2013 is officially just a couple of hours away and several people are already gearing up to pop the corks off their champagne bottles but nevertheless, there is still one more day to go through and hopefully, that will also be one to remember in a positive manner. It has been an endearing year, with several positive aspects. As a matter of fact, we have been through the major news items for both the general Eurovision Song Contest as well as the local music scene and one could easily denote the progress that has been made on both a national and a foreign level of vocal talent and songs in general. Kicking off things in January, one has to remember that the announcement of the semi-finalists of the 2012 Malta Eurovision Song Contest took place on the programme Xarabank preceding a number of promotional activities which took place across the national broadcasters' frequencies including Television Malta, Radju Malta and Maltin Biss.
That is just the beginning noting that when the showcase actually came about as held in the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre at the end of February, several people were shocked to see that Eleanor Cassar with the song I Want to Runaway and Annalise Ellul with Whoop It Up! were eliminated at the first hurdle. The final also opened up a number of questions due to the fact that Kurt Calleja with the track This Is The Night managed to beat the favourite Claudia Faniello with Pure despite not managing to win the full approval of the jury. According to unconfirmed statistics, he won the tele-voting by a large margin which secured his representation of the country. At this same time that the event was being staged, organisers of the Għanja tal-Poplu were gearing up for the return of the competition and indeed, they managed to garner forty two (42) entries in total, including from Malta Eurovision Song Contest semi-finalist; Janice Mangion, Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza finalist; Grecia Bezzina and escflashmalta.com contributor; Clive Muscat. February was proving to be a month of competitions and in fact, our portal covered the Sanremo showcase extensively through Elaine Camilleri, seeing to the victory of Emma Marrone with favourite Arisa languishing in second place. In the meantime, Kurt Calleja had begun his promotional tour in the same month heading to the artist selection in Azerbaijan, strengthening the bond created between the two countries in the previous year.
In just a couple of weeks, the fever of the Eurovision Song Contest was sweeping the continent and it was revealed that the British Broadcasting Corporation had chosen a legend in the form of Engelbert Humperdinck to represent the United Kingdom. The announcement was met with mixed criticism noting that ultimately his entry Love Will Set You Free did not really achieve the expected result but nevertheless in Malta, there were other elements at hand noting that the original backing vocalist with the track This Is The Night being Ylenia Vella was sacked by the Public Broadcasting Services and replaced by Amber who had in February obviously finished in third place with her entry Answers With Your Eyes without any public support. Kurt Calleja did not answer any questions about the change and continued his promotion in Bulgaria and Lithuania whilst also filming the promotional video of the track on his return to the country. In Malta, on a private television station known as NET Television, preparations for the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza had begun and Simone Gauci was announced as the first finalist following her victory on Passport 2 Indifest having beaten former finalist; Marie Claire Attard Bason in the process. Her entry bearing the name Id F'Id was specifically written for her by Renato Briffa and Keith Zammit.
In April, it was all about Kurt Calleja and Malta's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest noting that he had managed to top the local iTunes chart with his entry whilst also visiting another set of countries; Turkey, Georgia and The Netherlands bringing his promotional tour to an end in a major party which included several major interviews. One of the male stars of the local music industry, Fabrizio Faniello continued to rebuild his image and the release of his album Kasmaran in Indonesia proved to be a massive success denoting the artist as a star in the Asian country. escflashmalta.com continued to work extremely close with a number of sources and uncovered that Elaine Saliba was set to be the commentator for Malta at the international competition, although it was then revealed at a later stage that Ronald Briffa would be aiding her analysis providing some comic relief. The impressive younger generation of musical prodigies never cease to amaze and Gaia Cauchi won the right to represent the country in Sanremo Junior 2012, ultimately becoming the winner a couple of months later. The month came to an end with one of the artists of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, being Wayne releasing the official video clip for his self penned track entitled Time with which he had competed a couple of months earlier.
