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Chiara, a female singer/songwriter who has represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest on three occasions; in 1998 with "The One That I Love", in 2005 with "Angel" and in 2009 with "What If We" has recorded several demos for Marc Paelinck over the years, and it is heart-warming knowing that her big belting voice is still pretty much existent.

In recent years, the balladeer has taken up a brand new genre, focusing more on dance, and pop rather than stick to what she has always done best. "Until I Find You" was one of the competing entries in the 2014 edition of the Festival Da Cancao, sung by Rui Andrade in Portuguese as "Ao Teu Encontro". It finished in 3rd place, just behind Suzy and Catarina, earning several positive comments from the international fan community. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Olivier Vanhoutte (Facebook)


Yesterday, a well regarded fan-site of the Eurovision Song Contest; ESC Portugal published an interview with one of the songwriters invited to compete in the selection process in the western country of Portugal, following their return to the prestigious competition. The individual was none other than Marc Paelinck, a familiar name to the local music industry, having written several songs for Maltese artists along the years.

Marc Paelinck is also recognised in the foreign music industry, having been to the Eurovision Song Contest on four (4) occasions; Sister (Belgium 02), 1 Life (Belgium 04), Solayoh (Belarus 13) and What If We (Malta 09). Whilst he is credited on those four (4) in particular, it is something of a public secret that Malta’s best ever entry at the Eurovision Song Contest, that being with Angel might also be written by him, having been the main producer of the single release, and eventually the follow-up album, Here I Am. 

In the interview with ESC Portugal, Marc stated that he is thrilled to be working with Rui on a song for the Festival da Cancao, with a song offered by Olivier Vanhoutte, an escflashmalta.com editorial team member. This interview is seemingly giving one several hints of what Marc is working on, but many will surely wonder whether it is an uptempo track in the form of Solayoh, 1 Life or Sister or whether it will be more along the lines of Here I Am, Sail Away and What If We. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: ESC Portugal


RTP, the public broadcaster in Portugal, responsible for the participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is planning to select their entry through the illustrious Festival Da Cançao, which for the very first time will consist of two phases; a semi-final on the 8th March, and a final on the 15th March. In recent weeks, several songwriters and artists put their name forward in the tabloids, declaring interest but nevertheless, it was up to the broadcaster to decide which ten (10) songwriters would be receiving an invite.

In a Press Release issued by RTP, the songwriters were confirmed to include a couple of national selection veterans, including those who have already been to the Eurovision Song Contest, some on more than one occasion. The focus is predominantly on those who have written tracks for Portugal in the past including Andrej Babic and Carlos Coelho (2008, 2012), Emanuel (2007) and Jan Van Dijck (1990) but it is also worth pointing out that an invite was handed out to Marc Paelinck, who has been to the Eurovision Song Contest on three occasions for different countries (Belgium 2004, Malta 2009 and Belarus 2013). The rest of the songwriters invited to partake in the selection are João Matos, João So, Nuno Feist, Ricardo Afonso, Tiago Pais and Tozé Santos.

More details will be made available in the coming weeks but it looks like Ricardo will perform his own song whilst Marc Paelinck is working with renowned vocalist, Rui Andrade who has received support from former Eurovision Song Contest winner; Ruslana. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news about Portugal's participation in the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest especially following the fact that they were absent from the 2013 edition due to financial difficulties.

Source: RTP


Alyona Lanskaya, the third female to represent Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest in ten participations noting that male soloists have somewhat dominated the music scene. It is worth noting that in ten participations, only Dmitry Koldun and Work Your Magic achieved a respectable sixth place within the final with a mixed-gender group managing to make the final a couple of years later with the song Butterfly. escflashmalta.com with the help of Olivier Vanhoutte, part of the Belarussian Delegation this year has managed to get in touch with the female artist and speak to her about a variety of things including last years' attempt, this years' entry and what lies ahead in the future as a vocalist.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to last year, when you were initially selected by the public and a professional jury to represent Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song All My Life, a beautiful ballad which would have truly stood out. Nevertheless, there were a number of complications and you were subsequently disqualified. What was the whole reasoning behind the affair and what gave you the courage to return after what had happened?

Well I loved All My Life in last years Eurofest but I believe that everything that happens is happening for a reason. It didn’t break at all my wish to return to national selection and I’m very happy of course to represent now Belarus in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

The return of the Eurofest competition has somewhat proven to be quite successful into acquiring a brand new audience for the Eurovision Song Contest with the general aim rather being at selecting the artist rather than a whole package. In the selection process, you performed the original track entitled Rhythm of Love which won over the public and a professional jury. Did you believe that it was required to select a different song despite the positive comments it was receiving from the fans of the international showcase?

