Giovanna Gattuso: turning politics into music with "The King is Naked"

Giovanna Gattuso, The King is Naked, Italian Music, Italian culture, Italian heritage, Italian american, Italian news, Italian traditions

Giovanna Gattuso and Ted Perlman performing live at the IIC. Photo by Mher Vahakn


The King is Naked is an expression derived from the famous tale by Han Christian Handersen, entitled The Emperor’s New Clothes and published in 1837. It refers to an arrogant king who is fooled by fraudulent tailors because of his presumption, and walks naked in front of his indulgent subjects, until an innocent child exposes him.
Nowadays, the phrase has turned into a metaphor of powerful people’s arrogance, as well as of sycophants’ fear to speak up. Mainly used in the world of politics, it has recently become quite common in Italy in regards to some politicians who made a bad end and others who make false promises.
From literature to politics, and now also to music: sometimes, complicated situations from real life can be of great inspiration for artists.
Italian jazz singer, soprano, composer, and vocal coach Giovanna Gattuso has perfected her singing skills at the UCSD and founded the Venice Voice Academy in Los Angeles, where she also collaborates with the VelvetBee Records, the IIC, and the San Gennaro Foundation. Giovanna was awarded the LA Music Award as Best Latin Female Singer Songwriter in 2006 and Best World Music Album of the Year.
Her brand new single The King is Naked, to be included in the upcoming CD, is based on the latest news regarding Italian politics. And yet, she underlines, “The lyrics and the story can easily be connected to many other politicians worldwide, and in general to people whose big ego makes their inevitable fall even more painful.”
Produced and arranged by Ted Perlman – who has also worked with Whitney Houston, Elton John, and Bob Dylan, among others -, The King is Naked was recently presented at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, together with a music video realized in collaboration with Italian fashion and interior designer Fabrizio Modina. The shooting took place in Italy, and Modina designed all details, from the furniture and accessories to Giovanna’s original costumes.
In the music video she wears 11 dresses, some of them created by her own mother, whereas the eccentric hairstyles were rented from a renowned costume shop in Turin, which provided them for the staging of Madama Butterfly in the 1920s and 1930s.
Giovanna’s latest song and the video are both catchy and ironic, allowing her to experiment a new style that combines her impressive jazz and operatic voice range with pop music. According to Ted Perlman, “This brilliant and elegant production reveals Giovanna’s talent, which reminds of Ella Fitzgerald and Norah Jones, mixed in her personal way of singing.”
The screening was introduced by IIC Deputy Director Michela Magrì, and followed by a Q&A and a live music performance. It was also accompanied by an exhibition of abstract paintings by Santa Monica-based artist Anahid Boghosian, whose colorful works have been inspired in part by her friend’s new song and video.
Giovanna Gattuso’s The King is Naked premiered in Italy about a month ago, and it is now available online and on YouTube, as a foretaste of the complete album.

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