The month of the Eurovision Song Contest quickly came about and May seemed to be quite intriguing in the local music market with the return of Christabelle with the track Say as well as Brooke with Fairytale but the media was somewhat enthralled at the single release of Miss You with main vocals by Wintermoods featuring the renowned international tenor; Joseph Calleja. It was also a month in which the finalists for the 2012 edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza were revealed, quickly noting that this had to be one of the fields which was missing a lot of the more predominant names yet nevertheless featuring the upcoming generation of artists such as Domenique, and Danica Muscat amongst others. Performing at the Eurovision Song Contest, Kurt Calleja made the country proud on the night of the semi-final achieving seventh place but it seems that nerves got the best of him on a Saturday night with his performance dropping in quality although this did not hurt his success charting on the iTunes top 100 in Austria, Greece, Norway, Sweden and of course, Malta. escflashmalta.com kept their annual coverage with guest commentators including Simon Casey, Raquela, Claudia Faniello, Sophie, Magnus Kaxe and Christabelle. Thousands of people viewed the respective reports and with the aid of the team of Radio International and Eurovision Ireland, the competition was analysed and covered in the most profound and detailed way possible.
With the months leading up to the competition behind everyone, the summer was set to kick in and in fact, June was a relatively quiet month with the Public Broadcasting Services confirming their intentions to not return to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. On the other hand, Sophie was representing the country in the United Kingdom during the celebrations of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, undergoing a cross-country tour which saw her perform with the likes of X Factor runner-up, Marcus Collins whilst Kevin Borg was being wooed by the local public who wanted to see him represent the country in Sweden, the winning nation of the Eurovision Song Contest. The annual award for the worst dressed artist at the Eurovision Song Contest was decided with Rona Nishliu on behalf of Albania finishing on top. July proved to be less quiet and somewhat more eventful with Sweden deciding on Malmo as host city of the Eurovision Song Contest with the winner also coming to Malta to give a concert. In fact, on the Islands, things were becoming quite interesting with the Joseph Calleja concert featuring Ronan Keating, Gigi D'Alessio and Amber taking place on the Floriana Granaries, days before the official single release of What I'd Give by Ira Losco, her first track taken off the 2013 yet untitled album.
August came about but was quiet uneventful once more with Ira Losco releasing the official video for her new single and Kurt Calleja working on new material off a yet untitled album slated for release in 2013. In fact, Boomerang was picked up on 89.7 Bay and also made the charts by virtue of the amount of airplay received. As autumn and September drew in, the Public Broadcasting Services released the regulations for the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest whilst other sectors of the scene were showing their strengths as new singles were also released by Janvil entitled Make My Day, Muxu bearing the name Pour Down on Me and last but not least a young girl brand coined as Cryptic Street with Indecisive. The second major music competition in Malta known as the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza was won by Deborah C with the track Jekk Nużaw Moħħna written by Mark Spiteri Lucas and Joe Chircop. Success was a thing of the month noting that the popular pop/rock band known as Airport Impressions went on tour in Sweden, headlining three major events and garnering international recognition. escflashmalta.com continued to air the local music scene by virtue of releasing a number of videos exclusively including the one of Muxu which you could also view just below.
It seemed like winter would not be setting foot on the country this year with October coming in full swing and the music scene bringing things up to speed in an excruciatingly busy ratio with exclusive video releases by Cryptic Street and Fabrizio Faniello along with new singles released by the group Cruz; Good On You, Chiara; Forget Forgetting Me, Dimal & Lyndsay; Let's Make It Happen. During this time, one of the singles was also picked up by a record label and as a matter of fact, Chiara is now a true recording artist with the backing of an Icelandic record label which also takes care of former Eurovision Song Contest representative; Hera Bjork. Whilst pop and rock are seemingly the two most popular genre in the country, the duo known as Tenishia received an accolade of which the whole country should be proud of with the official DJ Mag putting them as the fiftieth best in the world ahead of renowned musicians like Benny Benassi. The Public Broadcasting Services revealed that they received a total of 182 submissions for the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest from a variety of countries and a matter of fact, submissions were sent in from four former representatives including; Fabrizio Faniello, Miriam Christine, William Mangion and Ludwig Galea but none of them would make the cut in the long run. The collaboration between this portal and the series D.R.E.A.M.S continued as a second season written by the talent Vella Haber and Saliba La Rosa returned featuring two main new actresses being Michela Dalli and Kristen Camilleri.