I was obviously very happy to win National Selection last December with the song Rhythm of love penned by belarussian composer Leonid Shirin. I like to perform the song a lot but we had made always made it clear from the start that if we found a more appropriate song for the European audience we would change it. When Solayoh was proposed by Belgian composer Marc Paelinck along with several other songs, a special committee decided with a big majority that this was it, this should be the song to be sung in Malmö.


A thumping beat, shirtless dancers and a flamenco infused genre could somewhat be the best idea of describing the chosen track Solayoh to the audience who will be watching you closely as you represent Belarus in this years’ edition of the competition. The track which has been written by Marc Paelinck and Martin King is quite visual in terms of sound and as a matter of fact, people have compared it to past entries from Turkey. What was your initial idea when you heard the track and what are your plans for the performance?

When I heard the song for the first time, I loved it a lot and knew this was a song with a big potential for the Eurovision. I was very happy that Marc Paelinck and Martin King proposed it to me to be sung at Eurovision. It has indeed these oriental influences and I’m honoured that its put along to many other successful entries from Turkey and others. About the stage act I promise you a great show on stage which is currently being preparing by Serbian choreographer ‘Zile’ Aleksa Raifovic from the Zilenium group in Belgrade. But to know all details you’ll have to wait for Sweden as otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore! (laughing)

Marc Paelinck is a seasoned songwriter in the music industry having written tracks for Sonny O’Brien, Dana Winner, Xandee, Sergio & The Ladies as well as Maltese songstress, Chiara. It is somewhat pivotal for a composer to have been within the competition beforehand and this is one who boasts not one or two participations by three in total, having always been in the final despite achieving mid-table results. What went through your mind when knowing that you would be working with Marc Paelinck and are you planning any future collaboration?

We started first collaborations shortly after last years Eurofest and have recorded some songs that will also be featured on my upcoming international album. Of course future collaborations are definitely considered. Marc is such a good composer and I’m sure we can reach a good result. Every year is different so I am looking only at myself and our performance, we are working very hard to give Belarus again a place in the final and then who knows what can happen!


One of the obstacles that Belarus has come to encounter throughout the years is surely the semi-final portion having only managed to qualify on two (2) out of nine (9) occasions thus far making is one of the most unsuccessful countries to participate. Nevertheless, according to the fans and the bookmakers, it seems that all that might soon be coming to an end with this particular entry for the simple reason that people have fallen heads over heels for it. Why do you think that the nation has not done well on a consistent basis and how do you view perception on your entry?

I have always supported the previous entries for Belarus and even went to Baku last year to cheer for Litesound, I’m very patriotic so it’s normal to do that. Why Belarus didn’t qualify many times till now I don’t know really. As I told before every Eurovision is different with other conditions and other competition. So I am mostly concentrating on the current moment and working hard to get back to the final on 18th May.

You will be taking part in the first semi-final of this years’ Eurovision Song Contest which ultimately comprises of sixteen (16) entries in total, one less than the second semi-final due to what was coined by the international media as a massive pull out. Nevertheless, the competition is still strong and one of your main exponents is surely Anouk with Birds on behalf of The Netherlands. Have you heard any of the other competing entries, even the Maltese one, Tomorrow which is taking part in the second semi-final and how do you view their chances of success?

To be honest I didn’t really have the time yet to listen carefully to all the other songs as my schedule is so tight with preparations and promotion for the ESC. I have indeed heard that Anouk who seems to be a big name in western Europe will represent Netherlands and looking forward to hear the song shortly. Unfortunately I didn’t hear Gianluca’s song ‘Tomorrow’, but you have made me curious so I’ll be doing this as soon as possible.


Prior to the official announcement of Solayoh as to being your entry for this years’ international spectacle, there were a lot of rumours going about with regards to songs received from foreign songwriters, all of which would have done Belarus proud. This is definitely a vote of confidence in your vocal capabilities. What are your plans following the Eurovision Song Contest and do you intend to continue building your relationship with the German based record label, CAP-Sounds?

Yes true we got several proposals from both belarussian as well as foreign composers, but in the end there was a very large majority to chose Solayoh! As you likely know the international album is almost ready and will be released the coming months, without a specific date set yet. I was very happy that for the very first in Belarussian participation the song was signed to the german record label Cap-Sounds who has already experience on Eurovision with several maltese entries amonst but you surely know.

Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers on escflashmalta.com?

Hello my dear Maltese fans and readers of escflashmalta.com! I hope that you will enjoy the upcoming Eurovision to the fullest! Be happy also in your daily life, make the most out of it. And in case you have a less good day, then one advice: listen to my song Solayoh, I’m sure you will be in a good mood again! Big kisses from Minsk and hope to see you all soon! Grazzi Hafna for this interview!


