You ask a question. You get an answer. Simple. But simplicity can often be deceiving as things are often easier said than done. And indeed when it comes to conducting an interview, it is much more than just asking a question- it is getting to the soul of the person you are interviewing. And no one knows how to make a beeline straight to the heart than this breakout journalist from the city of Naples. Born in 1987, Giuseppe Nappa is one of a growing number of emerging talents who are burning with ambition and who hail from the southern regions of Italy.
What Giuseppe does very well is ask questions, and by doing so, he is following in the footsteps of legendary greats such as America’s Johnny Carson and Ed Sullivan, and Italy’s Mike Bongiorno and Maurizio Costanzo. He is easy going, charming and likes to smile. His interviewing style is not “in the face,” hard core badgering, nor is he the chatty, gossip loving kind of host that bombard the airways today; instead, Giuseppe’s manner is unique. He cares profoundly for each and ever person he interviews. Whether it be il maestro Vincenzo Campagnoli or the legendary singers, Gloriana and Mario Da Vinci, Nappa converses with them as though talking with old friends over a cup of coffee.
Before talking with Giuseppe, I asked him to send me his resume.Written on top were the following: “presenter, entertainer, speaker, actor and journalist, university graduate”. Not bad for a young man who is barely just twenty seven. Nappa began his career working as an entertainer for a variety of local festivals in Napoli, and it was there that he perfected his skills as an on the spot interviewer. From there, he appeared on a dozen or more shows for stations such as Ciao TV and Prima TV Napoli while writing continually for local newspapers and magazines. He literarily works and and breathes his job and today, he is busier than ever.
Adding to that resume is the profession of author as Giuseppe just has published a book, “Napoli Nel Cuore,” co-written with the famed poet and literary critic, Tina Piccolo. He also is busy working on his show “Occhio all’ Artista” where he interviews Italy’s best and brightest in film, television, art and sport. I caught up with Giuseppe as we spoke about the importance of humility and grace in this field of such grandeur; his love for the city in which he was born and raised in, Napoli; and why the best thing about doing interviews is not only the fact that they are fascinating, but that they are unscripted, they are raw, and they are oh so full of life.
Gaya Lynn: Welcome Giuseppe to L’Italo-americano. Tell me about your life before you entered into the world of entertainment and journalism.
Giuseppe Nappa: I came into this world twenty seven years ago. I had a wonderful childhood like all children with toys, fun, outings with parents...since my childhood, I had a strong admiration and passion for entertainment, theater, tv, art and culture. My father, Raffaele, and my mother, Lucia are two workers who dedicated their lives to their work and their family, but they were not associated with showbiz even if they loved film as well as theater. I was fifteen when I entered into the world of entertainment and began to work as an animator, and entertainer.
GL: Back then, was there some sort of clue which would have hinted towards a career in journalism?
GN: I have always been curious...I believe that no matter the job, you need to be specialized, so since I loved interviewing, I began to do it...at one point, I asked myself should I pursue this? So I had to become qualified, and do freelance, and that’s how it begun.
GL: When did you understand that you truly wanted to dive into the world of show business?
GN: I understood with certainty at the age of eighteen. You know I had fun being young, but then I understood that without the world of show business, I couldn’t live and it was something that I missed while my days seemed almost empty without it. I then said to myself, “I will be a humble servant of the public.”
GL: Was there someone in your past who inspired you to go into this field or do you feel it was something ingrained within you, a sort of destiny?
GN: Yes, as a presenter, I was inspired by Mike Bongiorno. For me, he was a true show host..He entered into our homes with such politeness as if he was asking for permission. Now, unfortunately, he is not around, but all my applause goes to Mike; he was a legend. Still today, I am inspired by Maurizio Costanzo and the great Gigi Marzullo, I watch them in order to learn, I believe they are teachers.
GL: What would you still like to accomplish in your career?
