Interview: Ira Losco, Malta 2002

by Benny Royston 101 views

Ira Losco entered the Eurovision Song Contest for Malta with the song Seventh wonder. The song captured the hearts of Europe, pushing Malta to 2nd place on the night, just a single Douze points away from pipping Marie N. for victory. This week, caught up with Ira and talked to her about the contest and her career since

Let's start with a little bit of history. How did it feel back in 2002 to stand in front of hundreds of millions of eyes and sing for your country? And then in the green room? What was the feeling like? You and Marie N. were extremely close, there was only 12 points between you.
“I felt very proud to be representing my country and also excited because I had never performed in front of such a large audience, including the TV ones!!! The green room was nerve wrecking in the very beginning. I remember, I took a sip of wine because my philosophy was better get drunk so if the result is bad I'm numb. But as soon as I took the first sip, I felt sick. You see it was only just before the votes started that I felt some sort of pressure. However, our first vote was 10 points and the second one which I believe was by the U.K. was a 12, then I kinda had that feeling that we were going to do well”.

Although Malta is a small country, not supported by diaspora or neighbourly voting, you have done admirably well over the years. What would it take to bring the Eurovision Song Contest to Malta?
“I guess a very good song and a very good performance….and the logistics to host it”.

They say Eurovision is like a drug, you have to have more once you've done it once. Would you consider running the Eurovision race again in the future?
“I don't really see it that way for me. I really really enjoyed my performance. I felt confident and prepared and I'm the type of person that does something wholeheartedly. I'm a perfectionist. If I do something I have to do it right plus I wanted to make my country proud. Now is not the right time for me to give it another go.

International commitments keep me very busy so I'm not thinking of the Eurovision Song Contest as yet…but I never say never. However the preselections will determine whether I represent my country again ever. So…still a question mark even at that point”.

We know artists who will be competing for the honour of representing Malta in Helsinki. After Lordi's victory what would you say the trend is, do you think we may see a rock song from Malta?
“I believe Lordi won because they were popular before…and let's face it …it was different and a good pop song…. I don't even see them as rock artists…they were at the V Festival last year and let's just say the REAL rockers…kinda had a go at them.

I don't think Malta should focus on copying or trying to have something similar to what won last year. Music is always evolving and therefore…innovativeness is the name of the game.

Also Malta should try and send a song that has a life after the actual contest. It must be a song which MTV and VH1 want on their playlist.

Unfortunately we live in a world where the music industry has become very cut-throat and record companies will only save the sellable artists/ bands. They have no time for one hit wonders anymore, unless they know that they will be worldwide hits or summer hits like Helena's winning song. So my advice to Malta is…. watch MTV and get cracking on a good decent song.”

Having been in this position yourself – running in Malta's national pre selection – how would you say the candidates for Helsinki feel?
“Well I guess they feel excited. I just hope that they are happy with their songs. The thing is, in Malta, we have a tendency, the artists I mean to really lose our identity because we want to make it so bad. It happens to a lot of artists around the world too it's not just here. I just hope that the artists believe in themelsves and have a song to interpret which they love, because they will trasnmit that to the audience and there's nothing like a good honest performance”.

What is your favorite entry ever, both Maltese and international?
“Maltese, I would say Chris and Moira, because it was the song which really came close to sounding like a good pop song you' d hear internationally…plus there was a similar song called On the beach in a soundtrack about 6 years after their song, so they must've been in the right track!!

And international entry, I think it was Sertab, she gave me goosebumps, even though maybe on the night the perfromance wasnt' the best, compared to some other she has given in my opinion. But she looked like she was enjoying it and kicking and that came right across. She impressed me”.

Your previous CD, Accident Prone, did extremely well. How is your new one doing? What are your plans for the future?
“Oh, it's doing so well already, I just can't believe how blessed I am! It's called Unmasked and it's my fourth album since 2003. It is a collection of 10 songs, some acoustic renditions of Accident Prone and 5 new songs, some of which are my adaptation of classic 80' s hits. There is Time After Time originally done by Cyndi Lauper, which is just guitar and voice, very intimate. Another is Love Song by the Cure which is very heart breaking and another is a very mellow and intimate rendition of Bedsitter originally done by Soft Cell.
Here in Malta there are plans for some concerts on a large scale and a visual release this February.

You mentioned earlier some international obligations, would like to tell us a bit more about that?
“We also have some gigs planned in the U.K and U.S. However nothing is 100% confirmed yet, although I am confident to say that we've been in contact with some pretty weighty names from the industry and there's a lot of interest that fills me with even more determination!

And now a final question by a huge fan of yours: Whose idea was the glittery stuff you threw while singing 7th Wonder in Tallinn and how did it come along?
“That was the song author, Gerard James Borg's idea, he's very creative and I believe it was the perfect gimmick. I was sceptical about it…for the simple reason that I hate worrying about something like that whilst singing but it worked wonders!” would like to thank Ira Losco and wish her all the best for the New Year. Also we would like to thank Carmen Camilleri for her valuable contribution.

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