Published in Interviews
Saturday, 13 April 2013 02:00

Belarus: Reviewing the track 'Solayoh'

Matt Mercieca, Lina Eriksson and Magnus Kaxe were engaged by the editorial board of escflashmalta.com to listen to the entries competing in the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest, passing forth their constructive critique along with an individual and collective grading. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle. Pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Belarus will be performing in slot number eleven (11) from the sixteen (16) entries competing during the first semi-final. BTRC, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Solayoh which has been composed by Marc Paelinck to the lyrics of Martin King with Alyona Lanskaya providing the vocals.

Alyona Lanskaya was born on September 7th in Mogilev, Belarus. Being an apparent Virgo in the Zodiac, her love for her family and for music always came first in her life. She began studying music at a young age: At school, she sang in the choir, performed as a solo artist and as a part of various art groups. She graduated from the Belarusian-Russian University in Mogilev. "My childhood was a very happy one, and sometimes I’d want to return to it - the loving parents and no worries. I used to live in my own world, dreaming at night, coming up with stories for films, always with a happy ending. Because of the light-coloured hair and snow-white skin, the grandma neighbours always called me a "straw girl" – says Alyona Lanskaya. Her career as a professional singer began in 2005, when Alyona took part in the "Slavianski Bazaar" festival in Vitebsk. 

The singer, who during the first training was hesitant to ski, eventually won in the finals after having just a week to learn this sport. In 2008, Alyona, for the first time, took part in an international music festival, in the town of Dobrich in Bulgaria. In 2010, her first solo album Mazes Of Love was released that included songs in Russian, Belarusian and English. Alyona Lanskaya also brought a victory from USA at the “Atlantic Breeze 2010" festival. In 2011, she was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of the Republic of Belarus - she has been the youngest artist ever to receive it! In the summer of 2012, the songs for Alyona’s new English album were recorded. Also in 2012, she took part in the Belarusian national Eurovision selection, and this year she will go on to represent her home country with Solayoh, written by Marc Paelinck and Martin King.


An announced in the official biography above, Alyona Lanskaya has already taken part in last years' national selection within Belarus but despite finishing as the winner, she was disqualified over apparent tampering with the voting results. Ultimately, Litesound took centre stage with their entry We Are The Heroes, with Belarus failing to qualify to the final once more. Nevertheless, when the finalists for this years' national selection were announced, it was somewhat clear that Alyona would be getting a second chance and indeed, she finished the winner with an even better result, receiving the trust of both the jury and the public. The song which she performed in the national selection was entitled Rhythm of Love and received mostly positive acclaim from fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, despite being chosen relatively early in December. In second place within the national final were the group Nuteki with the song Save Me.

Belarus have been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest for nine consecutive years making this participation quite important because they would be turning over a new page, the start of a new decade, hoping that it will be more successful than their last. My Galileo performed by Aleskandra and Konstantin was their debut entry back in 2004, a year in which the semi-finals had just commenced and indeed, they would have to wait another two years before their first qualification, with the track Work Your Magic sung by Dmitry Koldun, and finishing in sixth place. It would be a one off, noting that their next qualification was in 2010 with the song Butterflies performed by the group, 3+2 finishing in the penultimate position. Betting Odds and fans alike have been extremely positive to this years' representation and therefore, it might be that the nation would qualify to the final for a third time in ten years.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Magnus Kaxe: Turkish flavors with vibes from "Every way That I Can" by Sertab Erener from 2003. Even though this song might sound 10 years old, I like it! Simple, catchy and powerful chorus and great performance. This will definitely qualify Belarus to the final.

Lina Eriksson: Well it ain't the first time we hear this kind of Elena Paparizou song in the ESC. Still it tend to appeal to the ESC-voters. I'm guessing it will do well, as long as Alyona pull it of live.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): Is she singing in english? TYPICAL early 2000's eurovision. It's catchy! I like the ethnic breakdown, and can actually see this doing ok in the festival, but you would not find this on my iPod, …ever…EVER! wow this is exactly the kind of music that makes me cringe.

Source: eurovision.tv


Published in Editorials

Alyona Lanskaya will be representing Belarus in the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Sweden with the song Solayoh composed by Marc Paelinck and penned by Martin King. Ten participants put their name forward to represent the eastern country in the esteemed music event but at the end of the evening, both the public and the jury selected Alyona to take on the role. She selected a track that encompasses the best of more than one genre and creating a Turkish flavour in a year when the country is missing might have been quite ideal. Solayoh has been receiving positive acclaim across the board and has also been doing resoundingly well in the betting odds.

