Tallinn, Estonia. 25th May 2002. Song Number 20. A shy Maltese girl, Ira Losco, walks out on stage and sings a song called ‘7th Wonder’. Cut to the voting. Malta receives points from every participating country except for two. Malta finishes second, just 12 points shy of victory. A star is born.

So it went for Ira Losco, who has gone on to launch a massive solo career, with concerts and gigs in Malta and all over Europe. Now, after four studio albums, one unplugged album and a remix album, she’s the international face for Ipanema footwear, and the local face for big brands such as Guess, Coca-Cola and more recently Magnum by Wall’s. And she has just finished shooting the music video for her upcoming single “Shouldn’t Have to Bother”. Our Maltese correspondent Noel Zarb managed to get hold of her to see how this diva handles stardom.

It’s been over ten years since a shy Ira Losco wowed Europe with her rendition of 7th Wonder in Tallinn. How would you describe the Eurovision experience, including all those douze points?

My Eurovision experience was undoubtedly an exciting one. I went without major expectations. Of course I was extremely prepared and the team was an exceptionally tight-knit one working towards the same goal, a good result for Malta. The second place, and ONLY 12 points away from victory, was unexpected to a certain extent, because during that week we became favourites after the first rehearsal and press conference.

Immediately after the Eurovision Song Contest, you focused on your solo albums. How has the response been in Malta and Europe? Do you think people have managed to move away from the image of the lace bodysuit and the hidden tinsel?
Of course they have. It’s all about how true to yourself you are and how honest the delivery of songs you’ve written yourself which people relate to. I will not release material that I am not happy with. I don’t do music to please others, I do it because I believe this is what I was born to do: to write music, write words which mean a lot to me and last but not least to perform.
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You recently held a very intimate concert in Malta’s newest outdoor performing venue. Could you tell us a bit more about this concert and how it came about?

The concert was one which I felt I owed to the album THE FIRE and to my audience. I absolutely love performing. I love transmitting what I’ve written LIVE and in a professional and artistic manner. The venue was stunning to begin with. Valletta is my capital city and The Old Royal Theatre is one of our treasures. The whole show had to be special just like all my others were and the line up, including other artists was what made it all the more special.

We have seen you perform with a lot of foreign artists in the past, with people like Max Gazzé, Claudio Baglioni and Gigi d’Alessio. Who is on the top of your duet wishlist? And out of all the duets, which one is the one that you wish you could repeat?

Ironically I’m not big on duets, which is funny since I’ve done a few in recent years. [Laughs]. So I wouldn’t have a clue who I’d love to duet with next. I would definitely love to repeat the experience with all the artists mentioned above as they are all essentially different. Max is a relatively alternative artist, Claudio is in a league of his own and Gigi has undeniable Italian charm.

Your music videos have gotten more and more interesting, each telling a story and transmitting the right mood for each song. I have my personal favourite, but…which one is the closest to your heart and why?

I think to date ME LUV U LONG TIME which was shot and directed by The Bigger Picture remains my favourite. It was full of surprises and clever detail, which works a charm in this industry.

The Fire, your latest album, has received terrific reviews and is a great success both locally and internationally. Can you tell us what’s next for Ira Losco? A new single? A new album?

Well without a shadow of a doubt, I will be doing music for years to come. A new single has just been released titled “Shouldn’t Have to Bother” and a video accompanying it is to follow. This would not at all be possible without the people who have supported me all along. IPANEMA footwear, Magnum at Wall’s, Vodafone Malta and HEBE jewellery. Special thanks also goes out to Jagged House Management for continuously raising the bar and encouraging me to do more.

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Finally, you started off taking part in school plays and musicals, and went up the ladder of fame slowly but surely. What advice could you give to budding singers and performers who aim to make it big?

I would say never forget where you’re coming from AND above all believe in yourself. There is no one who will support an artist who seems unconvinced that they are the best. If you believe that you are the best at what you do, then you don’t even need to convince anyone, it comes naturally.

You can follow Ira Losco on her website, www.iralosco.com, and on Facebook and Twitter. Ira’s latest album The Fire is available on iTunes.

Photos by Gianfranco Stellini & Tonio Lombardi

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9 years ago

Ira should have won in 2002 .. her song was soooo much better than the tacky winner from Latvia.

Anyway, I hope to see her back at the ESC stage someday!