MESC 2018: Speaking with Richard and Joe Micallef


Eurovision fever is slowly gripping Malta – the nation’s national selection for the world’s most watched music contest is coming to it’s climax this weekend. Of the one hundred and twenty-nine entries submitted for contention in this year’s local festival, just sixteen made it to the televised selection. We had the chance to catch up with some of the competitors of this year’s show during their preperations. One of these was father-son duo Richard and Joe Micallef, who will perform “Song For Dad“.

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time out for this interview! Richard, how does it feel to be part of the sixteen finalists for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest once again – but this time as a duet with your father?

It’s always a great experience to be part of the MESC finals, but I must admit that this year it’s extra special that I get to share the best platform in Malta with my father. I already know that I’m gonna share this memory for the rest of my life, regardless of the result.

Tell us more about your song, “Song for Dad”. What is it about? In your opinion, what makes your song an ideal candidate for Eurovision?

Our song is about the relationship between us so it’s quite emotional for both of us. I wrote the song last year and knowing how amazing I felt on the MESC stage in the years before, I thought it would be great to try our luck for the contest again but this time as father and son. I sampled the song to my dad one time when he was over at mine for a coffee – he said that he liked it but once I told him that the song was written for him and that I would like to submit the song for the festival, he said “..ohh no, you should sing it with your brother or sister instead, nobody wants to see a Nannu on stage!”. I said that I either sang it with him or not at all – so after a bit of pushing from me side, he then agreed. We then got in contact with local DJ/producer Cyprian Cassar to produce the track which gave it a modern touch while still keeping my style. Now we are here and the fact that we have made it to the finals is absolutely mind blowing – I really can’t wait for the 3rd of February.

How are your preparations going so far? Are there any surprises that you can tell us about?

What you hear and see is what your going to expect and get I suppose. It will be me and Dad singing a song to each other that describes our relationship together straight from the heart. As far as preparations go, we are mainly focusing on the vocal parts of the song to make the harmonies as tight as they can get.

Joe – whilst your family has been involved in the Malta Eurovision at various levels over the last few years, you’ve never been part of it yourself. Why did you decide for this year to be the one where you gave it a go?

I have in fact been part of the MESC finals back in 1991 with a song called “Can’t let go” sang by myself and Helen Micallef. I also took part another year as a backing vocalist and believe it or not as a dancer in a song called “Poor Little Rich Girl” sung by Ann Jenkins.

Richard – you have said that this year will be the last year where you take part in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Would you consider to be part of it the future, be it as a songwriter or composer?

Although this will be my last time as performer at the festival, it will definitely not be the last time I write songs for the MESC. There are some talented young singers on the island and I would be honoured if my songs were performed by these fine talents on the Malta Eurovision stage in the future.

Do you have a personal goal for the competition?

My goal was to reach the finals and get to sing a very personal song with my Dad on the best platform in Malta – so, in my eyes I have already reached my goal. Anything extra will be the cherry on the cake.

What styles of music are you usually listening to these days? Is there anything you look for in a song that makes you enjoy it?

Richard: I enjoy listening to all styles of music, but I do have a soft spot for good country-folky stuff. It’s a style that feels at home with me and maybe it’s not hip, but it sure puts a smile on my face. I also enjoy listening to acoustic music that’s raw and real. I find that acoustic music is a style that never seems to get old. I appreciate musicians that rely more on their talents rather then the dependency on technology to get a good sound.

When you’re not singing – what can you usually be found doing?

Joe: I might be a pensioner but at the age of 71 I’m still very active. I spend lots of time in my own community radio station which I manage myself, I spend lots of hours in my home recording studio, I spend lots and lots of hours babysitting, I try to do my daily walk to stay fit, I cook, I clean, I am a taxi service for my hard working and beautiful wife, I write songs, I still have the odd performance here on there when the kids need a replacement….I’m very busy, but I can’t complain as I love it this way. I feel blessed.

What can we expect from you once the MESC-madness is over?

Richard: Get busy being a Daddy, if god permits. Me and my beautiful wife to be Raisa are expecting a baby boy two weeks after the festival.

Thanks for your time guys, and best of luck at this year’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest!

Thank you very much for supporting all the local acts, we hope you and your readers enjoy the show and keep the spirits high.

The 2018 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast live on TVM, TVM 2, and Radju Malta this Saturday starting from 9pm. You can keep up to date with all the news related to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest at, alongside our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Source: PBS,


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