September 21, 2019

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In the next couple of weeks, more interviews will be appearing during the week as the editorial team at escflashmalta.com has been in touch with the committee of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza securing a talk with all of the twenty-finalists in the established category. Nevertheless, as those plans commence, the original summer series of interviews continues today with none other than Amber, a three time finalist at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, a backing vocalist for Malta at the Pan-European competition as well as a guest performer with a number of artists, she is one of the fastest rising stars in the local music scene.

At just eighteen years of age, you reached the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time with the track Catch 22 composed by Ray Agius to the lyrics of Godwin Sant. Whilst the final result was somewhat dull in comparison to the whole experience, you managed to pick up a signifant tele-vote, faring higher than a number of established performers including; Wayne Micallef, Claudia Faniello and Ally amongst others.  Ultimately, what did it mean to you to succeed in making it through to the final, and when there, how did it feel to be appreciated by the public?

It was a surprise to find myself competing with 2 songs during the malta eurovision considering the fact that this was my first appearance as a eurovsion participant. Making it through to the final was a big achievement for me as I was a new comer to the eurovision at that time. I felt honoured that people had believed in me and in my song.

You have already participated in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on three occasions, achieving your best result to date in 2012 when the track Answers With Your Eyes composed by Ray Agius and penned by Godwin Sant finished in third place with only points achieved by the mixture of local and foreign juries. You were not far off in 2013 as the song In Control composed by Paul Giodimaina with lyrics by Fleur Balzan finished in fourth place. The genres of both entries were remarkably different from each other yet you performed them with relative ease. Which one of the two do you cite as your favourite and why?

I believe that I cannot compare these 2 entries as they were perferomed in different times during my life and apart from the different genres they also have a different message. Answer with your eyes is all about passion, love and betrayal whilst in control is all about being dominant and independent.As a performer I always study each and every song intensly and try to deliver the message behind the song. Therefore I do not believe that I have any preferences. However I enjoyed performing both songs to the full.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTstdRSgRZ0

On more than one occasion, you have been the subject of severe criticism, kicking off with the appointment of backing vocalist to This Is The Night performed by Kurt Calleja at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 to the release of an article published the official website of the Pan-European competition saying that you were supposedly the winner of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track In Control. It is important to denote that you handles both events in the best possible manner, giving the public a response which was honest and clear but nevertheless, from your own personal perspective, have such issues made you a stronger individual?

I believe that I can learn from each and every experience whether it is a good or a bad experience.  The general public has a right for the truth.  However it might not always be easy when giving an explanation as unfortunately there will still be a minority to prefer to interpret the situation in their own way. Luckily such situations have thought me that “what doesn't kill you makes you stronger”. As a performer I have learnt that these are difficult and challenging situations that I have to come across during my career, from which I always learn and look ahead.

In 2012, following your participation as a backing vocalist during the Eurovision Song Contest, you returned to another astonishing opportunity, and that was to perform with Joseph Calleja, an internationally renowned opera singer whose affiliation to the international showcase was introducing the country during the postcard preceding Glen Vella’s performance of One Life back in 2011. During the summer concert which also featured Ronan Keating and Lucio Dalla, you had the opportunity to sing the song A Thousand Years originally by Christina Perri. Why was that specific track selected and would you have done anything differently or do you believe the setup was just right?

Perfroimng with Joseph Calleja was simply perfect and I would definately leave the same set up if I had to to it all over again. It was a dream come true and I still cannot believe that I was given the opportunity to perform with such a prominant and humble artist. We had chosen the song a thousand years together after we had short listed our options. We had finalised our decision to this song as it had quite a powerful message behind it and it suited both our voices.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GhhlQ5QtE0

In 2010, you entered the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza for the very first time, making it through to the second phase with no less than two songs, out of which one was selected to get through to the final, that entitled Trid Taprezza composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant. This was your second major local festival having also participated in the Malta Hit Song Contest earlier that year with the track Take It Easy written by the same team of songwriters, finishing in fourth place. Nevertheless you managed to improve this time round coming out as a winner after a tight competition, finishing just ahead of Gloriana Arpa Belli. What does the year 2010 stand for in your mind and what is your perception on local competitions?

2010 was a total turning point in my career.  Both festivals have not only given me a boost but they have also given my name a recognition and also gave me a clear picture of what i wanted to establish in my career. Our islands inhibt people with talent. I believe that professional local competition will show case various talents and  not only provide the artists with exposure but also with experience.

escflashmalta.com had the pleasure of being the first to publish the video to the track So Good written and performed by Matt Mercieca (Muxu) but nevertheless, you feature heavily in various parts, predominantly within the chorus. The track, a mixture of pop and r’n’b is somewhat well suited to your vocals as attributed by general comments of readers of our portal as well as comments on viral website, YouTube. What could you tell us about the collaboration and would you consider working together once more, maybe even for the Eurovision Song Contest, following his success with Davinia and her track Betrayed earlier this year?