The month of November, was finally starting to show signs that the weather would be cooling down and in fact, the revelation of the twenty-four semi-finalists of the 2013 Malta Eurovision Song Contest seemed to be the only heated moment with a host of newcomers revealed in the list especially artists who have garnered attention through radio such as the likes of Gianluca Bezzina, and Davinia with others coming from notable national showcases including Chris Grech. December was relatively quiet noting that in the beginning, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest took place with Ukraine finishing on top with the track Nebo but the focus of the local music scene was surely on the Bay Music Awards which saw Red Electrick walk away with a total of two awards in total, the most of the night which also saw success going in the way of JJoy, Kelly Stellfox, Ira Losco, Carlo Gerada, Jan Cortez, Christabelle, and Cryptic Street. The Malta Eurovision Song Contest also hit a bump on the head with the withdrawal of Saska Hunt and the track Dress Rehearsal who was replaced by the first alternate on the list; Marilena Gauci with the track Overrated. We indeed hope that this year in fact wasn't just that and that it was ideal for each and every one of you. We look forward to serving you for another eventful year, as 2013 dawns in a couple of hours.
Source: escflashmalta.com, Kris Micallef (image)
One of the youngest protegees of the local music industry throughout the past couple of years has surely been Sophie having already represented the country in a number of foreign competitions including the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with the song Extra Cute back in 2006 where she had achieved a mid-table placing but her vocals have improved since then. This element has shown in several ways including her current management contract with Thru The Mill who are supporting her every move including a recent relocation to the United Kingdom where she hopes to crack the charts in some manner. She returns to the music scene with a brand new single entitled Sunny which has already been digitally released but will also be part of a forthcoming album recorded at Freetime Studios. This follows her track Love to Love You which competed in the 2011 Malta Eurovision Song Contest.
This has been a very important year considering that there was the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee and Sophie could live to tell that she was part of the celebrations and had the opportunity to share the stage with numerous artists including Marcus Collins who was the runner-up of last years' edition of the X Factor. She visited several events during the course of the summer and made herself known to the public in hope of achieving success. Her brand new track entitled Sunny is actually a pop/dance type of tune which many people will surely enjoy because it gives out a positive vibe of energy. In recent weeks, Maltese artists have succeeded in breaking the British charts including none other than Joseph Calleja and Lauren Aquilina therefore, things are not impossible and with a subsidiary of Universal Music Germany behind Sophie, success might just be around the corner. You can purchase your copy of Sunny on iTunes and stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more latest news.
Source: Thru The Mill
Sophie burst onto the local music scene thanks to her participation on behalf of the country at the 2006 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with the track Extra Cute which received glowing reviews from the journalists attending the competition that year despite finally achieving what could be described as a mid-table placing. Nevertheless, six years onwards, the star of the performer is definitely rising noting that Sophie traveled to the United Kingdom earlier this year for a promotional tour. She chose this year specifically due to the fact that there have been a number of occasions which celebrate the nation in the best possible way. One could definitely note spectacular events such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics. The nationwide tour has taken the young performer to a staggering twenty two locations actually and each place has somewhat given her a positive experience. The tour is coming to an end now noting that her last performance will be given at the Manchester Pride on Bank Holiday Monday 27th August 2012.
