INTERVIEW - MALTA - Ira Losco
WALK ON WATER
thanks to Daniel d'Anastasi,
Debono and Luke Fisher
Interview by Douwe Reveler for Sechuk.com
Published by Gary Speirs for Sechuk.com
Ira Losco won the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2016 back in January and earned the right to represent the island nation at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Since winning the competition she has worked with PBS to decide which song would go forward to the contest, and the result of these discussions was that 'Walk On Water' will be the song she will perform in Stockholm.
this year the national selection rules said that it would beep possible to
change the song after the MESC, as they did for last year's entry too.
Obviously as I'm representing my country, I wanted to have the best song
possible to take forward to
be honest, when you hear new songs some of course stand out, and 'Walk on
Water' was one of those so I'm very happy with it being my entry.
Can you talk us through 'Walk On Water' and what it means to you ? What was your reaction when you first heard the song ? What are the strengths of this composition in your opinion ?
I mentioned before, this song was one of a few that jumped out at me when we
heard the demos and then as I was recording the shortlisted 10 it
really appeared to me. It's appear trying to achieve the impossible and I
really like that message as it's something that people try to do every day.
video clip was filmed at the Malta National Aquarium, and also in Qbajjar in
Gozo where there is a beautiful bay, and the salt pans. We wanted to have
the water elements in the video, and obviously to show the beauty of
can't, sorry! But what I can tell you is that I will have a dance on
stage, Skorpion, who is a world-famous artist and I'm really excited to work
team were one of several from abroad who sent songs into the selection we
had to challenge "Chameleon". I'm really happy to have someone
like Molly Petersson-Hammar in the composing team, because she is an artist
that I'm sure we will see on the Eurovision stage sometime in the near
New Images courtesy of Allen Venebles (left) and Kris Micallef (right)
The Original Interview:
Ira, many congratulations
on winning the Golden ticket for
feel honored to be representing my country yet again after 14 years.
Obviously I feel a certain responsibility but I'm also aware at how much the
game has changed since 2002. The competition is wider, with more
countries participating. It is also of a much better caliber and the TV show
has redhead an astronomical amount of viewership. As to whether I was
surprised, all I can say is that I have never taken anything for granted, I
am thankful to be here as the choice of 40% of my country's population
Before we move onto the
Eurovision in more detail, could you tell us about yourself? Where were you
born and are you still living there? Can you tell us about the place?
a singer/song writer from
Do you come from a musical
family and if you do can you tell us something about them?
that I know of. No one in my family plays musical instruments nor sings. The
only connection to music was with my great grandfather who apparently was an
associate member of the Royal theatre in
When did you start
mother says I could sing before I could talk.
Who are your your main
musical influences have always been a bit dark and alternative. I love
Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Icelandic Björk,
Have you enjoyed a musical education? Where and
what did you study?
studied the pianoforte from age 8 till 17.
You are an established
singer but have you thought about other professions that are of interest to
you should you ever decide on a career change?
really. Music is the one thing I love to do and I feel I do it right.
In 2002 you represented
your country in
not part of my repertoire anymore. It still brings back really fond memories
of a time where I was carefree and starting my career.
The contest has grown and changed since 2002,
for example with the introduction of 2 semi-finals since 2008 and now even
the semi final is yet another hurdle to face. I feel the festival has gone
from strength to strength and the song writing has improved tremendously.
There are plenty of factors which contribute towards top placing, obviously
if there was a manual I would follow it, alas there isn't. The changes make
it more difficult but it’s a natural progression I guess. Maybe Eurovision
might one day become Global vision ;-) I believe Simon Cowell hinted this in
Did you learn valuable
lessons in 2002 and how will they help you to prepare for the contest this
of the main lessons I learnt was to be myself and to enjoy it and I
definitely want to keep that same frame of mind during this year's contest.
