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Tuesday, 16 July 2013 14:00

Malta: Interview with Jessika (MESC 08,11,12,13)

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Jessika, one of the younger vocalists in the local music scene with ample experience achieved within the festival circuit, having been a contender at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on four occasions, reaching the final round on two of such occasions. In recent months, she has taken up a lead role on the television series Il-Klikka which has sparked her popularity even further and saw her place at an even better position at this years' showcase. escflashmalta.com has been in touch with the vocalist turned actress about her current career endeavours in both music and film.

Jessika, one of the fast rising stars in the local music industry especially following your latest participation within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest where you presented the track Ultraviolet composed by Philip Vella and Thomas G:Son with lyrics provided by Gerard James Borg. This was the very first time that the trio has collaborated together on an original song and you were fronting their product, one which was very much appreciated by the public. What was your initial reaction when listening to the demo version of the song and do you have a clue to how the collaboration between such talented songwriters came about? 

I immediately fell in love and I think that’s quite important as it’s perceived by the audience when I’m performing it. Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg were always friends with Thomas G:Son but never had the chance to collaborate on something. This year they had the chance to do it and I was the lucky chosen one to perform the song Ultraviolet and I will always cherish the opportunity given as it was one of the greatest experiences so far.   

In 2008, Jessika formerly known as Jessica Muscat made it through to the Malta Song for Europe for the very first time and the blonde haired, green wearing lady took to the stage in a supposedly angry manner as she performed the track Tangled composed by Philip Vella to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg. On that occasion, it was not meant to be and you did not get through to the final but so did a hefty amount of established artists including former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Mary Spiteri amongst others. Looking back, how did you view the experience and what would you have done differently?

It was my very first experience in a contest of that calibre and I performed in an energetic manner rather than an angry one, if I can correct you. I was still in my first year at University and looking back I find I did a good job in performing and doing exams at the same time. Thus getting an A and many more good grades and conjunctionally giving a good performance. That year, the set up of the contest was a bit different because only 8 of the 16 made it to the final round. Still an experience to remember and I believe that I learned a lot and grew a lot as an artist from my first experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NnbUjCdhl8

At this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, Malta was represented by Gianluca with the track Tomorrow co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek. Following both the performance of the semi-final and the final, Malta returned to the top ten for the very first time in eight years. The general public had not sought to send Gianluca to represent the nation at the international spectacle, opting to send Kevin Borg and his entry Needing You co-written with Thomas Thörnholm, Michael Clauss, Dan Attlerud and Simon Gribbe. What is your opinion on jury and public voting and do you agree with the current system?

I actually like the current system as it gives chance of expression from both the jury and the public voting. I always believe that a song and it’s singer should be judged by a team of experienced people in the music industry as they should know what is in, at the moment and other technicalities, on the other hand, I also believe that the public should have a say because at the end of the day it’s the same public who is buying and listening to the song and artist itself. 

During this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, you were accompanied by a number of people on the main stage including Sean Vella on piano, as well as three female backing vocalists; Tezara Camilleri, Annabelle Debono and Yazmin Halledie. All the three have tremendous amount of experience in the industry especially Annabelle who accompanied Morena at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, your debut year. Many people think that the choices of the backroom team might be somewhat random but clearly, everything is selected accordingly. How was the onstage team selected and do you see them take to the stage on their own?

I always choose my team really carefully and I do it together with my author and composer, this year I was very lucky and happy with my on stage team. It’s not only that I appreciate their vocal abilities but also their personality. There was never a dull moment this year and I believe it showed that we were enjoying our performances every time we were on stage. And yes I do see them all take to the stage on their own as I believe in them, their voices and personalities... why would I have chosen them huh?!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7rdC1YwieI

Apart from singing, the general public have now got used to seeing you on the television screens as you act out a leading role in the television series Il-Klikka created by V Squared Productions. We had the opportunity to introduce the series through escflashmalta.com in the beginning of the autumn/winter schedule and describe ourselves as true and avid followers. Your character is an aspiring performer who becomes part of a girl band, one which is set to take the nation by storm, hopefully also succeed abroad. Truthfully, how much do you relate to the actual storyline and on another note, would you actually be interested to become part of a girl band or would you rather be a solo performer?

I’m really enjoying the experience with Il-Klikka as I’m meeting many beautiful and talented people and it’s always great to have the publics’ support as it takes a lot of hard work and time from all the actors and the production team to have a television series to the liking of the audience. I sometimes see resemblance in my character and that of Audrey (played in the series) as I’m always aspiring to hit it big time as a singer. However in some other areas I find that I’m much more spontaneous and talkative rather than the silent and timid Audrey whom I believe I was a bit alike before I became a Spanish teacher... being a teacher makes you talk a lot to explain for the benefit of the students’ themselves. Since I began my singing career at the tender age of 6 years old, I always sang solo only on occasions I sang duets which I enjoyed as well. In life I’ve learned to never say never because no one knows what the future might hold. 

In just a year, you became a lead actress in a television series, a notable performer in the eyes of the public and the brand new recipient of a stage name, something that the local music industry seems to be adopting at a rather astonishing pace. Amongst the most notable stage names in Malta at the moment, there are surely the ones of Kaya (Priscilla Psaila) and Minik (Dominic Cini). You went from Jessica to Jessika and this is something that has also been very much respected by the public. How did you manage to have such a smooth transition in promoting yourself and do you think it was the right time to carry out this process?

I actually think that the new stage name isn’t that different from the real one and that is why I believe the transition was a good one. I also believe it happened at the right time, as together with my producer Paul Powell we were releasing the new single Golden ways not only in Malta but internationally and Muscat sometimes isn’t easily pronounced abroad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yBFjrQFd-0

Davinia, second runner-up at this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Betrayed composed by Elton Zarb and penned by Matt Mercieca has already confirmed through the programme, TVPM that she will be submitting an entry into next years’ edition of the competition and therefore, you can imagine where this question is leading. With the support of the public, having garnered their fourth preference, are you interested in returning to next years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and if so, will you be working with the same mixture of local and foreign songwriters who helped you achieve your best result thus far?

I believe the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is one of the greatest platforms and in these last three years it always improved in all areas and I always liked the experiences I’ve had so far, therefore I might consider to take part again, however I have to make sure I’m competing with a good song as it’s my dream to represent Malta in the Eurovision Contest. I’m always up to working with authors and composers with a good product and I also collaborate therefore I’m hoping to have a good song to return again.

Would you like to say to the readers of escflashmalta.com?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers that continuously show their support to the Maltese talent. It’s incredible that in this tiny island we’re blessed with so many talents. I believe that through your continuous support, artists like me can reach their dreams as it’s always awesome to have people appreciate what you’re doing.

Source: Official Facebook Page, Emil Calleja Bayliss (Image)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wikHRTwRdA

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 14:37