July 23, 2019

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Luke Giles

Luke Giles

On the 10th December, 24 semi-finalist participants were put in front of a panel of professional ‘expert judges’ to assess their song-writing, and vocal capabilities, coming up with a verdict which was made public on the 12th December. 16 songs have made the final of L-Għanja tal-Poplu Żgħażagħ 2019, which you might recall having returned 12 months ago after a long hiatus which lasted a total of 11 years.

Organised by the L-Għanja tal-Poplu Committee in collaboration with St Benedict College in Kirkop, the Ministry of Education, L-Akkademja tal-Malti as well as the Malta Concert Orchestra, previous winners of L-Għanja tal-Poplu Żgħażagħ have included: Brooke in 2005, Christabelle in 2006, Marilena in 2007 and Aidan Jay Drakard & Eliana Gomez Blanco in 2018.

The next winner will come forth from the list of 16 participating entries:

Demi Galea - Fil-Fond (Rita Pace, Mark Spiteri Lucas)
Martina Galea Loffreda – Għoxrin (Corazon Mizzi)
Gianluca Cilia – Ħaġar Qim (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Philip Vella)
Elisa Andrea Muscat – Ħamra Nar (Paul Ellul, Mark Spiteri Lucas)
Jasmine Farrugia – Ħorrox Borrox (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Augusto Cardinali)
Nathaniel Attard & Martina Abela – Ilallu (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Dominic Cini)
Amber Grace Scerri – Iljun (Cliff Casha, Georgea Falzon)
Kacey Azzopardi – Jonqsok Biss il-Kliem (Rita Pace, Augusto Cardinali)
Kayley Cuschieri – Kellimni (Joe Julian Farrugia, Augusto Cardinali)
Klara Vassallo & Leon Bartolo – Kull Deni Ħudu B’Ġid (Andrea Cassar)
Eksenia Sammut – Leħni (Paul Ellul, Mark Spiteri Lucas)
Shania Cauchi – Mużajk (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Mark Scicluna)
Kayley Cuschieri – Qegħdin Sew! (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Mark Spiteri Lucas)
Mychael Bartolo Chircop – Stenbaħt (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Philip Vella)
Thea Aquilina – Tal-Punt (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Andrew Zammit)
Nathaniel Attard – Taparsi (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Mark Spiteri Lucas)

The festival is set for Friday 15th March 2019 at the theatre of St Benedict College in Kirkop. On behalf of the editorial team at escflashmalta.com, we would like to wish all the performers, and the respective songwriters of the 16 finalists the very best of luck. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about L-Għanja tal-Poplu Żgħażagħ and the local music industry when it becomes available.

Source: ghanjafest.com

This afternoon, Europe’s young talents will be sharing their talent on the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Taking place from the Minsk Arena in the Belarusian capital Minsk, twenty countries will take to the stage in a two and a half hour live show.

The live show will be hosted by Eugene Perlin, Zina Kupriyanovich and Helena Meraai, with a special performance by last year’s winner, Polina Bogusevich. The participants of the show will also join together to perform the theme song for this year’s contest, “Light Up”.

Malta will be represented by 12 year old Ela Mangion with the song “Marchin’ On”, written by Ela with Emil Calleja Bayliss and composed by Cyprian Cassar. Ela is in good spirits for the show - you can see what she said to us when we sat down with her earlier this week here.

01. Ukraine: Darina Krasnovetska - "Say Love"
02. Portugal: Rita Laranjeira - "Gosto de Tudo (Já Não Gosto de Nada)"
03. Kazakhstan: Daneliya Tuleshova - "Ózińe sen"
04. Albania: Efi Gjika - "Barbie"
05. Russia: Anna Filipchuk - "Unbreakable"
06. The Netherlands: Max & Anne - "Samen"
07. Azerbaijan: Fidan Huseynova - "I Wanna Be Like You"
08. Belarus: Daniel Yastremski - "Time"
09. Ireland: Taylor Hynes - "IOU"
10. Serbia: Bojana Radovanović - "Svet"
11. Italy: Melissa & Marco - "What Is Love"
12. Australia: Jael - "Champion"
13. Georgia: Tamar Edilashvili - "Your Voice"
14. Israel: Noam Dadon - "Children Like These"
15. France: Angélina - "Jamais Sans Toi"
16. FYR Macedonia: Marija Spasovska - "Doma"
17. Armenia: L.E.V.O.N - "L.E.V.O.N"
18. Wales: Manw - "Perta"
19. Malta: Ela - "Marchin' On"
20. Poland: Roksana Węgiel - "Anyone I Want to Be"

The winner will be decided by an online vote and a professional jury, each counting for half of the overall result. You can vote online at www.jesc.tv for 3-5 countries, including Malta. The vote will close once the show begins, and will reopen once the performances are over.

