Kurt Calleja: ‘Persistence is the bridge between dreams and making them happen’

Singer Kurt Calleja says he wished he had known more about the business side of music earlier in his career: ‘I believe I was meant to be where I am now’

Singer Kurt Calleja made Malta proud in Azerbaijan when he took his song ‘This Is The Night’ to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, and recently performed at Slavianski Bazaar Festival final in Vitebsk, Belarus, with artists from 42 countries where he sang Maltese favourite ‘Xemx, Wisq Sabiha’… in Russian!

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

I hit the snooze button at least two or three times…. then watch an episode or two from my favourite series (it’s my way of getting up).

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Persistence is the bridge between your dreams and making them happen.

What do you never leave the house without?

Mobile phone, glasses, keys, mobile phone charger, sunglasses, and I never leave the house without doing my hair unless I am wearing a hat or cap.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Dreamer, believer, achiever.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Turning 30 and celebrating with a live music concert I organised in aid of the Richmond Foundation from which we were able to raise over €3,000 for the cause. During this concert each song, each guest performer, each moment was a representation from an important chapter in my life.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Food.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Time is way more precious than anything else… Sometimes you can give money and gifts but when you give time to someone – time to listen, time to hug, time to just be with a person and let them be themselves around you – that is the biggest gift you can give anyone. Money comes and goes – but time is unrecoverable.

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

I’d have to say my laptop.

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

I wish I knew more about the business side of music way earlier in my career. I was more into sports as a teenager, but I believe I was meant to be where I am now. This way of thinking has given me peace in times during my life where everything seemed challenging and felt like an uphill battle.

Who’s your inspiration?

Parents, friends, celebrities, co-workers and so many more. I like to look at people’s successes and try as much as possible to learn from them…

What has been your biggest challenge?

My weight so far has proved to be by biggest difficulty – I love food too much. I don’t feel good when I’m failing to button my favourite suit…

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

Chef… this is what I originally set out to be and I trained at ITS and worked in the industry for four years right about when music started to take over and the head chef at the time told me that I should follow my heart. One day I believe I will have my own little place and it will have my little touches that balance food, culture and music.

Do you believe in God?

I believe mainly in a higher power… with all the flaws organised religions bring with them, I choose to see the good they provide and that is a sense of community, a sense of forgiveness and faith in something bigger, something that the eyes can’t see but the heart can feel.

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

Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger… against all odds they kept the fire of their dreams burning inside them till they reached their goals.

What’s your worst habit?

Eating late.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Unbearably spontaneous.

Who would you have play you in a film?

I never thought about this…

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

My mind is programmed to find a solution to every problem – so when someone’s brain is wired to find a problem to my solution I get super anxious.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My Eurovision outfit – I still wear it occasionally though I try to avoid it as much as possible as I would like to keep it looking nice and sharp.

What is your earliest memory?

In my dad’s car at night, aged four. For some reason I demanded a particular chocolate bar. Don’t know if we ever got this chocolate…

When did you last cry?

Last September – my grandmother passed away and she was the last of my grandparents – so I kept recalling all the beautiful memories of our childhood.

What’s your favourite food?

I am a very moody eater. Sometimes it’s pizza or meat, other times it’s dessert. Now that it’s summer, ice-cream!

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

Lewis Capaldi, the singer from Someone You Loved - his stories are hilarious and random.

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

Meet my mother’s father – the one grandparent I never got to meet.

What book are you reading right now?

‘Eat The Frog’ by Brian Tracy – a book that gives a lot of insight on setting priorities and to stop procrastinating.

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

Flying – because that’s just too cool.

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

Surely write a musical, travel to as many countries as possible, and host the Eurovision Song Contest.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Flamenco – just bought a Spanish guitar and all I’m listening to is Flamenco and Latino music.

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

In the shower I let my inspiration run free but I when I am working out I am listening to motivational speakers or listening to songs I want to learn for a show.

TELL US...

If you could perform with any artist, who would you choose? And what would you sing?

I’d love the chance to perform with Robbie Williams, Coldplay or Michael Buble – all these have been crucial in my growth musically.

What should we expect from you in the coming months?

I am re-launching myself as an artist and singer - I have been quite on the downlow since 2015 with original material but this year I will be releasing another two tracks following my recent release called Sweet Chili in late April of this year hand in hand with a few covers with some of my favourite local artists; travelling and song writing with the label I work with in Italy – I’d say the future is exciting and that’s how I want it to be.

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