Eurovision 2022 Malta profile: 'I Am What I Am' by Emma Muscat
Malta at Eurovision
Malta made their Eurovision debut back in 1971, but after a string of poor results, withdrew following the 1975 contest and did not return until 1991. They have participated every year since.
The small island nation became something of a Eurovision powerhouse during the 1990s and early 2000s, with twelve top 10 results between 1991 and 2005. Malta's best results also occurred during this period, twice coming in third place for Mary Spiteri ('Little Child', 1991) and Chiara ('The One That I Love', 1998), and twice in second place for Ira Losco ('Seventh Wonder', 2002) and Chiara again ('Angel', 2005).
In recent years, Malta has struggled a little more, with a 54% qualification rate since 2010. However, Destiny Chukunyere and her song 'Je me casse' represented a return to form for the Maltese last year, and was a pre-contest favourite to win Eurovision 2021. Ultimately, Destiny came 7th with an impressive 255 points.
2022 Entry: 'I Am What I Am' - Emma Muscat
Semi-final: Emma Muscat will compete in the first half of semi-final 2
My Eurovision Scoreboard ranking: 34th
Odds to win ranking: 22nd
(Rankings as at 27 March 2022)
About the artist
At just 21 years of age, Emma Muscat is already a household name in her home country of Malta. A singer, songwriter and model, she has been surrounded by music from a young age, learning to sing and becoming a classically-trained pianist. These early influences still make their presence known in Emma's music, where she makes use of the piano as a signature instrument in every track.
For the past few years, Emma has been based primarily in Italy, where she came to prominence on the popular talent show 'Amici di Maria de Filippi'. This gave her the opportunity to perform alongside some of Italy's hottest musical talent, including luminaries such as Elisa, Arisa and Annalisa. Ultimately, Emma came fourth in the programme - but six months of prime time television appearances were enough to launch her to stardom across Italy and Malta.
Since then, she has released a steady stream of EPs and singles, including 'Avec Moi', 'Vicolo cieco' and 'Sangria' – the last of which has been certified gold. She is currently signed to Warner Music Italy.
About the song
'I Am What I Am' is an uptempo pop number with strong themes of resilience and self-empowerment. It is written by Dino Medanhodzic, who is best-known to Eurovision fans for being the producer and songwriter behind 'Little Tot' and 'Bulletproof' - two popular entries performed by Dotter at Sweden's national final Melodifestivalen. Dotter also appears in the backing vocals for 'I Am What I Am'.
The song was written during a Eurovision songwriting camp in Mallorca organised by Warner Music Sweden. Initially, the record label struggled to find an artist who matched well with the song. However, Emma was an instant fan of the anthemic chorus of 'I Am What I Am' and quickly chose it as her Eurovision song.
A number of musical elements have been changed to make 'I Am What I Am' more authentic to Emma's artistry. The song demo was a guitar-led track, however Emma was keen to change the instrumentation to emphasise the piano, which is her signature instrument as an artist. She also rewrote a number of the lyrics to better suit her personal story.
Second Time Lucky?
While we have known that Emma Muscat would be representing Malta at Eurovision 2022 for a while, 'I Am What I Am' wasn't her original song for Turin.
Initially, broadcaster TVM announced Malta's Eurovision 2022 entry would be selected through the country's long-established national final format, Malta Eurovision Song Contest (MESC). 22 songs were performed over three nights to win the golden ticket to Turin - including Emma's original song, 'Out of Sight'.
'Out of Sight' emerged as the clear victor, winning both the jury vote and the televote to finish with 92 points. However, the rules of MESC allow for an artist to change their song for Eurovision, and a number of news sites have reported that Emma began looking for a replacement song as soon as the day after the MESC final.
However, this isn't the first time Malta has initially selected a song via a national final before changing it a few weeks later. In 2016 Ira Losco won MESC with the song 'Chameleon'. Shortly after the national final TVM announced Ira Losco would be participating at Eurovision with a new song, later revealed to be 'Walk on Water'. Malta ultimately came twelfth in 2016 with 153 points.
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Malta will compete in semi-final 2 on May 12 (European time) in Turin.