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Saturday, 31 March 2012 22:00

Malta: 'This is the Night' now on iTunes

Almost two months have passed since Kurt Calleja got the right to represent our country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the Pop/Dance track titled ‘This is the night’. The catchiest song of the evening had been awarded 84 points in total and was also the favourite with the tele-voters. It has been revealed that ‘This is the night’ can now be found on iTunes and is available for download.

The album consists of three (3) tracks; the studio version, promostella club remix and the instrumental/karaoke version. Those interested can click in the link provided on iTunes directly. One should also note that the official video has gained alot of popularity and there were also many positive comments on the new version of the song. Kurt was also promoted in several countries; Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Bulgaria and he is also going to promote our entry in The Netherlands. Regarding the betting odds, one can notice that Malta has risen in the chance of winning the contest even though the result is not that pleasant. We have to wait and see. In the meantime the team at escflashmalta.com wishes Kurt and his team the best of luck.

Source: iTunes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjhBsCop3Ys

During this particular period, most of the acts which will be representing their country in the Eurovision Song Contest tend to be preparing themselves in terms of vocal and visual presentation and that is why, this is called a preliminary quiet period. Nevertheless, the next major event for the fans of the biggest music event in the whole of Europe is surely the Eurovision In Concert, organized in The Netherlands, a four time winner of the prestigious competition with the last victory coming back in 1975 by virtue of Teach In and their song 'Ding-A-Dong'. The event has become an annual affair and this year, it is also being sponsored by PRINZ, the Canadal Company, the European Broadcasting Union and TROS amongst others whilst receiving the official partnership of esctoday.com, songfestivalweblog.nl and OGAE Netherlands.

Many have spoken out that the event is like a pre-rehearsal for most of the acts noting the high attendance in recent years with those who have no general promotion opting to use this particular event to check the competition out whilst promoting their own entry. The list of the participating countries in this showcase is growing larger and it reached twenty-four (24) last night by virtue of Azerbaijan and Malta. In fact, the host country of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by Sabina Babayeva with the song When the Music Dies. The upcoming performer has only been to Georgia this year and therefore will be hoping to make the best out of her visit. In the meantime, the Maltese representative Kurt Calleja who will be performing This Is The Night has already been to Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Bulgaria but will surely be using the event to garner more fans. The full list of participants as announced thus far can be seen below.

  • Azerbaijan - Sabina Babayeva - When the music dies
  • Malta - Kurt Calleja - This is the night
  • Ireland - Jedward - Waterline
  • Spain - Pastora Soler - Quédate conmigo
  • France - Anggun - You and I
  • Greece - Eleftheria Eleftheriou - Aphrodisiac
  • Romania - Mandinga - Zaleilah
  • Ukraine - Gaitana - Be my guest
  • Cyprus – Ivi Adamou – La la love
  • Bulgaria - Sofi Marinova - Love unlimited
  • Turkey – Can Bonomo – Love me back
  • Switzerland - Sinplus - Unbreakable
  • Slovenia - Eva Boto - Verjamem
  • Latvia - Anmary - Beautiful song
  • Belgium - Iris - Would you
  • FYR Macedonia - Kaliopi - Crno i Belo
  • San Marino – Valentina Monetta - The social network song
  • Hungary - Compact Disco - Sound of our hearts
  • The Netherlands - Joan Franka - You and me
  • Georgia - Anri Jokhadze - I'm a joker
  • Austria - Trackshittaz - Woki met deim Popo
  • Lithuania - Donny Montell - Love is blind
  • Finland - Pernilla - När jag blundar
  • Albania - Rona Nishliu - Suus

The Eurovision In Concert this year is being presented by Ruth Jacott who represented The Netherlands back in the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest and also Cornald Maas. The host will also be performing her entry Vrede during the event. In the meantime, Maas has been hosting the event for the past three years. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news in the preparations for the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place for the first time ever in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Source: ESCtoday

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjhBsCop3Ys

Thursday, 29 March 2012 22:10

Malta: Amber Reaches Out to the Public

In recent days, everyone has been talking about the appointment of Amber as the backing vocalist of Kurt Calleja for his performance of the song This Is The Night that will be representing Malta in the second semi-final at the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is being staged in Baku, Azerbaijan. When the performance was unveiled during the national final, the female vocal was that of Ylenia Vella, the young sixteen year old who most recently won the talent show Don't Stop Me Now hosted by Eileen Montesin this past summer on Television Malta (TVM). Nevertheless, the team that will be taking up the song for the annual music competition held between members of the European Broadcasting Union decided that the second runner-up of this years' music competition is a much better fit than her younger counter-part.