You can follow the show live on TVM and TVM HD, and additionally over YouTube from the Junior Eurovision official channel. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through social media platforms; Facebook and Twitter.

Source: junioreurovision.tv, escflashmalta.com

Saturday, 24 November 2018 14:53

JESC 2018: A Sit Down with Malta's Ela

Whilst the temperature back in Malta sits at a balmy 22 degrees, in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, it's an icy -5. But what's an even bigger contrast is that while most twelve year olds are back at home, going to school and spending time with their friends - Ela Mangion is gearing up to perform in front of the biggest audience of her life at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Having performed in countries from Italy to Lithuania and Russia, the scenario isn't that strange to Ela. But this event, the little sister (or brother) of the adult contest which takes place each May, is the biggest opportunity she's had so far. "It's a really good promotion for young singers. It's nice to unite with other countries," she tells me. She fondly recalls meeting some of the other contestants of this year’s contest here and there in the past, including the two female hosts of this year’s contest, adding “It’s like we’re on a journey together.”

Preparing for such an event like this is a hectic challenge, there’s a lot going on here. The schedule is tightly packed with rehearsals and excursions, and there’s even time slotted in for the kids to unwind at the “Euroclub” in the show’s official hotel. The team from PBS includes a producer, songwriters, choreographers, dancers as well as press and media managers. Some would be intimidated by this, but Ela seems to be taking it in her stride. “I’m more excited than nervous… but if there is any nervousness, it’s the positive kind,” she admits. “But I’m relaxed. I think if other people see me relaxed, they can be relaxed too. It’s tiring - but I like it, I like this life a lot,”.

“Marchin’ On” is the song that Ela will be singing at the contest. It’s an anthemic song that talks about dealing with the pressures of social problems that we come across in life, and how with the help of everyone, we can overcome these problems. “The song came out exactly how I wanted it - I really feel the message. The first time I heard it, I was mind blown,” she says. She worked together with producer Cyprian Cassar on the melody and asked lyricist Emil Calleja Bayliss to help create the story.

It’s clear that this girl lives and breathes music. “I like RnB, Soul, Jazz, and of course pop music,” she says. Ela cites many of the musical greats as her inspirations, and talks about her admiration for artists such as Beyoncé. “But I don’t want to listen to pop music all the time,” she interjects. “Everyone is blasting the radio with pop music.” It’s clear that she’s interested in fresh and new sounds - the next thing I know, she’s telling me about the young American singer/songwriter/producer H.E.R. “She’s amazing, one of my inspirations. When I see her perform, I think ‘I want to do that - she’s a singer, songwriter, producer - a triple threat’,”. I tell her that her unique taste is quite striking to me. “The beautiful thing about music is that you try to do something that everyone else does. You have to be unique, that’s the best thing. That’s why I try to search for older artists, which I mix with modern tastes,”, she says. She looks up to local talent too - “We have a lot of talent in Malta. I love Brooke, Ira, Amber… they are icons for me”, she excitedly tells me.

But where does this all come from, I wonder? “My father is the musical one in my family. He listens to everything from soft rock, jazz…,” she tells me, adding “I get my inspiration from him,”. On the other hand, she looks up to her mother for fashion - one of her other big interests. “She’s like my stylist - a fashion inspiration”. After the contest in Minsk, she wants to get even more into music. “I am going to take lessons in guitar, and after lessons in music production. I want to produce to write…. I want to do everything,” she tells me, before pausing and stating “I want to start playing the drums… but then I also want to play the harp!” I look at her inquisitively, surprised at her wish to play the harp. “You can use it for a lot of things, it makes music really melodic,”.

