William Mangion (born August 24, 1958 in Naxxar) is a Maltese singer, best known for presenting Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest 1993 and placing 8th out of 25 countries with This Time. He is one of Malta's leading vocalist musician.
The Early Years (1973-1984)
Although he started his professional career at 14, William's first taste of music came at the tender age of 8, via his friend David Vella, who played the piano and accordion. William's love of music had always been there as far back as he can recall, and so it was no surprise that when Vella introduced William to the Melodica, William picked it up like a natural. In his midteens, William formed his first band Syn with Clayton Zarb Cousin. He played keyboards while Zarb Cousin played lead guitar and sang.
By 1973, he was fronting and playing keyboards with Sagittarius, who at the time were the resident band at Hotel Villa Rosa in St. Julian's. His stint with Sagittarius ended four years later, when William joined the band Slug, and took on a residency at Tigullio, then one of Malta's foremost night clubs. During this time he also participated at the CISCO 77 Castlebar International Song Festival in Ireland. In 1978, William joined Split, performing a series of concerts at popular venues such as Tigullio, the University Campus and the Plaza in Sliema(Malta). Later on that year, he signed a solo contract as vocalist/pianist performing on board the Garnada, a Spanish cruise liner, which took him to several key spots in the Mediterranean, including Spain, France and Italy. His solo work then took him to the UK, where, for the next two years, he toured some of the country's major clubs, including EMI's Romeo & Juliet's in Sheffield, String of Pearls in Wembley and Park Hall in Chorley, Preston. Upon his return to Malta in 1981, William maintained his solo work, even performing at special occasions that included several celebrities, among them Oliver Reed, Gordon Thompson (of Dynasty fame), Carl Anderson (Jesus Christ Superstar), Margot Kidder and Robert Hayes. Within a year, he had also formed a new band, The Ashes, who became a mainstay at Malta's leading rock joint, The Woodpecker in Bugibba for the summer months of 1982. Later that year, The Ashes were the house band at The Whisper Nightclub in Mosta, a residency that would last three years. At the same time, William had also started playing with another band, The Exit.
The Getting Closer Years (1985-1992)
By 1985, The Exit had become one of Malta's leading bands, and when William and his band were given a residency at the island's top international discotheque, Styx II, they changed the name to Getting Closer. Here the band performed regularly, practically to a full house every time, consolidating their popularity. Over the next two years, Getting Closer, fronted as always by William, performed relentlessly, often co-headlining with international artists such as Jaki Graham, Go West, Imagination, Sinitta, Devine, David Grant, Phil Fearon & Galaxy and Samantha Fox. The band also headlined Malta's largest open-air festival to date, playing to a crowd of over 75,000 at Ta' Qali in May 1987. Meanwhile, the interaction with international artists led to TV appearances in Malta and Italy for William. In April 1989, now firmly at the helm of the Maltese music scene, Getting Closer played at the Swatch Charity Concert, organized in aid © William Mangion 2010 of the Caritas Drug Rehabilitation Program. The bill for this concert also included four bands from Holland. One month later, William was in Holland himself, playing a solo set to an international audience at a private function in Maastricht. In 1990, Getting Closer played at the Tunny Net party in Mellieha (Malta), which was held to celebrate the launch of the new Foreigner album. The party was attended by Foreigner bassist Rick Wills, who also stepped in to perform a few songs with Getting Closer for the occasion. A few months later, William went to Germany to perform a solo gig at the Colour Exhibition in Munich, in front of a crowd of 40,000. Meanwhile, William took up a residency as a solo artist at the Piano Bar of the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza in Sliema (Malta). However, the foreign bug seemed to have set in, and along with the rest of Getting Closer, he went to England to perform at The Silver Skillet in Maidenhead. From here, the band went directly to Holland, the first of ten visits that would see them perform 25 concerts over a period of two years. In August 1991, Getting Closer opened for Joe Cocker's open-air concert in Marsa, playing to a receptive crowd of over 25,000. That same month, Getting Closer also released their self-produced debut album, Ever Changing Moods. Several of the songs on the album, including Work For The Money, Holding Back The Years, Missing You and the band's unique arrangement of the John Lennon classic, Imagine CD, received heavy rotation on radio stations in Holland, Germany and Sweden, giving the band a deserved extended international profile. One year later, the band visited Holland for the last time, playing at the open-air Geusseltpop festival in Maastricht alongside several foreign bands. Sadly, soon after, Getting Closer called it a day.
