Philip Vella: ‘Life is a balancing act, and it’s not always easy to keep the right balance’

Composer and singer Philip Vella tells all in our Q&A

One of Malta’s most successful and recognisable composers, Philip Vella wrote six Maltese entries for the Eurovision Song Contest – 7th Wonder, Desire, On Again… Off Again, Vertigo, which broke all televoting records in Malta with over 31,000 votes, and Vodka. He has won the Malta Song for Europe, International Festival of Maltese Song, as well as L-Għanja tal-Poplu, and competed in various international festivals in the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Romania and Sweden.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I catch up on the latest news.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you (Confucius).

What do you never leave the house without?

My mobile phone...unfortunately.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Loud, bubbly, impulsive.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Being a self-taught musician and an aircraft engineer, both at the same time.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Always be honest and truthful no matter the consequences.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

Guitars, guitars and more guitars. You’re welcome to see them on display in my studio.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That time passes too quickly, and you should cherish every moment of your life.

Who’s your inspiration?

If I had to pick, it would have to be Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Life is a balancing act, and it is not always easy to keep up, and strike the right balance.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing?

Definitely being a lawyer.

Do you believe in God?


If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

There are many people I would love to sit down with, but Paul Simon definitely tops that list.

What’s your worst habit?


What are you like when you’re drunk?

Happy... maybe a bit too happy.

Who would you have play you in a film?

J.K. Simmons.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What music would you have played at your funeral?

‘X’jimpurtani!’ This will definitely put a smile on everyone’s face.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My guitars.

What is your earliest memory?

Eating ‘hobz biz-zejt’ at my grandmother’s house.

When did you last cry, and why?

At my grandson’s 3-year-old birthday party.

Who would you most like to meet?

Snooker professional Ronnie O’Sullivan. Big fan!

What’s your favourite food?

Pasta, pasta and more pasta.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

Rick Beato.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

In the year 2525. Would love to see what the future brings.

What book are you reading right now?

Tigné Point Bachelors, by my good friend, Gerard James Borg.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Definitely the ability to fly.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Drive a supercar.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

John Mayer.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

The only time I do not sing is when I am in the shower or working out.