Last Friday (8th February 2019) I had the opportunity to take photos of this great man’s concert. Fr Karm Debattista MSSP is a priest whom I’ve had the pleasure to know for around 20 years. Fr.Karm has an aura that surrounds him and he radiates positive energy wherever he is and one could feel this same energy during the concert. Whilst taking photos, I was also touched by the songs that Fr. Karm sang, as his music is not only pleasing to the ear but also conveys a message that touches the listener’s heart.
Apart from a selection of photos in black and white, which I carefully chose from 400 photos, I am also including a short interview that I did to Fr.Karm.
1. How do you feel now that your concert is over? What did the concert mean to you?
I feel overwhelmed. I was really surprised with the feedback I received after the concert, on the day, and the comments on the social media. So I’m really happy. It took me a long time to do this concert, so I was really excited about it. I was not much interested in its success, though there’s nothing wrong with that, but I have a message to give and I was very much concerned that the message would arrive.
2. Which song you have written is your favorite and why?
It’s hard to answer this question. It’s like asking a mother, which child is your favorite? Not all the songs are the same but most of them mean a lot to me as they reflect one particular moment in my life. If I write a song about a moment it shows that that moment means a lot to me. So the song is particular. Most of my songs are like that.
3. What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while working on a song?
Some weird moments would be, someone talking to me about the topic of the song that would be on my mind, which, kind of, confirm what I’m doing. Or, as I mentioned in the concert about the song: Kull Sens Fik, that I put my mind on writing a song and after 20 minutes the song is ready, lyrics and music, and the day after I record it. Many strange things happened during recording, some other sound enters without being recorded, or the computer stops working, or a song is saved and we find nothing the day after. But I do not give much attention to that.
4. How does the priest in you effect your songwriting?
Not too much when it comes to writing the songs. If I were not a priest I would have written most of the songs I wrote as they came out of my own experience, out of the journey of my life, even spiritually. But being a priest gave me the opportunity to have different and particularly experiences in different countries as well. So that’s something.
5. The song “Ġmiel Għemilek” talks about the beauty of nature and God’s creation. Do you feel that this song is relevant to the world now more than ever?
I think it is more relevant to the world today than the day I wrote it. I was asked by some students in the university to write it for their presentation in their project. I happily accepted as the topic was nature and I love it. Then, I took Psalms 104 and 8 and came out with these words and the melody.
6. What is it like to be a priest in the music industry?
Well, I was always a priest, so I do not know it otherwise. But many times it helped in an environment like Malta. 30 years ago having a priest singing was something. I also tried to be very contemporary in my music. I feel like I was very much accepted wherever I went to sing. But my music is more about the message than just the beat and melody. So I was always happy that I could transmit the message in different occasions and surroundings through my music, where normally a priest would not have been accepted to preach.
7. What are your main inspirations and greatest influences?
Mainly, my reflection on life and its journey, both my actual life and spiritual life, and, the Word of God.
8. Can you tell the reader 3 things you cannot live without?
I cannot live without the presence of God, hence, Ma Mmur Imkien. I cannot live without my community, as it strengthens me in times of trial and challenges me in many ways. And my mission, as priest and evangeliser: I live for helping others be themselves, the way God wants them to be, and discover their identity in God.
9. What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
Ah tough question. I keep this as my personal mission statement: to live with integrity and be the person God wants me to be, to be free to be myself and to create a marvelous atmosphere in the places where I be, to be loving and help others be themselves and free, to give witness to what I believe, to heal and be healed.
10. What’s next?
Probably another album. I wish to have my 10th album. I love round figures. And after this concert, I would think of doing another one in the next 2 years