Working with Muxu is always a fun and remarkable experience. He is a very talented artist with fresh and unique ideas.When working with Muxu I can give my own interpretation to the song and he even considers my own ideas. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwXCk0cjyio

During last years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, your third place result was attributed thanks to the support of juries, as the public failed to award you any points unfortunately. We have recently spoken in favour of the professional jury panel for selecting Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat with vocals by Gianluca to represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest, having obtained the nations’ best result since 2005. Do you believe that the public are still entitled to have a say in the final result or do you think that the jury should make the decision?

Although during my last year's participation I did not receive any public votes I still fully agree that the general public together with the jury deserve a say in the final result. After all the winner will be representing the country and its citizens. 

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

I would like to thank the readers for their constant support throughout my career.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WGv0lBPkto

Published in Interviews

escflashmalta.com is always proud to promote the best of the local music scene and one of the artists which is best representing the country is surely none other than Amber who this year managed to finish in third place during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and then also got the opportunity to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest as a backing vocalist. In the past couple of years, the artists that make up the local music scene have been somewhat subject to positive praise and this is due to the fact that there a renowned improvement even in the way that tracks are being written and produced. We have just managed to get our second interview with the artist and this time round things are different because experience has been key in the overall growth. She speaks to us about her recent success and what she has in store for the upcoming months.

Your rise to local fame has been done relatively the old fashioned way noting that your first appearance in a local showcase was definitely the programme ID which used to air on ONE Television prior to being in another competition known as the Malta Hit Song Contest in which you managed to finish within the top five. Your big break and undeniably astonishing vocals though came to prominence on the stage of The Granaries during the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with the song Trid Tapprezza composed by Ray Agius and Alfred C Sant. Do you consider the early success within the Maltese language to be a huge stepping stone in your career?

Yes I do, in fact it was an honour participating in such a prestigious contest.

Throughout the past couple of months, there has been a lot of mention of your name due to the fact that you have managed to climb up quite a couple of flights of stairs in the local music industry starting off with the fact that you finished in third place at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Answer With Your Eyes composed by Ray Agius and penned by Alfred C Sant thanks to the ample support received from the juries. Looking back at that experience, noting that you managed to hit the right notes with perfect timing, what do you recall and would you have done anything differently so that you might have appealed to the public more?

If I had to turn back time, I would do everything exactly the same, as I did. I believed in the song from the very first minute I heard it. I made some alterations to the song according to what people have told me in order to make it more appealing to the people. I was very happy with my performance both on Friday and on Saturday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHlweb3RPwA

Following the end of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, it was decided that Kurt Calleja would be going onto represent the country finishing ahead of both you and Claudia Faniello. Nevertheless, there seemed to have been an issue with the female backing vocals which were somewhat sounding quite different than expected and therefore you were brought in to give the song a more complete sound noting that there had been a number of differences in the performance given at the Eurovision Song Contest. How did the ‘selection process’ go and what could you tell us about the general feeling of going to the event?

Regarding the selection process, I did the audition for the post of a backing vocalist when the post was already vacant. Therefore I am definitely not the right person to ask about the selection process. The general feeling of being part of the prestigious event is simply amazing. I had worked with a team of professionals and hard working people from which I had learned a lot. We all worked hard in order to achieve the very best result possible. Kurt and his band are a group of well talented young artists and it was such an honour for me to have worked with them.

Going back to the 2010 edition of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, many people might not recall that you had in fact submitted two entries, the second one being none other than Dell L-Istilel composed by Dominic Cini and penned by Stephen Baldacchino. Unfortunately, the track failed to make it through the second judging hurdle and was thus eliminated by it made a comeback this year noting that Rachel Verzin has qualified with the same track to the finals of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. Your vocals could be heard in the backing track and therefore, one could easily make a connection. Do you believe that the right song made it through and would you have liked to do something else with Dell L-Istilel?

In 2010 I managed to make it through with the song Trid Taprezza and later on in summer managed to win the KKI. Trid Taprezza and Dell l-istilel were two totally different songs with a different genre and different concept therefore it is very difficult for me to compare the songs. I was very happy with both songs in which I gave my own interpretation. Rachel Verzin is a very good singer like most of the other singers who are taking part in this year’s KKI. And I wish her and all the other singers the best of luck.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-4fpx0Hq2g

In recent weeks, your vocals have been somewhat lent to an intriguing track, one which is very different to the style or rather genre that people have become accustomed hearing you perform and that is quite important because you would prove yourself to be versatile in the field of music. The track that I am talking about is of course the one bearing the name So Good which is mainly performed by singer/songwriter Muxu who is preceded by his reputation as a showman. How did you become involved within the song and do you believe that exploring various areas of music will be beneficial in the long term?

