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In 2010, Thea Garrett had went on record stating that "music in life practically means everything, and that she aims to push as hard as she could in order to achieve her life's ambitions". This was audible during the postcard, prior to the performance of "My Dream", composed by Jason Paul Cassar to the lyrics of Sunny Aquilina, which would go onto triumph, winning almost the entire support of the professional panel of judges, and the public at home.

In a recent television interview with Owen Bonnici on the programme 'One Night Stand' which airs on ONE Television, Thea Garrett said that she would not consider going a step backwards and returning to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. The reasoning was that other opportunities should be taken as new avenues are explored. The singing sensation, now based in the United Kingdom, recently made it to the latter stages of a casting call for a role in the hit musical 'Les Miserables' on the West End. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: One Night Stand (ONE Television)

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

Published in Local Music News

In 2010, Thea Garrett was the surprise winner of the Malta Eurosong competition with her entry My Dream composed by Jason Paul Cassar to the lyrics of Sunny Aquilina. Despite the fact that the track failed to get through to the finals, the female vocalist worked her way into the music industry by making a number of international contacts. Not only, having also moved to United Kingdom in order to further her studies at the London School of Musical Theatre, of which she has also become an alumni following her recent graduation.

In the year following her participation within the Eurovision Song Contest, Thea unveiled two follow-up singles, one entitled Frontline composed by Dean Muscat to the lyrics of John Galea and the second being a duet with Marcin Mrozinski bearing the name In Our Love composed by Jason Paul Cassar to the lyrics of Sunny Aquilina. It has been noted that Thea Garrett could possibly return to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest next year but she has stated on more than one occasion that it is highly unlikely that she would return to the competition unless something special happens. In the meantime, it is most likely the right call because with such a crisp diction and magnificient voice, musicals are more her oyster than the actual song competition. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about former representatives of the international competition.

Source: Clint Gerald Attard (Image)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWqm901F4LU

Published in Local Music News

Politics has played an extremely important role in several industries and the real reason behind the Eurovision Song Contest was to unite the continent through the power of song. The idea was well respected and in a matter o years, there were more countries intrigued by the concept and wanting to compete against their continental neighbours. Artists have gained recognition from the event whilst others who had already been popular have also sought to compete in recent years, giving the event more credibility. In Malta, venturing into the unknown is not easy and therefore artists are going to take up the event which gives them the most exposure and that is certainly the Malta Eurovision Song Contest which received major publicity on television and radio broadcasters under the cap of the Public Broadcasting Services. The programme Sas-Sitta on NET Television on the other hand is working closely with escflashmalta.com as a number of awards will be presented to commemorate the competition. One of the aforementioned prizes will be a critic award based on professional reviews and points given by international members of the music business, ones which have worked with some of the most astonishing names in the industry. The eighteenth review is of Tides of Illusion composed by Jason Paul Cassar, penned by Mario Farrugia and performed by Ylenia. It will be performed in slot number 2.

Ylenia, one of the youngest people in this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest has a wealth of experience behind her most notably at the Malta Junior Eurosong on three consecutive occasions, starting in 2008 with I Can’t Live Without It finishing in fourth place, in 2009 with My One True Passion managing the first runner-up position and last but not least in 2010 where she competed with the track Shout It Out! reaching third place. The following year, Ylenia decided to put her name forward for another competition, this time entitled ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, hosted by former Eurovision Song Contest commentator, Eileen Montesin on Television Malta. Despite the tough competition she faced, she was the clear favourite from day one and emerged as the winner at the end of the series. Last year, she had the opportunity to perform as a backing vocalist during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest to none other than Kurt Calleja and his winning entry This Is the Night. Unfortunately, due to performance restrictions, she was replaced at the very end by Amber who is also competing in this years’ competition with another entry. Ylenia is never too far away from music considering that she is reading for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and History of Art at the University of Malta, keeping her in line with everything. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOBvTUT07Jg

Tides of Illusion is definitely not the type of entry that I was expecting from Ylenia as she debuts in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest but it seems that this genre fits in appropriately and thus gives her that added edge which is needed to stand out in the competition. It is important to denote that there have been several comparisons to the winning entry of Euphoria but then again, it is quite irresponsible and thoughtless when keeping in mind that dance tracks have been around for quite some time with the eighties and the nineties somewhat booming. Indeed, they have become popular once more these past few years but that doesn’t make each entry in the national selections based on that particular entry. The songwriters for this entry are Jason Cassar and Mario Farrugia and this is their third entry together in the competition following the 2009 song Where Was I? performed by Jamie Tonna and the 2010 entry Once In a Lifetime sung by Nadine & Clifford. On the other hand, Jason Paul Cassar was the brains behind two entries which represented Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest including The One That I Love sung by Chiara in 1998 and My Dream performed by Thea Garrett in 2010 alongside lyricist, Sunny Aquilina.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 61%

Sharon Vaughn: Very obviously in the vein of Euphoria. She is a wonderful singer with a great falsetto vocal ability. I would love to hear her on another type of song other than this style. It really throws me that this is so close to Sweden's winning song.

Martin Isherwood: Not sure what a tide of illusion is or that it works as an image. Lots of words but little said. Nice voice although feels auto-tuned. Strong melodies. Takes time to get going as a dance track. Production feels a little dated. Could stand a chance overall but the competition tends to move on from previous years and this doesn't. Emulates last year's overall winner.

Stano Simor: Young, friendly, talented and full of energy. This is a necessary ingredient for the type of competition that is Eurovision. Ylenia works very well with the camera, too. She has a very good voice. Chorus vocal line is just not strong enough. It’s like a pre-chorus after which I am waiting a chorus, which does not come. General as a package though, I evaluate this very positively .

Roberto Meloni: This song clearly sounds Maltese in terms of production. On the other hand, this is an artist who performs well but this track is too far from being another exceptional entry that was indeed, 'Euphoria'.

Lina Eriksson: I like Ylenia's voice which reminds me a bit of Agnes (Release me).  I like this song. Still, melody and lyrics are better than the actual production. 

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGaIkMhK9Q4

Published in Editorials
Saturday, 28 July 2012 03:50

Malta: A Successful Story in Songwriting

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZFCq_d57o8

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.

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

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUxmi02tboE

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORICLU2O_FI

Published in Local Music News

One of the most important promotional events of the year took place in Belgium, a nation which is competing within the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The event brought together the delegations from Armenia, Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ireland, Belgium as well as Malta. The schedule included performances on the television un the show TVL as well as a live performance during the Pink Nation event.

Our representative for 2010 namely Thea Garrett performed her entry My Dream written by Jason Paul Cassar and Sunny Aquilina looking extremely charismatic during the performance. According to reports, the artist really did well within the country and was received well by both people as well as the media present. In the meantime, you can see the performance from the program through the youtube video below which has just been uploading in an extremely high quality version.