One of the most intriguing music exports that Malta has to offer at the moment is surely none other than the young, talented and gorgeous looking Sophie whose vocal talent and general charm have helped stun many people in the United Kingdom in the past couple of weeks. The city of London is somewhat gearing up for the Olympics and that means that there is a lot of positive energy going around, so much so that concerts are being organized by the dozen and it seems that we have managed to take in a slot at a number of festivals with Sophie being invited to perform at three particular events which have included performances from acts such as Lemar, Marcus Collins and The Wanted amongst others.
Sophie is really making a name for herself standing out from the rest of the performers for bringing a cheery disposition from everywhere she goes actually noting that people such as popular designer Chelsea Leigh have gone onto social networking website; Twitter saying 'you're actually amazing you need to come back to Luton!!!<3xoxo'. It seems that the attention continues to grow with each performance because after her last run to London for the World Pride, World famous fashion icon Gok Wan said "Sophie, you look amazing. Great performance". The Anglo/Maltese singer/songwriter was signed to a British Music and Management Company known as 'Thru The Mill' quite a couple of months ago and it seems that despite being new to the music scene in the United Kingdom, she is quickly getting used to the idea of touring and sharing her music with other people. She will soon be visiting counties like York, Norwich, Doncaster, Liverpool, Rugby, Huddersfield, Dunstable, Manchester and Weymouth.
It is also important to point out that Sophie was just in the recording studio not too long ago putting the finishing touches on her debut album which has been self-penned and produced at Freetime Studios in Malta. She will be releasing a brand new single entitle Sunny, which is a cover of a song by Bobby Hebb yet made into a completely new track. The release has been set for the end of summer. If you would like to continue following the latest news about Sophie and her exploits in the United Kingdom, we encourage you to visit her Facebook as well as her Twitter pages. In the meantime, also stay tuned for all of the latest news about local artists on escflashmalta.com as soon as it becomes available.
Source: Press Release
For the second time in a row, Malta will not participate in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. This was announced officially on esckaz.com. On July 16 2011, Malta decided to withdraw from the ninth edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, being the first withdraw for Malta making the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2011 to be the first one without a song sung in English since Malta's songs were the only songs in the language after the United Kingdom withdrew in 2006.
Malta has entered the Junior Eurovision Song Contest eight times since debuting at the first contest in 2003. Entrants for the Contest are selected in the Junior Song For Europe contest, organised by the Maltese broadcaster PBS. Malta's best placing in the contest was in 2008, when Daniel Testa came 4th with Junior Swing. The country's worst placing was in 2005, when Thea & Friends came 16th and last in the contest with Make It Right. We were last represented in 2010 by Nicole Azzopardi and the song Knock Knock .. Boom Boom! The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2012 will be the tenth edition of the contest, and will take place at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 1 December 2012. Dutch broadcaster AVRO will be the host broadcaster for the event. For the second time the Netherlands will play host to the contest. This is the first time in the history of the contest that a country will have hosted twice, with the last time being in 2007, when the contest was held in the city of Rotterdam.The show will be hosted by Ewout Genemans and Kim-Lian van der Meij.
Seven countries have so far confirmed their participation in the contest; Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Giorgia, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. Italy and San Marino might participate for the very first time, whilst Spain and Serbia may return. On the other hand, we might have one withdrawal; Moldova. Withdrawing from this festival, surely gave the ‘big’ Eurovision a boost, since funds weren’t divided from the PBS noting that the results have also improved with the artist for the 'big' Eurovision receiving more exposure and promotion. On the otherhand, young talents are limited to their ‘overseas’ experiences, since it was surely a good stepping stone for international experience, and most of the Maltese past participants have signed overseas contracts and had loads of international exposure. Perhaps, in the near future, we will return … perhaps.
