Exclusive: Thea Saliba speaks to ESCflashmalta

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Going back in time can prove to be vital especially when looking at the start of a musical career. Not too long ago, namely in 2005, a budding young artist made her way onto the stage of Junior Song for Europe which was being held under the hospice of the Public Broadcasting Services. During that evening, the artist who has accepted to speak to ESCflashmalta.com ended up winning the local showcase and eventually went onto represent Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest held in Hasselt, Belgium. Following a tough result, she came back, regrouped and made sure to use her looks, talent and contacts well becoming one of the countries’ well-known singers. Thea Saliba will be giving us an insight to her musical career, future projects and more.

Back in 2004, you had submitted an entry within the Junior Song for Europe festival and despite managing to garner enough positive reviews, it was not selected as a winner yet in 2005, you made a return to the showcase and ended up being the next representative for Malta at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. What do you make of both experiences?

My main aim was to introduce a new style of music to this song contest at which I have succeeded thus I am proud to have managed to be the first young singer to introduce Hip Hop and RnB to the Junior Song for Europe and eventually winning the contest. Expressing my ideas and beliefs is also imperative when it comes to the lyrics of a song thus both ‘Say No’ and ‘Make It Right’ state wisdom and the importance of being and doing what is right for a better world and a serene human race. I honestly say that both experiences are satisfactory whilst surely can never forget the moment when ‘Thea & Friends’ were announced winners of the 2005 Junior Song for Europe. The relief and the fulfillment are unexplainable.

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When you had won the right to represent Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest which was set to take place in the city of Hasselt within the confines of Belgium, the showcase was still quite popular and therefore, representing a country was quite a big deal so to speak. How did you deal with the pressure and despite the undermining result, how was it as an experience?

The escalation of pressure builds gradually incorporating regular rehearsals, the organisation of the trip which included my efforts in persuading the organizers to allow me to keep my team of seven dedicated dancers whilst ensuring that my demands and wishes are accepted. When in Hasselt, the age difference amongst the participants was emphasizing with the little cuties always attracting more attention, but we were having so much fun as though we were living in a dream that we held on strong performances throughout rehearsals and on the night of the contest achieving continuous positive views and comments from the press who stated and are still recorded that we could have even been eligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Festival. All this and the instant support of numerous Junior and Eurovision international fans pushed me a step forward to believe in my product and exploit my music internationally.

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Following your appearance at the event, you quickly grew up and made sure to establish a name within the Maltese music industry by coming up with a number of dance tunes which would scream out “Modern”. Why did you decided to take up such a road and did you actually believe that you would be so successful when you were just kicking off having endured such a sour beginning to your career?

Post-my participation, becoming a professional in every discipline was vital, thus I continued with my piano studies and ballet dancing along with various singing performances throughout the island. Destiny has guided me through this path with various international music producers and song writers contacting me through www.thea-music.com expressing their wish to work with me by sending me demos of their product to which I cautiously chose my first favourite. ‘Bring It Up’ by a US music producer was my break through as a solo RnB artist.

The song immediately made it to the playlist of Malta’s top radio stations making me the youngest artist on the island to make it to these radio stations and the rest is history. I was then acknowledged for my original style of music both national and internationally. Other international songs followed; It’s His Eyes I See, On The Dance Floor, Say My Name and more. Apart from all this, today I enjoy being a qualified pianist and ballerina teaching music, singing and dancing to young students.

In recent years you have been travelling quite a lot, going up to both the Netherlands and Germany where a personal friend and site collaboration Juergen Boernig managed to arrange a number of performances in a variety of musical contests. Performing in Malta has definitely been a good addition to your career yet what has performing abroad helped you develop?

Performing abroad encouraged me to believe in myself and my music. The audience is ever so warm making me feel so special and the organizers, music producers and song writers in UK, Italy, The Netherlands and Germany including dear Juergen Boernig, keep inviting me to various events to which I regretfully often refuse due to my university studies. I was nominated for Best Hip Hop & RnB Artist in the 2008 Malta Music Awards whilst my talents and efforts have also been acknowledged by the University Junior College who awarded me for promoting local music abroad.

This is so reassuring which keeps boosting my music career. Last year I managed to spend 9 days in Palermo for the shooting of ‘Musilicious’ the music video. The launch was announced on all prime time TV news and later same year was invited to Germany to record other songs with international artists and also solo ones. These unique experiences are so enchanting.

Though I run a very busy schedule, I again recorded other songs in Germany during my Easter holidays this year. This was my 18th Birthday gift by music producer Marcus Seiler and song writer Stefan Engel.

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Apart from travelling to a number of places, you have also been recording a wide variety of music in these last couple of years working on different genres and styles coming up with some amazing tracks which make people yearn for more. Behind every track and every artist, there is a great song writing team yet these credits have been quite mysterious. Would you care to tell us with whom you have been working and whether these tracks represent the different emotions that lurk within you?

The pleasure of working with different song writers and music producers is what contributes to a unique experience aiming at combining ideas of every culture with a satisfactory end result. Both local and international song writers and music producers are very special to me and will always treasure the lovely memories we enjoy when a song is being structured and later recorded. To mention a few, Philip Vella, Billy J,Adrian Attard Trevisan, Rita Pace, Elton Zarb, Maddee Dargue and K1NK are some of the local song writers and music producers whilst Bygg Slyce, M Loverso, Giulio Maddaloni, Marcus Seiler and Stefan Engel, are some of the international team. I have myself written some of the songs which often reflect my emotions.

The year 2010 has been one to remember having gotten the opportunity to perform at the Malta Fashion Awards. Encompassed with a sublime choreography, you managed to turn heads round and made sure that the song would be remembered. What is your memory of this performance and how have other performances on Maltese soil helped you become who you are today?

Thanks to Adrian Mizzi, ‘I’m Your Fan’ was launched at the Malta Fashion Awards. The song was recorded in Germany only 4 weeks earlier. This event was important to me as I took the opportunity to showcase yet another new me with a dedicated team from the fashion industry including Luke Engerer who supported me throughout together with an outstanding choreography by Stuart Vella. It was rather tough for me to attend rehearsals due to my long hours of studying with only a few weeks away from my first year law university exams but determination to succeed in every aspect encouraged me to enjoy this performance and list it as one of my favourites.

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Other memorable performances with warm audiences are the Farsons Great Beer Festival, Pjazza, Indifest Isle of MTV week in Bugibba and others.

Another goal which many people set for our budding young stars is surely a participation in the Malta Eurosong competition. It has been known that you submitted an entry in this years’ edition of the local festival yet unfortunately, you failed to make the second phase and therefore, the song was not even released. Would you care to tell us something about “Looking at Me” and whether you will be trying with it for another time in 2011 or will you be trying with something completely new?

I may reveal that the plan for my participation in this year’s edition was totally different thus in next to no time this song was written and music produced just a week before submission. The title of the song ‘Looking at Me’ may give an idea what it’s all about and if there’s a next time, surely a new song will do.

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

Wish to THANK all who support me and love my music. This encourages me to release new songs in the near future. Please feel free to contact me on www.thea-music.com. Music is the world’s common language breaking all barriers whilst bringing people together from every corner of the globe. Let’s enjoy music. Let’s enjoy life.

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