Eurovision.tv: Can you please give us an insight in to your background prior to winning the 2008 Malta Song for Europe competition both musically and academically, telling what you have achieved to date?
Morena: I was always interested in music and always wanted to become a singer! I spent hours on end with a broomstick in front of the mirror at home pretending I’m a famous artist, this was when I was about six years old! At school, I took part in musicals, and I was a member of a big choir, and even had two leading roles in operettas! Then at age 18, I was introduced to a band called Spectrum and became their lead singer. I took part in some shows, and some festivals, and I was even asked to perform at the National Orchestra Goes Pop event. I was also very lucky to be chosen to participate in the 50th EU Anniversary Celebration. Academically, I studied to become a teacher. But maybe I should stop now because otherwise, we might be doing this interview for a longer time than planned. I can be a chatterbox you know!
Eurovision.tv: The Malta Song For Europe Festival was not your first experience of such a competition, having competed both in the Malta Song for Europe 2006 and also Malta International TV Song Festival in 2007. Can you tell us some more about these experiences and the exposure you gained from them?
Morena: In 2006 I was asked by a local composer to sing a duet with him for the Malta Song for Europe. The song was called Time, and myself and Paul Giordimaina placed ninth that year. Meanwhile, I took part in a couple of festivals which included the Malta International TV Song Festival. I had two songs in this festival and I ended up first and second. It was great because most people became more familiar with me, but I was still pretty unknown to many. Now my life has taken a different turn. Everybody seems to know who the Vodka Girl is!, I hear people calling out “Morena…Morena” wherever I go! It’s nice, It’s fun and I enjoy it.
Eurovision.tv: How did you come to enter your two songs for the Malta Song for Europe 2008? Had you previously worked with Philip and Gerard? Did you have a personal favourite of the two songs you performed?
Morena: Well, I knew Philip quite a while ago, but Gerard I met about a year and a half ago. I had collaborated with Philip on some songs, and he helped me out a lot with some very good advice. Then Gerard came into the picture, and he seemed to be very impressed with me. Basically, they wrote the songs with me in mind, and one day I got this phone call from an over enthusiastic Gerard and Philip.I did have a favourite if i’m honest. I loved both songs but Vodka was very me. It had everything I ever wanted, and I just enjoy myself so much on stage when I perform it. It gives me energy, and I just love watching people jumping to it.
Eurovision.tv: Your actual name is Margherita Camilleri - how did you decide upon your stage name of Morena? Does it have a special meaning or significance?
Morena: When I took part in Malta song for Europe in 2006, I wanted a stage name and somebody suggested Morena, it means “The Dark One”. I thought it suited me very much, so since then I have been Morena, and people call me Morena all the time, so it almost become my name now. And I like it, somehow I seem to only answer to Morena nowadays.
Eurovision.tv: You enjoyed a clear victory with the song Vodka in the Malta Song for Europe final, particularly with the televoting public. How do you plan to try and convert that in to the same kind of success with the European televoting audience when competing in Belgrade?
Morena: It was a very nice feeling, and a big surprise in a way. I believed in my song very much, and I was surrounded by a team of professionals, but I thought I’m a rather new face, so probably I would not gain as many votes as the others. But I walked on stage, and I must have impressed the people, because they voted for me en masse, so of course I was happy. Now, I just hope the European audience will find the same magic like the Maltese did. I just want to be myself, perform, have fun, and enjoy my three minutes with Vodka. It is then up to the audience to decide, but of course I hope all goes well, like I am sure every other artist does.
Eurovision.tv: Finally, In recent years, we have seen the Maltese Eurovision Song Contest Maltese representative embark upon a widespread promotional tour of Europe prior to the contest . This has not in itself paid any dividends over the last two years in particular. Do you intend to have any kind of promotional tour this year? What are your plans in the build up to Belgrade?
Morena: Well, it has always been so exciting watching our representative fly around Europe on a promotional tour. Of course it would be nice to go around and visit other countries and meet new people. I’m extremely sociable so I love getting to know new people. However, I also know that there is a price to pay by doing all this, one gets drained out, so anything the Maltasong committee arranges for me is fine. I am very easy when it comes to making plans. As for Belgrade, I am really looking forward to the event. My dream is to go on that stage and see all the different, colourful flags, and hear the audience. It must be a wonderful feeling for every performer and I am really looking forward to that. Meanwhile, we will soon have a meeting and discuss how the song will be staged, whilst juggling several TV interviews, photo shoots, and all sorts of other things in the process! Sorry for the long answer, I did tell you I can be a little bit of a chatterbox sometimes. Thanks for the interview and I invite you, and all your readers to Vodka with me in Serbia. Let’s have a good time together!!!
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Morena for taking time out of her shcedule to give us a very positive and enthusiastic interview.