Andrea De Filippi, aka ALFA, is on stage for the first time at the Sanremo Festival, called directly by Amadeus after missing last year’s appointment at the Sanremo Giovani finals due to illness.
The young Genoese singer-songwriter presents himself with Go, music composed with the collaboration of American producers Ian Scott and Mark Jackson.
The song is the first piece of his third album, “I don’t know who created the world but I know he was in love”, which will be released on February 16th.
2024 starts off strong. Sanremo, new album and first tour in the arenas. Let’s go in order: how do you feel about arriving on the Sanremo stage and what can you tell us about the song “Vai”?
It’s a song I wrote in California. Straight body, with a slightly folk-country sound and that American culture that has always fascinated me. It is a very motivational, energetic song and therefore I hope first of all to surprise a little those who perhaps only know me for ‘Bellissimissima’.
Clearly I’m preparing as much as I can because the method is my way of managing anxiety.
I sing ‘Vai’ twenty times a day… in the bathroom, while sleeping, lying down, upside down.
I sing it in any way and more to reassure myself than to have vocal results because I have now studied the piece a thousand times. I hope that anxiety doesn’t deceive me, just that, because I’m very emotional. So I hope that the ten minutes before become adrenaline and not immobilizing anxiety.
The emotion on that stage is written.
It is inevitable. At twenty-three, being chosen as Big by Amadeus, beyond the fact that it is a huge test, honors me a lot and I am happy to live this experience.”
Can you tell us which songs made it in and which ones were left out of the album?
Wow. The ones that were left out are really many because in the last few months we have written more than fifty songs. We have chosen ten completely new ones, there will only be the known Sanremo song. The title of the album is a bit long, but it has a concept inside that I really like… ‘I don’t know who created the world but I know that he was in love’.
It’s a record that talks about love, but a non-autobiographical love. It is an observer’s love, like when you meet a grandfather on the street who is accompanying his grandson to school, when you see a couple kissing or a beautiful sunset. They are all those signs that make you say that love is beautiful anyway, it is something strong and you can understand it by looking at it.
It’s a record for an observer and a lover of love.”
The title is an interesting anthem that you had somehow already spoiled. It could describe an even broader space, introducing a podcast, a novel, or it could become, and perhaps already is, a manifesto for your generation.
I hope so. It is certainly a very striking concept, at least I hope, simply because it is a historical period where the only love that exists is self-love and there is very little focus on others. Ours is a society based a lot on appearance and my generation is full of anxiety. We are very fragile and very aggressive.
Talking about the love of others, focusing on the other, being optimistic and positive, but also empathetic towards others, in my opinion helps. I always say that being romantic is the real revolution because it’s the oldest thing in the world, but it’s actually been missing for a while.”
You talked about fifty songs which is a lot. Are those who didn’t make it onto this album waiting for the next one?
Depends. Surely someone will pick a few songs out of the hat… I’m also from Genoa and I can’t throw everything away, but I’ve always written because music is my best friend. Just writing some songs that are a little more personal, a little more about me and autobiographical has helped me and releasing them isn’t actually that necessary.
However, I live music, it’s not like if I go into the studio and make a song that will never be released, I haven’t learned something.
I’m sure that experience taught me something anyway, because I like writing songs regardless, regardless of the result, regardless of whether they come out or not, whether they work or not. For me it’s never a waste of time.”
Maybe also because when a song is ready to be released it also becomes something else’s song.
There’s a certain magic when a song becomes someone else’s. Perhaps the fact that I have never done anything for people is what may have struck me a bit about my journey. I never wanted to actually succeed. It was a consequence of what I did, that is, making music because it made me feel good and it makes me feel good doing it.
I’ve never done a talent show, for example. When you do a talent show, you take into account the visibility, the success you could have because you actually want it.
Because of the way I was, that is, very very shy, social media allowed me to publish songs without realizing how many people I could have in front of me. I am very grateful for that naivety because probably if it hadn’t been like that, I wouldn’t be doing this job now.”
This approach also makes you very authentic.
For me it is important to be sincere. Music today is very cool, linked to the concept of coolness.
It’s more music to the eye than the ear in some cases. But my life is writing songs. I don’t have time to focus on a fake image of myself, perhaps more colorful and more interesting, ‘more flexible’… the expensive shirt, the expensive car. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a lifestyle choice. That attitude really doesn’t belong to me.
I like writing songs and being a normal 23 year old. I write love songs because love is what makes the ordinary extraordinary. It’s not that if I didn’t have a street background I have any less right to write songs.”
From album to tour.
We’ve been working on it for months because the tour is also a huge test. You can do the arenas once or you can do them five hundred times, it clearly depends on how good you are at giving concerts. I believe that my songs have more in the live dimension, I am very convinced of this.
We are working on all the arrangements and we are creating a stage that is very different from the usual stages in sports halls. We’re trying to do something a little more theatrical. Let’s say that it will be a slightly different live show than the usual Italian shows, both for the musical choices which are a little more American and it will be a bit in the ‘Jovanotti style’… I don’t want to spoil too much.
The goal is to make people lose their voices. If those who came to one of my concerts the next day have a low voice, it means we did a good job.”
24 FEBRUARY 2024 – MILAN – MEDIOLANUM FORUM
05 APRIL 2024 – PADUA – KIOENE ARENA
06 APRIL 2024 – TURIN – PALA ALPITOUR§
16 APRIL 2024 – NAPLES – PALAPARTENOPE
19 APRIL 2024 – BARI – PALAFLORIO
§21 APRIL 2024 – FLORENCE – NELSON MANDELA FORUM
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