With just over a week to go before heading to Malmö, the Italian representative, Marco Mengoni, took time out of his very tight schedule to have a chat with us.
Wiv; Marco Mengoni is a brand new name to most Norwegians. Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your musical background and your career?
Marco; My career started when I was 16. I first attended Jazz stages, then I performed with rock and pop bands and then I participated in XFactor. That gave me the opportunity to performe in front of the widest audience possible. And in February this year I won the San Remo Festival with «L’essenziale»…and in few days I’ll take part in Eurovision Song Contest with this song!
Wiv; In addition to performing the song, you are also one of the composers of «L’essenziale». What does composing mean to you?
Marco; I love composing, it’s a part of my work that I love very much and I think my way of writing is improving together with my growing. I love singing words I wrote, and I feel «comfortable» as the lyrics depicts exactly who I am. In the same way L’essenziale perfectly represents me. I have worked with important lyricists, such as Toby Gad and Mark Owen (Take That), on my last CD, #prontoacorrere.
Wiv; How will you describe «L’essenziale»?
Marco; It’s a ballad and it’s really Italian. «L’essenziale» (the essential) hopes for a going back to essentiality, to face new dreams and get over difficulties. The song carries a strong hope message to overcome this moment of crisis.
Wiv; The video for «L’essenziale», in which you star, is at the same time both simple and intriguing. What was the idea behind it?
Marco; It was shot in a easy and plain way…essential I would say…to represent once more the song, even through images. And yes, I act in the «L’essenziale» video.
Wiv; What kind of people do you think your song will appeal to?
Marco; To everyone! The message is universal, it does not refer to a specific audience and I love thinking that through Eurovision it reaches so many people.
Wiv; In addition to working solo you have also been part of several bands. Do you prefer working on your own or with other people?
Marco; When I perform live, that’s what I love most, on stage with me there’s my band…3 guys, same age, who I love working with. It happens sometimes that we do some jam sessions even without an audience, just for the 4 of us. Moreover I would say that I always perform with what I call 50%: my audience, I’m never alone on stage.
Wiv; In Eurovision Song Contest the participants are free to sing in whatever language they want, and many countries choose to sing in English instead of in their native language. What made you decide to keep «L’essenziale» in Italian?
Marco; I decided to perform in Italian as L’essenziale was first composed in Italian, and because this seems to me the best way to pay tribute to my country. On my last CD I also sing in English and many times I did it in the past. I think controversy on languages is almost useless as we are talking about music and emotions.
Photo by Guiseppe La Spada
Wiv; Have you heard any of the other entries in the contest?
Marco; I listened to many songs and saw some performances in Amsterdam and I can’t wait to perform together with authors and singers sometimes so far from me…I’m really excited to se all performances on stage in Malmo.
Wiv; Most people in Italy don’t know much about Eurovision Song Contest. Raphael Gualazzi, your 2011 representative, told us he hadn’t even heard about the contest until RAI selected him as their participant. How about you; Are you familiar with Eurovision, and if so, what are your feelings regarding the contest?
Marco; In Italy is not that popular an event because Italy missed it for so many years. I like being part of the Eurovision coming back to Italy. As my participation was confirmed I soon phoned some friends in Spain and their crazy reaction made me conscious I was to face a really important event, an international prestigious contest…I’m a little scared but thrilled at the same time.
Wiv; What music do you listen to when you want to relax and enjoy? And which artists inspire you?
Marco; Since we spoke about it (in Amsterdam) I can’t but say…David Bowie! A true icon for me.
I love listening to the music, any kind, I’m almost «omnivorous» when we talk about music.
Wiv; Apart from preparing for the Eurovision Song Contest, what are your plans for the near future? Perhaps a tour? And if so; will it include Norway (Oslo)?
Marco; My tour will kick off on May, 8th in Milan and it will continue after Eurovision as well. About performing in Oslo…that would be great! But I prefer going on with small steps…Malmö is my first relevant experience abroad.
Wiv; When you are not singing and composing, what does your life look like?
Marco; I love reading, going to concerts, the theatre and travelling…If I have to describe my life at the present moment it’s focused on tour rehearsals and promo events.
Wiv; Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us; we greatly appreciate it. All of us at escNorge wish you the best in Eurovision, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing you in Malmö!
Marco; Great meeting you in Amsterdam…and I can’t wait to be on stage in Malmö and to live the ESC atmosphere. Most important: Listen to the sound!
If you wish to show your support for Marco on your own facebook or other social media, you can do that by getting this banner (from eurovision.tv) or the minipop icon (minipopicons).