It’s clear to me that Ela is really invested in music. She’s supported in all of this by all of her friends back home. “Everyone’s really supportive of me, even my teachers at school - I love them all so much.” She tells me how she managed to get some of her friends to take part in her music video for Junior Eurovision. “They’re singing [my song] all the time - in class, in the hallways,” she smiles. “But I am missing them a lot. They’re even organising a party at school to watch the contest!.”

Ela Mangion will perform “Marchin’ On” at this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest - live on TVM from 16.00 local time on November 25th. The online voting is already open, and you can vote for Malta (alongside 2-4 other countries) at www.vote.junioreurovision.tv. This counts for 50% of the overall result. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through social media platforms; Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news from Minsk, Belarus.

Michela Galea has won the 42nd edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu - Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija with the number “Mhux Kulma Jleqq Deheb” (Not all that glitters is gold), composed by Renato Briffa with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss. The two and a half hour spectacle took place once again at the legendary Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Valletta, compèred by Owen Bonnici and Kim Dalli.

The winner was chosen by the votes of an expert and popular jury. The prize of first runner-up went to Dwett (Cherylis & Mikhail) with the song “Mhux Kif Ħsibt” (Not as I thought), penned by Giovann Attard to music by Pamela Bezzina & Alex Debono whilst the second runner-up was awarded to the song “Allura” (So what), interpreted by Philip Vella, who is also credited as composer together with the lyricist Joe Chircop.

Of the other awards handed out during the results segment of the show, the “Best Interpretation” prize was awarded to Monica Said for the song “Anamika”. The award for “Most original lyrics” went to “Nistenniek” by Corazón Mizzi as interpreted by Charlene, whilst JAMM Band won the award for “Best singer-songwriter” with the song "Ħadd Ma Jaf Xi Jrid". A special achievement award known as L-Għanja li Tibqa’ was also given to Mro Paul Abela, for his contribution to the Maltese music scene.

21 year old Michela hails from Mġarr and already boasts a wide wealth of experience in the arts. A former reigning Miss World, Michela won the title of “Miss World Talent” whilst representing Malta at the 2017 edition of the event. She has taken part in numerous editions of local musical festivals in the past, including Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza (KKI) and two previous editions of L-Għanja tal-Poplu. She was also cast in a number of television series, such as “D.R.E.A.M.S” - and for the past few years has been seen as a resident singer on prime-time TV show “The Entertainers”, broadcast on NET Television.

The entire show can be rewatched for up to seven days on TVM’s on demand service, by clicking here, and we urge you all to visit escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: escflashmalta.com, Geoffrey Buhagiar (Photography)

Monday, 30 July 2018 15:41

GħTP 2018: Running Order Made Public

The 42nd edition of the festival L-Għanja tal-Poplu will take place on Saturday 1st September 2018 at Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Valletta. The 16 competing entries which were chosen from 137 submissions will be accompanied by the Malta Concert Orchestra which in turn will be composed of 40 musicians under the direction of Mro Joe Brown and Mro Paul Abela.

Mr Charles Schembri, Chairman of the festival announced that the winners this year will be chosen through a combination of popular and expert voting. He also noted down that the festival is organised by the Maltese for the Maltese. Throughout these 42 editions, hundreds of composers, authors, singer-songwriters, musicians and singers contributed their work while always hitting the imagination, aspiration, creativity and enthusiasm of the Maltese public. Mr Albert Marshall, executive chairman of the Kunsill Malti għall-Arti said that the festival should continue to work in favour of our cultural identity through Maltese songs, which in turn have to be innovative and of high quality.

L-Għanja tal-Poplu is being organised with the help of the Cultural Partnership Agreement of the Kunsill Malti għall-Arti, along with the Malta Concert Orchestra and Pjazza Teatru Rjal, whose resources are being offered so that this edition is yet another success.

The presenters for this festival will be Kim Dalli and Owen Bonnici. In the second part of the festival, Mro Paul Abela will be exhibiting some of the successes throughout his musical careers. Tickets for this festival can be obtained from www.ticketline.com.mt with special prices of €10 till the 10th August.

