May 26, 2019

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It is fair to say that Firelight are having a blast as they prepare to represent Malta during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef. From photo opportunities, to interviews and features with both local and foreign media, it is hard not to take it all in and they are certainly enjoying every minute.

Following their rehearsal on Tuesday, Firelight bumped into two artists; Carl Espen, who will be representing Norway with Silent Storm during the second semi-final; and Mei Finegold who will be partaking on behalf of Israel with Same Heart. The Norwegian crooner, one of the favourites to triumph in this year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest had only words of praise towards Coming Home defining it as 'a track which will eventually get loads of airplay on the Norwegian radio stations as it reflects the music currently hitting the charts in Scandinavia'.

He was also keen to learn about the instrument that Richard plays during the performance; the Mountain Dulcimer having never seen one like it before. Richard quickly exchanged favours in singing an a-capella version of Silent Storm, something he also did during the meet and greet session which took place on Tuesday. Journalists in attendance for the meet and greet stated 'you shouldn't do that .. it's a competition' to which he replied to a rather rapturous applause 'we're here to have fun and enjoy ourselves with good music. This song is good music so there is no harm in singing it!'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LBOjxBty8U

Mei Finegold is a backstage neighbour to Firelight, with Israel performing in slot number #2 just after Malta and this has provided the build-up to a more solid relationship. Both of them got to get to know each other during the course of their promotional tours with both being in attendance in The Netherlands and Russia a couple of weeks back. Michelle Mifsud, one of the vocalists of Firelight, confirmed that they are happy that the two teams got to know each other at a personal level. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g64Ft-aLfyU

'She is a mum like myself. We share the same passions for music and for our families. We both know what is it like for a woman to bring up your children while pursuing your dream as an artist’. On her part, Mei did not hesitate to declare that she has been whistling Coming Home quite a couple of times, something that has become synonomous to her daily backstage routine. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: TVM, Eurovision Song Malta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxi5C-lGX2Y

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 18:45

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Norway

It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #3, we catch up with Norway (NRK) who will be represented by Carl Espen and the song Silent Storm written by Josefin Winther.

Carl was raised by his mum, with his two siblings. They lived on an island outside Bergen, called Osterøy. Even though the island is not more than a 40 minutes drive from Bergen city, it is a very rural and idyllic place. Carl has always loved to spend time in the nature, and was a real fishing enthusiast as a boy. His mother sang a lot, and his childhood home was always filled with music. Among his cousins, aunts and uncles, you can find the woman behind the song Silent Storm, Carl’s cousin Josefin Winther, a London based artist and songwriter born in Bergen in 1986. Four years younger than her cousin, Josefin has no problem recalling a day in her life being 12 years. Carl Espen had entered a local music competition on Osterøy, and Josefin was standing with her aunt in the audience.

Carl performed Wild World by Cat Stevens, and ended up winning the whole competition. Josefin was so proud. Since then Josefin has pursued her own career in music, and established herself as a critically acclaimed artist and songwriter. That fact that Josefin has followed her dream, has always been a big inspiration for Carl Espen. As a young man Carl enrolled in the military, and served for six months in Kosovo. In his adult life Carl became a carpenter, specialising in frames and glass. For the past 12 years he has been working for different companies within this industry. He has also done a lot of volunteer work for cancer research, and at night has worked as a doorman at Bergen’s rock bar Garage. Music has always played big role in Carl’s life, and he has carried this dream with him all along. 

Josefin has always thought that more people should hear his beautiful and unique voice, and in August 2013 she finally sat down a wrote a song especially for Carl. She saw that he had so much inside him that needed to be expressed, and she wanted to give him the opportunity to express it through a song that was truly his own. The result was Silent Storm. She played it to him and he knew straight away that this was his song. They decided to enter into the Norwegian national selection, Melodi Grand Prix, and the rest is history. The steps onto the Eurovision Song Contest stage on the 8th of May will not be many, but for Carl they will be crucial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETLYR9icV1k

Norway is a scandinavian country which holds the record for the most last place finishes but has still recorded three victories in total; the first one being in 1985 with La Det Swinge performed by Bobby Socks, the second one being in 1995 with Nocturne performed by Secret Garden and most recently in 2009 when Alexander Rybak entertained the masses with Fairytale. Following that success though has been quite difficult, failing to qualify in 2011, and then managing only last place in 2012 before returning back to the top five in 2013 with the song I Feed You My Love sung by Margaret Berger.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 86%

Greig Watts: I love the opening of this with piano and his haunting voice that draws you in nicely! And the chorus does lift me using his beautiful vocal again, almost Celtic, can I say that? Ha ha . Now I am waiting to see if the song builds, and it does and actually this is giving me Goosebumps while I listen, well done Norway good selection in my opinion. Interesting end with the big drop and silence, but I guess the song is called Silent Storm

Joseph Zammit: Not the happiest of songs in this year's competition I'm sure. Slow, brooding, and haunting, it has a soft piano melody throughout the piece with a beautiful vocal melody to go with it. A solid song with a solid build up and adding of instruments with a very hair-raising chord progression leading to the chorus. It is a sad slow song yes, however in my opinion, this song does not fall into the trap of becoming a dreary generic ballad with no feeling. 

