The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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Malta’s famous faces – the highs and lows of 2013

Malta Independent Wednesday, 1 January 2014, 10:00 Last update: about 11 years ago

Joseph Calleja - Tenor

“2013 was another very good year for me, with the culmination being my performance at the US Supreme Court and the dinner thrown in my honour, in November. Two weeks later I performed at the Kennedy Centre. I felt honoured to have formed part of the tribute for the icon Martina Arroyo. I also met wonderful Washington literati, Hollywood actors and exchanged a few words with the First Lady and President Obama. Two receptions, including one at the White House, were also thrown.

Other highlights were my nomination for two Classical Brit Awards including for my latest album ‘Be My Love - tribute to Mario Lanza’ as ‘Classic FM album of the year together with performances in Paris, Vienna, London, Munich and Chicago to promote my album as part of the eight-city tour.

On a negative note, I was disappointed to have cancelled my La Scala debut in February and a couple of other performances due to colds. A consistent low I have to live with is spending long weeks away from my children.

Another highlight was the inaugural event of the BOV Joseph Calleja Children's Foundation, set up to help underprivileged children. While tickets were on the expensive side, no performer was paid for participating and all proceeds went towards the foundation.

It is really nice when people come together in aid of others. While I like receiving, giving is one of the most wonderful feelings you get.”

 

Ira Losco – Singer

“2013 was a year to remember for me. I released my 4th studio album THE FIRE which held the ITUNES number 1 spot for 11 consecutive weeks and is still in top 10. All 3 singles hit number 1 spot and I won 3 awards at the BMAs. The highlights continue as I travel with my music in 2014 and take on more innovative projects. Exciting times, but what I cherished most this year was how my family is always present through it all!!”

 

Andre Schembri – Footballer

“One of my best moments of 2013 was winning 0-1 with the National Team in Yerevan against Armenia, which ended a 20 year wait for a competitive win on away soil. I was voted best Maltese player in the World Cup qualifier against Italy on the Gazetta dello Sport and I was mentioned on three full pages of Andrea Pirlo's autobiography. I am currently in third place among the top scorers in the Cypriot league with 8 goals.

My lows for 2013 include my club’s (Omonia Nicosia) elimination from the second qualifying round of the Europa League against Romanian Astra Giurgiu, and the elimination in the semi final of the Cypriot Cup against AEL Limassol. Malta’s huge 6-0 defeat against Denmark in the World Cup qualifying round is also among the worst experiences of this year.”

 

Colin Fitz - Editor of FIRST, Actor, DJ

“My 2013 started where 2012 left off, with me playing the Dame in the Manoel Theatre pantomime. The theatre was practically sold out, feedback was good, and one critic said I was the Dame who was the sweetest with the children who are traditionally taken up on stage halfway through the show he had ever seen. Through the year I presided over 12 interesting issues of FIRST, including introducing a new look in October, and four exciting issues of Manic, interviewing a series of wide ranging personalities, from the new Prime Minister to the Hard Rock Café International Cultural Ambassador, who has worked with some of the world’s biggest rock stars. I was very sad when one of FIRST’s regular contributors, the veteran journalist and historian John A. Mizzi passed away early in the year – he was a wonderful gentleman and still had so much more to give to the country. Later in the year I was proud to be asked by the Malta Football Association to DJ and MC at Malta’s international football matches, including the big one versus Italy. As a die-hard Malta supporter, I find it amusing that people are surprised when I tell them that I never collect autographs from or take photos with star names when I’m pitchside… It’s nice to be standing two metres away from Mario Balotelli or Andrea Pirlo of course, but my attention is focused on getting the crowd going and, most of all, on our own home-grown stars, even though they often end up disappointing us in some matches, as happened when Mifsud missed his penalty against Italy or when we suffered big defeats later in the year. But I never waiver in my support for Maltese teams. I was ecstatic to be the MC at Malta’s international rugby victory over Croatia in November. Other highlights included presenting the Hard Rock Café Battle of the Bands in April; attending the red carpet opening of an international Chanel exhibition in Paris, and being the voice of the Malta Fashion Awards in May; presenting the Malta Football Awards in July; and presenting the Malta Military Tattoo in November. I concluded the year back in the theatre, performing in a successful five-night comedy sketch show at the Salesian’s Theatre in Sliema. Finally, I also turned 40 this year… I don’t feel bad about it in any way – on the contrary I’m looking forward to 2014 as the start of an exciting decade full of new achievements and discoveries.”

