In summer, the local music industry tends to thrive, if the past has anything to do with the present, and despite the fact that Post-Eurovision Depression is deeply rooted, we are attempting to push it back as much as possible, prior to the re-emergence of a new national finals season. We are attempting to do this through a series of interviews with vocalists from the local music industry, as well as acts competing in the Summer Hit Song Contest. The first artist is none other than three-time Malta Eurovision Song Contest participant, Franklin Calleja.
Having emerged triumphant on the 3rd season of “Don’t Stop Me Now” back in 2012 by winning the maximum support of the in-house panel, you have become a household name to the general public. Did you expect such a positive reaction, and what was the reason behind entering the reality show?
For me, Don’t Stop Me Now was a magical door that opened and led me to what and who I am today. I always wanted to make it in the music industry but never had the courage. Thanks to Glen Vella, who by the way, sent the application for the programme in my name himself without my permission (haha), I was chosen and also won it. To be very honest, I never expected to have such good feedback from the televiewers and the judges, let alone to win the whole contest!
In 2014, you were one of the few artists alongside Raquel, Corazon, Daniel Testa, Christabelle, Deborah C, Jessika and Amber to get through to both editions of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, first off with “Love Will Take Me Home” written by Glen Vella, Beatrice Eriksson, Marcus Frenell and Michael James Down, and then with “Still Here” written by Alexander Rybak. What does each experience in such a competition mean to you, and which was your favourite song out of the two?
(Thought for a quite a few time, but I can’t decide hehe) Every song I had in the Malta Eurovision meant a lot to me and my team, and we always worked hard to try and achieve the best possible results. Every year we try to do our utmost to come up with a better song than the previous so I think that every year I’m trying to give a more solid and better performances, even vocally.
In Malta, the local music scene is somewhat limited to a series of competitions, and the radio circuit, both of which have somewhat become intertwined in recent years. Would you rule out future participation from other local competitions such as the Summer Hit Song Contest, the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, L-Għanja tal-Poplu and the International Festival of Maltese Song, considering that you have only taken part in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest?
Never say never! :D All festivals are well organized and very professional but at the moment i’m more focused in something that is giving me a lot of satisfaction lately; teaching lovely kids and helping them to evolve their vocals. Something which I really love to do – giving what I have been taught and the ability to transmit the passion I have for music, to them.
It has recently been made public that you have taken up the role of vocal coach at La Voix Academy, an institution which has spawned Gaia Cauchi, Federica Falzon and Christina Magrin amongst others. What motivated you to hone young talent, and how could people seek your services?
As I said in the previous question, this is my current satisfaction. I always loved and enjoyed my self being surrounded by kids, and now I love them even more! You see them growing vocal-wise with your help, is something that you can’t even explain. I’m receiving an award at the end of every day, going back home happy knowing that I’m helping tomorrow’s talent, is something extraordinary! :D Thanks Gillian Attard for the opportunity to work with La Voix Academy!
Would you like to say anything to our readers at escflashmalta.com?
It’s always nice to be back with an interview on escflashmalta.com, sending my best regards to all the readers; Maltese & also foreigners! Xx :D
Franklin Calleja, one of the youngest and most promising male vocalists in Malta is striving to achieve success and in doing so, working extremely hard. Nine years ago, he discovered his talent in the art of music and therefore, followed intuition and starting honing his skills. The singer achieved prominence through the talent show Don't Stop Me Now hosted by Eileen Montesin, former Eurovision Song Contest commentator for Malta. He impressed the panel of judges and the audience with quite a couple of songs, especially Hallelujah.
Musically, he is inspired by the likes of Whitney Houston, Leona Lewis and Mariah Carey and in his free time enjoys fashion photography and modelling. The fact that he goes beyond borders is exceptional and has helped him be the best version of himself possible whilst still being unique. Another way in which Franklin has expressed his talent is through the art of acting, noting a role within the television series Deja Vu which aired on NET Television. The title track used in every episode was the runner-up entry at the 2005 Malta Song for Europe.
After winning the talent show Don't Stop Me Now, Franklin entered the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Let Your Heart Talk composed by Ray Agius to the lyrics of Alfred C Sant where despite not making it through to the finals, was recognised by the general public and the local/foreign press present at the event. The experience also confirmed his talent with Angie Laus of Ħadd Għalik, another television programme which airs on Television Malta inviting him to become a resident artist.
With Copenhagen selected as the host city of the Eurovision Song Contest, many denote that 2014 is not too far away, with most artists preparing their entries for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Franklin is yet to announce his intentions however with a cover version of Quedate Conmingo, originally by Pastora Soler just published below, it is easy to denote that there is a certain affinity with the competition. With such vocals, it comes as no surprise that several songwriters are looking to work with the upcoming male vocalist for the upcoming edition. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Source: Franklin Calleja (Facebook)
The Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre will once more be playing host to this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and with the event taking place in less than a week, preparations within the venue have well been underway for the past couple of days. The competing artists will start their initial rehearsals on Tuesday and will continue perfecting their act until Friday morning when a full run through takes place prior to the evening show. The editorial board of escflashmalta.com will keep you posted with all of the latest details from the event as it has been doing for the past couple of weeks. As a matter of fact, the teams of the respective entries are being revealed simultaneously and some names have clearly gained our attention especially due to their vast experience in the industry.