The singing sensation who first appeared on the local festival scene during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza in 2010 with the song Trid Tapprezza composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant is set to take the stage in Baku to perform alongside Kurt Calleja. Her role in the song seems to be larger than the one that Ylenia had and people might be in for quite a surprise. Today, Amber took to Facebook to speak about the decision of the Public Broadcasting Services and how she had nothing to do with the final decision stating this respective statement;

'I would l like to thank everyone who have been supporting me throughout my career. Being chosen to join Kurt’s team as a backing vocalist is something I never thought would happen. I would like to make it clear that I haven’t chopped anyone from the team. It was PBS’s decision and if it wasn’t me who took this opportunity it would have been another singer and not Ylenia. I haven’t paid any money, I am DEFINITELY not trying to take Kurt’s place in anyway ,or try compromising the song , or try to ruin the song . I am nobody’s puppet and there is no need for anyone to pity me. I never in anyway tried to mock Ylenia. I believe that Ylenia is a very talented girl with a voice of an angel and I believe that one day she will be the ambassador to represent Malta at the Eurovision song contest. Let us all support Kurt Calleja who will definitely make us all PROUD to be Maltese.' We would like to wish Amber and the rest of the Maltese team the very best of luck. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source; Facebook

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wHuWz9vqmM

 

The 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is just a couple of weeks away and most of the countries are currently working on their promotional strategy in order to gain credibility in a number of countries and therefore, they set themselves up for television and radio appearances along with conducting a number of interviews with magazines, journals, newspapers and even websites. It is always a privilege to gain access to an artist and this is the case with Kurt Calleja who will be representing our very own country of Malta. What is quite intriguing that the artist is somewhat still a newcomer to the local music scene making only appearances in this competition in terms of background having missed out on the finals of the 'Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza' won by Amber just two years ago. Nevertheless, his rise to national stardom is attached to a sensible character and a brilliant vocal teamed up with dashing good looks according to the comments roaming around the internet. Following the release of the video and the final version of the song, it is quite smashing that the Maltese representative found some time to speak to us exclusively on www.escflashmalta.com with this being his first web-based interview.

Kurt Calleja came into the local music scene just three years ago when entering a reality singing competition entitled 'Don't Stop Me Now' hosted by Eileen Montesin on a private television station but his first successful venture was surely the 2010 edition of the Maltese national final when he had entered in a duet with Kaya entitled 'Waterfall' composed by Marco Debono and penned by Rita Pace. Despite the mid-table result, you continued to grow as an artist and would ultimately try your luck with the song 'Over and Over' which was written by you and Johan Jämtberg finishing in an astonishing third place. The story from then onwards is now the talk on everyone’s' lips but when looking back, how would you sum up your competitive experience thus far?

It has been interesting. I think the reason singers compete is not merely to win but also to meet people who can potentially help them move forward in their music career. That is the reason I ever entered competitions like Don’t Stop Me Now, Orfeo in Italia and naturally the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. I got to meet a bunch of people I used to always see on tv and now they are my friends and I got to meet big celebrities like: Blue, Cocciante, Zucchero. Now in Eurovision I will be meeting Englebert Humperdink and Jedward too – who knows what else is in store?

The Malta Eurovision Song Contest needed a brand new facelift in recent years and it seems that the team of the Public Broadcasting Services has been somewhat optimistic in reinventing the showcase by bringing in foreigners to help out with the lights and the sound, keeping to the local professionals for a number of things including the design of the stage. At the end of the weekend, it was somewhat agreed that the festival is moving towards a good direction. As an artist, do you feel that you were treated well throughout the confines of the week or rehearsals and then the two performances, one on Friday and one on Saturday and had you had the chance, what would you have done differently?

This is an interesting question. I am not a set designer or a tv producer nor will I pretend to be one. I am a singer and thus my personal experience in these last two Malta Eurovisions have been great. I liked the sound, the design, the somewhat stricter rules (which I agreed with 100%) and that it all looked awesome on TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I72e6O8uqwA

When the list of semi-finalists of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was announced, you were ecstatic in having made it with the song ‘This Is The Night’ co-written between Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås and yourself but what is remarkable is that the song changed quite a hefty bit from the initial previews recorded by the Public Broadcasting Services to the one presented at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre. Some people even went on record stating that it was a different song but this was definitely not the case. Each year, there are a number of tracks which go through alterations prior to the selection so basically I understand the process but for the benefit of the people, why did the song change so much and do you believe that it required such an important overhaul?

I had several song offers so I rounded my band and we did a mini-Eurovision in my rehearsal studio. We listened to each song and asked ourselves: “Is this a potential Eurovision entry?” We would cringe at some, and enjoy some others but really we were eagerly awaiting Johan’s song because he is part of the team – the official band composer if you please. When we received ‘This is the Night’ and we liked the tune immediately. At the time, I was flat broke and even though I loved ‘This is the Night’ I couldn't afford the recording and the submission fee so I emailed Johan saying that as much as I loved the song, I don’t have the resources to record it. Then Chris (my lead guitarist) said: Why don’t we record it in our rehearsal studio and submit it like so? So we did, now bear in mind, we are just musicians not sound or studio engineers. Then when it made it through we thought – ok we need to work on it if we want to even stand a chance. So we re-did it and without this remake I can actually state, we wouldn’t have even made it through the semi-final probably.

