In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Now and Forever, composed by Vinny Vella Jnr to the lyrics of Karl DeBattista with vocals provided by Andreana.
Andreana, the most experienced vocalist in this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with seven (7) previous participations; Listen (1998), Theresa (2002), Angels (2003), 24/7 (2004), Let’s Make a Change (2005), So Good (2006), Fired Up (2010). Despite being away from the local music scene and competitions in recent years, she has not been away from the spotlight, having had the opportunity to host two (2) television programmes on Television Malta; L-Ispjun and Min Imissu. Away from music, Andreana is a teacher of Integrated Science and Biology at St Martin’s College in Swatar and an interesting fact is that she has successfully passed on her knowledge to no less than four (4) of this years’ Malta Eurovision Song Contest participants including none other than; Sophie, Daniel Testa, Corazon and Davinia.
Vinny Vella Jnr and Karl DeBattista, working as a songwriting duo for the very first time, albeit having worked with other partners in the past to varying degrees of success. Karl, the lyricist is known to be the former husband of Andreana with whom she has remained closer friends and considers to be an inspiration in her music career. Together, they reached the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2002 and 2003, achieving success when it comes to the tele-voting portion of the competition. Vinny, the composer has also made it through to the final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on another occassion, that being in 2006 with the song Waves performed by Nadine Axisa. Despite not racking up the public vote, it was considered to be different and original, obtaining the interest of individuals who do not recognise themselves with such an event.
The Critics Speak Out
John Scott: Her voice and performance is very good. I think the hook is really great. Very classic, but also very depressing! With a full orchestra it could be a show stopper.
Martin Isherwood: Smoky attractive voice. Ok melodies but not distinctive. Liza Minelli meets Tom Waits, meets Nena (99 red balloons). Never gets going and just stops.
Sharon Vaughn: She has the perfect storyteller’s voice. Unfortunately, there were some inconsistencies in the text that could have been tweaked a bit to strengthen the message. It was a bit hard to follow.
Stano Simor: Now and Forever, the perfect example of a song that whilst not being commercial might still have a hit fact. At the end of the track, I would have given another chord in order to increase the emotion of the lead vocal. Andreana has a specific colour which I love and thus makes her instantly recognisable.
Greig Watts: Sorry I don’t like this one really!, Its not strong or powerful enough compared to a lot of the others, just drifts along, I think the singer doesn’t really carry it either and lyrics are very simple, too simple for me and the last chorus doesn’t have an impact that it needs. Sorry to be brutal!