Muxu and I have always wanted to work together one day and was very trilled as soon as he approached me in order to feature in his new single. I admire him a lot as he is so versatile and original in his music. It was an honour for me to work with such a talented guy. Muxu is so easy to work with. What I most like about him is that he encourages me to explore and be versatile. He doesn’t dictate what he wants from me, he just puts me in the picture by explaining what he will be doing and from there onwards he lets me be free participating wherever I see appropriate to do so. I consider life as a journey therefore the more you explore the more you learn. It is very important for a singer to be versatile and experiment with different genres of music Exploring different areas of music is very beneficial for a singer, one would learn to appreciate music more as well as would be able to use various voice techniques learned from different genres in his/her own music. 

Apart from a brand new track in which you perform backing vocals, there has beenanother important event in your life or rather your career in the past couple of daysnoting that you were offered the opportunity to perform with the one and only JosephCalleja during his annual summer concert which this year featured none other than thepopular Irishman, Ronan Keating as well as the Italian sensation, Gigi D’Alessio. The track which you chose to perform was A Thousand Years originally by Kristina Perri.What was the reason behind this choice and how was it to perform with one of the leading tenors in the world?

For me Joseph Calleja is an inspiration. It was an honour for me to perform alongside the best of the best in this industry. After considering several options we both taught this will be a good song. Before the rehearsals I was very excited bit once on that stage I started enjoying myself. He is a very humble person who makes you feel at ease whilst in his company. Well for me it’s a dream come true.

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

One of the deadliest times of the year surely has to be summer in Malta due to the extreme heat that people have to endure but nevertheless, it seems to be the best time for music releases especially of a particular genre. You have been quite busy as of late noting a number of performances and additional vocals but what are the plans for the upcoming weeks and even for the winter months and of course, will you be trying to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest which is set to take place in the city of Malmo in Sweden?

I try to enjoy summer as much as possible whilst juggling through work, singing and gigs. I am working on new projects which are still to be confirmed. Yet I’m really looking forward. For the winter months I haven’t anything confirmed although I also have some projects in the pipeline. If the perfect song comes my way I will surely participate in the Malta Eurovision 2013.

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

I would like to thanks all the fans and readers of escflashmalta.com for their constant support throughout my career. Thanks for always believing in me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WGv0lBPkto

Published in Interviews

Throughout the history of songwriting in Malta, it has been worth noting that Ray Agius has set his standards pretty high noting that his success supercedes any of that achieved by others especially when it comes to working within the framework of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, a competition which he has duly won on record, six times. In fact, there has only been one individual who has come close to beating out that record and might do so in the next couple of years with the right tracks and he is none other than Mark Spiteri Lucas. Both songwriters consistently compete in the renowned music competition organized by Media.Link Communications and they will also be taking part this time round as they boast three entries when taken into account together.

It is important to note that Ray Agius has distinctively worked with some of the best talents in the country during the years especially when it comes to the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, somewhat of a crossover to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Back in 1997, he wrote the music to the lyrics of the track In-Nar Ħa performed by Tarcisio Barbara which stunned the jury and went onto win the competition but the big victory came in 1999 when Claudette Pace competed with the song Ejjew Nippruvaw which not only took home the main honour but several others scooping up all of the top awards for music and lyrics as well. In 2002, he was competing with the renowned Lawrence Gray with the entry L-Għażla F'Idejna, a cult song in popular tradition which sweeped the board one more time in a first and second place finish for the performer noting that a second song for him ultimately came in the runner-up position.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H16xguRU07E

Most recently though, it seems that things have continued to flourish and it has been highly debatable that Ray Agius was the individual who helped kick start the career of Claudia Faniello whom he competed with for the first time in the 2006 Malta Song for Europe and in fact, following that stint, she entered the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with Ma Nafx which was a different type of song in the competition and still captured the imagination of the judging panel. As one could see, Ray was not known to succeed each year noting that there are gaps between his victories, sometimes even three to four years but in the past two years, this changed as he won the event successively with Trid Tapprezza by Amber as well as B'Rieda tal-Azzar by Mike Spiteri eventually taking the honours. This year, Ray Agius is working with a brand new performer who is hoping to break into the local music scene and seems to be very happy to have even made it to the final stages. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: escflashmalta.com, YouTube, KKI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12XYgWNDjp0