The running order of the 16 finalists for the 42nd edition of L-Għanja tal-Poplu – Festival tal-Kanzunetta Maltija

Name of Song – Singer (Author, Composer)

1 – Għaliex Tlaqt? – Ruth Portelli (Ryan Caruana, Mark Scicluna)
2 – Min Aħna? – Cain (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Philip Vella)
3 – Nistenniek – Charlene (Corazón Mizzi)
4 – Allura – Philip Vella (Joe Chircop, Philip Vella)
5 – L-Immigrant – Alan Casha (Alan Casha & Andrew Vella)
6 – Fjuri tal-Karti – Krista Spiteri Lucas (Paul Ellul, Mark Spiteri Lucas)
7 – L-Aħħar Żifna – Mark Cachia (Singer-Songwriter)
8 – Pawlu l-Babaw – Neville Refalo (Corazón Mizzi & Neville Refalo)
9 – Anamika – Monica Said (Monica Said, Conrad DImech & Michael Camilleri)
10 – Mhux Kif Ħsibt – Dwett (Giovann Attard, Pamela Bezzina & Alex Debono)
11 – Din L-Art Ħelwa – Dominic & Ina (Joe Julian Farrugia, Andrew Zahra)
12 – Mhux Kulma Jleqq Deheb – Michela Galea (Emil Calleja Bayliss, Renato Briffa)
13 – Ħadd Ma Jaf Xi Jrid – JAMM Band (Singer-Songwriters)
14 – Bis-Serqa – Rita Pace (Singer-Songwriter)
15 – Wegħdni – Lydon Incorvaja (Rita Pace, Glen Vella)
16 – Fi Lsien in-Nies – Dario & Grecia Bezzina (Emil Calleja Bayliss & Dario Bezzina, Dario Bezzina)

L-Għanja tal-Poplu is organised by L-Għanja tal-Poplu committee together with Pjazza Teatru Rjal with the collaboration of L-Akkademja tal-Malti. The Malta Concert Orchestra will be lending its support to this festival working hand in hand with the composers of the finalist participants. L-Għanja tal-Poplu is supported by the Kunsill Malti għall-Malti – Cultural Partnership Agreement.

Source: Press Release, Ghanjafest.com

Since their return to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Malta has posted a series of successful results, including two victories in 2013 and 2015 and top ten results in each of the other years. Therefore, it comes as no secret that they have just confirmed participation for the 2018 edition of the international music competition aimed at promoting the incredible talent of teenagers.

What’s surprising is that the method of selecting the song, and the singer this time round will be similar to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in that the prospective participants will have to enter original songs into the newly minted Malta Junior Eurovision Song Contest. It has been stated that songs cannot be shorter than 2 minutes 30 seconds, and no longer than 3 minutes with singers.

Songs will be received by the Public Broadcasting Services on the 20th July, with the announcement of the 16 finalists set for the 3rd August. The national final which will air in a special programme on Television Malta will be staged sometime in September. Last year, Malta was represented by Gianluca Cilia with the song “Dawra Tond” composed by Dominic Cini and penned by Emil Calleja Bayliss.

We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about Malta’s selection process for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Do not hesitate to leave any comments, or get in touch with us.

Source: Television Malta

Tonight, the biggest music festival in the country will take place - with the aim of choosing Malta's 31st entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Over the course of the last quarter of 2017, the one hundred and twenty nine songs submitted for the competition were whittled down to just sixteen - which will all be performed live tonight from the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre in Ta' Qali.

The show will begin at 21:00 and will be broadcast live on TVM / TVM HD. The compère of this year's show will be Colin Fitz. Opening this year's show will be last year's winner, Claudia Faniello - who will reprise her winning song from last year, "Breathlessly". The sixteen acts taking part in this year's festival will take to the stage in the following order as seen below; in addition, they will be seen in postcards before their performances at various local heritage sites across the island.