What are your memories from the contest in
was so much going on that I can't remember a lot of it, but I do remember
being excited about everything which was so new to me. I enjoyed the
whole experience from meeting fellow artists and musicians, media persons
and the public. I cherish a
visit to the beautiful Old Town of Tallinn, an exceptionally well preserved
medieval historic centre on the coast of the
14 years have passed since
your last participation in the contest. What made you want to return to the
competition and was it a carefully considered decision?
lot of factors contributed to my decision. Ever since my participation in
2002 and after the positive result for
What have you been doing
in the intervening 14 years?
music career started just a few years before I represented
Back to 2016 and you had 2 songs in the competition, 'That's Why I Love You' and 'Chameleon (Invincible)'. Can you tell us about the
main differences between these songs? Did you have a favourite or one you
felt was more suitable for the Eurovision Song Contest or perhaps you felt
more comfortable performing one more than the other?
a mix of both electronic and organic sounding. It starts off dark
and moody which then opens up in the chorus and further opens up when
the dance beat kicks in . There’s a lot of peaks and drops in the song
which would work very well for a TV show imo. We also have a 7/4 time
signature in the middle section which hints the end catchy melody but
it’s not a giveaway. This is done beautifully through an orchestral string
arrangement alongside a small touch of middle eastern influence. Most
pop songs are normally in 4/4 rhythm and occasionally 3/4 or 6/8 so it was
interesting to have this time signature part in.’That’s why I Love
you’ is a power ballad with a good feeling. I love the good feeling it has
In the chorus. It's also very anthemic imo and brings out the feeling of a
band performing it live . So they were 2 different songs with 2 different
visions. Unfortunately 1 song was allowed to pass to the final
depending on the highest number of votes. Chameleon was the preferred song
on the night.
Of the other competing
songs in the Maltese selection this year did you have a favourite and if so
which song was it and what appealed to you most about it?
Tell us about 'Chameleon
(Invincible)' in more detail. What is the meaning of the lyrics and can you
relate to them?
is about one of human’s best attributes . Our species has survived
so much throughout the years also managed to evolve because we are
very capable of adapting . Sometimes we forget this and limit ourselves
because accepting change can be scary at times . So I’m using the
chameleon to bring across this symbolic attribute alongside being there for
others, hope and feeling invincible.
You co-wrote and composed
the song. Was it written specifically with the Eurovision Song Contest in
never write with parameters. It just so happened that my producer/co song
writer Howard, TalkBack and I were writing for the album and this
track came along but it didn’t feel to have the right home. It was then
tweaked to fit the contest .
What is it about
'Chameleon (Invincible)' in your opinion that will hopefully encourage
Chameleon will remain as is it is only because it would have been challenged
and won . That means it would stand a good chance. If it is tweaked or
changed then it’s because it would have been for the best . Our national
final regulations have highlighted a possible song change, should PBS and
producers of song agree to it, this regulation has been present for the past
few years. Even though it has never been put to effect, should we have a
song in hand written by myself or other writers, which we believe
could be a strong contender instead of "Chameleon" we will
obviously consider it. So , if it’s another song it would be only
because it’s better and stands a betters chance BUT Chameleon is not an
easy song to challenge so we’ll see. Whatever the outcome , it would be
with the mindset that people from
A promotional tour in the
months leading up to the Eurovision Song Contest has become very popular.
Will you promote your song internationally and if so where?
Talk us through the
beautiful outfit you wore in your performances during the 2016
will definitely be wearing something different. The creative team
responsible for my look in the national finals was: Drew Warhurst, Rose
Callejja, Ernest Camilleri for styling, Clinton Attard and Diane Nikolic on
hair and make up. I think having the contest in January meant that
there’s no point sticking to what one does in the national Final. I wanted
to do the complete opposite even though people expected a lot from me I did
not want to fall to that trap. It was always my intention and my team that
should I have won it was at that point that we really think about the
performance and what outfit works with that . I assure you it will be very
Have you planned how you
will perform and stage the song in May? Will you have backing vocalists with
you on stage or will it be only you?
do believe I will have backing vocalists. As regards to the performance I
cannot divulge much as we are still in the production stage .
