I recently reviewed a couple of albums by Clifford Borg, a pianist and composer from Malta. I really enjoyed his music and thought doing an interview might help to introduce Clifford and his music to more of the world. Enjoy!
KP: Hi Clifford! How are things in Malta today?
CB: At the moment, Malta is in the spotlight since this year it is hosting the EU Presidency of the European Council and next year Valletta, which is the Capital City, will be the European City of Culture.
KP: For those who don’t know their geography too well, tell us where Malta is.
CB: Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean. It is one of the smallest countries in the world and is approximately 315 Km squared (about 122 square miles). It is also one of the countries with the highest population density.
That sounds a little crowded for me, but the photos I’ve seen of Malta are gorgeous!
Let’s talk about your music. How many albums have you recorded so far?
Click on "Drifted" and "Origin" covers
to go to Kathy's reviews.
CB: So far I have recorded three albums:
• Drifted which is a solo piano album that was released in 2000.
• Origin which is also a solo piano album which was recorded in Brussels and launched in 2008.
• Cross- Origin which is a cross-over album with different styles and was launched and released in 2014.
KP: I recently reviewed Drifted and Origin. How is Cross- Origin different from them?
CB: It is a cross-over of different styles. As much as I love piano music, I also love to combine my music with electronica, live instruments, beats, synths and vocals in different music styles as featured in the album. I was very pleased with the result and some of the tracks which are featured on the album have been played and streamed on international platforms.
KP: What are you planning for your next album?
CB: So far, my plan for next album is to do another piano-based album with different instruments.
KP: Did you perform at last year’s Enlightened Piano Radio Awards show and concert?
CB: No, I have not played for the EPR Awards. It would have been a great opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall, but I was able to perform an EPR concert in Berlin. Other cities that I played in last year are London and Dublin.
KP: Have you done much performing in the US?
CB: No, I have never performed in the US. However I intend to play there soon.
KP: Are you a full-time musician? If not, what else do you do?
CB: I am not a full-time pianist as I have a full-time job which is related to the Environment.
KP: You started your music career performing with your family at their restaurant. Tell us about that.
CB: Yes, I started music at an early age. My father was a musician and he pushed me to start playing the piano at the age of 5. At first I wanted to learn the drums, but my father did not allow that and he pushed me to learn the piano.
KP: Do you play other musical instruments as well as piano?
CB: Not really, but I can play a bit of drums - very basic. I’ve always loved the cello and would love to learn it one day.
I love the cello, too - especially with the piano!
Okay, let’s find out more about your background. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Concert for the President
CB: I was born in Malta and grew up here. However I lived four years in Brussels.
KP: How old were you when you started playing the piano? When did you start piano lessons, and how long did you take lessons?
CB: I started piano at the age of 5 with a private teacher. At the same time, my dad was exposing me to different styles like waltz, bossanova, tango, etc……
KP: Were you encouraged to improvise or compose by your music teacher(s) or anyone else?
CB: No, it came very naturally and no one has really encouraged me to do so.
KP: How old were you when you wrote your first song?
I think that I knew that composing was an integral part of my life when I was 18.
Concert in London.
KP: Were you a music major in college?
CB: No. Music was only done privately.
KP: What inspired you to start recording your music?
CB: I wanted to share my music with the public and also to sell CD’s. However at the time, people used to buy CD’s much more than they do nowadays.
KP: That’s certainly the truth! Do you perform in concerts very often?
It depends through which phase I am in my life. I try to perform on a regular basis.
Clifford with his sisters.
KP: Do you still perform with your family?
CB: Since I am a pianist, I work alone most of the time. However, I have worked with my two sisters, Janice and Elizabeth Borg, on my album Cross- Origin on the track “Worth Waiting.”
KP: Who or what are your biggest musical influences?
CB: My biggest musical influences are mostly things that move me and make an impact on me and on my life.
KP: What inspired you to start composing your own music?
CB: It came naturally and nothing has really inspired me to do so.
Have you done any composing for films and/or TV?
At Saint James Church in London.
CB: For films, not exactly, but one of my tracks, “Emergence,” won the Swan Lake festival.
KP: What has been your most exciting musical moment or experience so far?
CB: Whenever I play in a different city - especially when I play in London.
KP: Is there a particular philosophy that you try to convey in your music?
CB: Not specifically. Because I have different styles in my compositions, the mood I create with my music is the mood I am passing through at the time.
Who are your favorite composers?
Performing a concert in Brussels.
CB: Classically, I tend to like the Russian and French composers. With regards to piano and new age, I do like Ezzio Bossi and Michael Nyman.
KP: Who are your favorite performers?
CB: Ezzio Bossi is very inspiring.
KP: If you could have any three wishes, what would they be?
CB: That my job will be performing in different cities across the world on a regular basis.
To have my music played throughout the world.
To have my music in major films.
KP: What’s up next for you?
CB: Hopefully more concerts, new album, new music videos and publish my music.
KP: Very best wishes for all of that!
Many thanks to Clifford Borg for taking the time to chat! To learn more about Clifford and his music, be sure to visit his website
and his Artist Page
here on MainlyPiano.com. You can also follow him on Spotify.