1. AIDAN - "Dai Laga" (Aidan Cassar)
2. Miriana Conte - "Rocket" (Cyprian Cassar, Muxu)
3. Jasmine Abela - "Supernovas" (Charlie Mason, Jonas Thander)
4. Matthew Anthony - "Call 2morrow" (Jonas Gladnikoff, Tom Wiklund, Peder Eriksson)
5. Danica Muscat - "One Step at a Time" (John Ballard, Ruth Mussie, Jerusalem Yemane, Irena Krstva, Kian Fakhary)
6. Dwett - "Breaking Point" (Elton Zarb, Muxu)
7. Lawrence Gray - "Love Renegade" (Cyprian Cassar, Muxu)
8. Richard & Joe Micallef - "Song for Dad" (Cyprian Cassar, Richard Micallef)
9. Tiziana Calleja - "First Time" (Tina Stenberg)
10. Eleanor Cassar - "Back to Life" (Jonas Gladnikoff, Michael James Down)
11. Rhiannon - "Beyond Blue Horizons" (Rhiannon Micallef, Cyprian Cassar)
12. Brooke - "Heart of Gold" (Borislav Milanov, Dag Lundberg, Niklas Lif, Brooke Borg)
13. Christabelle - "Taboo" (Johnny Sanchez, Thomas G:son, Christabelle Borg, Muxu)
14. Deborah C - "Turn It Up" (Christian Schneider, Aidan O'Connor, Sara Biglert, Erik Grönwall)
15. Avenue Sky - "We Can Run" (Jonas Gladnikoff, Matthew Ker, Glen Vella)
16. Petra - "Evolution" (Elton Zarb, Muxu)

Alongside the main attration of the festival, there will be a number of interval acts. Claudia Faniello will take to the stage during the voting with her band, whilst last year's Maltese entrant at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Gianluca Cilia, will reprise his song "Dawra Tond", followed by a brand new song in a similar style - "Wam Bam". Performances by Analise Dance Company will also feature in the show throughout.
The result of this year's contest will be determined by a jury and a televote, each having a 50% share in the result. The jury - whose names will be announced during the show, compromises of five members. The public will be able to vote by calling 5230 21XX (the last two numbers being the singers' number in the running order). Only one vote per phone will be accepted.

In addition to the main show on TV, Public Broadcasting Services will also offer a backstage glimse to the proceedings online - TVM's presenters will be live giving the immediate reactions of the participants backstage, whilst other cameras will offer views of what is happening behind the scenes. The "second screen" footage can be accessed at https://www.tvm.com.mt/mt/secondscreen/.

ESCFlashmalta would like to wish all of the performers tonight the best of luck.

Source: tvm.com.mt

Saturday, 03 February 2018 00:15

MESC 2018: Speaking with Lawrence Gray

Eurovision fever is slowly gripping Malta - the nation's national selection for the world's most watched music contest is coming to it's climax this weekend. Of the one hundred and twenty-nine entries submitted for contention in this year's local festival, just sixteen made it to the televised selection. We had the chance to catch up with some of the competitors of this year's show during their preperations. Next up is Lawrence Gray, an artist who has been taking part in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest since 1997, with the song "Love Renegade".

Hi Lawrence, thanks for taking the time out for this interview! How does it feel to be part of the sixteen finalists for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest?

First and foremost, I am honoured to be part of this journey with my fifteen other colleagues – I’m really looking forward for the day to finally arrive.

Tell us more about your song, "Love Renegade”. What is it about? In your opinion, what makes your song an ideal candidate for Eurovision?

This time things are different – the song is very personal to me. It’s in a different style of music to what I usually perform. This is a big challenge to me that I am embracing with open arms in every sense. At the same time, I am taking things very personally as my beloved country Malta is involved, with my great team behind me, I feel like I can make a difference and help Malta to be victorious.

Your song takes a very different direction to the music we’ve heard from you in the past. What inspired you to make this change?

As I said, it’s a different style to what I usually perform. But that being said, a true artist has to reinvent himself over the years in order to keep going strong. Never give up!

How are your preparations going so far? Are there any surprises that you can tell us about?

Preparations are going very well – there are good vibes all around and myself and everyone else in my team are very focused on what you are going to see on Saturday. “Less is more”!

 

Are you following the Eurovision Song Contest in general? If so, are there any stand-out entries for you from the past?

Love it or hate it, the Eurovision Song Contest is a show that is very hard not to follow. The popularity in the show is growing more and more each year. For me, the most stand out entry of all time would be from Mr. Eurovision himself – Johnny Logan’s “Hold me now”. I still love that song to bits.

Do you have a personal goal for the competition?

This experience as a whole is very personal and important for me. I am not here for the experience or to be more notorious than I may be in any other platform, but my goal is of course to make Malta victorious. It’s time for our country to shine, for our name to be up in the lights – I feel that we deserve it and that is what I am working for.

What styles of music are you usually listening to these days? Is there anything you look for in a song that makes you enjoy it?

