For those who did not bother to read the disclaimer – the following information and pictures were taken mostly from local sources, which I assumed to belong to the public domain, links of which are found at the bottom of this page. The information is not verified, and, please keep in mind that this is not an official site. Although great care has been taken, there could be inaccuracies, which, if pointed out, I am willing to correct immediately. I also stand corrected on some of the song titles that are cover versions of other artists. I wish to express my sincere thanks to Anita Farrugia who did most of the scans of the photographs used on this site.
The 20-year old Maltese singer from Sliema is steadily advancing on the highway of success after triumphantly entering the music scene. In my opinion, with her powerful voice, and her striking personality, her success is guaranteed. Obviously, I am referring to a greater success than the enormous success she has achieved in the last Malta Song for Europe festival!
Ira received her basic school education at Sacred Heart. She did her sixth form at St. Aloysius. At present, she is reading a bachelors degree in Communication and Psychology (lucky for me J). From here, I would like to express my congratulations for the results she already obtained and to wish her all the best for the others she is waiting for or will be sitting for in the future.
1999 - 2000
Ira’s interest in music goes back to her childhood. She started her career by taking part in a number of performances at the schools she attended, Sacred Heart and St. Aloysius. She introduced herself to the local music scene when she participated in the “Festival Kanzunetta ghaz-Zghazagh” – a festival for young singers at the beginning of their careers - in 1999, with the song “Falling for You”, written by Ira herself and composed by Conrad Briffa.
In this same year, Ira took part in the “Festival Internazzjonali Kanzunetta Maltija” – another popular local festival in which Maltese singers participate with songs written in our language, and international singers give their version of the song in other languages. Ira placed 5th with her song “Thallinix” by Ray Agius and was awarded the FIDOF award for the most promising singer.
Her next step was the “Malta Song for Europe” festival. This was the first time she participated in this festival, which is the most prestigious, followed and awaited festival on the island, both by artists and the general public. A lot of artists submit their songs and only about 16 make it to the final. This means that only the best of the best local artists can make it. There is no need to say where Ira ranks here – enough to say that: taking part for the first time, not one but two of her songs made it to the final!! The two songs were “Shine” by Philip Vella and Gerald James Borg which placed 6th and “Falling in Love” by Ray Agius which placed 7th. This marked the beginning of her success. Her name became familiar and she was already considered one of the established and leading local singers.
Another huge success for Ira was the musical Rita ta’ Cascia, in which she played the leading role.
Ira does not perform only as solo. She is one of the members of a local alternative band, called Tiara. The band is quite popular on the island. They give shows in various places including hotels and clubs. Ira joined the group in 1997. Tiara are expected to increase their popularity when their debut album, Super Pollen Colour, will be released soon. They also released a track, called Teleport Me on the Green Label Collection cd.
Do you call what you have read so far a success?? If you do, what would you call what’s coming next?!
Ira Losco performed in this year’s Malta Song for Europe festival. In the 2000 festival, two of her songs made it to the final, and that was wonderful. Well, this year she had four in the final!! Oh yes, 25% of the festival was hers!
There was a lot of debate going on about this. Some claimed it was not fair because she was taking the place of other performers. However, anyone with a good sense of judgement and competition would dismiss this claim. Like every other artist, she submitted her songs with the hundreds of other entries. Four of the chosen ones were hers. Her songs were good enough to make it to the final. The performers whose place she was supposed to have taken had every chance to submit their songs. Maybe they didn’t, or maybe they did but theirs was not chosen. None of this can be blamed on her. She is one of the best singers, she has a wonderful voice and she has good songs – that’s her only “blame”. Other artists gave their opinion on this. Some said that is was not professional and could not be done. Others said that she would not be able to concentrate on each of her songs. Others also said that it is not possible to change from one kind of song to the next in that little time span. She did it and she was a great success. And in my opinion she deserved to do even better!
This debate went on on local radio and TV stations and newspapers. Everyone was discussing the issue. Ira was interviewed many a time on this issue too, and always had the right answer smartly put for every question, statement or remark. Recently in an interview for a local newspaper, she said that she had entered the festival quite lightly. She ended up in most of that moment’s discussions. This increased her popularity. Whoever did not know who Ira Losco was, by now knew all about her. She also said she was quite nervous during her performance. Well, it certainly did not show. Whoever watched the festival (her performance can be viewed by clicking on the song titles in the links page), would probably agree with me. She captured most of the audience and television viewers’ attention the moment she appeared on that stage.
Unfortunately, there were people who did not wish her much success. In their opinion, she had bitten more than she could chew and would have taken pleasure in seeing her, as she herself stated, “fall flat on [her] face.” Obviously, this did not happen, and could not happen. Real talent never fails.
