Interview with Isabelle Luca Borg

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Date of Birth: 19 March 1988

Where do you live? Putney, South West London

Status: Single

Star Sign: Pisces

Media-related occupation: Singer/Songwriter

ISABELLE LUCA BORG’s first proper appearances on local television were when she was around eleven or twelve years old and when Clare Agius invited her on Siesta to be involved in a puppet show.

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“I fondly remember being asked on the programme again and again with new sketches each time, mostly written by my brother Manuel (he’s now a DJ and probably embarrassed to be reminded of this!) A few years down the line, I took part in both editions of the XFM Virtual Rockstar competition, I was on the Xarabank panel for the first time and took part in other festivals, such as the Malta Summer Hit Song Contest and Don’t Stop Me Now which was a twelve week reality/singing competition,” explained Isabelle.

In London, she performed at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in front of around 2,000 people and sang for the Miss World Contestants in Bali where she was working as a chaperone. Isabelle is currently working on an EP writing and recording material as she goes, with Max at Obadia Productions (facebook.com/obadiamusic) and will be shooting a music video with the talented Piers Vernon-Kell (www.piersvernon-kell.com) for her first single in February.

For future updates and to see what she’s been up to, like her page on Facebook facebook.com/isabellelucamusic.

Tell us about your journey to become a singer and songwriter.

I have always been fond of writing and I’ve always preferred lyrics to music. However, at one point, when I was about nineteen or twenty years old, I decided to quit being involved with music because my boyfriend at the time wasn’t keen on me being ogled at by other men while performing (*facepalm*) and I figured that I loved him more than I loved music (*double facepalm*). Man, I was so wrong.

In August 2009 (at the age of twenty one), I got an invitation to appear on the first edition of Don’t Stop Me Now which ran for twelve weeks on Favourite Channel. It was an amazing experience and I made a lot of friends and connections. I got to meet the then-President George Abela and do a lot of fun stuff.

Long story short, I broke up with the boyfriend and then realised that I could not write a single lyric. I had writers’ block and it infuriated me greatly. I took part in a few festivals and TV shows, most prominently the Malta Summer Hit Song and a year later in 2012, I moved to London believing that I could not write a song.

Studying at the Tech Music School, we were pushed to write songs and thus began my journey of finding my style and trying to squeeze myself out of my dreaded writers’ block. I was at a friend’s summer BBQ party when I met Jon Lukas Woodenman who demanded to hear my songs even though I insisted they weren’t any good. After listening to each song he said, “This is good. Show me something else” until I’d exhausted all that I had and he looked at me and said, “Yes, you’re good. You have potential.” And so the seeds of faith were sown in me and my tree continued to grow when I met a music producer in London who kept encouraging me to write. I’ve now written over twenty complete songs for a four-song EP. I am also writing for up and coming artists as well and am involved in some exciting collaborations with established artists!

Was it a difficult decision to leave Malta to study in London?

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that leaving everything behind is always hard. I am very close to my family and friends and leaving them behind to go somewhere on my own without anywhere permanent to stay was very frightening, but also very exciting! And no, because I cannot imagine myself not doing this. I did this for myself and for no one else, I needed a change, a new experience and I did it. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved.  Baby steps, but at least I’m trying!

Besides music, what are some of the other things that you cherish most in life?

My family and friends and my pets. We lost one of the family dogs, Ritz, last year and in the same week, I came really close to losing two family members due to a very bad road accident. A much needed operation had to be postponed due to the accident.

Living abroad is tough sometimes because you can’t be by your loved ones’ side immediately, but my best friends in Malta rallied around and acted as my ambassadors. My best friend Angele was at my sister’s side within one hour of my calling her and my other friends Sara, Lucienne and Roberta, visited as much as they could and kept reminding her that I would be there very soon!

Do you hoard things or regularly throw stuff out?

Unfortunately, I am a hoarder. I am, however, trying to throw out a lot of things and just keep the stuff which I need but it is still a lot!

Given the chance, would you drink wine, beer or vodka? And why?

Depends really. If I’m on a date or relaxing somewhere, I would normally have a nice glass of white or rosé wine (the sweeter the better!). If I go out, set on the intent of becoming at least a little bit tipsy I will probably have cocktails and shooters (Tequila, Sambuca or B52s). I’m a really cheap date though, so one of each of those will probably have me singing Bohemian Rhapsody including all the guitar and piano parts!

How do you relax and get away from it all?

On my days off, I generally get a bus somewhere, browse the shops and walk along the river. I love to cook and that relaxes me a lot. I also like making things such as photo holders and make-up brush holders. I also like wandering around random charity shops to see if they have anything that interests me. I also like cycling along the river when it’s not too cold and then stopping for a picnic at Battersea Park.

When I was in Malta, I used to make some sandwiches, drive to White Rocks and just sit in my car, reading or writing, listening to music and eating my sandwiches and drinking my tea. Bliss!