Maltese station Bay Radio has after all been attracting very good audiences for the past few years, and time and again, it has been voted the most favourite station by many teens. Indeed, it aims to target the 15-30 year old audience. One may not always agree with its playlist which is a mixture of charts, dance, and adult-oriented rock but the formula has worked wonders.
The BMAs are essentially a reflection of what has been going on in the local scene as the station has also made it a point to widen its scope when it comes to local releases. It has been generating more airplay with many new talents, and has time and again also made some allowance into more experimental styles too.
This was also reflected in some of the results, not least Salt’s victory as best band. They thwarted off more established names like Winter Moods or Scream Daisy. To be fair, Salt have made inroads in our local scene over the past two years. This was their second BMA victory, having won the best newcomer category in 2007. This victory also caps a great year for the band. Last year, they took part at World Youth Day, which was organized in Sydney, Australia, an event which was presided by Pope Benedict XVI. This year, it was the turn of Airport Impressions at the best newcomer category. It is quite difficult to choose the best act as last year there was a considerable amount of talented newcomers from No Snow/ No Alps to Muxu, and they all provided a vibrant contribution to our local scene. However, Airport Impressions also ended up winning the Artistes Choice category. That says so much for their efforts, which are also quite creative, venturing into mainstream, power-pop and a lot of alternative influences too.
The Bay Music Awards are based on votes garnered from Bay Radio listeners, and once the artistes have been shortlisted, further voting takes place to determine the eventual winner from each category.
The finals were held at The Eden Arena, at St. George’s Bay, St. Julian’s, at the heart of Malta’s tourist and youth mecca. The event attracted some 5000 punters, most of whom, as expected, belonged to the age bracket targeted by Bay Radio. Here was a crowd that was jovial, enthusiastic, very much forward-looking and helped to make this night one of the most positive events ever held by the Eden Leisure Group. Salt draw a big standing ovation for their victory of Best Band. Ira Losco carried away the Best Single Award with Idle Motion. Ira’s concert at the Sky Club last May attracted some 1000 fans. DJ Ruby won the Best Dance Tune with Living In the Dark and again it was quite a hard choice with competitors like JJoy and Kirtsy Hawkshaw, Joe Armani and DJ Toby. Living In the Dark did get quite a lot of rotation from Bay Radio. Besides, it also nested cosily for a considerable number of weeks in the Bay Listenership Charts; thus, such a win may not be all that much surprising. Christabel Borg won the Best solo artist award and also Best viewers choice and that does sound surprising. Christabel, now 16 has changed a lot, as one might well expect from being a young, little kid singer, to a sort of a local teeny-bop talent, who seems to be interested in rhythm and blues, and of course pop. She has successfully forayed into rhythm and blues and her first single in this style Never Let It Go ended up winning this category. Her style now straddles somewhere in between these two genres, although to be fair, her versatile vocal delivery can fit in various styles and cross-styles. Such versatility may have contributed to this victory. It depends on how this promising talent can continue to seriously tackle pop in all its forms and challenges and at the same time, carve an identity for herself.
The Characters, who have survived with various line-ups over the past 25 years, won the Icon Lifetime Achievement Award, a deserved victory. It augurs for their future projects, and the band performed a BMA medley of 'Which Way Does the Wind Blow' and 'Down By The Water'. Ray of The Characters, Nick Morales of No Snow/No Alps, Daniel from Bitterside, and Janice from Salt closed procedures in this memorable event by their rendition of Singing for Bay Kids.
The BMAs like its counterpart, and competitor, the MMAs had one vital missing link—an award for the best song in our native language. I mean, isn’t it high time, we seriously address the wealth of our own native tongue and the way it has been delivered by so many great talents in the past, as well as in this day and age as the likes of Rita Pace and Brikkuni can attest? Freddie Portelli surely would agree with me on this point. There is no controversy about it. www.bay.com.mt