Back to the festival – Ira had 4 songs, all of which had a good chance of making it to the first place. These were:
“We’ll Ride the Wind” by Domnic and Doreen Galea
“Spellbound” by Gerard James Borg and Philip Vella
“Deep Inside my Heart” by Paul Zammit Cutajar and Ira Losco
“Don’t Give Up” by Ray Aguis
Unfortunately, the judges did not agree with me on how these songs should place, but they still placed very well. Ira placed 11th with “We’ll Ride the Wind”, 8th with “Deep Inside my Heart”, 4th with “Don’t Give Up” … and yes, it gets better! … 2nd with the awesome “Spellbound”. After this, her popularity increased much more as did her appearances in local events. More success was on her doorstep. She is requested by the public, media and also advertising agencies.
She was on KFC adverts, and she can be heard in a number of advertising jingles. Probably every one took her advice, one day or another and let their fingers do the walking while using the yellow pages. Other jingles in which she can be heard include Amazonia, Flora, Golden Gate, Kodak and Vodka Martini. She also took part in the Teatru Unplugged, introducing herself to an audience of different ages. She was also the co-host for The Malta Fashion Awards 2001, in which, obviously, she also performed and as usual her performance was outstanding. In June, she also participated in Hot Couture’s summer 2001 fashion collection presentation, Gypsy Queens. She took part in the Farson’s Beer Festival. She participated also in a couple of parties held this summer, like LoveSexy and Tribu’. She also participates in a number of events like street concerts. I attended the one held in Paola, in which she gave a great performance and the one held in Ghaxaq in which she gave a superb show. Like most of the elite singers, she sings in hotels and clubs, like the SAS Radisson Hotel and The Riviera Resort. She was also invited in a couple of local television programmes, like Hello Ray! on MAX plus, where one could see another side of Ira – a more relaxed, playful, outgoing Ira. And who can forget the performance she gave at Xarabank! Xarabank usually has a great, warm audience. She certainly made great use of that! One could see all the audience – mature and young clapping and singing along with her. She was also in the Top 5 chart of Tini Hamsa for a couple of weeks with her now-famous song Spellbound and is in the same chart at the moment, together with her band Tiara and their song Basketball. She also took part in the recording of the signature tune of Xarabank, along with a number of local established singers. She also participated in the Kerygma Volleyball Marathon 2001, in which she gave another excellent performance. She also has a track on the CD Kerygma launched for the event, as a fundraiser titled Solidali. Experimenting with yet another type of music, she has also recorded a track with Dj J Joy, entitled Summer Breeze. In July, she took part in the International Music Festival held in Serbia, with her song Spellbound. 43 contestants participated and she placed 10th, which is a very good placing, keeping in mind that in the Eurovision there would be only around 23 songs competing. Her song Deep Inside my Heart is also expected to be competing in the Sorell Song Contest which is going to start on the 1st September, in which 25 contestants are going to take part. This is not going to be easy as there are some very good singers from around Europe taking part, like Alsou – who almost won the Eurovision last year (placed 2nd) and the veteran Italian singer Mietta. Good luck to Ira!
To top all this, in this year’s Malta Music Awards she was nominated for two awards and awarded the Best Female Artist Award.
For the last couple of years she was the resident singer of the local television programme Tista’ Tkun Int. Here she performs solo with piano accompaniment. Her talent, the power of her voice that talks to the heart and her wonderful English accent can be clearly noticed, along with how easily she adapts to different styles of music. Occasionally, she was also given the opportunity to play the piano herself and to show her dancing talents. In this programme, she sings songs usually performed by foreign artists. The power of her voice could be heard in songs like the Beachboys’ “California Dreaming”, a performance which sends shivers down the spine. Another wonderful cover is that of “Dreams”. In my opinion, her version topped that of the Cranberries themselves, and is quite better than Dario G’s version, since these omitted the most difficult parts in their version. Her great ability in playing with her voice could not have gone unnoticed and with a little bit more of rehearsing this song could have been nothing less than perfect. Her version of “Everybody Hurts” is breathtaking. REM themselves could not have done anything better. Other splendid interpretations include Robbie Williams’ “She’s the One”, Abba’s “Mamma Mia”, “Downtown”, “Let it Be”, Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun”, “That’s What Friends Are For” and “What Can I Do”. Whoever did not watch the last show, has suffered a huge loss. She gave a memorable performance! Her songs included “It’s Hard to say I’m Sorry” – which can be compared to her previous version in an earlier programme to see the results of experience; the soft floating cover of Wet Wet Wet’s “Love is all Around” and the mellowing cover of “When I Need Love”. Followers of this programme, must have also noticed her confidence increasing, her voice settling even more and the results of experience kicking in; not to mention the sweet smile ending each song – a smile to which not even the toughest iceberg could resist for long.
Ira is already a local star, no doubt about that. She is a huge success. In a couple of years she managed to gain recognition others fought for years to obtain. I do not think she would have to wait for long for her dream to come true. She is a shining local star waiting to go international.
Links from where I obtained most of the above information and pictures:
I have also used several issues of Antenna.