It flows and builds up to a climax as any good song should. Overall I quite like this one, though of course, it is one of those songs which will most definitely find much difficulty in succeeding on a pumped up and energetic Eurovision stage. I particularly love it when near the end of the song, the musical climax stops as soon as he sings the word 'Silence'. It shows that there was some poetic thinking behind this song as well. I like that. 

Sharon Vaughn: Very moving, genuine and vocally mesmerizing.

John Scott: A very unique voice. It is very effective against the piano. Overall, a very strong ballad.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LBOjxBty8U

Published in Editorials
Saturday, 12 April 2014 16:15

Norway: Interview with Carl Espen (ESC 14)

In recent years, escflashmalta.com has been on the forefront in chatting to artists who would be heading to the Eurovision Song Contest and hopefully representing their country and achieving a positive result. Next up is Carl Espen who will be representing Norway with the song Silent Storm written by Josefin Winther, who happens to be his cousin. He speaks of the opportunity at representing his country in such an international event.

Silent Storm written by Josefin Winther is a true gem, a classic ballad which requires a heartfelt rendition in order to reach the masses. What are you currently doing to ensure that the message of the song comes across during the competition and what do the lyrics mean to you on a personal level?

I know that the most important thing in my performance is to be in touch with my emotions when singing it. It is difficult, but important. There’s no actual way to «rehearse» that part, but I try to connect with my inner feeling every single time I sing it. Also I think it’s important to not forget why I’m doing this, and that my dream is to sing for people. Nothing more, nothing less. The lyrics are very personal to me, and Josefin really hit the nail on it’s head when she wrote it to me. The lyrics express the feelings whirling inside me, that often feel like I have a silent storm inside. It also carries a growing hope, that someday I’ll be calm. The song has grown more and more important to me on a personal level. 

Norway has been drawn to compete in the first half of the second semi-final, with the European Broadcasting Union as well as Danmarks Radio allocating slot number #3 for the performance. Have you heard any of the other competing entries and how would you rate the Malta's chances?

Yes, I have heard many of the other contestants, and I’m so impressed by the level of music and artists. I’m very humbled by the fact that I’m in this competition. I just love the vocal harmonies in Malta’s contribution. Firelight is also close to genres I personally like. 

In 2009, it was all about Alexander Rybak and the song Fairytale, garnering a significant lead over the first runner-up to win the Eurovision Song Contest. In the years following that, Norway has only come close to winning once more last year with Margaret Berger finishing in fourth place with her entry I Feed You My Love. What expectations do you have prior to arriving at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark?

I have been an artist for four months now, and I have learned so much. From the day it became official that I was participating in the Norwegian pre-selections, I have received so much positive attention, support, love, fan mail and good reviews, and every day has felt like a new milestone for me. So even to be in the ESC finals is a great honor, and try to focus on preparing as much as I can. I don’t think so much about my chances of winning, etc, but just to focus on really putting my heart and soul into everything I do on stage. My expectations are to meet fantastic people, make new friends, get inspired by all the love for music, and to be blown away by the biggest experience in my life; singing «Silent Storm» for over 100 million people live.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iHG9-AJSEA

Spotify, a music resource which is vital in the industry, being used to stream songs which are successful at the moment whilst also offering an astonishing back catalogue of albums from all across the world. Your entry, Silent Storm has topped the most listened to track in Norway but has failed to trouble the official music chart. Do you believe that the artist will find it difficult to make an honest career in music with such mechanisms?

To see that my song has been listened to several hundred thousand times, and that it’s the 6th most played song on radios in Norway, is for me just unbelievable. We all know that the industry and the way we listen to music is changing, and I think it has pros and cons. I think the best thing to do as an artist, is to focus on making good and genuine music, and to team up with people who know the industry well, and who are interested in always being one step ahead.  

Whenever nerves creep into a performance, that is where the criticism is known to commence and despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews from a local audience during the Melodi Grand Prix, several people on forums pointed out that you were nervous. Will you be alone on stage come May, or will you have someone to share the nerves with moments prior to the performance and whilst on the actual stage? 

I think it would have been strange if I hadn’t been nervous, whilst making my debut as an artist life in front of the Norwegian people. I am constantly working to develop as a singer and as an artist, and I know I will be able to sing «Silent Storm» even better when I come to Copenhagen. I will have musicians with me on stage, and will also have my singing teacher for last preparations before entering the stage. It is going to be an unforgettable night for me. I am very much looking forward to it. 

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

I would like to send out a warm greeting to the readers of escflashmalta.com, and thank you for the attention and for reading my interview. I am so grateful for all the support and love I receive, and I want you all to know that it means a lot to me. Thank you! All the best, Carl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LBOjxBty8U

Published in Interviews

NRK, the Norwegian public broadcaster is known to put ona good show and the 2014 edition of the Melodi Grand Prix was no exception. Four finalists qualified for the super final, where they each had the opportunity to perform for a second time. Carl Espen emerged victorious with his song Silent Storm written by his cousin Josefin Winther. The voting was incredibly tense with the public being responsible for the final outcome, and doing their duty, noting that over 100,000 votes were cast.

Carl Espen will be representing Norway in Copenhagen, after getting support from the Western side of the country. Silent Storm is an emotional ballad with an effective piano melody throughout. This is a nice song, less if definitely more and given how thankful Carl appears to have won MGP, I do genuinely wish him well. As the Eurovision 2014 line-up nears completion, Norway has entered another good entry. Let’s see if they can do as well as they did in Malmö. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: NRK, Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ttWnB-Yprw