As expected, Kevin Borg who will be presenting the track Needing You has went for a number of renowned performers including the likes of Josef Tabone, Dominic Cini, Janice Mangion and Nadine Axisa. The latter is certainly the most intriguing having joined Thea Garrett at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2010 whilst also being a veteran in the local competition, with many past participations. Both Janice and Josef on the other hand managed to make it through to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on one occasion each in 2006 and 2012 respectively. Another individual who has been rather well noted is Dario Bezzina who will be the backing vocal for Let Your Heart Talk performed by Franklin. The track features predominant male vocals and it is expected that more soloists will be on this respective team.
Klinsmann is the third individual to have had his on stage team revealed noting that he will be joined by two female vocalists in the form of Bay Awards Nominee; Lyndsay as well as Kylie Coleiro, who was a finalist in the 2009 edition of the Malta Eurosong competition. Nevertheless, as has been the case in recent years, Klinsmann will also have a guitarist for his rendition of The Remedy and joining him will be Ben who will also provide male backing vocals. That leaves the last two females to make revelations; the first being, Domenique and her entry Too Little Too Late requiring that extra additional aid to make it sound more atmospheric. The team will comprise of the aforementioned, Kylie Coleiro as well as Sarah Crystal and Christine Haber, who is the daughter of former commentator Eileen Montesin.
The second artist to reveal the team that will be joining her on stage is none other than Dorothy Bezzina who will be singing Starting from the End in the semi-final. She will be joined by a team of upcoming artists such as Martina Farrugia, and Nathalie Pace who performed with her during Voices as well as former Sfida contestants; Talitha Dimech, Samaria Bezzina and Tezara Camilleri. Honestly speaking, the amount of remarkable vocals backing the artists is just sublime. Rumour has it that Pamela will also make a welcome return with Amber and her entry In Control but this has not been confirmed. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news from the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2013.
Malta will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the twenty-sixth year according to the record books and the results have been rather varied during this period noting that there have been first and second runner-up finishes along with a number of top ten placings but non-qualification has also been on the cards as of late even at times when the nation had been tipped of making it through only to be disappointed on the evening by a dismal performance. The Maltese preselection which has been coined as the Malta Eurovision Song Contest has always been really intriguing and some of the best talent turns up to try their aim to represent the nation and indeed, promotion is key, hence the investment of the Public Broadcasting Services in radio and television exposure. IN the meantime, escflashmalta.com is carrying out a set of professional reviews with the points awarded through a Eurovision system seemingly unveiled a winner through the programme Sas-Sitta on NET Television just days after the competition comes to an end. The sixth entry to be reviewed is Let Your Heart Talk performed by Franklin, composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant.
Franklin is a relatively up and coming performer in the local music scene noting that his fame came about throughout the summer months by virtue of competing in the reality talent show known as Don't Stop Me Now hosted by Eileen Montesin on NET Television with one of the four resident judges being none other than 1994 Eurovision Song Contest representative; Moira Stafrace. At the end of the series, the male performer had been dubbed as one of the artists to watch out for in the future especially having had the opportunity to performer a duet with another former representative in the form of Ludwig Galea during the final. He was revealed as the winner and that was just the beginning of the fan craze behind the performer that has become Franklin. It is important to denote that despite not taking up singing in recent years in favour of other skills such as modelling, Franklin was one of the finalists in the Malta Junior Eurosong competition a couple of years back, with the track Give Me Time which had only managed to finish in fifteenth position out of the sixteen that were eventually competing during the evening. Nevertheless, Franklin then and now is completely different and this shows through his extremely wide vocal range performing on the weekly show Ħadd Għalik which is produced by Where's Everybody and hosted by Angie Laus.
Franklin had originally spoke of his intentions to participate in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest to escflashmalta.com before it was revealed that he had indeed submitted two entries to the competition and was somewhat blessed to have been selected as one of the semi-finalists that will be competing at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta' Qali on the 1st February. The entry that he will be presenting entitled Let Your Heart Talk is well written to show off his vocals and somewhat reminiscent to some of the best songs released by Leona Lewis as heard above in the form of Here I Am but it is more a case of staying true to his main genre. Songwriting credit in this entry goes to Maestro Ray Agius who is responsible for the music and Alfred C Sant who took care of the lyrics. Both individuals have been to the Eurovision Song Contest on two occasions, the latter having penned the track Keep Me In Mind (1995) and In a Woman's Heart (1996) and the former having been the composer of Let Me Fly (1997) and Keep Me In Mind (1995). They have worked with a number of artists through the years as a team including Amber, Claudia Faniello and Lawrence Gray amongst others with a number of runner-up finishes in the local competition, the most recent being last year with the track Answer With Your Eyes performed by the aforementioned Amber who has decided to work with a new team in 2013.
The Critics Speak Out
Sharon Vaughn: Impressive song … really impressive singer. Well done.
Martin Isherwood: Chorus pretty but unremarkable. Nice voice with a good range although tuning wobbles in a couple of places. Nice overall but not really special enough to win.
Stano Simor: Franklin has charisma and good voice. This is a good song within it's genre, but a bit old-fashioned. The song is unnecessarily difficult. Falsetto is still not strong enough. Definitely looks good on stage, and that is quite important.
Roberto Meloni: This is the type of song that would suit a musical but I am not sure about it competing in the Eurovision Song Contest. His vocal skills are unremarkable, although the end looks like a tribute to Whitney.
Lina Eriksson: A really beautiful ballad with lovely lyrics. Franklin is a great technical singer. I think this song can sure appeal to Europe.
Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com