Next stop in our series of Eurovision 2013 participants’ interviews is Milan, Italy where we meet 24 year-old Marco Mengoni. Marco will perform L’essenziale at the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final on 18 May. Marco was selected by RAI, the Italian national broadcaster, to fly the Italian flag in Malmö.
1. What does it mean to you to represent Italy at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest? How do you feel being the Italian ambassador in this European musical extravaganza?
I’m 24 and it’s a huge responsibility to represent my country. I decided to honour this decision at my best with a true Italian song: it’s composed by me and other Italian authors, I sing in Italian and it’s about the hard moment my country is going through and about the hope I see at the end of his period going back to real values.
I’m training for Eurovision to do my best performance on stage…and after the Eurovision in concert in Amsterdam I can’t wait to be part of this multicultural event and to experience this international occurrence.
2. How has your life changed since you won the 2013 Sanremo Song Contest?
I’ve never stopped! On 19 March my brand new album #prontoacorrere was released, L’essenziale is part of it, on 8 May the tour will kick off in Italy, then I’ll fly to Malmö for the Eurovision Song Contest and after that, back again for other live dates. I’m managing among rehearsals and promotional events so I’ve never really realized what has happened, nevertheless I’m truly happy. This project (#Prontoacorrere) has received the best welcome possible, I can’t be but happy and satisfied. And now I am going to have my music presented and exposed to an international audience.
3. What do you know about the Eurovision Song Contest? Have you ever followed it? Italy was absent from the contest for 13 years and returned in 2011. Are the young Italians familiar with the contest? Do they know about it? How popular is it in Italy?
I didn’t know much about the Eurovision Song Contest before Raphael (Gualazzi, ed.) took part in it, mostly because Italy missed it for such a long time, I believe almost 14 years.
As my attendance was confirmed I rang some friends in Spain and their enthusiasm and joy helped me understand once more and confirm that I’ll be taking part in a unique event.
I can attest that the interest has grown in these years and I like also being part of this process.
4. Why did you choose your Sanremo winning entry L’essenziale for Malmö ?
It’s true. It takes a while to choose the entry for Eurovision. It’s been a truly creative period and as I released an album with 15 brand new tracks … it was not that easy to choose. But at the end the proper entry seemed L’essenziale: because of it being so Italian, the song has been so successful initally, so it seemed the best entry for my first international appearance. And I won Sanremo thanks to L’essenziale: it’s like my Italian audience told me to go on with the song and perform it at Eurovision.
5. What is L’essenziale about? What’s the story behind your song and what message does it carry?
L’essenziale is about the necessity to go back to essentiality, to open to new emotions and to overcome the difficulties of these days. It’s about relations of all sort, not only love, and about the urgency to free people from the superstructures and the general crisis, L’essenziale brings a message of hope: “As the world falls to pieces / I compose new spaces”
6. Do you feel any pressure regarding your forthcoming Eurovision participation as you have already won the Sanremo Song Festival and there are high expectations in Italy?
I’m not thinking about it, as I’ve never thought I won Sanremo. It’s an honor to represent Italy on such a stage. I’d like to take on stage with me my whole country or, at least, part of it. I believe we’ll all work to get the best result for Italy in such a unique event.
7. How will you be staging your entry in Malmö? Will it be similar to your Sanremo performance?
I’ll go on the path I first walk in Sanremo: my performance will be essential so to reflect once more the meaning of L’essenziale and amplify its message.
8. Will you record your Eurovision entry in any other language? English?
Not at the moment, L’essenziale was composed in Italian and so it will stay like this. I really like singing in English, I did it in the past and in #prontoacorrere too
9. Have you spoken to any of the former Italian Eurovision representatives? Raphael Gualazzi ? Nina Zilli? Etc… Have they given you any advice?
No, unfortunately I had no time to discuss with them but I heard their stories about their Eurovision experience and I believe that it will be a wonderful experience. I’ll be on the same stage together with important European singers and Eurovision Song Contest has millions of TV viewers…I’ll do mi best! And I’m really excited!
10. How is Marco behind the scenes? How do you spend your time when you are not on stage or performing?
At the moment…I do not know! I’m recording and busy rehearsing for my tour and for Eurovision. I love reading, going to theatre and travelling…but in this period I’m happy to say that I’m focused on this new project and I prefer to concentrate on it.
11. Have you heard any of the other participating entries at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Do you have any favourites? Who do you think could be your rivals?
Unfortunately I haven’t had time to listen to all of them carefully…in Amsterdam I heard the Greek song and the French one that I liked very much. I’ll tell you in Malmö, when I get in touch with all of them
12. You are enjoying much success in Italy with your latest album #prontoacorrere. Are there any plans of releasing it overseas?
At the moment I’m focused on Italy … but never say never! Considering Eurovision is a truly important international opportunity…and I hope I’ll be lucky!
13. Do you have a message for esctoday.com readers and your fans in Europe?
I can’t wait to be on stage in Malmö. and…..Listen to the sound!
Esctoday.com would like to thank Marco Mengoni for this interview and wish him and Italy the best of luck at the Eurovision Song Contest.