Malta: A Successful Story in SongwritingWritten by Marc Calleja Bayliss
Maltese songwriters have gradually been improving with time noting that it does take a lot of talent to prepare a song and ultimately find the right singer for it but one of the teams that has managed to do just that is surely the one made up of composer Jason Paul Cassar and lyricist Sunny Aquilina who are of course related to each other through family noting that the latter is the father-in-law of the former. Looking back at the history of the Malta Song for Europe, you would not see their names in contention in a number of consecutive years because their tracks take dedication and are submitted when they believe the time would be right for them. The very interesting fact with this team is that they have managed to compete in the finals on more than one occasion whilst having been winners more than once as well. This feature will be looking through at the successes of the team.
The very first successful time of the collaboration was their initial songwriting project entitled The One That I Love performed by an astonishing and still extremely green Chiara who took to the stage of the Malta Song for Europe giving a masterclass performance without having anyone join her on stage. She showed up more experienced acts such as Claudette Pace, Miriam Christine, Marisa D'Amato, Marvic Lewis and Georgina to finish as the winner. The element was kept when they went to the Eurovision Song Contest noting that the extra addition was a high number of candelabras which added to the performance in the long term giving it that special power which it might have needed to create an intense and romantic atmosphere. The song would go onto finish in third place and was the closest in winning the competition for the country and therefore remains in many hearts, as the best song ever to come out from the country.
Their second flair at writing in the Malta Song for Europe competition would come in 2003 when the duo reunited on a track entitled Love Will Shine Forever, the debut entry of singer/songwriter Rosman Pace and one which would give him the best placing he would ultimately achieve noting that he has continuously managed to rank in the top ten on a number of subsequent occasions. This track was completely different from their first songwriting experience because the fact of the matter remains that it hit the right note with the juries and the people on the night by virtue of making it to the final round. It was the first year with the semi-final and therefore, no guarantee was existent on whether acts would make it through to the final. Rosman has continued to perform with his last experience in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest coming back in 2011. They managed to discover yet another intriguing name here.
Following the success with finding acts such as Chiara and Rosman, the bar was being set extremely high indeed but then again, it seems that they have always managed to find new talent when people might be doubting what the country holds in terms of musical prodigies and next up comes Kevin Borg who was a young teenage male from Floriana with a soft vocal that always brought out the best in terms of emotions. Their first try together would ultimately take place during the Malta Song for Europe in 2006 with You're My Dream which is a typical Maltese ballad involving a very soft percussion and a touch of guitar. This would be a good first outing with the song finishing in eight place just as good as Rosman had done three years before but the difference here was that the song was once more quite different. They would return the following year with the song Whenever which would be in a similar style. Accompanied by Jason on the piano, the track romped to fourth place. The next year, he would have been the ultimate favourite but faith had it that Kevin would go abroad to Sweden, compete and then win Idol, signing a contract with Sony Music and making a number of diverse contacts.
The list continues to grow but nevertheless, their next triumph and the last one recorded thus gat has to be te one that would come in the Malta Eurosong competition of 2010 when Thea Garrett and her astonishing ballad entitled My Dream came to life. The strong artist had been relatively unknown to the music scene having only made a couple of appearances in television programmes, rather reality shows but still having had the opportunity to perform with the likes of Gigi D'Alessio during a trip to Italy. Jason Paul Cassar and Sunny Aquilina had not written a song for the festival in three years and therefore, the expectations were quite high. They entered the festival hoping that they would do well and it seems that they knew what it would feel like to finish at the top once more because Thea not only won the jury on the night but also the tele-voting beating much more popular names including the likes of Glen Vella, Tiziana Calleja, Lawrence Gray, Eleanor Cassar and Claudia Faniello. The song did not qualify through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in twelfth place but it was still a relatively good result.