A Year of Redemption
On the day I meet him, Marco Mengoni is only afraid of two things: not being able to download David Bowie’s latest album; and to be late for his appointments. But these are nice fears. “I feel happy. It’s the beginning of a year of redemption, a beautiful and important year,” he says, while holding in his hands – his eyes sparkle – the first copy of his new album #Prontoacorrere. The resurrection began months ago, after the move from Rome to Milan.
Surrounding Himself with Young People
When he won the Sanremo Festival, on the stage of the Ariston, he thanked first of all his new team. Because if the record label and the band are the same as always, the rest – assistants, producer – is all new. A team that is also very young: from the manager to the graphic designers who worked on the CD booklet – students of the Ied and the Brera Academy – they are all under 29. “I was young when people got to know me thanks to X Factor, and I too, in my own way, wanted to surround myself with young people. Whoever showed the most harmony with the project I had in mind now works with me.”
The triumph at X Factor in 2009, third place at Sanremo in 2010, then gold and platinum records, the victory of an Mtv Europe Music Award, dubbing, two sold-out tours, tributes to Gaber, Tenco, Dalla: things have certainly not gone badly so far. Why does he talk about redemption? “It’s not that I wasn’t doing well before, I don’t look back thinking: how disgusting. But I have grown up, I feel more secure.” Why did he change team? “I decided, and it was a birth, because I had to detach myself from people who had followed and grown up with me for years. A bit like leaving home. It’s hard, but it’s nice to change, to confront the new.” Speaking of new things: there are unexpected collaborations in this album. From Mark Owen of Take That to Ivano Fossati. “I have completely changed their pieces, and the incredible thing is that they were happy. With Fossati, in particular, I felt blasphemous: but he liked how I rearranged the harmony and maybe made the song more melancholy.” In fact, for being the album of rebirth, there are no shortage of melancholy songs. “Melancholy does not mean negative. And besides, positivity is not going to the disco and making fools. The lyrics I wrote – not all, because there are songs that Gianna Nannini, Cesare Cremonini, Pacifico gave me – were born after I had locked myself in the house for weeks. Then there were other young authors – Ermal Meta of La Fame di Camilla, Andrea Regazzetti – who helped me write those concepts with clearer words. Not banal, though.”