When Phyllisienne Brincat was little and her mum took her shopping, she used to lift the young aspiring singer onto a high place and she would sing for the people. Aged 54 today, she is busy singing, dancing, choreographing, acting, composing, directing music video clips, running her own recording studio, Sweet Notes, and evangelising.
When Phyllisienne was only three, someone informed her mother that a Baby Show Contest was to be held. Phyllisienne was selected as one of the 10 finalists out of 300 children. She was the only one to sing, and she chose a song by Rita Pavone called La Zanzara. “I remember I had claimed on stage that Rita was my cousin. I can still hear the audience’s laughter in my mind now,” the experienced singer recalls.
“I remember the judges on stage scrutinising my eyes, teeth, and asking random questions. I had no issues answering back. Anyway, I was the winner of this event and won several prizes, including a cash prize. From that day I never looked back and by the age of five I was already winning other festivals,” she bubbles with confidence.
Phyllisienne’s sister Grace Brincat was a singer and her brother Louis plays the guitar. The former used to sing with Vinnie Vella and his band Count Four at Premiere Cafe in Valletta. Phyllisienne insisted that she wanted to sing as well, to which Vella replied he did not employ minors. His pianist Frans Ellul, however, suggested otherwise, having seen the wannabe star on stage. They ended up singing together for many years.
“By ten years of age I was already what one could describe as a professional singer,” stated Phyllisienne, who counts around 50 years in the music industry and says she has the Lord to thank for keeping her voice and her strength.
Eve: What do you feel about the number of singers in Malta?
Phyllisienne Brincat: I’m so proud of the good quality of Maltese singers. It’s a headache for judges during a singing competition because they are more than good! Wherever we go competing internationally, we always win! One of my students, nine-year-old, Neil Sant, did the Grade 5 and Grade 6 of the Trinity Rock and Pop exam last year with distinction and highest marks.
It hurts me that we don’t hear about these beautiful things on the local news. They are not interested when my students win internationally, nor call the newscasters to bring them on the news. Even when I completed 50 years on stage they weren’t interested to bring it on! I tell you again… it really hurts that this is part of our culture.
Eve: Should more kids be encouraged to take up singing?
PB: Of course! Whether they are good or not, the most important is that it has to come from them. This is a great talent. Many of my students came to me completely tone deaf, and now they not only win in competitions and get famous but some of them teach singing as well!
I believe that where there is a will, there is a way. Some come with a very low self esteem, and I tell you, if they love singing, this really helps them to be lifted up. Music is so beautiful in itself, and it helps you attain more knowledge, helps those who are illiterate to start reading, and helps them to get better in school. It never interferes. I’ve been teaching singing for these last 30 years and I know what I’m saying.
Eve: Apart from singing, what other interests do you pursue in your free time?
PB: Dancing, going around our beautiful island Malta with my boyfriend on his motorbike, walking and watching Maltese and Italian drama series. I love photography as well, Facebook – to share the word of God and to bring on news about my singing academy. Having a good relationship with God, talking to Him is important to me. I know that He inclines His ears for me.
Eve: What is it that you cannot live without?
PB: The word of God Jesus Christ.
Eve: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
PB: I live for today and I leave my future in God’s hands! As long as I’m with Him, I’m safe and if I have dreams that are good for me, I believe that He’ll help me to fulfil them. I’m in peace and that’s the most important for me.