Being a songwriter myself, I like to listen to all sorts of music – but deep inside I am a glam rock lover. In a song I like to look for all of the emotions that a human can undergo in his life – be it true life, true experience, true stories. Only the magic of great music, and great lyrics which make perfect sense can make you feel that. Music is alive – it’s got to breathe, it’s got to live – I only listen to those artists that sing with their heart and soul.

When you’re not singing – what can you usually be found doing?

When you’re working in the entertainment business – a day off is something that is unfortunately very rare… sometimes it’s like your voice is the thing possessing you, and you have to go wherever it takes you! Nevertheless, I am the proud father of my son (Liam), and I am definitely trying my best to spend as much time as I can with him. I believe that our children will not remember how many toys their parents gave them, but the amount of quality time they have with them.

What can we expect from you once the MESC-madness is over?

Whatever happens at the end of this experience, whether I am the lucky one or not, I’m sure that my career will not stop there. I will still be going strong in the entertainment business and I will be ready to accept whatever comes my way. I’ll surely never give up to see Malta victorious one day!

Thanks for your time Lawrence, and best of luck at this year’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest!

Much love, and God bless!

Saturday, 03 February 2018 00:02

MESC 2018: Speaking with Christabelle

Eurovision fever is slowly gripping Malta - the nation's national selection for the world's most watched music contest is coming to it's climax this weekend. Of the one hundred and twenty-nine entries submitted for contention in this year's local festival, just sixteen made it to the televised selection. We had the chance to catch up with some of the competitors of this year's show during their preperations. Next up is someone who’s familiar to the audience and has been a fan-favourite for several years. This is Christabelle with “Taboo”.

Hi Christabelle, thanks for taking the time out for this interview! How does it feel to once again be part of the sixteen finalists for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest?

Great, of course! I’ve been over the moon since. I feel that the MESC is a huge platform for anyone who wants to get their message across through song

You’re back at the festival after taking a break last year. What have you been up to in the meantime?

Last year I decided to take a year off MESC to focus on my job as a full-time financial controller, as well as on my music beyond the MESC. Even so, my intention was always return within a year and, watching it last year, made me realise just how much I enjoy being a part of it and on the MESC stage. This year I released new music and was also very lucky to have been able to perform at the ‘Isle of MTV’.

Tell us more about your song, "Taboo”. What is it about? In your opinion, what makes your song an ideal candidate for Eurovision?

The lyrics are by myself and Muxu, and the music is by Thomas G.Son and Johnny Sanchez. The song is called ‘Taboo’, and it’s an incredibly personal one for me, both because of what I have been through as an individual in my private life, and because it addresses something that is very close to my heart. The song’s message is that we should be open about discussing mental illness and in offering help (rather than judgement) to those suffering from it. We need to change the way we talk about mental illness and encourage those who need help to speak up; but it’s only by working together that we can break this taboo... So, in a nutshell, with ‘Taboo’, I set out to raise awareness about mental health.

It could be said that your song takes a different direction to the ones you performed previously on the Malta Eurovision stage. What inspired you to do this?

At times, music seems to only be about the beat and the melody, but even though both factors are important, I believe that ‘Taboo’ is a mixture of the three elements that make a good track: a strong message, a catchy melody and good rhythm. The message of ‘Taboo’ is also universal, and I hope that it can get people talking about mental illness both locally and abroad, hence it would mean that the message behind my song wouldn’t only be transmitted to solely the Maltese Audience, but to all the countries competing in Eurovision 2018.

How are your preparations going so far? Are there any surprises that you can tell us about?

Preparations are going really well. Been really busy preparing for the final night’s performance. I am super excited about it and cannot wait to perform. This is something I’d like to keep secret, actually. The element of surprise is incredibly important in such a competition, after allJ

Are you following the Eurovision Song Contest in general? If so, are there any stand-out entries for you from the past?

I am an avid Eurovision follower, I have never missed watching the contest, be it Malta or Internationally. I believe that the contest has become so popular everywhere not just in Europe, and it is followed by so many people! It is the perfect platform, to get your music across borders and also get the message across through song. My favourite entries ever from the contest are ‘Euphoria’ and ‘1944’, both for very different reasons, the former because it is an extremely catchy and powerful song, and 1944, because of its meaning.

Do you have a personal goal for the competition?

