It would appear that Morea hasn’t ‘had enough’, after all.

Gibraltar International Song Festival 2018 winner Morea, who enthralled a packed audience last June with her dramatic Italian song Ne Ho Abbastanza (I’ve had enough) is releasing a new EP this winter, featuring six songs accounting her version of “the many faces of love and emotions of the common people”.

“The tracks carry different themes: I’d say it is a mix of stories that most of us may have experienced or can relate to,” Morea, stage name of Neapolitan Maria Antonietta Pennino, says. “One in particular is about bullying, and it tells of someone who is trying to break others down gratuitously and maliciously, but the power of love and tenacity eventually conquer all.”

Hoping to see a teaser single lifted from the EP available for downloading on her birthday this month, but realistically expecting it to slide into the new year at the end of January, the twenty-eight-year-old melodic singer is still finalising details with her composers, and busy at the recording studio.

Although the overall title of the EP hasn’t been disclosed yet by the producers, the six songs are revving to hit the airwaves as Debole (weak), Agosto (August), Mille Parole (thousand words), Al Centro (at the centre), Ancora Nostro (still ours) – and still a working title – and of course Ne Ho Abbastanza, which embodies the best of traditional Neapolitan song transposed in the 21st century with its contemporary arrangements and timeless topics, and indeed makes the most of Morea’s impressive vocal range.

Music and lyrics are composed and arranged by the group Canzoni Inedite (unreleased songs), which includes her favourite authors Marco Canigiula, Marco Di Martino and Francesco Sponta. The EP’s songs are mainly pop, “melodic but catchy”, instantly memorable for their general feeling without having to necessarily understand the lyrics in full, because the sound is akin to European commercial music, especially Spanish or Portuguese. “I hope that my voice will play a big part in stirring positive emotions. I believe that mine and Spanish songs have in common the warmth of the melody and the veracity of the sentiment we input in performing them.”

Maria Antonietta’s passion for singing started at an early age, and at twelve she was serious about her vocal education; soon she was participating in variety and road shows, and singing in a gospel choir. As a teenager she entered several prestigious nationwide competitions, including the Mia Martini Prize and Castrocaro, performing both modern pop and traditional folk songs. Eventually she won the Best Voice and Radio awards at two consecutive editions of the Giffoni Festival in the late Noughties. She featured in the 2008 Italian version of the X-Factor and later that year she was selected as best voice at the Apple & Tequila Festival too, which led to her being signed to an independent label for five years.

Her next big project is entering the exclusive pre-selection process for Italy’s most prestigious song festival. It’s held every February in the resort city of San Remo, Liguria, not far from the French border (also famous for its glamorous lifestyle, casino and flower greenhouses), whose ‘new singers’ category is the best nursery for up-and-coming talent waiting to be scouted and afforded the glitzy stage as a springboard to stardom.

Morea and her team of authors submitted her entry to the Gibraltar International Song Festival upon advice of Federico Martello, a fellow artist who participated in the 2016 and 2017 editions, impressing audiences and judges alike, and landing third place in the latter.
Looking back to her experience in Gibraltar, Morea describes it as ‘artistically significant’, because she was able to ‘interface with different cultures from a musical point of view’, and the publicity derived from it has boosted her live career and promoted her music beyond regional borders. Her short stay on the Rock made an impact on her, with the impression of being an extraordinary place where one can fully breathe in a safety and blithe atmosphere. She would like to return here for another gig soon, without the pressure of competition, just as an old friend, and perhaps even get inspired for a song dedicated to the Rock and its people, whom she says she keeps close to her heart.

Visit Morea’s Facebook page Maria Antonietta Pennino for release date, videos and information on her forthcoming gigs.