The Malta Eurovision Song Contest kicks off on November 21, and the semi-finalists are busy perfecting their performances. Twenty artists want the golden ticket for Vienna, and in the weeks ahead our Austrian correspondent Patrick Melbler will be catching up with ALL of them. This time he talks with Chris Grech who is singing the song “Closed doors”.

Hello Chris. Thanks for taking the time to talk, and congratulations on making the Top 20 in Malta!

You’re more than welcome. Thank you for taking the interest in giving me the interview

This is your third time in the Maltese NF. Why did you decide to go again and how do you feel?

The local contest is a nice place to be but most of all, I still didn’t get the chance to represent Malta in this contest and I’m determined to try again. Hopefully this will be my time.

This time you are competing with the song “Closed doors”. Can you tell us a bit about it?

The song, penned by myself, speaks about those times when you ought to do good and work really hard to achieve things in one’s life, to improve, to be a better man.  Unfortunately sometimes, not everything’s within one’s powers to make it all happen.  That’s when the closed doors come in. No matter how hard you try, sometimes, it’s still very difficult to get through.  However, adding to this, one must never give up on their challenges… they will surely make you a better person once you succeed!

On a musical level, it is a result of great vibes and chemistry with excellent musicians.  I never get tired of working with these guys.  I’m talking about David Cassar Torreggiani (guitarist), Edward Mifsud (pianist) and Peter Borg (Studio engineer and producer).  Writing the song proved to be very easy and everything fell into place very quickly.  There will definitely be more to come!

Which of your three MESC songs do you like the most and why?

I would have to opt for this year’s entry, “Closed Doors”.  It is the result of more experiences and fine tunings. I always strive to keep improving with every song I write.  I feel that this is my best entry so far and which best characterises me and my voice.  It is the one that was written in the least amount of time because everything felt into place immediately and effortlessly.  I also like it because the song’s message is more personal and it of course means much more to me.

When and how did your music career start?

Having been fascinated by music and guitars from an early age, I always knew that my involvement in music would be much more than passively listening to it on the radio. Drooling in front of music shops, the urge to grab every guitar on display and strum imaginary music was overwhelming and a sign of things to come.  I bought my first guitar in my early teens and spent endless hours practising the songs I loved listening to. I eventually formed my first band with some friends, sharing experiences, working tirelessly to improve, and work our way into earning gigs at various venues and getting that incredibly energizing response!

Fast forward a few years, and during one of my gigs, I was approached by members of a band called ‘Twenty-Six Other-Worlds’ and asked to consider joining them as their frontman and singer – which I did.  The band has performed live at various venues locally and abroad, operating in a genre requiring very demanding vocal abilities.

The recognition received from the local underground scene encouraged me to broaden my audience, leading to a number of solo projects.  And now here I am competing to become the one to represent Malta in the Eurovision song contest.

Chris_Grech1How would you describe your style of music? What singers inspire you?

If I had to compare my band’s style of music then I would cite various progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Circus Maximus and Ark as being our main musical influences. On a more personal level, I especially admire singers like Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Jorn Lande (Ark, Solo), Russel Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob), Corey Taylor (Slipknot and Stone Sour) and James Labrie (Dream Theater).  However I’m also greatly influenced by other equally great singers in the pop/rock world such as Freddie Mercury, Bruno Mars, John Legend.  I’m also inspired by some of the female pop singers such as Rihanna, Pink, Adele and lately Sia. I base my lyrical influences on everyday life experiences and points of view.

What would it mean for you to represent your country in the Eurovision Song Contest?

It would surely be a dream come true!  The thought itself gives my shivers! It would definitely be the start of something much bigger than I’m normally used to and I’d really look forward to that.

Can you reveal any of your staging plans for MESC?chris_Grech2

A few days ago I saw the visuals that will be displayed during my song and I’m ecstatic, to say the least, about them.  They actually got my creative juices going to find ways of complementing them with lights, stage presence and attire.  There’s nothing cast in stone so far but a lot of ideas have been brain stormed.  I’m always open for means and ways to improve.

You’ve reached the MESC final for the last two years. Is there added pressure to do the same again this year?

Not really.  I try to stay away from the “what ifs”” and “what if not”.  I prefer staying focused on my performance in order to do my best and offer a great performance. I then let the public and the judges do their part, hopefully they’d be siding in my favour

Have you heard any of the other songs in MESC? Which songs do you like the most?

I only heard the first part of each song so far, and I must admit that there’s some tough competition out there.  I do like some songs more than others, but at a glance, all songs are of very high standards, which of course only add up to a great show!

Do you have a special message for your fans and followers on wiwibloggs?

First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for taking the interest and time to read my interview.  I look forward to hearing your opinions on my entry and hope that it brings you good vibes.

Good luck in the Maltese national final, and maybe your closed doors will open for Eurovision!

Well I really hope so. I thank you for giving us the necessary exposure to get us heard.

Do you think that Chris Grech will represent Malta in the Eurovision? Leave your comment below!


Picture Source: PBS Malta, Gianfranco Stellini Photography