Besides obviously doing well with my performance and on the final night, since ‘Taboo’ is a song about raising awareness, I have also got in touch with several communities and foundations so that, once the MESC is over, I can aid them in getting the message across as much as possible.

What styles of music are you usually listening to these days? Is there anything you look for in a song that makes you enjoy it?

I tend to listen to Sia, The Weeknd and Dua Lipa a lot. Their music is different, but I listen to music to relax, and I feel that their music relaxes me.

When you’re not singing – what can you usually be found doing?

Unfortunately for me – but fortunately for my boss – I am a total workaholic. So, when I’m not singing (or doing something related to it), I’m either at work or asleep. When I do get some time off, however, I go travelling.

What can we expect from you once the MESC-madness is over?

My main focus right now is the ESC. Once that’s done, then I can start planning my wedding, which will be taking place is 2018!

Thanks for your time Christabelle, and best of luck at this year’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest!

Friday, 02 February 2018 23:49

MESC 2018: Speaking with Tiziana Calleja

Eurovision fever is slowly gripping Malta - the nation's national selection for the world's most watched music contest is coming to it's climax this weekend. Of the one hundred and twenty-nine entries submitted for contention in this year's local festival, just sixteen made it to the televised selection. We had the chance to catch up with some of the competitors of this year's show during their preperations. One of these was former runner-up, Tiziana Calleja who’s returning after an 8 year break with ‘First Time’.

Hi Tiziana, thanks for taking the time out for this interview! How does it feel to be part of the sixteen finalists for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest?

I feel happy and ready to get on with the show. Bring it on! ☺

It’s been a number of years since you’ve been part of the line-up for the Malta Eurovision - what have you been up to in the meantime?

Sitting down, watching TV while sipping coffee…..in my dreams! I’ve been very busy with performances together with CentreSTAGE – our very own Performing arts group. We do a lot of events yearly and it does take a lot of time to prepare and put up a great performance. Most of the time I’m rushing from one place to another teaching or directing as well as singing.

Tell us more about your song, "First time”. What is it about? In your opinion, what makes your song an ideal candidate for Eurovision?

My team and I hit off this experience with a thought in mind - something different! Sometimes, less is more and can be spectacular just the same. Now it’s up to us how to make the spectacle happen ☺ I do believe in ‘First Time’ and can’t wait for the 3rd February to share all the work that has been going on with everyone out there, believing that, yes I’m one of the 16 finalists because the song, my team and myself can make the magic happen! I truly believe that the performance is strong enough to make it to the top-I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t!

How are your preparations going so far? Are there any surprises that you can tell us about?

I do have a great team behind me that are all on top of their game and working relentlessly for the performance to be fabulous. Every person is taking care of their own responsibilities ☺ and that makes everything work in harmony. Above all that, it’s all a matter of trusting the circle around you.

When you’re searching for a song to add to your repertoire (be it an original song or a cover), is there anything in particular that you’re looking for?

Yes, it always depends on why and where I’ll be singing and performing the song. That plays an important part.

Are you following the Eurovision Song Contest in general? If so, are there any stand-out entries for you from the past?

One of the best performances and songs for me will always be Euphoria! I still listen to the song and it still gives me goosebumps every time.

Do you have a personal goal for the competition?

I’m here to leave a mark. Winning or not, I want to share ‘First Time’ with the audience and especially with the people close to my heart. I want everyone to remember the performance and song. This is something I love doing with so much passion and that is precisely what I want to transmit.

What styles of music are you usually listening to these days? Is there anything you look for in a song that makes you enjoy it?

My fave will always be performing and listening to QUEEN songs. All their songs are amazing and I get so much inspiration from their shows (they didn’t just perform!) Their music helps me get the energy I need to get through the day!

When you’re not singing – what can you usually be found doing?

You will definitely find me at CentreSTAGE- teaching, rehearsing, planning shows and being part of my other family. Or you can also find me sipping coffee in front of a Disney movie when I have some free time (which is very rare!)

What can we expect from you once the MESC-madness is over?

I already have plans to release new material as well as gigs and performances coming up. No rest for the wicked ?

Thanks for your time Tiziana, and best of luck at this year’s Malta Eurovision Song Contest!

Keep it real, keep it fun…….and remember, there’s always a ‘First Time’ ?

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