Eurovision Interview: Christabelle
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent
Malta have come close but not quite got the crown far too often in Eurovision, so it is fair to say that hardcore Eurovision fans are really rooting with Christabelle at this year's contest.
Armed with a powerful song with an important message, the compelling performer is
definitely geared up for a Top 5 finish, so we caught up with her to find out more.
For those not in the know, tell us a little about yourself...
I’m 25 years old and I’ve been a Eurovision fan for as long as I can remember! The first time I sang on stage was when I was three years old, and a year later I sang on TV for the first time. I studied music at Mount St. Mary’s College in Hollywood and have been working with American and British producers for a big chunk of my career. My proudest moment, however, was when I was made Ambassador to the Maltese President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society for Mental Illness, a topic that is very close to my heart.
What appealed to you about entering Eurovision?
Various things, actually! Firstly, having the opportunity to represent my country at such a prestigious event is a huge honour for me.
Secondly, as a singer I believe that Eurovision is a great way to get my music out there, particularly since there is a message I’d like to share through ‘Taboo’!
How did you feel when you found out you would be representing Malta?
It all felt so surreal! I totally blanked out when I heard ‘Taboo’ had won, and the next thing I remember is being up on stage singing it again! It’s a dream come true and a very proud moment for me both as an artist and as a citizen.
Your song is called Taboo, tell us about it...
‘Taboo’ talks about the double standards that exist in society when it comes to mental health. While people understand and empathise with physical ailments, poor mental health is sometimes met with resistance, disbelief or even ridicule. This stops many who may feel unwell from coming forward and seeking help. This is something I experienced myself a few years ago when I was feeling mentally and emotionally unwell and became afraid to speak up and be labelled ‘weak’. That is the ‘Taboo’ and that is what I hope this song will make some people discuss.
What is the best feedback you have received as yet?
Definitely the fact that some people felt comfortable and empowered enough to speak to me directly or in public about their experiences related to poor mental health. It’s a privilege to be able to have that sort of connection with people and, to me, it also means that the message of the song has struck a chord.
Have you listened to your competitors yet? If so, which is your current favourite?
Of course… And I’ve been following the developments closely! I think the level this year is really good, and there’s a great mix of genres!
Have you spoken to any past entrants? If so, what advice have they had?
Yes, to quite a few Maltese entrants actually and many had the same thing to say: To enjoy it to the full, which is something I’m definitely planning on doing.
What is your favourite Eurovision entry of all time?
Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ and Jamala’s ‘1944’ are my all-time favourites…
‘Euphoria’ was a great song to sing to, with strong lyrics and an awesome beat; while ‘1944’ had an incredibly powerful performance.
Which previous non-winning entry do you feel really deserved the crown?
That’s a difficult one to answer, but I think it would have to be Dami’s ‘The Sound of Silence’. I love that song!
What do you hope to achieve with your appearance at Eurovision?
Like everyone else, I entered this competition to win. Yet, having said that, my main aim is to make my country proud and to further the message of ‘Taboo’.
What is success for you in the contest?
In the end, only one country can win, so my ethos is to do my absolute best. I think it’s important to leave the stage feeling that you’ve given it your all and, hopefully, made your country proud in the process. Moreover, given the song’s theme, I think success for me also needs to involve a discussion about mental health, be it on a national or international level…
Lastly, if you could duet with one past entrant, who would it be?
Loreen or Abba would be amazing!
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Eurovision Interview: Christabelle, 9th May 2018, 8:07 AM