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Monday, 17 June 2013 08:00

Malta: Interview with Corazon (MESC 2012, 2013)

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In recent years, during the course of the summer months, the focus of the editorial board at escflashmalta.com switches completely to the local music scene and this year won't be any different. A decision was taken up a couple of days back to host weekly interviews with a number of artists who make up the local music scene and kicking off the feature will be none other than Corazon. It is worth noting that the female performer is a three time winner of L-Għanja tal-Poplu, a two time finalist in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, and host of the daily television programme TVPM alongside Peter Carbonaro.

 

In recent years, your profile has risen following two successive appearances at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the ballads Mystifying Eyes and My Stranger Love, both composed by Paul Giordimaina and penned by Fleur Balzan. Apart from being talented, there is always an amount of luck attached to getting through to the final phases of such a competition. Will you be putting your name forward in the eventuality of such a selection process in 2014 or will you be taking a break and focusing on other specific projects?

I agree that the Malta Eurovision Song Contest is a very important platform for artists in Malta, because of the popularity it enjoys and also because of the professional way it is put up. At the moment I am evaluating the best way to present myself next year.  

A host of artists from the local music scene including yourself have successfully represented Malta in international competitions finishing within the top three and this is definitely positive for an industry which lacks the necessary means to compete with the ones abroad. One of your last triumphs abroad was surely in Tenerife, Spain where you had performed the song Come Fly With Me composed by Renato Briffa and penned by Alfred E Baldacchino. How does such an experience shape your professional attitude and what is your take on the talent that makes up the local music scene?

Performing abroad has allowed me to break out of my microcosm and realise how much talent and commitment there is out there. I really admire artists who are committed to becoming better, and more complete singers/musicians/songwriters from the inside. This requires a lot of self-motivation, stamina and hard-headedness as it’s very easy to get discouraged and demotivated.  The music market in Malta unfortunately encourages a laissez-faire attitude and many artists are caught in the trap of ‘playing what people want’ which closes them in a suffocating and delusional cycle. I’d like to think that I can manage to make people ‘like what I play’ which is an inverse measure. I really admire Maltese artists who have managed to break the cycle and succeed in it. I realise that this can be a slower path towards feeling appreciated artistically, but it is definitely more challenging and rewarding. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdKP2gg4bXU

Looking for You, your first single away from the world of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was aimed at reaching the masses who listen to the radio and indeed, it was air played by 89.7 Bay which is considered to be a hallmark in the career of any local artist. What is even more intriguing is that you were the one who wrote the song with the production and the mixing done by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat. Tell us, what inspired you to write this song in particular and would you consider working on something similar for the festival bridging the gap between the festival and radio?

Speaking of breaking boundaries. I think that Boris and Dean have managed to do this with Gianluca’s song this year and we all know that the formula worked! ‘Looking for You’ definitely worked as a radio single and with hindsight I think it would have also worked for Eurovision. It’s catchy and meaningful at the same time and Boris and Dean helped me find the correct balance between those two elements. I’ll take your question as a suggestion and think about it, it’s definitely an option to consider!

Maltese, a beautiful language which I personally have had the pleasure of studying, under the tutelage of some of the more formidable lecturers in the country. Your affinity with the language has been noted on more than one occasion, with years of participations in L-Ghanja tal-Poplu including earlier this year with the track it-Tweġiba which translates into ‘The Answer’. You have won the event, not once or twice but thrice, the last victory coming in 2011 with the track Mill-Ghajnejn ta’ Tifla which translates into From the Eyes of a Daughter. What is your opinion about the Maltese language and why do you return to L-Ghanja tal-Poplu time and time again?

