Who is Biagio Antonacci? The Artist in His Own Words
Between his first - ever - and his second concerts in New York City, Italian singer and songwriter Biagio Antonacci had a chance to stop by Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò at New York University for a chat… just to get to know him better and to hear his words not just in his songs.
Casa Italiana’s director, Stefano Albertini, and I-Italy’s founder and editor in chief, Letizia Airos, sat down with the 40 something star and go beyond the surface, with some fun, some deep, and some difficult questions.
First of all, “who is Biagio?” Airos asked. “Biagio is a lucky guy,” the singer responded while hiding behind the dark shades of his glasses. “He is a boy from the outskirts of Milan, born from a Pugliese father and a Milanese mother, who was lucky enough to have a dream from a very early age. I knew right away that music was my life, no question about it. That’s extremely important for a kid growing up, in my case I worked hard to make my dream come true… to make music the leading character in my life. I have become a man through my music: I write and I sing about what I experience, what I live through.”
Antonacci, whose latest CD “Sapessi dire no” has become available in the US not only as a digital download but also in CD format, is one of Italy’s leading singers and songwriters whose craft has been influenced by the country’s greatest songwriters: Lucio Dalla, to whom his latest CD is indeed dedicated, Ron, Lucio Battisti, Franco Battiato, Antonello Venditti and Claudio Baglioni. He is very prolific and writes incessantly, this has brought him to write songs for many other artists, mostly women (including Mina and Laura Pausini).
“Yes, by writing for female artists I have given space to my feminine side,” Biagio smirked as he said this, “I believe that every human being has a side in him/her of the opposite sex. I am surrounded by women, they confide in me and I listen to their experiences. It has always been like that. Men are kinda boring, while women are more interesting. They inspire me. Needless to say, as a consequence, my songs mostly appeal to women, I touch something in them that makes them appreciate me. When I was younger this bothered me. I didn’t like to be labeled as a singer for chicks! But as I grew older and more mature I understood that I should be proud of this. And I am. Plus women are faithful fans, they never leave you.”
There were plenty of women as well as men, attending the star’s concerts at the Highline Ballroom, so we feel like we could safely say that Biagio’s music overcomes the boundaries of gender. At Casa Italiana, Antonacci admitted he was a bit nervous the previous night, during his first concert in New York, but that the energy was great and he could feel it… New York is one of the most coveted and important arenas in any artist’s career. It represents an unparalleled conquest.
And Antonacci could not stress enough how important it is to have a goal, something to achieve. It helped him when he was a kid dreaming about making music and motivates him every day. His promise to the audience at Casa Italiana, for example, is to write a song in English and actually coming back and being able to speak English to the audience without an interpreter. “That would be an achievement!” he chuckled.
But on more serious terms, Antonacci was able to go even deeper in explaining how often when we get something we don’t enjoy it fully. “We are too overwhelmed to actually take it all in,” he explained “I will be able to metabolize my New York’s adventure in a couple of days. So I firmly believe that real joy lies in the wait, in all what comes before THE big event. There is a poem by celebrated Italian Poet Giacomo Leopardi title Il Sabato del Villaggio (Saturday Night in the Village) that explains this perfectly. The verses capture the joy people share while preparing for the Sunday’s celebrations. Sunday is the big day yet people share unique moments of happiness while they are waiting for it to arrive.”
And Antonacci said, at the beginning of the evening, that he was looking forward to his second concert after the chat at Casa Italiana, because he wanted to enjoy it to the fullest, while he was obviously enjoying his time at the conference. He took a picture of the crowd to post it on his facebook page. He laughed, along with everybody else, at the person who showed him a copy of the Vanity Fair issue that portrays him half naked. He admitted he sings to himself but does not like to sing his own songs… often people on the streets recognize him by his voice. A Voice that has been part of Italy’s soundtrack for decades now. And that has now reached America.