Singer Gianna Nannini:
Happiness factory is in our heads
I treat my concerts as a mission from which nothing should distract me
13 April, 2017
Close-up: Gianna Nannini, the legendary Italian singer whose tobacco-tinted voice will be forever associated with the official song of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, is set to give her first concert in Sofia on 26 April. The set list will feature the greatest hits of her 26 studio albums. The rock star with a degree in philosophy was born on 14 June 1956 in Siena, Italy. She trained as a pianist at the Lucca Conservatory and then as a composer in Milan. In 1994 Nannini was part of an impromptu concert staged with the help of Greenpeace activists at the French Embassy in Rome in protest against France's resumption of nuclear testing at the Mururoa islands. She is the sister of former Formula 1 pilot Alessandro Nannini. On 26 November 2010, at the age of 54, she finally realised her lifelong dream of becoming a mother. Even with her family commitments, Nannini has never stopped working. “I am fortunate to live near the recording studio and there is always someone to look after Penelope while I am working,” shares Nannini, who is said to be the favourite singer of Pope Benedict XVI along with Eros Ramazzotti. During her stay in Sofia, Nannini will meet with her first and only music teacher, Maria Klincheva.
- Gianna, you have already launched your tour in Switzerland and will make your stop in Sofia in two weeks. What has been the vibe of the concerts and what has been your most emotional encounter with the audience so far?
- My connection with the audience defies borders because rock music is a universal language. Eastern European countries have traditions in this genre, the love for it seems to be in your DNA and I adore you for that.
- Are there any artists you associate our country with? What do you know about Bulgaria?
- I know the sound of the voice of Amethyst (author’s note: a character in the Steven Universe animated series on Cartoon Network). I am kidding. I know I have a lot of fans in Bulgaria and I cannot wait to meet them, talk to them and feel their energy. Your folk music is an absolute treasure and I would like to hear it live.
- What can we expect from the 26 April show in terms of set list and energy?
- There are going to be 14 of us on the stage, six of which make up my heavy rock-and-roll artillery. The songs that will be played with an orchestra have simply fantastic arrangements! Thomas Lang will be on drums and he is among the most talented instrumentalists in the world.
- Your concert is almost three hours long. Do you have a special conditioning programme to prepare for such physically grueling gigs?
- I follow a diet rich in fibres and vegetables, avocado is one of my favourite foods. I also expend a lot of energy on stage and so I must keep hydrating. I also do a lot of Pilates.
- One of your most beloved songs in Bulgaria is Un'estate italianа from the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Can you tell us a funny story or a special moment from when you were working on the hit of this legendary tournament?
- This song is a symbol of nations coming together in their pursuit of a world of peace and solidarity. The most important element in it is the message, which contrasts passion and the fulfillment derived from sports with discrimination, intolerance and violence.
- Your tour is entitled History. How would a Top 5 of the most significant moments of your career and personal life look like?
- The songs on my set list are the cornerstones of my artistic path. They are my favourite to perform and I have a special attachment to them. The concert is constructed to show the audience the emotional transformations I have gone through the years and every title marks a whole era in my evolution as an artist.
- Is your daughter travelling with you or are you more like Robbie Williams, who often sings lullabies on Skype backstage?
- She is with me for three quarters of the tour, when school is in recess. The rest of the days we talk on the phone.
- Is she interested in music? What of yourself do you see in her and what do you like to do together?
- Every Sunday is mommy’s day. I plan in advance so we can have as much fun as possible. For example, she plays the violin while I am jamming on my guitar. Any form of creativity is welcome - we draw, paint the walls, read books, skate. My main responsibility as a parent is to instill a love for books in her, but our roles have reversed lately and she is the one reading to me.
- Was having her the single most important fight in your life? What would you advise women who might be afraid to become mothers at a later stage of their life?
- I would remind them that there are no limitations, except those existing in our minds. The happiness factory is in our heads, we are the ones deciding our own destiny and no one has the right to dictate what makes us happy and what is right or wrong. Being a parent is the highest and most powerful form of love. It is the love of life. It does not even matter whether you are a mother or a father, this is just statistics. What matters is the life that awaits its appearance into the world.
- What do you do in your spare time on the road? Do you have hobbies that bring you peace?
- I like long strolls in the park. I often do Tai Chi outdoors. I have a keen interest in breathing techniques since vocal power stems from the ability to control your breathing. I spare little time for diversions when I am touring because I consider my concerts a mission from which nothing should distract me.
- If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give her - to steer clear of certain vices or not to surround herself with a certain type of people?
- I would tell my younger self: “You gave a heck of a concert yesterday, Gianna!” I feel peaceful whenever I sweep the stage like a tornado and I give a dominant performance. I believe that one can safely afford to be a tad gluttonous. After all, overindulging in spirits from time to time is part of the stereotypical rock-and-roll lifestyle. My passion is wine, it goes back generations in our family and I even make my own brand, La Certosa di Belriguardo.