Spotlight on Christabelle Borg
I clearly recall the first time I tried to sing in front of TV, jumping on the sofa, breathless and trying to sing in Italian, to one of the songs from Zecchino d’Oro. I asked if I could emulate those kids, so my parents sent me to my very first vocal training session. At the tender age of three, my vocal coach also suggested I should start attending some dance and drama classes to boost my confidence, and so I did.
Along the years I participated in a number of competitions which instilled a competitive spirit in me and also allowed me to meet many people who left both a positive and a negative impact on my life. This competitive spirit, enabled me to not only work hard in terms of my extracurricular activities, but also in my studies. In fact, in primary school I used to make sure that my time was managed wisely; well, my mother made sure of that, really and truly.
Once I reached secondary level, I stopped attending drama classes as a hobby and instead started hosting my own television show, after previously hosting a few kids’ slots on national television. I would finish school at half-past-one, and on most days, spend till the evening filming for a 45-minute weekly show. I had to juggle my studies and my hobbies by spending more time at home on the weekends, working on my school work and preparing for exams. Moreover, to further advance my training, I also used to attend piano lessons with annual theory and practical examinations. and this required substantial time and effort.
Summer was a perfect time for me to focus on my music career, as it provided me with more time to take part in competitions be they local or foreign such as the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and the International Children’s Festival in Louisiana, New Orleans where I won my first international competition and which, in turn, opened a lot of doors for me in my singing career.
In the summer of 2006 I attended a music camp in Hollywood, California, where I was taught perseverance and hard work. This intense training introduced me to a different world, one which I never dreamt of. They taught me to be an all-rounder, further developing my singing, performing and songwriting skills, as well as my interpersonal skills. My classmates, tutors and vocal coaches all did this professionally, but I had to come back to Malta to further my studies at secondary level. Nonetheless, I travelled to the States back and forth accompanied by my parents, to work on my first original track. While I was on one of my trips, I met with one of my camp tutors who had contacts at Disney Channel, and he invited me to remain in the US to further my music career. My father didn’t think this was the right time for me to put my academic studies on hold and instead preferred that I return back to Malta. That is, perhaps, my biggest regret, as it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Following that experience, I only returned to the States on a few occasions to record original material.
The music I worked on with foreign producers and songwriters, was then released in Malta, topping local charts, and landing me several awards at The Bay Music Awards and The Malta Music Awards, including The Best Solo Artist award for five consecutive years, The Best Song Award for my single Every time I bleed and the Best RnB Artist Award, among others.
During this time I also continued with my academic, sitting for my O-Levels, followed by an eventful two years at St Aloysius College Sixth Form where I studied Accounting and Pure Mathematics at A-level standard. I then went on to attend the University of Malta (UoM), reading for a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Accountancy and Marketing. This required me to place my music career on the back burner at times, however with adequate time management as well as the help of my family and friends I was able to keep up occasional performances, tutor accounting students at secondary level, give singing lessons at a performing arts school and follow a career deal programme with PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Having obtained a second upper degree, I went on to read for a Master in Accountancy degree. It was during this time that I decided to compete in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Despite the added stress in a different domain, I felt it was the right time to take a leap of faith and take part in one of the highest esteemed competitions in Europe. I took part on three separate occasions, placing second in 2014/15 with the song Rush. This was a stepping stone in my career as an artist as it brought with it great exposure both locally and overseas
My greatest achievement at an academic level is undoubtedly the Best in Financial Management Dissertation award which I received from the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy at UoM, in recognition of my dissertation entitled ‘The Setting up of a new private school in Malta: A feasibility study’. This was a fitting culmination after many of years of hard work, perseverance and sacrifice.
I am currently working towards obtaining my CPA warrant as a full-time accountant, simultaneously working on my music career, with a number of projects in the pipeline including the release of my first studio album.
Determination, that’s what brought me here; cliché or not, being committed, focused and certain, leads you places you never thought you would reach.