The Solo Years - Part 1 (1993-2001)
Pursuing a solo career was nothing new to William. He had maintained a steady solo schedule throughout his career, only now he had all the time to focus strictly on pushing forward as a solo artist. The work paid off, and in 1993, he won the Malta edition of the Song For Europe contest, going on to represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest in Cork, Ireland with the self-penned song This Time CD. He placed 8th out of 25 entries, which to date remains the largest ever number of participants of all the editions of Eurovision. While many regarded the placing a disappointment, William's performance gave him further international exposure, expanding his audience to include a wider range of age groups. This Time CD also remains one of the most popular Maltese Eurovision entries, as well as being a crowd favorite in his live repertoire. In 1994, William was once again contracted as the resident musician at the Piano Bar at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Sliema. During this time, he also performed for several celebrities, © William Mangion 2010 including Rita Coolidge, LaToya Jackson, Demis Roussos, George McRae, actor Rutger Hauer (who was in Malta filming The Voyage) and Geena Davis, who was on the island filming Cutthroat Island. In 1995, William relocated to the UK, basing himself in the Manchester area. He spent the first two years touring with a three-man band called Sabora, who he left to form his own duo act, Manjon. With these two bands he performed in more than 500 clubs all over the UK, including venues in Yorkshire, Hull, Newcastle, Blackpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool, the Midlands and South Wales. In 1996 he formed Still Waters with Jerry Christopher and Peter Williams. They released a 2-track CD single, Dreams To The Wind and Love Is Never Easy on Gosh Records via Warner Brothers Austria. The following year, William returned to Malta, re-establishing himself with countless performances at various clubs and open-air festivals. In 1998, he was again engaged as the resident musician at the Piano Bar at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Sliema. Apart from this residency, he also fronted The William Mangion Band, performing at several other venues, such as BJ's, Black Gold, The Black Bull, Bar Bamboo, Frenchies and the O'Connor's Irish Pubs in Bugibba and St. Julian's on a regular basis. He also did some TV and radio shows and performed with the band at Axis Discotheque, Malta's largest nightclub in 2001, at a promotion show to launch the new Mini Cooper in Malta. In 2001, William also travelled to Thailand, performing at Tony's Club in Pattaya and at the Bamboo Bar in Bangkok, clocking up yet another international landmark in his career. This period of William's career was highlighted by the release of a retrospective CD album in 1998, which he decided to go ahead with following encouraging positive crowd response to his performances and the overwhelming public demand for recordings of his songs. The album, titled simply Compilation, included the entire Getting Closer album, the Eurovision entry This Time and its Maltese version, Issa, and the two songs William recorded with Still Waters. Compilation was well-received and continues to be in demand to this day.
The Solo Years - Part 2 (2002-today)
At the end of 2001, William was engaged to produce, organize, direct and compare The Tuesday Nite Show, a series of song and dance programmes hosted by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) to entertain tourists during the winter season. The weekly shows, which were held at various hotels around Malta, were an instant hit every time. The backbone of the shows was the performance by The William Mangion Band and guest singer Philippa Farrugia Randon, along with top-notch dance routines by the YADA dancers. With winter over, William gave several solo performances before teaming up again with his band the following summer to give some incredible performances at popular venues such as Sinners In Heaven (Paceville), The Farsons Great Beer Festival and at the MTA- hosted Summer Fun 2002 Rock Show, which he directed and organized himself, resulting in two excellent performances in Sliema and Qawra. The shows also featured performances from Jotham and Brandon of popular Maltese rock band Scream Daisy as guests.
The following winter saw William breathe new life into another series of the Tuesday Nite Show. This time around, the show also incorporated performances by veteran magician Vanni Pule and one of the island's top entertainers, violinist George Puse' Curmi along with top-notch dance routines by the Go Go Dancers dancers.. In between the weekly performances, William was busy gigging several nights a week at other venues, including the popular Hard Rock Café in Bay Street. Around this time, and with his band in tow, William was selected to represent Malta at the Europe Day 2003 celebrations in Rome, kicking off the celebrations with a powerful hour-long set in the famous Piazza Del Popolo to a receptive crowd. With his presence on the live circuit solidly established, William decided to record a new song. Written by renowned guitarist Sean Vukovic and featuring The Characters bassist Gino Micallef and drummer Alex Debono, Will You Ever was released in November 2004. The song, his first release since the Compilation CD, revisited his rock roots, blending the raw energy of the guitar with a catchy melody and more importantly a contemporary edge. Less than a year later, William was again in the studio, this time collaborating with top Maltese DJ/producer Toby. Their work resulted in William's latest single, Cloud, a fundamental remix of a song originally written for what was meant to be Getting Closer's follow-up to Ever Changing Moods. The original version, essentially a funk rock number, was shelved when the band called it a day. The new version marks William's first venture into the club scene, and the song's upbeat rhythm and electronic arrangement are appealing to both the club circuit and the mainstream. The CD single, released in September 2005, also includes the original version of the song.
Mangion performed in the semi-final of the Maltese qualifying heat for Malta's Eurovision entry selection in 2007.
In early 2011, William moved to the US, but returned to Malta within a year or so and eventually took up a governmental post in relation to official support for Maltese bands in 2013.