The ease with which I express myself in Maltese explains why it is my preferred language to write songs in. Of course it is also the language with which I expressed my most important feelings throughout my life. As a baby I’d call out to my parents in Maltese, and I’ve said my first ‘Inħobbok’ in Maltese. Incidentally my mother used to be a Maltese teacher so she exposed me to so much Maltese literature at home and painstakingly corrected every minute spelling mistake in my writing and that’s where I get an annoying, meticulous streak in speaking and writing Maltese properly. The ‘Ghanja tal-Poplu’ was the first time I exposed my songwriting in public and found an immense sense of encouragement and enthusiasm in those who heard my lyrics and my songs. This is why the festival means a lot to me and I keep taking part because I am attached to it and the atmosphere that surrounds the festival.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPQBNsvnuPM

Staying on the topic of language, your cultural and ethical background has very much been reflected in the tracks you have presented in Maltese across the years and therefore people have grown to expect you to perform subjects which evoke a certain type of aura. At this present moment, you are working on an album of brand new and original songs in Maltese; one which you performed on the television show, TVPM entitled Id-Dar tan-Nanna. The track was met with positive acclaim on social networking outlets but what is to be expected of the whole album and when will it be released to the local music market?

That’s right – you are so correct in judging what the public is expecting out of me. I am sure the end result will not be disappointing in that regard. The album is studded with new tracks dealing with different aspects of Maltese life and society. The lyrics are interesting, intricate and moving but at the same time easy to understand, because they speak of a reality we all know and have been exposed to. I hope that the album will set new standards in Maltese music and that it can pass on the message that Maltese music has not stopped at ‘The Tramps’ and ‘New Cuorey’. Although I have a great admiration for our musical legacy, I believe that it must be adjourned and new artists need to keep writing valid and lasting Maltese music.

The album may surprise quite a few ears as regards the way the tracks are arranged. The piano is an important feature, but it is definitely not the only feature. At the studio with engineer Manolito Galea, we have experimented with many different kinds of piano sounds, in order to create a distinct character for every track but the piano is only the base of more complete arrangements, so beautifully put together by Dominic Galea, a master in adapting music to words in Maltese. I have not set a target date for myself as I’ve already invested so much in it that I’d like to keep refining things until I am convinced that it is the best it can be, even visually. The advantage I have in this regard is that the tracks are undated and don’t come with an expiry date. However, I am imagining that we can close things off in a couple of months and, without promise, will probably be launching the album around October. 

Corazon, a vocalist who started participating in notable singing competitions at the tender age of eighteen to a known figure in the entertainment industry having had the opportunity to host L-Ghanja tal-Poplu last year as well a personality on the daily television show TVPM which you also host alongside Peter Carbonaro who is the Music Manager for the Artist who would be representing Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest. How do you manage to level between the two roles and would you give up singing completely if a major hosting opportunity comes along?

The risk here would be that of falling into a comfort zone and never excelling at any one of the two disciplines or alternatively that of allowing one career to overshadow the other completely. This dual personality of mine is still setting in everyone’s minds including mine and I am very conscious of the traps I can allow myself to fall into.  I cannot say it was easy this year to juggle two very demanding careers. How have I managed? I practically work around the clock and depend a lot on the enormous amount of support from those around me. If a great opportunity in hosting comes along, I would be more than ready to sideline my singing career for a while and this also applies vice versa. But definitely not ready to give up singing completely, or at least music in a broader sense as the latter means more to me than simply being a singer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6nVN8aJnss

For the very first time since 2005, Malta not only managed to qualify from the semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest but also managed to reach a top ten position thanks to Gianluca and his entry Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat. The issue at hand is that the choice of the act was mainly based through a local and international panel of judges which made their decision relatively clear, defying the public of Kevin Borg and his song Needing You which he co-wrote with Thomas Thörnholm, Dan Attlerud, Michael Clauss and Simon Gribbe. Looking at things from an outside perspective, what is your opinion?

If you are asking me whether we’d have done better with Kevin Borg, I really don’t know and no one will ever know. What if the public had to vote again now, with hindsight of the final result? 

Would you like to say anything to our readers at escflashmalta.com

Thank you so much for supporting local music and I promise you’ll be the first to know as soon as my new album is ready. I’m looking forward to sharing this exciting project with you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSik5WNduv8

Last modified on Sunday, 16 June 2013 23:42