Within the space of barely a month, pop artist Clinton Paul released three singles; Ċelebrazzjoni, released just as the festive season had started to kick in and, more recently, Tnax and Beautiful Day, the latest single to be lifted off his upcoming third studio album. The new release, launched along with an accompanying music video during an event at Mangano in Baystreet at the end of January, is a song that the artist has described as a blend of country and pop. Michael Bugeja recently caught up with the prolific singer-songwriter to find out what else is he’s been up to this past year.
You rounded off 2015 with a Christmas single and started 2016 with a new song all about the year ahead, which suggests you've been very busy in recent months...
Yes, I spent much of 2015 away from the public eye, keeping myself busy writing new songs and shooting music videos that will be released this year. The first of the new songs was in fact the single Ċelebrazzjoni, which is all about Christmas. Anyone who knows me will tell you just how much I love Christmas and each year my love for it just keeps on growing. It's fun writing holiday songs and people do want them. The second single Tnax is actually one of my personal favourite tracks off the new album that I am working on. The chorus has that catchy hook that people seem to have taken quite a shine to. When writing Tnax I wanted to create a positive song that encourages the listeners to chase their dreams all year round, no matter how big that dream may be.
Tnax is also your second single in Maltese. After so many releases in English, what attracted you to the idea of singing in Maltese? Do you find it easier or not to write in Maltese than English?
I have to be honest with you and say that I am much more fluent in writing English songs. However I love my native language and singing in Maltese is a completely whole new territory I have to explore further. The reason I decided to release the first two singles in Maltese was because I had been asked countless times by the Maltese public and I hadn’t recorded any yet. Clearly there is a demand for it, so I decided that instead of writing an all-English album I’d write in both English and Maltese.
You've been getting quite some radio airplay in Australia. How did that come about and do you think that singing in Maltese has helped this? Are you planning to target other countries too, with the English songs perhaps?
I've been getting airplay in Melbourne for quite some time now thanks to Radio 3ZZZ and particularly the presenter Emmanuel Brincat, who has supported me since the beginning of my career. When I decided to debut the first single from my album in Maltese last December, I got a lot of positive feedback from Australia, and I was even interviewed in Melbourne and Sydney. I have relatives in Sydney and they’ve always said they would like to hear my music on their airwaves, and now they can.
You'll be releasing your third album later this year. Any other details you can share with us about it and where it's at right now?
Every album is like a baby to me, and I've been working on this one since 2013, just after I had released my second album, Unbreakable. The new album will be completely different from my previous ones. It is especially uplifting and positive and it features a variety of styles. The album is nearly finished and will be officially released in mid-May. There will be some collaborations with foreign artists on it too, which I’m very excited about, especially when it comes to shooting the music videos. I believe this will be my best album to date.
What would you say it is that keeps you going, writing and releasing new songs?
I'm the type of artist that isn’t satisfied with dropped an album and stopping there. I’m always hungry for more, so as soon as I’ve finished one project, I’m already thinking of the next one.
Music apart, you also put a lot of work into music videos. Why you feel music videos are so important in this day and age, perhaps more than they were back in the 1980s when MTV revolutionized the format?
To me, music videos are the most exciting part when writing a song or making an album. The fact that you can imagine a visual to a song when producing it is quite exciting. When I write my songs I always have a concept in my mind for the video. In the coming days I will also drop a new one so am really optimistic about its release. MTV has truly revolutionized the format and the path for us artists. Each year the videos are to a certain level and I've grown up watching pop stars like Britney Spears, J.Lo and others with their unique videos that have motivated me a lot.
You've probably been asked before, but have you ever considered submitting a song for the Eurovision Malta Song Festival or are you not interested in that scene?
I have been asked a lot. Some people even set up a 'Clinton Paul for Eurovision' page on Facebook (laughs). It's funny how people are so into this festival. Eurovision is entertaining and can offer opportunities to artists, however it's not on my bucket list at the moment. As the saying goes though, never say never. My goal at the moment remains to keep on releasing more albums as I love writing, and producing more music videos. If a Eurovision opportunity were to come along down the line, I’m sure I would give it my best shot.
This article was first published in The Sunday Times' ESCAPE magazine (06 March 2016)