Our colleagues at oikotimes.com exclusively published the official preview video that will be accompanying the track and whilst the focus is definitely on the slick choreography also most likely transcendent on the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest, the key interest is a special guest star. Alexander Rybak, winner of the 2009 edition of the music edition on behalf of Norway is supporting his home country this year and thus makes a cameo within the preview video. Solayoh has been released internationally on digital stores such as iTunes through CAP-Sounds, the same music label which houses two time Eurovision Song Contest representative, Fabrizio Faniello amongst others. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news.

Source: oikotimes.com


Saturday, 26 January 2013 15:38

MESC 2013: A Review of 'Too Little Too Late'

A national selection needs to encompass the best elements of a particular music scene in order for the chosen entry to make an effect and represent the identity of the nation abroad. It is highly imperative that despite having foreign songwriters, the performers are still local and this has become a successful formula for Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest. The re-introduction of foreign songwriters has given the local songwriters a taste of what they would face abroad and therefore, entries have become stronger making the competition more intriguing. The Eurovision Song Contest is a showcase in which several countries in Europe come together for a couple of evenings to compete through the medium of song but nevertheless, behind the scenes, one could denote that artists along with their respective delegations become friends with others and thus the aim is reached. Promotion for this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest has been well aligned through a schedule put forward by the Public Broadcasting Services. In the meantime, escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Spiteri Lucas Entertainment is hosting a number of awards, among them, one being given by a set of critics. The twentieth entry entitled Too Little Too Late composed by Marc Paelinck to the lyrics of Matthias Strasser is set to be performed by Domenique.

Whilst being one of the youngest participants in this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Domenique is definitely experienced in the music scene noting that she took up the profession when she was just four years old and working with a number of renowned vocal coaches including the likes of Phyllisienne Brincat and Priscilla Psaila, otherwise known as Kaya amongst others. The Junior Eurovision Song Contest was a stunning platform for artists growing up within the world of music and Domenique did try her luck to represent Malta on a number of occasions but unfortunately, despite stunning performances, was not given the chance. In the meantime, the timbre in her voice suddenly became an element to look forward to following her vocal development and competing in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza last year, where she managed to finish in third place with her entry Tama u Kuraġġ composed by Philip Vella and penned by Cher Vella. This will be her second experience in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest having made the cut for the very first time back in 2011 with the song I’ll Follow the Sunshine written by the winning songwriters of the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest.


Following an absence of one year, Domenique returns to the competition with the track Too Little Too Late which had also made it through to the second phase of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest last year before being discarded as per the qualifiers list which had been published. The genre of the entry is a ballad, one which the local public should very much enjoy because it is heartfelt and works its’ way to represent the vocals of Domenique in the best possible manner. The songwriters seemingly worked to make this song as personal to the artist as possible so that she could relate to the lyrics and ultimately, this would show in the vocal and visual performance. Speaking of the songwriters, Domenique brings internationally acclaimed composer Marc Paelinck into the fray noting that he has been the brains behind three entries in the Eurovision Song Contest, the first being Sister interpreted by Sergio & the Ladies for Belgium in 2002, then came 1 Life sung by Xandee for Belgium in 2004 and last but not least, What If We performed by Chiara on behalf of Malta in 2009. The lyricist is Matthias Strasser who has already competed in the Irish selection a couple of years back with the track Fashion Queen sung by Monika Ivkic which finished in third place out of five contestants. 

The Critics Speak Out 

Rating: 56%

Sharon Vaughn: This is a sweet song and the vocalist is just brilliant but nevertheless, the song is somewhat pretty much inexistent and that is quite disappointing.

Martin Isherwood: Great chorus musically, although title placement feels rushed. Not sure what the meaning of the song is from the lyrics or title. Very nice voice. Strong meloldies. Bit frilly on keys. Key change to second verse feels a little too soon, contrived and twee. Production style is very safe and a little too safe given the simplicity of the song it could use an edge somewhere. Nice song overall just a little too pretty. Reminiscent of fields of Gold & Sally Oldfield Mirrors.

Stano Simor: East of the European audience will love her. Melancholic song in conjunction with a beautiful voice and look  is literally a weapon that has Domenique in her hands. Transpose in the middle of songs is very natural and creates enough update of song without pompous arrangements.

Roberto Meloni: She works very well with cameras. The song is kind of gentle ballad, being honest…a little boring in the end..but still better than many others here.

Lina Eriksson: Yet another ballad. I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t do it for me. I feel like nothing really happens. It’s too little, too late for my taste.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com


Published in Editorials