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Saturday, 19 October 2013 14:00

Malta: Interview with Roger Tirazona (FiKM '13)

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(5 votes) has been granted permission to speak to the local artists competing within this years' edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song, fourteen in total. Apart from speaking to them about their careers thus far, it is pivotal to denote that we have focused on their participation within this competition in particular and their stance on Maltese being passed onto future generations through the medium of song. The order in which these interviews are being presented does not reflect the running order of the competition which is yet to be determined. Roger Tirazona is the sixth artist and he will perform the track Inti Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia.

Without a shadow of doubt, you are one of the most experienced vocalists in this competition, having previously been a winner of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza back in 2003 with the song Inħarsu ‘l Quddiem performed alongside Nadine Axisa and also a first and second runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 and 2007 with the tracks This Heart of Mine and Starlight. Each competition represents a different feeling and a different backdrop but how do these three in particular reflect upon the current Roger Tirazona?

I consider myself very lucky to have had a very colourful, varied and multidisciplinary music career till now, and every experience had a profound effect on me.  Currently my career has blossomed to not only singing in different occasions and in Musical theatre, but also in musical composition and production.  With Trilogy we managed to elevate our music to what I really am as a performer; with the right mixture of light pop music, trained classical discipline and the right touch of romance, which is what I would like my voice to be about.

Ben Howard and Tom Odell are two singer/songwriters who have gained fame for their own material, and it seems that internationally renowned record labels are giving more opportunities to such artists. In recent months, you have shown yourself as both a vocalist and a songwriter, having been writing for the likes of Nadia Vella, a talented female vocalist who is still waiting for her local big break. Tell us, how different is performing from song writing and is there one which you prefer over the other?

The reward one gets from composition and performance is different but similar enough to go hand in hand.  When you are performing someone else’s song you are conveying their feelings and their dreams.  There is great satisfaction in making someone else’s feelings into something real and giving life to someone else’s poetry.  But when you make your own music, there is the added bonus, that people are actually peering inside of your own mind and sharing with you the passions and dreams that brought that music about. 

Inti Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela with lyrics provided by Joe Julian Farrugia is the song that you have been entrusted to perform within this years’ edition of the International Festival of Maltese Song. Would you care to explain the meaning behind the lyrics and the genre that the track encompasses?

The song is a romantic and poetic song, inspired by images from nature.  Paul wrote a beautiful melody that is very emotionally expressive and it has a positive and hopeful feeling that marries well with the poetic lyrics.  Joe Julian, inspired by nature as he most often is, uses a metaphor to make us understand the feeling of losing someone who is very important to us in our lives.  There is always that special person, or special people whose existence in our lives, inspires us to be great and to rise to any challenge that may be presented to us.  So the song asks, “how can I do such things if you are not here again with me?”  I think this song will speak on a personal level to everyone as it is a simple, yet powerful reference to human experience that we all go through.

As part of a group, or a duo, it is fair to say that you have been incredibly successful within the local music industry and competitions in particular but then again, luck has not transcended into any of your solo participations despite managing qualification in several competitions. To what does one owe success when joined by others on stage and do you think there is any particular reason for how things in your career have turned out?

I do not measure my career’s success by the trophies or festival victories.  For me it is more important to be respected as an artist who brings beauty to people.  It is more important to be respected as a reliable and trustworthy and talented performer.  It is true that circumstances were more on my side when I was in a duet or when I was part of Trilogy with respect to festivals.  It is also true that the musicality that is offered by a duet or a trio can be more fulfilling than with just a single performer and this is true for everyone. 

But one has to also remember that festivals are song contests and most of the onus of a festival entry rests on the song itself, not just the performer.  On the other hand, when I participated in an international “singer” contest in China, along with another 35 entrants, including from all over Europe, Asia and the United States, I progressed through 2 elimination phases and reached 6th place along with being given an artist award.  This is just one example of an international experience, which was rewarding for me and I was recognised as a solo artist.  The same goes for the concerts that I gave internationally.

As a music competition, the International Festival of Maltese Song was the first to promote the national language through the medium of music, eventually followed by L-Għanja tal-Poplu and Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. With the Public Broadcasting Services supporting the event, it makes it only second to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Do you believe that there’s a place for this competition within the local music industry and do you support it’s continuation in the years to come?

Yes I believe with all my heart that this festival is an essential part of our culture and I would hope to see it grow further, including having the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra involved in it and to be turned to the most important Music event in Malta.  The ethos of this festival is very different from KKI and Ghanja Tal-Poplu.  I think that FIKM allows for more poetry and romance to be expressed on stage than other festivals and that brings a lot of artistic freedom.

Would you like to say anything to our readers at

I would like to tell the readers that I hope they will enjoy my song as much as I will enjoy performing and that they will be able to relate to the same feelings I will convey.  I also urge them to keep supporting local artists and local music, especially that which is performed in our Mother tongue.

Last modified on Saturday, 19 October 2013 14:05