The history of Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest has been questioned time and time again in recent years due to the fact that the results have not improved and that the country is failing to make an impact on the rest of the continent by not failing to amass the necessary points to reach the final stages of the competition. There been an issue of cutting it close on more than one occasion noting that for example, Glen Vella with the song ‘One Life’ composed by Paul Giordimaina and penned by Fleur Balzan only finished one point behind the tenth placed Switzerland. You will be the one taking up the honour this time round but when looking back at the great artists to have represented Malta, what do you feel and have you had a chat with any of them in recent weeks?

I don’t know how to answer this question really I mean – for me the fact that we haven’t made it through in the past is not a reflection on the artist, but also what songs were competing against him/her and what strategy was put in tact. Personally I am in the contest together with PBS and my team: band, composers and sponsors to give a good show and we let Europe judge. I spoke to a number of representatives, namely: Fabrizio Faniello, Claudette Pace, Thea Garrett, Glen Vella, William Mangion and Mary Spiteri and they all had encouraging words. For me, being the 25th representative of Malta is already a big honour for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfOzIjA119k

The song that you will be presenting at the Eurovision Song Contest is the first international effort that the country is sending in three years noting that ‘What If We’ by Chiara was written by the Belgian pairing made up of Marc Paelinck and Gregory Bilsen. Apart from that, there was no other song which had foreign songwriters in the team therefore making your song ‘This Is the Night’ the second one with such a song writing team although you are a co-writer alongside the likes of Johan Jämtberg and Mikael Gunnerås. There has been a lot of controversy in recent years about the inclusion of foreigners in the selection process but nevertheless, the quality of songs has improved as the local song writers feel threatened. What is your take on the issue and do you believe that the format, one which is open to all remain open in the years to come?

There a lot of excellent song writers who are Maltese. I know that the Maltese are as capable as any foreigner. I don’t appreciate it when I hear a Maltese artist say: The Maltese composers aren’t good enough. That is not true. The only reason I participated with Johan and Mikael is I loved their song. If I had like a song by an English, French, Swedish, Australian or Maltese composer I would have done their song without a moment’s hesitation. Nonetheless, yes I do believe that since we have opened our market to foreign composers once again, the level has been raised because there is a vaster choice of songs and styles.

In the past couple of months, it was revealed that Malta would be competing in the first part of the second semi-final by virtue of a special allocation draw that took place in Baku, Azerbaijan. In the past couple of days, this decision was further evolved through the actual draw for the running order which has now pit the song to compete from position number four. Unfortunately, this has not been a very good draw when it comes to hopes of qualification with only two out of eight in the past four years making it through to the final stages of the competition. What is your opinion on the draw that you have been given and will you be doing anything special to elevate the performance with the hopes of taking Malta to the final for the third time since the semi-final system was introduced?

Draws, running numbers and past results do not affect me or my band. We are there to give a good show and if the audience and judges deem us worthy or making it through then we surely will. If they don’t think so, then it will be our turn as competitors to be a sport and accept the result. I always had a theory, if you don’t like how a system works – do not try to be a part of it. I knew all of these things beforehand and yet I entered – therefore no I will not be doing anything special other than go on that stage, have a good time and with hopes that the audience will sing with us and try to do the Apple Jacks (Inverted W).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjhBsCop3Ys

In the past couple of weeks, you have been quite busy alongside your team with regards to the preparations for the music event by promoting the song in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Lithuania although it is somewhat expected that you will be going to more countries in the coming weeks. A promotional tour is somewhat important whilst still remaining connected with the Maltese public in general, something which has been somewhat questionable in recent weeks because you were quite busy with preparing the final version of the track and also finalizing your team for Baku. Do you believe that a promotional tour is necessary in present days and apart from that, would you tell us about the team you will be presenting in Azerbaijan?

It is a fact, that a good number of singers enter this Song Contest not simply to win, but to perform on this huge platform. When you are on a stage that has so many followers and viewers, the chances of you getting noticed are a lot bigger. So from personal experience, yes touring is important because you get make new friends, meet new people and widen your fan base. Since this tour, I have had people from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Lithuania sign up to my fan page and view/share my music and music videos. Does it help with the votes? I like to think so, because if you really connect with your audiences then, they will remember you. Having said that, it is not enough, you need a proper internet strategy too otherwise you will fall behind. This is something we are still new to in Malta but we are currently seeking council about this as none of us know this art properly. With regards to the performance in Baku, we are keeping the performance quite similar to the one we did in Malta – with some tweaks here and there done by my good friend Warren Bonello (DJ/dancer) in alliance with Peter Carbonaro, PBS and myself, to give it a more world class approach I guess.

Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at www.escflashmalta.com?

I would like to give my fondest regards and best wishes to ALL the readers of escflashmalta.com – you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you believe (Believe and Achieve)… Listen to what people have to say, measure their advice and then – if it still feels right, take action. Lots and lots of love from Malta – yours truly K.

Published in Interviews
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