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Over the next few weeks, Italian contemporary music will take the stage in Los Angeles, with the performances of three renowned singers and songwriters who represent three different genres: the queen of pop Laura Pausini, the rocker Luciano Ligabue, and the rapper Caparezza.
After last edition’s interview with the beautiful Laura, this time we focus on one of Italy’s most talented rock stars, Luciano Ligabue, and his first U.S. tour in his 25-year career. Among other cities and dates - such as New York on October 5, San Francisco on the 24, and Miami on the 26 -, he will present his latest studio album Mondovisione at the legendary live club Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles on October 22.
Native of Emilia Romagna region, Ligabue started working as a radio DJ and bandleader before releasing his first record in 1990, at the age of 30. He soon became very popular in Italy, thanks to the intense lyrics and blues-rock sound, inspired to the American classics.
As of today, the artist boosts 10 studio albums, 4 live albums, 2 greatest hits albums, 1 soundtrack album, as well as the European record for tickets sold in a single concert at Campovolo, Reggio Emilia, in 2005. He also took part in several benefit concerts such as the 1996’s Pavarotti and Friends in Modena, 2005’s Live 8 in Rome, organized by Bob Geldof, and 2012’s Italia Loves Emilia in support of the earthquake-struck region.
Nevertheless, Luciano Ligabue’s fame is not only due to his music, but also to his talent and success as a filmmaker and writer. His debut movie Radiofreccia (1998) was screened at the Venice Film Festival and won the Nastro D’Argento and Davide di Donatello for his screenplay and direction; while his novel Fuori e Dentro il Borgo (1997) was awarded the Elsa Morante prize.
Prior to his arrival to the United States, L’Italo-Americano talked with Luciano about this very special tour that will win the heart of many Italians in LA.
Is this first tour in the U.S. particularly important for you? And what should the local audience expect from your performance?
The U.S. is where rock, my favourite genre, was invented. I have always been passionate about American rock music, but I also wanted to develop an Italian version of it, my personal way to playing it. And hopefully, I made it.
This U.S. tour is going to be very discreet, as my intention is to play for fellow Italians who left our country years ago and would like to see one of my shows just like they were in the very beginning, that is in a small, cozy club where I can be closer to the audience. I didn’t make any special plans, the only plan is for everybody to enjoy a couple of hours of good music, including both songs from the latest album, Mondovisione, and many of my greatest hits.
Despite the contemporary music scene in Italy boasts a number of big names, it seems like they struggle to reach international popularity. How could you explain this?
Nowadays the public must handle a lot of information, so I guess that they can more easily recognize and appreciate Italian music when it features the melody and bel canto traditionally associated with it. This can make things hard for those artists who follow a different path. My music is a combination of pop and rock, but the fact that I sing in Italian instead of English really makes a difference.
Almost a year after its release, much has been said about Mondovisione and its critique to modern society. How would you describe this latest album of yours? And what do you think is its key strength?
Everybody has his or her own way of looking at the world, and Mondovisione is mine. In this record more than in the previous ones, I tried to share my own vision of the world around me, of my present and my future. And each song is different from the other: while some of them sound like a critique, others are full of tenderness, melancholy, hope, and playfulness. I am very grateful to my supporters, and this time I wanted to open myself up completely, sharing my personal life experiences and feelings with them. I also believe that the sound of this album is particularly fit to my style, my voice, and the music I want to play.
After so many years at the top, did you discover the secret of success?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, there isn’t a recipe to write a hit. It would be nice if there was, but the truth is that any song has an original story and its success only depends on the public’s taste. I’m still surprised that teenagers empathize with some of the topics I write about. This is wonderful and weird at the same time!
Have you started working on future projects yet? Is there any American artist you would like to play with?
This tour doesn’t end in the United States, it will move to other countries across the world. So I am very happy and concentrated on it at the moment. The American artist I admire the most is Bob Dylan, but I can’t even imagine playing with him!