Fiorella-MannoiaFiorella Mannoia is performing on May 31st at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, here in London. LondonOneRadio had the honour of talking to her before this appointment.

How do you feel about your European tour?

I’ve never performed out of Italy before: this European tour is a great change for me! It makes me strong and excited. I do really want to start this new adventure.

Do you like travelling?

I love it. I think that every travel you make is an experience which let you grow up. Meeting new people, knowing other cultures, interacting with different traditions: all of these experiences inspire your creativity, especially the musicians’ one. Everyday an Italian guy or girl comes to London looking for an opportunity.

What do you think about this kind of travel?

Of course this kind of travel has nothing to deal with the one I mentioned before. Travelling around the world is part of human being, as everybody knows. But if your country is not able to help you, if it can’t offer you a job or the chance to study, well it means that your country is ill. It needs to be fixed.

What does it mean being famous, in your opinion?

I live an ordinary life, even if I’m famous. If somebody stops me to talk with me or to ask me for an autograph, I am happy. Being famous is an honour. I don’t understand famous persons who don’t like fame: being famous means that you are representative for a lot of people and that people trust in you. I think it’s something beautiful, don’t you agree?

Have you decided which tracks will you play here in London? It’s a difficult choice, I think, because you wrote a lot of beautiful songs.

Yes, it is. Fortunately, I turned 60 last year: on this occasion I realised a greatest hits which contains the most famous tracks from my entire repertoire. I’m going to use it for the concert here in London.

As a matter of fact, you started your career as an actress.

Yes, that’s true. I started with some western films because of my passion for riding horse. My dad was a riding instructor, so I share with him this passion since I was young. And then, when I was 16, somebody told me if I’d like to go horse-riding replacing actresses who were not able to do it. Like a stuntman! I accepted, of course: I had a lot of fun and I met many famous actors and actresses like Sordi, De Sica, Hackman. But I knew that it couldn’t be my future career. This is the reason I gave up.

Let’s talk about a recent tragedy: 700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreck. How do you feel about it?

I’ve already talked about this tragedy on my facebook page. The Italians can’t solve the immigration issue by themselves. We need Europe, because our resources are inadequate. We must stop tragedies like this one. Everyday someone dies trying to escape from his own country to a different one which could offer safety and health. Every country takes advantage of Africa: it’s time to stop this oppression. Unfortunately, I’m unhappily surprised by the Italian citizens who commented on this episode expressing racism and xenophobia.

Let’s talk about something happier: social networks. You mentioned facebook. Is the real Fiorella Mannoia who answers her fans?

Of course it is! I spend a lot of time answering my fans. I couldn’t be replaced by a staff, because my fans trust in me: they talk me about their lives, they express me their thankful, they ask me about my concerts. I love answering everyone personally. My facebook page has 700000 followers: we are a big community! And I use this popularity not just to talk about my personal life but also to share information that official mass media don’t promote.

“Quello che le donne non dicono” is one of your best tracks. Looking at the title of this song, I would like to ask you: do the women still remain silent?

Women have already said all they had to say. But it’s easier said than done, you know. Because of the sexist society in which we live, women have to fight again and again. But we are strong. I trust in our power.

Let’s talk about your body. While you’re performing you dance, you move your hands, you walk through the stage.How is your “relationship” with your body?

Well, I’m not young anymore. But it’s ok. I think old age doesn’t exist. It’s just a state of mind: if you feel old, then you became old. But I have no fear of years going by. I just try not to give up: I like to watch myself in the mirror and see that I’m still fine. Being happy of ourselves is the best way to grow up serenely.

Last question. Two names, two friends gone: Lucio Dalla and Pino Daniele.

Two names, two pains I can’t face. Especially Pino’s death: we were colleagues, we were friends. We enjoyed our time together: we laughed a lot, and this is the way I want to remember him. Singing their songs is the only way I have to make them immortals.

by ludovica marani

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