Photo Credit: The Busker
They’ve won the hearts of the Maltese public and will represent Malta this year at Eurovision, but who are The Busker? In this article, I’ll be exploring who the band are, looking at their career up until now, and having a more detailed look at the song that they’ll be singing in May, ‘Dance (Our Own Party).
The Busker were first formed in 2012 with Jean Paul Borg and Dario Genevose being the first two members. Then in 2014, Sean Medchen and David Grech joined the band making it a four-piece. They began releasing songs on YouTube and started moving from folk music to blues and rock. Some of their inspirations include The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan.
The name ‘The Busker’ funnily enough originates from when they used to busk in Malta. As well as Malta, they also busked in other locations such as on the London Underground to passengers.
Early Success and Lineup change
In 2017, the band released their first album called ‘Telegram’ and in 2018 they released their second album ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’, the latter winning them the LovinMalta album of the year award in 2019 which introduced them to a wider audience and helped the band gain some success. They continued to upload their songs onto YouTube and some of their songs were getting thousands of views.
David Grech eventually left the band and The Busker decided they wanted to look for a permanent singer and frontman for the band. Enter Dav.Jr.
Dav.Jr or David Meliak is a podologist by day but he was also a singer-songwriter in his own right as well as a guitarist. Like his eventual bandmates The Busker, Dav.Jr uploaded some of his own material onto YouTube with his most popular song ‘90s Tape’ at the time of writing having 29,000 views.
Hoping to gain more success in Malta, he auditioned for the second series of The X Factor in 2019, where the winner would represent the country at Eurovision in 2020. Singing a range of his own original songs and covers, he impressed the judges and he made it to the live shows where he was coached by Ray Mercieca. He eventually finished in 9th place which was still a big achievement.
Despite not winning, Dav.Jr continued to release his own material and even released a song called ‘Maria’ with his now fellow MESC contestant MATT BLXCK. Then in 2021, it was announced that he would be the new lead singer and frontman of The Busker where they’d release new music and start performing together at live concerts.
The first single The Busker released which featured Dav.Jr as the lead singer was called ‘Loose’ and it was an instant hit that went to Number 1 on the Maltese Radio PRS Charts. They performed at bigger festivals such as Malta Rocks 2021 where former Eurovision contestants Destiny and Michela also performed. As time went on they continued to experiment with different genres and began to collaborate with different artists such as Matthew James and Raquela. Their next EP ‘X’ and follow up singles ‘Nothing More’ and ‘Miracle’ were released in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, the four piece band became a trio as Dario Genevose decided to leave the band.
In November 2022, TVM announced that The Busker were one of the 40 selected acts to take part in MESC 2023 with their song ‘Dance (Our Own Party)‘. This was the first time the band took part in MESC although they had thought about entering before. They explained on their Facebook page that they had: “contemplated this move but then they had a track which we wished to release on a larger platform than our page”.
Some bands don’t take part in MESC because they worry about how their music would be perceived compared to all of the pop songs that usually enter. A band hasn’t represented Malta at Eurovision since 2014.
The song had been through many forms before it became the song that we all know now. When they spoke to ESCBubble about their song, they said:
“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,” and “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.”
According to their interview with @Eurovision_Malta on Facebook, if they could collaborate with one international singer of their choice, they’d choose Eurovision 2022 runner-up Sam Ryder because they think he’s an incredible performer and vocalist.
The pop-funk sound as well as maintaining The Busker’s distinctive style proved to be a hit with the Maltese juries and the public as it safely made the Semi-Final. But, it was their semi-final performance that really gave them a lot of momentum. Already having a song that stood out in the lineup, they also had a unique but memorable staging full of props and visual effects to elevate their song. Having 3 different acts to their performance, they had cardboard cutouts of past Eurovision contestants Ira Losco and Destiny wearing party hats. Act 2 then saw them move to the other side of the stage where they sat on three chairs which saw one of the band holding a steering wheel and saw them driving to get away from the party. The song finished with the bandmates moving nearer to the front of the stage It got the crowd going and the sax solo got a big cheer from the audience every time. It was clear this was a dark horse to do very well, but how well was the question?
They kept things similar in the final and despite just missing out on winning with the juries, they stormed the televote scoring 80 points compared to Maxine Pace (who finished second with the public) scoring 45 points. It was clear, they were a popular winner and Malta wanted to send something different to Eurovision this year.
The Busker celebrate their victory with all of the other MESC contestants cheering them on
Photo Credit: TVM/The Busker
The Busker will perform in the 1st half of the 1st Eurovision Semi-Final on Tuesday 9th May. We wish them the best of luck for the contest!
What do you think of The Busker’s song? Let us know in the comments!