Cliff Zammit Stevens: There is always light at the end of the tunnel

Starting vocal training at 14 with soprano Gillian Zammit, tenor Cliff Zammit Stevens recently obtained his Masters in Performance from the Royal College of Music and has quickly become one of Malta’s rising stars

Cliff Zammit Stevens
Cliff Zammit Stevens

Dubbed a ‘revelation’, Cliff Zammit Stevens recently started the Marcy Foundation to work towards education and fundraising in drug abuse, domestic violence, mental health, HIV and child abuse. He created the Marcy Foundation in memory of his mother, who was a victim of domestic violence.

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

Make a cup of coffee.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To never dwell on the past.

What do you never leave the house without?

My mobile phone.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Passionate, helpful and determined.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Founding the Marcy Foundation, in honour of my mother. The Marcy Foundation will work towards education and fundraising in these five pillars: drug abuse, domestic violence, mental health, HIV and child abuse.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Keeping up with the Kardashians.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To always love and take care of yourself.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My apartment in London.

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

That there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Who’s your inspiration?

My family – they are the strongest support system I have and I wake up every morning feeling like the luckiest person alive to have them around me.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Losing my mum unexpectedly last November. She was my everything and I feel I had to be reborn.

If you weren’t a tenor, what would you be doing?

I’d be a pilot.

Do you believe in God?

Due to my current life experiences, I have many questions.

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

My mum.

What’s your worst habit?

Over-eating.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Loud and annoying.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Christian Bale.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Jealousy and dishonesty.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Happy and uplifting gospel music.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My mother’s eternity ring.

What is your earliest memory?

My first family holiday to the United States, where we visited all the theme parks and went on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas.

When did you last cry?

I’m a big crier and cry everyday.

Who would you most like to meet?

Beyoncé – there is no other person more hardworking, ambitious and musically perfect as her.

What’s your favourite food?

An Italian wood oven pizza.

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

Jade Zammit Stevens and Yazmin Zammit Stevens. Two of the most hardworking women who inspire me everyday.

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

To our last family lunch on Christmas Day in 2016 – our family gatherings are always full of life and energy and it would be so special to experience the biggest energy of them all once more!

What book are you reading right now?

‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro.

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

To invisibly be in any place at any time.

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

Travel to the moon.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

‘La Boheme’ conducted by Chally and ‘Everything is Love’ by The Carters

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

In the shower I’m usually warming up and singing different scales. While working out I love current pop music to get the energy to finish the work out.

Tell us....

If you were performing for the last time in your life, what would you choose to sing?

I would sing ‘Nessun Dorma’. One of the most challenging arias for a tenor which gives me chills every time I hear it.

You’ll soon be having your Cliff Zammit Stevens 10th anniversary concert: what should we expect from the performance?

This will be my biggest solo concert to date – made even more memorable because the Foundation is being launched at the same time. I am thrilled to have Ira Losco join me as my special guest this year and, together, we are working on a fantastic programme that promises an unforgettable evening of music, positivity and awareness.

How have you, and your singing, grown over the last 10 years, and what has been your greatest experience?

We have grown and matured together. The voice is constantly carried with me wherever I go so whatever I feel my voice feels, whatever I experience my voice experiences. I am so lucky to be surrounded by my very caring teachers and mentors that always guide and direct me in choosing the right repertoire for myself as to not damage my instrument. My greatest experience has been performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London and having my debut single ‘Xemx’ shoot to the number 1 spot on the iTunes chart.

More in Q & A

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe