Mahmood, whose real name is Alessandro Mahmoud, resigned 26.10. at the almost sold out club Rockhal. In Italy, the native Milanese is a celebrated star, his song "Soldi" is a huge hit.
By Delia Pifarotti
2019 is a big year for him: he won the Sanremo Festival in Italy in February, shortly after finishing second at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. His fame grew so fast he couldn't even believe himself: "Before that I posted cover versions that were clicked up to 100,000 times. That was scary for me. There are a hundred million of them now – I don't believe it!"
She is currently a singer on the "Europe Good Vibes" tour and is 26.10. stop in Rockhal. Before the concert, Tageblatt spoke about his childhood, his musical style and the political upheavals that prompted his election as this year's Italian Eurovision representative.
Tageblatt: They often call their music urban pop. Do you agree?
Mahmood: No, I prefer "Morocco Pop" because I don't just do "Urban" or "Trap", I like to mix genres and add an Arabic touch, especially in a tune. Arabic comes from childhood memories I have of my father. He is an Egyptian. My mother is from Sardinia. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Milan, in Gratosogli.
Is "mental" in your voice less effective now than it was a few years ago?
Not necessary. I think he is still very present in "Soldi" or "Gioventù bruciata". But I like to modernize myself by processing different influences. I heard a lot of R & # 39; n & # 39; B's at a young age. Also a lot of American rap. Add to that the Italian songwriters my mother loves.
You became famous almost overnight, but how much is behind this supposedly sudden success?
Very. As a kid, I learned grades, singing and playing the piano. At 18, I took interpretation courses and started writing my own poems. At first, I had trouble writing beautiful texts, lines where you can express a lot in a few words. I had to learn that first. I worked on it for about two years. When I joined the Dimentica Youth Competition in 2016, Sanremo Giovani and Universal became aware of me, it really started. The professional sessions with the manufacturers and other staff have been arduous, but the present achievements deserve all this work.
There is a lot of anger in your song "Soldi" – the anger of a little boy whose father has left his family. Is the song autobiographical?
Yes, in part. My parents divorced when I was five. My father, a Muslim, founded other families and I have more brothers and sisters in the world. I live with my mother and I am her only son. I grew up a Christian. I owe a lot to my mother, she has always supported me. The song talks about divorce, in general, and how money can disrupt interpersonal relationships. But I have contact with my father, though not by much. He also congratulated me when I won at Sanrem.
What are we talking about Sanrem, what prompted your election in political-journalism circles?
My victory remained undecided as political manipulation because I was of Arab descent and supposedly should serve as an example of migrant integration. Because there was a mismatch between the audience rating, whose favorite was the Ultimo singer, and the press and the jury. In addition, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted that he preferred Ultimo. There was a debate. He said in TV shows that he did not like my song. I think that's his right. But the whole controversy surprised and saddened me. Eventually, I became a crowded royalty, not only in Italy. Through the Eurovision song, I have met with international approval. That naturally makes me happy.
Unfortunately, you are always asked the same question as if you felt like a "foreigner" and "integrated" into Italy. Doesn't that bother you? How do you handle it?
Simply saying I was born in Milan, 100% Italian! My mother is from Sardinia, my father is Egyptian. Not anymore. As a kid I never experienced racism, only my name Mahmoud sometimes made people laugh because it sounds like a mammoth. But I notice that this question is getting less and less, because I know it now.
They had a giant cobra tattooed all over their backs. What does it mean to you?
In a video attached to "Soldi" the father of a young boy tattooed a snake on his arm. So I left the motif in the video tattoo huge on my back, so to speak, as an alliance with my father. It also presents the doubts that life brings and can grow bigger and bigger. But it's a fake tattoo. I don't wear it anymore. It was the work of my friend, makeup artist and body painter Beatrice Borgonu. But fond memory is real.