 

Diane Borg – Athlete

“Unfortunately 2013 had more lows than highs in store for me. I suffered an injury during the 2012 Olympic games but had not realized. I ended up using crutches due to stress fractures in my ankles. At a time when I had to prepare for the 2013 season I had to go back to rehabilitation. I tried to start again in February but got sick with gastric flue for six weeks. Needless to say, this affected me really badly since I was really weak when I returned back in April. The Small Nation Games were due to start at the end of May so I did not have much time to prepare and get back in shape. Consequently, I only managed to place 4th. We had high hopes for the relay team but unfortunately, we got disqualified after the first changeover and I didn't even get to run.”

 

Jade Cini – Miss Malta

“2013 has been a very interesting year and It's one to remember for sure. I had my highs and lows but my hard work definitely paid off with success, so on the whole I would say it was a very positive year from which I have learnt a lot and gained more experience. I started off my year as an opening act and a backing vocalist in The Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2013 with Davinia Pace who's song "Betrayed" ended up in 3rd place so that was rewarding! Then in the same month I did the Malta Sports Award opening act where I was seen abseiling off the roof of MFCC with a bike, i honestly though i was going to die up there after i was stuck for more than 25 minutes and my knees got sore from the rope i was attached to but looking back it was a once in a lifetime experience! I then finished filming D.R.E.A.M.S. May marks one of the highlights of my year where I got the chance to see my Idol Beyonce live in concert. Then, in Summer I saw the Miss Malta advert and I had to give it ago. And here I am today! During the same months I got my degree in Primary Education. I am quite looking forward for the opportunities 2014 may bring with it.”

 

Moira Delia – Presenter, animal activist

“2013 was not a spectacular year but I went through a number of experiences that I will never forget. I learnt much during this past year. There were some health issues that one can only understand after going through them. When you’re in that situation you can really understand what others are going through. But I am a positive person and always try to think about the good things. Rescuing and homing pets is one of my highs, with one case more satisfying than the other. This kind of work keeps me focused. Also, as a mother I am very proud to see my son’s upbringing and studies bearing fruit. A quiet and serene year is a good year for me and I look forward to a more colourful 2014.”

 

Gianni Zammit – DJ

“For me the highs for 2013 were: seeing my daughter Kaygrowing another year and interacting with her, seeing Juventus win another championship (29 ? 31 ?),  seeing our childcare centre open up its doors to many happy children, meeting KISS' Paul Stanley (1908hrs, 18th June) in Milan backstage at the KISS concert and being part of MALTA ROCK MOVEMENT's tribute to Pink Floyds' The Wall.

The lows are: working far too much, losing a friend (Nirvana) to cancer and queuing for hours at Euro Disney to meet Princess Aurora (it turns out it wasn't really her but just an actress!!!)”

 

Justin Haber – Footballer

“2013 had many highs, among them becoming father when my son Kai was born in August. The 1-0 win against Armenia in the World Cup qualifying round and Birkirkara winning the BOV Premier League were also among my best moments of 2013. One of the low points was when I stopped playing abroad. For 2014 I hope that Birkirkara win the Premier League again and that we really do well at my academy.”

 

 

Kelly Schembri – Singer

“My high's of 2013 include opening 'The London New Years Day Parade' with my band Monroe in Parliament Square to a live street crowd of 500,000 & a global television audience of 280 million. Other highs with my band this year have included performing on 'The Malta Music Awards' & 'The Isle Of Wight Music Festival'. We were also invited to be interviewed & sang live on BBC Radio London which was a very exciting experience ! Putting my band aside, I have had a few very nice modelling jobs in London & I also spent 2 months working on the movie 'Jupiter Ascending' as Mila Kunis's body double and I stood alongside Channing Tatum which was definitely a high point for me ! Other than that I would count the times I came home to visit my friends & family in Malta as a high. For all my highs there have also been lows however you learn not to dwell on them. You learn from them and move on. Obviously not being with my friends and family all the time is a low for me however I am lucky to be doing what I am doing and I get to come home often so can't really complain at all!”

 
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