Sanremo 2024, Irama: “Tu No is a song without frills, I spit the truth in your face”

Yet another new direction for Iramaa new evolution that will emerge above all, in its many facets, in the album to come. Not you marks the beginning of this new project. The live show is already being worked on because in this historical period it is important; before the tour there will be a special event. Irama is competing at the 74th Sanremo Festival (WATCH THE SPECIAL) with Not you (Warner Music Italy), a dense and visceral song, of great impact, which the singer-songwriter interprets by digging deep, in an emotional climax where piano, orchestra and voice become one. The song highlights his singing and interpretative skills to the maximum and underlines his new artistic path. In Not you Irama it tells of the sense of lack and that of distance in the broadest meaning of the term, not only in the romantic sense. A dedication to a complex state of mind, with a thousand implications and facets, which everyone can adapt to their own personal life experience. On the duet evening she will share the Ariston stage with Riccardo Cocciante and they will When a Love Ends.

Filippo let’s start from the duet you will do with Riccardo Cocciante with When a love ends.

It’s an honor to sing with him, it wasn’t a given that he would accept. I’m happy but it’s also difficult to stand next to a giant of Italian music like him. It will be a moment that will stay with me forever, we will make a song that is a swing of emotions. He has always inspired me, it will be nice to emotionally shout something together. It’s the right song and for what I had to say it was right to ask him to be there.

Instead Not you is it the first choice? And how does it fit into the upcoming album project?

When I have the chance to participate in the Festival I always present a song. It was the first one made and represents a beginning and also a part of the sound of the album. Each record represents a new beginning, I see them as a piece of my soul: I’m young and I take them as a challenge, it means meeting new musicians and raising an emotional and professional bar.

Who are you addressing?
Not you it doesn’t have many frills, it’s a spitting truth in the face. It deals with the theme of distance and I hope that it is perceived on an emotional level. I come with a high ballad next Wherever you will be of 2022 but this one has a different flow. In the album I try to maintain an organic sound, I dedicate space to the words, I work a lot with the musicians and this song represents the beginning of the new path.

The voice pushes a lot, almost as if it were shouting: will it be like this with the Orchestra or will the voice change?

It will change slightly although I want to keep it as natural as possible. In the future, especially in live performances, I will rearrange it.

What if you had to give a summary of your Sanremo?
There have been more upbeat years, others quieter ones, this time I keep the focus on the song. I tell less about what’s around me, I’m more intimate but it’s difficult to make predictions, the Festival is an unexpected event. I hope something fun happens. I learned that anything can happen, you have to follow that gigantic path and dedicate yourself to the song.

The project with Rkomi?

Made of beautiful buildings, we were born as soloists and we found each other. It all started in Los Angeles, it was a special project, I had fun. It is currently frozen.

What do you say about the other artists competing at the Ariston?

Some are friends, others I don’t know, I’m curious to hear what they will sing.

What is personal about the song?

There are a thousand ways of making music, I think of the news story Marinella’s Song as if telling the story of something one has seen. I try to tell in a transparent way and here I tell about myself on a personal level and I want to convey the lack, the distance I had at that moment. Songs shouldn’t be told too much, I’ve never liked the concept of a serenade: the person must see himself in the text. I do it too with other people’s songs: the magic of music is that a song talks about you even if it is by someone else, perhaps with details that we don’t notice and yet we identify with.

Have you freed yourself from the concept of hits?

When you make one you are labeled for that and in Italy it is not always seen positively but when even the deeper songs became so the approach changed. We change and I tell the music for what it is, authentic and pure, without frills. The concept of a hit is very Italian: a song is so because it is listened to a lot, I would like to make more by working hard. The hardest thing is reaching everyone.

Can you tell us something more about the change you are bringing about?

the production is organic, I follow everything, there will be an important orchestral component on the album. I’m studying gospel, the sound is part of me, even on tour I’ve always valorised it. For the album there was a search for sound and people. I would add that the album was not born in America, but was born at various points in my movement.

A place of the heart?

Puglia has always been the center of the world, there I feel like I’m moving away from a more artificial world. I believe in energies, I feel them when I make music: I feel the difference between a bench in Milan and a meadow in Puglia. Man has lost his relationship with Nature. My grandfather felt that it was about to rain from the humidity and the pain in his bones. Today we look at the weather apps and it’s almost unlucky.

What would you say to the Irama of the first Festival, the one in 2016?
I have a clear memory, I was disappointed because I was a boy, perhaps the youngest, and I lost the challenge with Ermal Meta. I remember that afterwards I went up onto that balcony convinced that I would soon return here among the Bigs to talk about my music. My legs were shaking, an artist patted me on the back telling me that there are only 20 million people who listen to me: he left a lasting impression on me. It was an atypical apprenticeship that helped me understand a little how the world works.

You are young but have experience: do you feel like a mentor?
No. I tell you that I don’t have a young boy to teach, but when I was a guest of Maria De Filippi to be a judge I tried to advise rather than judge. I try to give advice to guide the path of those growing up. It’s important to study!