GN: I believe I have “embraced” all the areas of showbiz...I graduated with a masters...lots of projects that I completed with friends in this business like Diego Paura who heads the entertainment page of the historical paper in Naples, il Roma; the screen writer and author Giuseppe Cossentino, with whom we created “Il Teatro Il TV: that has sparked such an emotional response from professional actors; the poet who has been defined by the academic world as the “ambassador to the world of poetry” Tina Piccolo with whom we published a book, Napoli Nel Cuore, written with a preface by Diego Paura and a monologue by Giuseppe Cossentino, “La Caffettiere Napoliteano, which continues to give life to the many traditions out of Naples....What do I want to do? Still so many things; lately, I am trying to bring to the the theater. “The beautiful melodies that were included in the Festival of Napoli.”
GL: You once wrote that you really admired Mario Merola. Tell me about him.
GN: Of course. This question always moves me. Mario Merola... is still today a monumental figure for Napoli. Merola was a giant for our music and the theater throughout the world. I doubt another one of him will ever be born again; he is that unique. A personality that I had the immense honor to have met and admire. I remember when I met him, I said. “May I extend and squeeze the hand from Napoli to Mario Merola. He answered, “Squeeze the hand of a friend.”...
GL: What I like about your interviewing style is how you treat every person you interview. In your eyes, they are all VIPs, you treat everyone with that same kindness and respect. Also, for someone starting out, what advice would you give?
GN: One thing that my family taught me...is “humility.” I am both humble and sincere because this field I work in, I do it with heart. If you do not do it with haert and passion, I believe, you will not be able to enter into the world of showbiz. And this is the advice I would give to those who want to be a part of this world of entertainment: to do it with heart, and to study it, because it is important to be always in the know and to be a specialist in what you do.
GL: You have interviewed so many legendary figures. Is there one or two that were unforgetable.
GN: My favorites? I couldn’t say because I care about everyone with whom I have interviewed. Let’s just say there are those who really touched me such as Marcello D’Orta, an important professor and writer from Napoli, Giorgio Pasotti, a wonderful actor, Francesco Merola, son of Mario, whom I met at his house; the singer and actress Anna Capasso. Those are the ones that left such an emotional footprint—along with being great figures, they were great people.
GL: From Mario Da Vinci to the Magic Brothers..you have interviewed so many people. Any lessons learned?
GN: Mario Da Vinci, another legendary figure in song and theater, also helped share our music to the whole world. One thing that touched me about him was during an interview, I was giving him the Lei form <polite form of you> and he said. “Do not call me Maestro, and do not give me the Lei Form. Call me Mario.”....The Magic Brothers are really bravissimi in magic and comedy, because they are skilled artists and for me, they will be hugely successful.
GL: I see so much talent coming out of your city especially in terms of artistry and entertainment. I also that you have to work incredibly hard for your success. What have been some important steps Napoli has taken in the last twenty years to cultivate such young talent.
GN: Yes, it’s true. In Napoli, there is so much talent in terms of singers, actors...but you need to work hard to establish oneself. Being one who defends my own city because I feel I am a son of Napoli...who tries to transport the heart of Napoli to every place that I go, I believe with deep conviction, that we need to come together as an united front and help our artistic community. Together, we can do many things...And this I hope will come about soon.
GL: I believe that music for the citizens of Napoli is something quite extraordinary, that it is part of your lives, a means of expressing strong feelings.
GN: I believe that music is a means of communications, and feelings while the music Napoletana is a source of life. It has been able to make people fall in love, move them, tell them the story. People identify themselves with those songs..I believe its been music that has been exported in all of the world so I fight for it in order to define our culture and maintain our traditions. Napoli is so rich in terms of art and culture, there are so much to know and to see..so I always invite our Italian American friends to come to Napoli...Napoli is beautiful. It is love, passion, tradition. Napoli is life.
For more on Mr. Nappa, go to www.facebook.com/public/Vj-Giuseppe-Nappa
After living for several years in Italy, Gaya now writes short fiction, is a substitute teacher, and would like to go to Napoli next year. For more, go to about.me/Gayalynn