Local artists have somewhat of a tendency to release brand new material during the course of summer and this is due to the fact that radio has more of a following as well as having the possibility to be heard by foreigners considering the amount of tourists that visit our shores during the hot summer months, In the meantime, the editorial board at escflashmalta.com thought is best to join forces with the likes of 89.7 Bay on a host of interviews, which would promote both well known as well as upcoming artists in the local music scene, especially those whose entries would have made the playlist and given debut airplay within the local chart show as hosted by Nathan D every Monday evening. At the moment, the chart is led by none other than Ira Losco and Scar, both of which have taken part in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in the past with the former also being a representative. The focus of this interview though will be a woman by the name of Indigo who knows a trick or two of focusing and managing to stay active in the local music industry.
One of the leading events in the local music scene which promises exposure is surely the Malta Eurovision Song Contest which has quietly grown into a professional event throughout the years and you have had the opportunity to be part of the competition in the past noting six participations in total. In fact, you took part five years in succession from 1997 until 2001 as well as in 2004 with all of the results except for once being in the top ten. What could you tell us about your experience within the event and would you be up to doing it again as Indigo, with the new genre that you have been promoting in recent years?
My very 1st experience in the Song for Europe was quite unique, it was the very last year that a Live Orchestra backed up the contestants and our song was the first and last 'Dance' track that the Local Orchestra played for the actual Festival. The next years I also enjoyed even though in the absence of a live back-up.I liked the songs that I used to interpret and the 2nd year placed me 4th and took me to an International Festival where I had placed 1st with the same song. As Indigo I could imagine myself on the big stages of the Eurovision itself, so who knows.
At just thirty years of age, Nadine Axisa could be dubbed as the youngest veteran in the local music scene noting that she has been participating in local festivals since around 1997 having entered the Malta Song for Europe with none other than Elisa and Alywn. The result might not have positive but it did set the tone for the success that would follow considering that she would reach the finals of the esteemed event on an astonishing six times throughout the same period. Her moment in the spotlight came during the 2003 edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza when alongside the musical styling of Roger Tirazona, she managed to finish at the winner with the track Inħarsu 'l Quddiem composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas and penned by Joe Chircop. In a recent interview which sae gave to the new and improved di-ve.com, she stated that she is concentrating on live performances outside of the festival scene.
Her last performance in a local competition came during the twentieth edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza last year where alongside Fiona she performed the track Malta Ġrajjietha composed by Chan Vella and penned by Alexia Schembri and prior to that, she was also a finalist in the Malta Eurosong back in 2010 alongside Clifford Galea with the song Once in a Lifetime composed by Jason Cassar and penned by Mario Farrugia. Nadine Axisa has represented Malta also at the Eurovision Song Contest as one of the three backing vocalists that accompanied Thea Garrett within the track My Dream and indeed, she performed a host of songs during the press conferences alongside the rest of the team. She is very much happy with her role in the group Animae, the Gospel Choir who have been giving nationwide concerts in the past couple of years. She spoke very positively about her experience there, ultimately saying 'It's great to work with such an amazing team'. It is quite unfortunate to see Nadine Axisa quietly moving out of the scene we have grown accustomed to seeing her in but nevertheless, wish her all the best. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of the latest news.
Following a sixteen year break from the Eurovision Song Contest, the Public Broadcasting Services made a successful returning by virtue of finishing in the top ten on each and every occasion until 1998 when the country had been represented by Chiara and the track, The One That I Love which almost won on the night noting that the representative still became one of the most iconic individuals in the country. Nevertheless, that year, during the Malta Song for Europe, it was the beginning of a new chapter for the local music industry with the introduction of male artists such as Fabrizio Faniello as well as Lawrence Gray who has since been dubbed as the man with the Golden Voice due to the fact that he brings a certain tone which when mixed with a stunning vibrato, sounds absolutely incredible in every sense of the word. Together, we will be looking back at the history of Lawrence Gray within the competition and how close he has been on representing Malta at the event.
The very first participation of Lawrence in the Malta Song for Europe came in 1998 with the track New Born Heart composed by Joe Brown and penned by Joe Julian Farrugia. The piano ballad was very much in the zone for those years and considering the fact that there was live music on stage made it even stronger in terms of presentation. The debut is always important but everything seemed carefully planned noting that in the backing vocals, there was also none other than future representative, Julie Zahra. This was not the one according to the jury who did see it fit to finish in the top ten at the end of the night, giving it a total of 76 points and thus a respectable ninth place. He would return in 1999 with the even better track The Right Time composed by Philip Vella and penned by Paul Abela. This seemed like the swansong and apart from Claudette Pace, nobody was being earmarked as the next winner of the competition yet it seems that by some weird disastrous fate, the group Times Three would finish at the top of the board pushing him into second place with a total of a 114 points, missing out by just five (5) points in the long run.
Following his runner-up finish, he decided to stay put and take a break, ultimately returning with a brand new style in 2001, through two songs, the first one being none other than A Song in My Life written by Ray Agius which would end up in a respectable sixth place position and the second track being entitled Count On Me composed by Paul Abela and penned by Philip Vella, the same team that had brought him success two years before. In the year 2002, Lawrence managed to make it through with another two songs, the first track being entitled What Happened To Our Love composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant and the second one entitled Moment of Truth composed by Paul Abela and penned by Alfred C Sant. This had to be one of his least successful times in the competition though as the tracks would only finish in fourth and eighth place respectively. Thus, he was to make sure that he was ready to put the result behind him and come back stronger than ever in one of the largest Malta Song for Europe editions yet. He entered in 2003 with the song Why Not? written by Ray Agius as well as And The Music composed by Dominic Galea and penned by Mark Doneo. The first song would come in second place whilst the other was languish in thirteenth place unfortunately.
The defeat in 2003 was very much unexpected because as soon as the songs were played for the very first time, it seemed that everything had been aligned for him to finally end his drought of being close yet not winning. The very fact of the matter remains that he was being by Lynn Chircop whose ridicolous performance of the song To Dream Again earned us just four points at the Eurovision Song Contest despite the fact that the vocals were upped amazingly well by a strong team of backing vocalists. The very fact that he was beaten once more still gave him the energy to come with something in 2004 and the track that was submitted was You're On My Mind composed by Philip Vella and penned by Joe Chircop. It ultimately finished in fourth place and this gave Lawrence his final beating, going incognito for the Malta Song for Europe for a very long time actually noting that he would only submit a song six years later in 2010 when things had settled down and somewhat falling into place once more. His return to the competition was published through online media, escflashmalta.com. The track entitled Stories was a song which spoke volumes about the life of Lawrence Gray and it was composed by Ray Agius and penned by Godwin Sant.
The song did not do as many people expected it to place even though public support was still very much evident noting that there were a lot of screams in the hall. Stories was performed to perfection but the jury along with the public pushed it into seventh place. He found the right formula to return into the competition and therefore, he decided to also submit a song into the 2012 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest this time working with composer Philip Vella and lyricist Cher Vella who just happens to be his daughter. The song which bore the name In Your Eyes was a beautiful pop/rock type of ballad and really sounded well in the hall. One had to consider that Lawrence did not have a voice going into the final on the night and it was nothing short of a miracle that he did eventually finish in seventh place, cementing that position for yet another time. It will be interesting to see whether Lawrence can come close to finishing at the top or finally winning the trophy and representing Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest because he is an individual who truly deserves the position. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of such features in the weeks to come.
Source: National Finals