Definitely not a name you’d be able to forget even if she wasn’t already one of the island’s singing sweethearts, Destiny Chukunyere is the 17-year-old vocal powerhouse who will be taking to X Factor Malta’s Final this Saturday with the hopes of representing the country at the Eurovision Song Contest this May.
But even at such a young age, the teenager is already a competition veteran, enjoying a sizeable list of achievements under her belt.
Born on 29th August 2002 as the first of three children, Destiny is the daughter of Nigerian footballer Ndubisi Chukunyere, a former Hibs striker with a decorated history of both appearances and goals.
Passionate about singing from a very young age, Destiny didn’t wait too long to get her explosive talent on stage.
Her biggest fan and supporter, Destiny’s mother Alexia has been regularly uploading videos of her daughter’s performances on YouTube for the last decade… and it’s amazing to go all the way back to where the uploads started.
In December 2012, at a Christmas concert, a tiny 10-year-old Destiny brought impressively high notes for a beautiful rendition of Oh Holy Night that stunned the silent crowd.
What followed in the small hall was one of Destiny’s first standing ovations… but definitely not the last.
For the next couple of years, Destiny continued to make different appearances all over the island, steadily becoming somewhat of a household name.
At the 2013 Għaxaq feast, the young girl had another stunning performance to offer the gathered crowd, this time singing Ave Maria alongside the banda.
Weeks later, a number of professionally recorded videos saw the young girl power through a couple of diva bangers like Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing and Beyoncé’s Listen, two videos which earned her a total of nearly 30,000 views.
By summer 2014, Destiny performed at the Farsons Beer Festival, and one thing quickly became very clear: the teenage prodigy was ready to take on some of the country’s toughest singing competitions.
Massive success, it turned out, took less than a year.
In 2014, an 11-year-old Destiny won Italy’s SanRemo Junior, in what would end up becoming the first of a long successful run of singing competitions.
In September of that same year, at the 2014 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza Junior, right after her 12th birthday, Destiny came third with the song Festa T’Ilwien. There was just no stopping her now.
In fact, soon after her podium placement at the KKI Junior Festival, another bout of overseas success came at North Macedonia’s Asterisks Music Festival. She was chosen to go up and represent Malta thanks to her success in a competition organised by ErSeb Productions where she won Singer of the Year. At the Asterisks Music Festival, Destiny ended up bringing home the gold with the original entry Live & Let Live.
Another opportunity came knocking when Destiny auditioned on Sky Italia’s Next Generation. Here, she made it to the finals, winning yet again and being awarded the opportunity to sing at a big concert in Verona.
It’s around this time that the name Destiny stopped being a relatively undiscovered gem on her mother’s YouTube account and started featuring on TV shows, local competitions… and soon enough, something even bigger.
Destiny’s first massive break of her singing career came in 2015, with a little something called the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
On 11th July 2015, still-12-year-old Destiny won the live national final with a powerful rendition of Aretha Franklin, an artist she would go on to perfect in the coming years.
Four months later, at the 2015 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Bulgaria, Destiny represented Malta with the original song Not My Soul.
Not only did Destiny end up winning the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, but she also set an incredible record that had sat unbroken for 11 whole years.
Destiny won the contest with 185 points, breaking a record score set all the way back in 2004 by Spanish singer María Isabel.
Less than a month after her triumphant return to the islands, Destiny – along with her team – was awarded the Medal for Service to the Republic by the President of Malta. No more than 10 Maltese citizens are awarded the medal per year.
You’d think this would be enough for someone who’s already won one of Europe’s biggest singing competitions before turning 18… but Destiny isn’t just anyone.
In 2017, the name Destiny made headlines again… this time thanks to the global TV hit Britain’s Got Talent.
Series 11 of the hit show is where 14-year-old Destiny left her mark on all the people who somehow hadn’t already fallen in love with her at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest… not to mention some of the most notorious judges this side of the Atlantic.
Revisiting her ol’ faithful Aretha Franklin, Destiny chose the insanely difficult Think, blowing everyone from the crowd to the judging panel away and earning her a standing ovation (and four super easy Yeses).
“I’ve been waiting for someone to come out who we think could be a star,” Simon Cowell himself told the young Maltese girl. “And guess who it is? You.”
Destiny made it all the way to the second Live Semi-Finals, before being eliminated and placing sixth overall.
The teenage Maltese singer’s last appearance on Britain’s Got Talent saw her kick off the 30th May show, with a performance of another Aretha Franklin classic, this time Respect.
As if that wasn’t enough, summer 2017 also saw Destiny perform alongside Malta’s superstar tenor Joseph Calleja for his 20th anniversary concert in Floriana right after coming back from her BGT adventure. The result? Amazing. Graceful.
Fast forward to 2019, and Destiny found herself indirectly participating in the Eurovision… thanks to X Factor Malta.
Already a veteran in the massive competition circuit, Destiny was flown to Tel Aviv last year to support the first winner of X Factor Malta, Michela Pace.
Providing some powerful backing vocals to Chameleon, Destiny and the team helped Malta qualify to the final… with the song eventually finishing in 14th place.
One month later, Destiny tried her luck at the second season of X Factor Malta… and as expected, her adventure to the Finals hasn’t been too tough.
Already a seasoned singer with a bunch of victories behind her, a smiling Destiny walked into the audition room in summer 2019 to four judges who of course instantly recognised her.
“There’s a lot of people who are doing really well and I keep worrying whether I’m actually on their level,” a nervous Destiny said before her audition. But it didn’t take long for her to prove to everyone that she very much was.
Performing Jennifer Hudson’s Giving Myself, Destiny wowed from the get-go, earning her a super easy four Yeses and powering through every single phase of the competition.
“The emotion is spot on and the voice is, well, needless to say,” Howard Keith smiled. “I’m also noticing a sense of maturity. You were still very young at the Junior Eurovision, and I think this is a completely different Destiny.”
This Saturday, Destiny will face Justine Shorfid, Kyle and F.A.I.T.H. in a Grand Final that’s set to take over every conversation.
Judging by her perfect streak – she’s been safe in every single phase that had eliminations – Destiny is set to be a formidable foe to the magnetic diva-in-the-making, the five-piece vocal powerhouse and the last gent standing with a voice of gold.
But who will take home the coveted top spot?
This is part of an ongoing series shining a light on this year’s X Factor Malta finalists. Tune in tomorrow for the next profile.