During the past weekend, the annual Eurovision Song Contest was taking place and we were proud to welcome Sophie as part of our special guest commentary team noting that they brought about the flair of being a performer to the overall reporting. It was one of the things she did before heading to the United Kingdom where she is currently representing our country as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations which are taking place this weekend over a long stretch that will continue until Tuesday apparently. Malta, having been a colony of Great Britain and still presently part of the Commonwealth realms have also been included by the Royal Family for a visit noting that the Duke of Gloucester ascended onto our country a couple of weeks back.
Sometimes, it is extremely hard to remember that Sophie is just eighteen years old noting that she has been performed for quite some time representing Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest way back in 2006 with the song Extra Cute whilst trying to go a step further by taking part with Love to Love You within the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2011. She is quickly being dubbed by many as the nations' Pop Princess and is doing her best to put Malta on the map at the moment by virtue of performing in two (2) music events. Yesterday she had the opportunity to perform at 'Picnic on the Park' in King's Lynn where she joined a star studded line-up including none other than the world renowned Classical-Crossover star; Katherine Jenkins.
On Monday meaning, tomorrow, she will be joined by a number of professional dancers from the Yada Dance Company as they appear at Reading Carnival alongside BBC Radio 1xtra sensation ‘Seani B’ amongst others who will be joining in the celebrations. It is important to note that this is just the beginning of a nationwide tour for Sophie during the summer she the young Anglo/Maltese artist is hoping to crack the music market as she releases her new single 'Sunny' on the 'Thru the Mill Label' which distribution taking place through Absolute Records which is a Subsidiary Label of Universal Music who have helped launched the likes of Irish Twins Jedward. The single will also be followed by her debut album in late 2012 so stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the career of upcoming stars like Sophie and many others.
In the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of scheduling appointments in order to make sure that the best possible coverage of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is given so that our readers would find it interesting and ultimately stay with us during the journey. We have called on a number of individuals who will be joining our team as guest reviewers during all of the live shows, namely the first and second semi-finals as well as the final night.
The first semi-final on Tuesday which does not feature Malta will still see a total of eighteen (18)participants with Azerbaijan and Spain given the honour to vote for the competing acts apart from the countries which are of course participating in this semi-final. The live report will be carried out by seasoned journalist Emil Calleja Bayliss who most recently penned the runner-up entry at the Għanja tal-Poplu competition entitled Tal-Komma Twila composed by Dario Bezzina and performed by Grecia Bezzina. He will be joined during the show by two great female artists, being Claudia Faniello, the runner-up at the 2012 Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the song Pure and also Raquela who is well known for her debut at the Malta Eurosong back in 2009 with the track Crossroads. Both have performed on an international platform and having them on board is astonishing.
The second semi-final to be held on Thursday will feature Kurt Calleja, the Maltese representative as one of the eighteen (18) entries in contention for those ten (10) spots. The countries drawn to vote in this semi-final are France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The live report will be carried out by the lovely Elaine Camilleri who is our Head of Press on the website. Nevertheless, she will not be on her own doing what most likely will be the most important evening for Malta noting that it will be a time to see whether we will ultimately qualify fromt he semi-final. The man joining her is the Irishman Simon Casey, known for taking part in the Irish national selection back in 2003 with the track A Better Plan. Since then he has released two albums with Universal Music Ireland, both of which have been certified gold or better. He knows the industry inside out and it is great to have him on board for the third year running.
For the final night, things will definitely be different with twenty-six (26) countries competing for victory and with some already looking strong than the others. I will be stepping in to carry out the live report but as my colleagues, I will not be alone having enlisted the aid of singer/songwriter Sophie, well known for representing Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest a couple of years back with the track Extra Cute. Following this experience, she also took part in the 2011 Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Love to Love You which has also made it to iTunes. Apart from her though, there will also be Swedish songwriter Magnus Kaxe who is known to the Maltese for writing the music to Autobiography, the track which Dorothy Bezzina competed in within the final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2012 but he has also worked with the likes of Clay Aiken, Celine Dion, Gareth Gates, Aqua and Benny from Abba. I am pleased to work with such talented individuals.