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On Life, Love And The Self: Meet Michael Azzopardi, The New Face Taking On Malta’s Alternative Music Scene

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If you’ve got a penchant for poignant Maltese poetry and chord-driven tunes, then you’re in for a treat. There’s a new name emerging in Malta’s music scene, and it’s Michael Azzopardi.

Just a year since his first release, the musician has produced a three-part series of unfeigned songs with surreal, self-directed videos that hit right in the gut.

“These songs are my very first. I’ve been writing since 2019, starting with a couple of songs in English, because that felt like the thing to do. Then, in January 2020, I wrote my first single, “Fik Ħolqien”. It just came out in Maltese, I didn’t plan it, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Azzopardi has since written over 40 songs in Maltese, penning guitar-based, lyric-driven reflections on life, love, art and what it means to inhabit a body. 

“I think I was shying away from writing in Maltese,” Azzopardi explained.

“But when you feel it, you feel it. I felt something special.”

While he’s already cultivated a distinct sound for himself, his music journey stretches at least five years back, through a series of trial and error.

“I didn’t know what to write about back then. How do you write a song? I had to relearn guitar to get into it. I think the trick is to draw from some inner place. Then I figured out how to indulge in that songwriting approach.”

Asked about his subject choice for his poetic lyrics, he said he prefers writing about things you don’t necessarily hear about in three-minute songs.

“I started writing a lot about the ego, the false self, shame in art and creativity. I read a lot about it. I think it’s a very important subject. I was using these songs to figure out these things. “Fik Ħolqien”, “Tibla L-Art”, they’re all about thought and the mind.”

“I like songs that talk about city life in a really romantic way like Talking Heads,” he added.

“I really admire someone who sits down and tries to unpack a human experience and then turn it into a three-minute song. Authenticity is everything to me.”

It shows in his musical influences. From indie staple Mac Demarco (of course) to Britpop King David Alburn, Devandra Banhart and artists from Portugal and Italy.

What’s next for the musician? An EP, coming out this February.

Michael Azzopardi’s songs are produced by Jimmy Bartolo, with mixing and mastering done by John J. Bartolo. The videos are self-directed with the help of Rachel Micallef Somerville.

Tag someone who needs to check these tunes out!

READ NEXT: Dehumaneation: This Stark Valletta Exhibition Is A Cold Slap In The Face On Where Malta Stands Right Now

Sam is an over-caffeinated artist fighting for a cooler and freer world, one article, song or impromptu protest at a time. Hit her up with thought-provoking ideas or dreams at [email protected] or @princess.wonderful on Instagram.

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