The Busker’s Rise And Rise To The Top: Who Are Malta’s Funky New Eurovision Winners?
The Busker have taken the island by storm, being voted outright by the public to represent Malta in the perennially popular Eurovision Song Contest with an atypical contribution of phat funky basslines, jazzy sax and punchy vocals.
Singer Dav Jr, saxophonist Sean Meachen and drummer Jean Paul Borg have bagged the €10,000 prize and are set to fly to Liverpool in May to compete for the ultimate honour, the holy grail of pop music, the 67th edition of the European Song Contest.
Although the band has been around for the past 11 years, a good number of people had never heard of them until they belted out Dance (Our Own Party) last week.
So who is The Busker?
The Busker formed in 2012 and was originally composed of Jean Paul Borg and singer and guitarist Dario Genovese – the name originated from the way they used to busk in the streets of Malta.
Two years later, they expanded to include Meachen and bassist David Grech, and in a Times of Malta interview they explained that their sound evolved from folk to blues/rock.
“The band was a home for me to unwind, learn and develop as a musician,” Meachen told university student publication The Third Eye in a 2015 interview.
“Initially, I was shell-shocked as the tunes were not down my alley in terms of what I listened to, but they grew on me and we all gave our little pinch of seasoning to the concoction, and I have to say the upcoming album is something to be reckoned with.”
This version of The Busker released two albums – Telegram and Ladies and Gentlemen – which included songs like Cadillac and It’s All Right (I’ve Got The Blues), as well as collaborations with Alexandra Alden and the legendary Freddie Portelli.
In 2019, Ladies and Gentlemen was awarded Best Album at the Lovin Music Awards, a moment The Busker would later describe to Escbubble.com as one of their greatest achievements.
Genovese and Grech eventually departed, and in 2021 David “Dav Jr” Meilak was brought in as a singer. Dav Jr was already a prolific solo artist, songwriter and music producer in his own right by the time, and he had contested the second season of X Factor Malta shortly before joining The Busker.
A successful podologist by day, Dav Jr was on the brink of trying his luck in Australia, but fortunately for Malta he found his musical soulmates at home.
The Busker’s first song with Dav Jr was Loose’ which featured on X, an EP that also included collaborations with Matthew James Borg and Raquela Dalli Gonzi.
Although they have been performing in Malta since 2012 (for Eurovision nerds, that’s when Kurt Calleja won with This Is the Night), The Busker had never participated in the contest before this year, although they had considered competing last year.
This was in line with the stance taken by other popular Maltese bands, who have long steered clear of Eurovision out of concern that the competition just doesn’t match their style. If that was The Busker’s concern, it certainly wasn’t justified as they stormed to victory, winning a massive 80 votes from the Maltese public.
One must wonder whether other Maltese bands will be inspired to try their luck next year…
Speaking to ESC Bubble, The Busker described the song Dance (Our Own Party) as “a funky tune mixed with The Busker’s signature sound.”
“The storyline is a trip of someone triggered by social anxiety at a party, finding comfort in leaving with a couple of friends to go to a familiar and more comforting setting,” they said.
“Since COVID hit, the three of us have felt more comfortable in our own environment surrounded by people that we are closer with. The song in general is a journey of how one gets out of such a party, and heads back to their home with their friends to throw their own intimate party.”
Malta is currently ranked 28th out of 37 in the international Eurovision odds, although it has climbed a few places since Dance (Our Own Party) was announced as the winner, which is a positive sign.
Lovin Malta wishes The Busker every success in the upcoming contest.
Do you think The Busker can qualify for the Eurovision final?