Scarborough, North Yorkshire
20 February 2005
Dear Chiara -
Congratulations on your success at the 2005 Malta Song for Europe
! You are a marvelous artiste. I must admit that I am so in awe of you that instead of just another blog entry I decided to write you this open letter.
Let's deal with my infatuation with Olivia
first, so you can see that my words are most sincere. Anyone who has ever heard me speak about Maltese pop over the past few years knows that I'm a great fan of Olivia. She is not only a charming performer, but also someone who takes risks. Her most recent risk may have cost her the few hundred votes that gave you your victory. This is not to say that you did not merit 1st place. Far from it! Gimmicks, such as that dastardly dress Olivia wore or Augusto Cardinali's novelty approach for J.Anvil, can make or break an act. The almost Zen-like simplicity of your act, shows how true this is.
I promise not so say anything else about Olivia in this letter, but I'm sure you now know where I stand on her placing second once again.
It has often been said that you are a gifted person. Indeed you are very gifted. However, I think that you're also a gift. What do I mean? You're the first performer to represent Malta at the Eurovision with the benefit of experience. Not only do you have a personal experience of the Eurovision (even though things have changed quite a bit in the last few years since you sang The One That I Love
) but you're also singing your own song. You have called it your baby. As a former songwriter, I know that singing your own song is a different kettle of fish from singing someone else's song.
In the coming weeks, I imagine that the pressure from the Maltese public to "win it for Malta" will be quite astounding. I believe that your previous experience with this sort of thing will help you deal with that. There are pros and cons to both the way things are done now in terms of voting, and the way they were done back in 1998. Your charm and angelic voice are your secret weapons...but it takes much more than that to win the Eurovision. Luck is a greater part of it now than it ever was in the past.
Speaking of the past, you should take strength from the fact that in 1991, the year I was directly involved in Malta's Eurovision entry, the contest was won by Swedish pop sensation Carola (who? - she sold 23,000 tickets for her first concert in Gothenburg after Eurovision 1991, a number that during that time was only for superstars like U2, Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.) Like you she had appeared in a previous edition of the contest (1983) and placed third, just like you did last time.
Anyway, I'm sure this is not the last of what I have to say about your next moment in the sun and the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest. Until then, I wish you all the best.
Your sincerely,Toni Sant
PS: I am very glad that you wrote your own song and that you're above all the ridiculous discussions about foreign songwriters taking part in the Malta Song for Europe. If only more Maltese singers could write their own songs. I just saw you on TVM with Eileen Montesin and your silence during most of the post-show discussion was stunningly wonderful. Well done!