Public Broadcasting Services is yet to formally announce their participation even though it seems that the positive showing this year would be enough to consolidate our future in the competition. Should the rule of the former participants be lifted, would you be tempted to the return and hopefully represent Malta for a fourth time in the competition and if so, would you fuse the elements that you have encompassed throughout the years together or would you take one style and make sure it is well represented?
As I always say if I was given half a chance I would go back to eurovision tomorrow!! I love the festival and it would be a great honour for me to be entrusted with this important task to represent my country once again. I have also been asked by other countries quite a lot of times to represent them in the Eurovision but till now I am still waiting for another chance to represent my own Malta before I actually go for someone else. But I can never say I will never go again, It is a wish of mine to be there amongst the fans once again. As for the style, it would depend on the particular place I would be at the time so I can’t say what it would be.
Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at escflashmalta.com?
There is one thing I always say to my fans and I will always repeat, and it is THANK YOU , for everything you have given me, for the chance to share my music and emotions with you and the luck of getting to know you and love you so much. Richness for me is not money, it is the collection of people who surround you in your life, and you make me richer every year and I will be grateful forever. I promise to always do my best to make you proud of being my fans.
Source: escflashmalta.com, JJ Chircop Photography
There has been a lot of talk that two of the most notable names to come out of the Eurovision Song Contest had been recording an original duet and many did not know what to make out of the speculation the exclusive premiere which took place in Romania just yesterday. The duet which features none other than Paula Seling and Alexander Rybak bears the name I'll Show You and it is written by the Belarussian/Norwegian performer himself. Both of them had finished in the top three at the European event noting the victory of Rybak for Norway in 2009 with the song Fairytale and the second runner-up finish for Paul Seling alongside Ovi for Romania in 2010 with the track Playing With Fire.
The singers made a number of television appearances in the past couple of hours to promote the track in Romania but the idea was for it to be recorded and shown in various countries. According to our information, it seems that Paul Seling might be asked to return to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 as a solo performer so one will see whether this could happen. Apart from being a great performer, many note her as having a spectacular personality and this could be very well the boost she needs for her solo career. One has to add that their popularity in recent months has been quite high so this might end up being a chart sensation in the weeks to come. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news from artists related to the Eurovision Song Contest.
Source: Olivier Vanhoutte
The Maltese Delegation for the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is set to take part in Baku, Azerbaijan is definitely flying under the media radar as much as possible this year noting that Kurt Calleja is currently in the country of Georgia where he seems to be promoting his track This Is The Night which will be performed in the fourth position within the second semi-final of the esteemed music competition. Nevertheless, this secrecy has been somewhat a theme to how the promotion has been taking place but nevertheless, if the results are achieved, then the Maltese people as a whole will be happy as there were with Chiara back in 2009 performing What If We in the finals.
In the past couple of months, Kurt Calleja has been visiting nations which had yet ever to be touched upon by Maltese representatives actually and these included Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and also Lithuania. It seems that the strategy of the Public broadcasting Services is to try and attract as much votes as possible from the Eastern side of the continent. Georgia of course are competing in the second semi-final with Anri Jokhadze and his song I'm a Joker. The song has not been highly regarded but nevertheless, since a brand new version appeared, it has got some positive reviews from the fans and the critics. Kurt Calleja will have more trips still to come noting that he is set to attend the Eurovision In Concert set to take place in The Netherlands and our esteemed sources tell us that he will also make an appearance at the London Preview Party. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com as we keep you posted on the latest happenings.
In recent days, everyone has been talking about the appointment of Amber as the backing vocalist of Kurt Calleja for his performance of the song This Is The Night that will be representing Malta in the second semi-final at the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is being staged in Baku, Azerbaijan. When the performance was unveiled during the national final, the female vocal was that of Ylenia Vella, the young sixteen year old who most recently won the talent show Don't Stop Me Now hosted by Eileen Montesin this past summer on Television Malta (TVM). Nevertheless, the team that will be taking up the song for the annual music competition held between members of the European Broadcasting Union decided that the second runner-up of this years' music competition is a much better fit than her younger counter-part.
The singing sensation who first appeared on the local festival scene during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 2010 with the song Trid Tapprezza composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant is set to take the stage in Baku to perform alongside Kurt Calleja. Her role in the song seems to be larger than the one that Ylenia had and people might be in for quite a surprise. Today, Amber took to Facebook to speak about the decision of the Public Broadcasting Services and how she had nothing to do with the final decision stating this respective statement;
'I would l like to thank everyone who have been supporting me throughout my career. Being chosen to join Kurt’s team as a backing vocalist is something I never thought would happen. I would like to make it clear that I haven’t chopped anyone from the team. It was PBS’s decision and if it wasn’t me who took this opportunity it would have been another singer and not Ylenia. I haven’t paid any money, I am DEFINITELY not trying to take Kurt’s place in anyway ,or try compromising the song , or try to ruin the song . I am nobody’s puppet and there is no need for anyone to pity me. I never in anyway tried to mock Ylenia. I believe that Ylenia is a very talented girl with a voice of an angel and I believe that one day she will be the ambassador to represent Malta at the Eurovision song contest. Let us all support Kurt Calleja who will definitely make us all PROUD to be Maltese.' We would like to wish Amber and the rest of the Maltese team the very best of luck. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Our coverage of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is currently being planned out noting that a number of our editorial board members will be making their way to Baku, Azerbaijan with another batch of individuals working from their respective home base, tending to the needs of the website wherever possible especially with an extensive brand new design which also provides a new identity to escflashmalta in general. As has been the case since our inception, there is the idea of promoting the local artist and thus, two of the leading ladies in the local music scene have been appointed to be special guests during the respective commentaries of the first semi-final and the final of this years' musical event. The first of the two is none other than Raquela.
Raquela is quite a household name to the fans of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malta having taken part in the finals on two occasions, the first coming in 2009 when she performed the song 'Crossroads' composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg and the second being 'If I Could Do It All Again' composed by Marc Paelinck and penned by Matthias Strasser. Apart from this achievements, the talented artist has also been to Italy to perform with the legend that is Gigi D'Alessio during one of his concerts whilst in recent weeks, she also got the opportunity to perform with Critically Acclaimed Dance Music Duo; Tenishia who despite being Maltese are well known in a number of countries. Raquela is looking to break the barriers of the local music scene by working on a number of new songs which can break into the radio scene hence her last single 'Entertain Me' which succeeded in her aim by virtue of making it into the top ten at Bay Radio. It is an honour to have an artist of grand stature with us and we will sure try to be critical and on point as much as possible. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.