We first saw Sophie Debattista 8 years ago, when she represented Malta at Junior Eurovision, with the hyperactive number – “Extra Cute”. Today, the 20-year old Maltese singer studies in London, and is a lot calmer than her teenage self. She has abandoned the rock chick style in favour of a folksy pop sound. She tried her luck in the 2014 Maltese Eurovision selection with “Let The Sunshine In”, but lost out to Firelight’s “Coming Home”, finishing 11th.
She recently caught up with our Croatia based correspondent Mario. Here’s what she had to say.
First of all, thank you for sharing your spare time with us. Can you tell us more about yourself? Who is your musical inspiration and what do you think is your biggest accomplishment?
You are most welcome. I am a 20 year old singer/songwriter living in London, currently studying on scholarship at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. I am inspired by many musicians/singers/bands, some of my favourites are Jessie J, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lorde, James Morrison, Lily Allen and many many more!! I love anything fresh ’n’ fun and I love listening to every style of music. My biggest accomplishment so far would have to be being able to do what I love in London and perform at gigs such as Musicalize 2013 – supporting Ciara, busking at the Brits at the O2, the Malta Eurovision Grand Final 2014, World Pride in Trafalgar Square and many more great festivals and events which I have been lucky enough to be a part of.
I really fitted in well at ICMP. I’m delighted to have been asked to stay on and continue the full 3 year course on the BA Songwriting Degree. Being a singer/songwriter isn’t all about singing, I do a lot of writing and co-writing now, which is so beneficial. I really love writing for others as well as myself. Getting to know new genres is also awesome, and having lessons on guitar, piano and demo production is all really useful. I’ve always wanted to pick up some other instruments, but they’re on my lists for the near future.
Has London changed your musical direction? Can we expect your debut album anytime soon?
Yes, being in London has opened so many doors and I am so fortunate for being exposed to so many different kinds of music, which has certainly broadened my knowledge. I have been writing many new songs lately, its hard to chose what should go on my first EP, which should I plan to start recording sometime soon – all being well. However, for the time being I just want to explore my songwriting and get the best out of it.
How did you feel when you found out that you were going to compete in Malta Eurosong 2014?
Really excited, I found out over the phone as I was in the UK at the time. I was having a meal with some mates and was given the great news by Peppi Azzopardi live on TV.
Can you tell us more about “Let The Sunshine In”? When did you decide that this was the song you would enter in Eurosong?
I had a great time co-writing ‘Let The Sunshine In’ with Lou, Adam and Alex. It had such a positive feel from the very beginning. The fun lyrics and laid back beat got me hooked straight away!! So I guess it was pretty early in the making when I knew it was the one, although it had a bit of competition with another great song we had written.
The lyrics are pretty motivational and optimistic. Were you thinking of a specific person while writing it?
No one in particular, but I found I could relate it to many people, to be honest. When we were writing it, I kept on imagining myself singing it to someone on the London underground who looked a bit lonely.
Your MESC performance was a mini Junior Eurovision reunion. You performed with Nika Turkovic, who competed for Croatia in 2004 and your sister Charlotte, who represented Malta the same year. Was this intentional?
Not exactly, it was quite a coincidence! Nika and I met each other on my first day at Uni. I started a month late and she took me under her wing. When we got chatting, it turned out we had something very much in common. So when my song made it to the semi final, I asked her if she would like to be involved, and she was over the moon, along with my lovely sister Charlotte. So they were reunited after 10 years. We had a blast. We’re all very close, including the lovely boys George and Martyn.
Can you tell us some of the behind-the-scenes highlights from Eurosong?
Seeing our dressing room for the first time, I was surprised by my team the next day when they had decorated it for me. On the last night, we had a good laugh that included the helium balloons from inside my dressing room – enough said haha. The Green Room was so cool. The organisation was top notch, we always felt at ease. And soooo many lovely people. I seriously had the best time ever.
In 2006, you represented Malta at Junior Eurovision with the song “Extra Cute”. How was your Junior Eurovision adventure? Tell us more about it.
It was an amazing adventure for me, something I will never forget. It’s a wonderful experience for any kid. You make friends and learn so much. I always refer to it as the start of my musical career.
Did you watch Eurovision this year? Who was your favourite?
It is great seeing the girls doing so well. I love their song, it certainly deserved to place highly. I recognised the girls, they’re just as beautiful as ever.
Are you planning to sign up for Malta Eurosong next year?
I never say never – but you’ll have to wait and see!! Wonder what your readers think about that!!
You’re currently promoting your song “Lil Game”, and the video is very interesting. Are you a ‘player’ in real life?
Well, I believe we are all players in one way or another, aren’t we? I had so much fun with “Lil Game” and since then I’ve actually recorded and released another single called “So Damn Perfect” which is out now and available for download online. For more info find me on Twitter @Sophiesofficial.
Photo source: TVM, Sophie’s Official Facebook and Twitter