Kurt Cassar, under the stage name of Kurt Anthony, has always felt a strong passion for music and singing since his childhood. The 24-year-old from Gudja has already participated twice in the finals of the prestigious Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza. One of his achievements is winning the Talent Ġdid Award back in 2014 with his song Inservi, penned by Emil Calleja Bayliss and Elton Zarb. This song was quite personal to him at that time, considering that he had served Malta within the Police Force for three whole years. Another achievement is reaching the finals of the Summer Hit Song Contest.
He kicked off his career as the front man of the band Radio Active, where Kurt experienced the grand stages in Malta such as The Farsons Beer Festival and the Delicata Festival. He also tried his luck abroad, gaining experience with record label Regent Street Artists and auditioning for X Factor UK in May 2015. He managed to reach the final room audition among the other hundred artists out of approximately 10,000 singers from around the globe. A year later, he entered X Factor Italy, and the results were also great.
Kurt is also well known for the theme song of Il-Patt. He’s also made it to the finals of the Malta Song Contest twice, and competed to represent Malta in the Eurovision.
Eve: At what point in your life did you realise you had a voice to be reckoned with?
Kurt Anthony: When I was five years old, I remember my music teacher Mrs Saliba in Grade 1 Primary School, stopping all the other students from singing during the music lessons in order to listen to me. She used to tell me in front of all the other students I was born to be a singer. I couldn’t understand or value those words at such a young age, but I still recall my passion flourishing and intensifying year after year through all the hardships and wonderful moments life can offer. Music is such a personal aspect in my life – my purpose for living. Every artist revolves around emotions and dreams. My dreams and emotions are fully represented by music.
Eve: What do you feel about the number of singers in Malta? Should more kids be encouraged to take up singing?
KA: I believe you cannot just wake up one day and decide you want to sing or perform any other art. I strongly believe talent is a gifted from God himself. You can study technique, but the passion to sing flows from deep inside. Having said this, I find a lot of singers in Malta just do it for fun, or just because they’re encouraged by their parents or friends, or because they become inspired by their singing idol. I don’t think it works that way. It takes a voice, a natural talent and a passion to be a singer. I find it amusing that anyone is considered a singer on this island. Music teachers around Malta should be more honest with their students and speak realistically.
On the other hand, yes! I believe that if any parent, relative or friend acknowledges any talent in someone who’s close to them, they should encourage and inspire the person to start taking their gift seriously.
Photo credits: Kurt Anthony Facebook page
Eve: If you were to meet another singer, who would it be and what would you talk about?
KA: I admire a lot of artists, especially Elton John, John Lennon, The Beatles, Lionel Richie and also Joe Cocker. I’d choose to go for a dinner with Joe Cocker and Lionel Richie. I find their music to be the genre I am closest to, both vocally and also emotionally. Their soulful husky timber fascinates me, and their songs are full of soul and heart. For the same reasons, it would be nice to have professional advice from any of the two. Also, I imagine them to be quite fun and emotional from the music they gave to the world.
Eve: Do you feel you have enough space and opportunities to spread your artistic wings in Malta?
KA: Opportunities always flourish. We have the Eurovision and other Maltese festivals to expose yourself and your music either in Maltese or in English. I’ve participated twice as a finalist in the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, and both years have helped me achieve further experience and more exposure within the Maltese industry, but unfortunately, festivals in Malta do not always valuate talent first.
A festival is always limited to presenting the best songs in the final phases. Therefore, it’s better for the artists to make their own music and publish it on social media in order to reveal their talent and start building their own brand without being limited by the regulations and conditions of a festival. I’ve recently launched my first single, Rising Up, in the UK market after having been chosen from 500 other acts to start professionally studying song writing in an Artist Development Agency in Oxford in November 2014. I’ve also won an Italian Festival last summer conducted by Amici judges. This shows that if you work hard and believe in your talent you can make your dreams come true. Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground, as the saying goes!
Eve: Is there somewhere or something you’re hoping to perform in the future?
KA: I’ve recently been contacted by a certain Rocco Palazzo, who has discovered global talents such as Elhaida Dani (The Voice winner 2014), Lele Esposito (Amici 2013), Walter Ricci (New Wave Adults, Russia 2016) and many others. After having listened to some of my music on YouTube and other social media sites, he offered to manage and mentor me for working on international projects. In fact, I’m more in Rome than in Malta this time round. When you find genuine people who believe in your capabilities, you should always respect them and work hard to make them and yourself proud!
My greatest accomplishment would be to perform in front of the X Factor judges in the big Arena crowded with thousands of thousands of music admirers. Now that would be a dream come true!
Eve: What gives you equal pleasure to singing?
KA: Writing is another passion of mine. I’ve loved writing poems, stories and personal narrations ever since I was very young. I’m now working hard to combine both passions together by writing lyrics. One day I’ll perform them, in Maltese in this case. I’m working on my first novel in Maltese, which will soon be published. If you had to ask me to choose between singing and writing, I wouldn’t have an answer! By means of writing I manage to express the feelings and emotions I might find hard to say to the people who matter the most, and that is quite an opportunity.