Are there plans to record
different versions of the song for promotional purposes? A Maltese version
not quite sure about the Maltese version, as regards to different versions,
it is usually normal practice to have various remix versions and other
versions for promotional purposes. We’ll see what works best . I have a
vast repertoire and a new album on the way so we ‘ll see what makes sense
You and Chiara have both
achieved 2nd place for
think I was more elated for having secured the first ever highest placing
How popular is the
Eurovision Song Contest in
think it's pretty popular. People like to meet up to watch it together. It
pretty much unites the whole nation for one night.
Have you followed the
contest closely over the years?
must admit I stopped following it for a while after 2002. I then started to
gain some interest through recent years. Mostly in 2012 again.
Do you have a favourite
winning song and a favourite Maltese entry? Can you explain what it is about
these respective songs that make them special to you?
favorite winning song is Euphoria, because in my opinion it is one of the
best pop/dance songs which has participated in Eurovision. I loved
Gianluca's entry Tomorrow because it was fun, sweet and sung
What are you hoping to
achieve from participating again in the contest? Going one better than in
would be a bit naive of me to think like that. Obviously every participant
would like to take the trophy back to their respective country, but only one
can win. The preparation is no different to how I would prepare for my
concert. The difference is that instead of 2 hours I have 3 mins on stage. I
believe just as music videos , the strength is understanding your
foreground, your middle ground ( if any ) and your background and how they
compliment each other without being an overkill . Less is more sometimes .
It all depends on the stage set design. It can determine a lot
of things. I am not going to fall trap to high expectations . the last
10 years have been rather disappointed for
Do you see it as a risk?
What if you don't do as well as you did the first time?
don't live life with "what ifs?" so this was the natural thing to
do. Nowadays the festival's standard is so high that making to the final is
a great place to be. Judging from last year's festival there were some great
songs and performances.
The contest this year will
be held in
I have visited many a time to song write with various teams. I'm excited
because it is a beautiful city and it will probably be radiant in May.
What did you think about
the winning song last year, 'Heroes' performed by Måns Zelmerlöw?
think that he looked like the winner from the get go. As for the song it
reminded me a lot of a David Guetta song, regardless it served its purpose
in the festival and ultimately won.
What would you like to tell people about
Can you tell us about
Maltese food? What is your favourite dish and do you enjoy cooking?
for me my boyfriend is a celebrity chef and he takes care of the cooking. My
favorite local dish is our traditional vegetable soup Soppa ta' l-armla
(widow's soup) which is called that because when widows were left with not a
lot of money to buy their food, neighbors would give them any left over
vegetables, eggs and cheeselets which eventually made this soup a very
hearty meal. Also the less healthy pastizzi (cheese/pea cakes) their crunchy
pastry encasing cheese or pea filling is absolutely delicious. I only eat
these once a year. They each have over 1000 calories!!!!
What do you enjoy doing in
your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
wish I had more free time. I don't, so when I do find some time I share it
with my family and loved ones.
If you could choose one
person to sing a duet with who would it be and why?
would choose to duet with Pink! probably because to me she is the epitome of
Are you a superstitious
person? Do you perform any rituals before going on stage?
I don't. I just make sure I'm well prepared.
What are your plans
immediately after the contest in May?
wouldn’t say immediately after but I will continue with my plans to
release the new album which I already released the first track ‘ haunted
by love’ in January. I hope I will make it in time to release by 2016.
Do you have a message for
the readers of this interview?
am overwhelmed by the positive feedback by international fans of the
festival everywhere. It is exciting and heart warming to have so much
support. I wish I could thank each and every person personally. Thank you
from the bottom of my heart.
Grazzi Ira for speaking with us. Every success in the contest and enjoy the experience !
Photos Credit : Reno Rapa and Pix by P