It has now been over two months since Marco Mengoni won Sanremo 2023, and was confirmed as Italy’s Eurovision 2023 representative. With an experienced abundant career behind him, the singer has taken an interest in the contest since he first entered in 2013, and now finally gets his wish to return. Before he does, read on to learn all about him and his entry, ‘Due Vite’.
Who is Marco Mengoni?
Marco Mengoni was born in Ronciglione, Viterbo on the 25th December 1988. Showing musicality from an early age, he enrolled in a singing school at 14, and was a member of a vocal quintet. He decided to pursue a solo career two years later, performing covers and original pieces in small clubs. Marco moved to Rome at 19 and enrolled in the University of Languages, working in some recording studios as a sound engineer and programmer on the side, and decided to move to Milan in 2013.
Marco rose to prominence in 2009 after winning the third edition of X Factor Italia, mentored by Morgan (of Sanremo 2020 “dov’è Bugo” fame). He subsequently signed a record deal with Sony Music, and released his winning single ‘Dove si vola’ in early December, which went to number one. He also won the right to enter Sanremo 2010 in the Artists section, eventually placing third with ‘Credimi ancora’.
Marco entered and won Sanremo 2013 with his song ‘L’essenziale’, which became his first Eurovision entry. In Malmö, Italy placed 7th with 126 points. Having a great experience, he has expressed his desire to return to the contest over the years, encouraging subsequent Italian representatives. He has also cited his success around the continent to his exposure in Eurovision, even releasing a Spanish version of his album ‘Atlantico’, collaborating with British artist Tom Walker in 2018 on ‘Hola (I Say)‘, and touring around Europe.
Marco’s style and inspirations
Marco’s voice is distinguished by its soul timbre and pop-rock accents. Critic Mario Luzzatto Fegiz cites that his voice is “supported by an original and extraordinarily modern modulation with blues veins”. He’s known for his great vocal range and control. Legendary artist Lucio Dalla commented that he is “one of the best artists in recent years”, and compared him to Prince. His main musical influences are David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and Renato Zero, and he has been guided by the songs ‘I’m Outta Love’ by Anastacia, ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen, ‘La luce dell’est’ by Lucio Battisti, ‘La cura’ by Franco Battiato, and ‘Respect’ by Otis Redding.
Over the years, Marco has earned a plethora of awards, and he has many achievements to his name. In particular, he was the first Italian artist to win the Best European Act at the MTV EMAs in 2010 (then again in 2015), the first Italian act to perform at the Billboard Film & TV Music Conference in 2013, and the first Italian artist to be nominated for Best Worldwide Act in the MTV EMAs in 2013. He also won the award for Best Italian Singer at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2014. Out of his seven albums, five have gone to number one in Italy, with his two most recent albums ‘Materia (Terra)’ and ‘Materia (Pelle)’ peaking at a still impressive second place. He also has five number one singles to his name, and dozens of certifications.
‘Due Vite’ and its road to Eurovision
‘Due Vite’ was premiered to the world on the 7th February during Sanremo 2023 night one, and immediately became a favourite for the victory. Performing fourth, Marco placed first in all three of the press and TV, radio, and web juries. On night three he placed first again in the press and demoscopic juries, but was beat into second in the televote by Ultimo with his song ‘Alba’. On night four, covers night, Marco performed ‘Let It Be’ by the Beatles alongside The Kingdom Choir, placing second with the press and demoscopic juries, first with the televote, and first overall. Ultimately in the final, Marco made his way onto the podium after earning the majority of the televote, 21.19%, and in the superfinal won with a healthy lead, by placing first with the press and demoscopic juries, and earning 32.31% of the televote. After winning, Marco confirmed his Eurovision participation immediately, but toyed with taking a different song to Liverpool. In the end, he decided that ‘Due Vite’ would be his entry.
Marco will sing ‘Due Vite’ on the Liverpool Arena stage representing Italy. The single is a part of the aforementioned album ‘Materia (Pelle)’, and was written by Davide Petrella, Davide Simonetta, and Marco himself, as well as being produced by E.D.D., and Simonetta. It has gone two times platinum in Italy, charting at number one, and number two in Switzerland. Since his Sanremo win, Marco has released the official three minute version of ‘Due Vite’, which will be the version seen on the Eurovision 2023 stage. He described the meaning of the song as such:
“It is my never ending story because it is the story of a relationship between ratio and the unconscious. I’m dedicating a lot of hours a week to my thoughts with a professional, and I’m realising that my unconscious gives me more realistic inputs than everyday life. In the song I described this double life: that of the night and of dreams that becomes more real than the dreams themselves, and the one I live every day. I am a sinner, I am someone who makes mistakes. There are slaps and you have to move forward in life. There are moments of boredom and down that in any case serve as all things: for me ‘Due Vite’ is this”.
Marco also explained that it is:
“a song full of words, a continuous tension that never seems to explode until the moment I leave my vocal cords there, at Sanremo. It wasn’t easy to tackle this piece, but the beautiful thing is that we let ourselves be carried away by Lucio Dalla, letting ourselves be inspired, remembering him. I approached singing in this way: little breath, many words, and a lot of tension to then explode”.– Both excerpts come from an interview with Marco from Vanity Fair.
Within Italy, Andrea Laffranchi of ‘Corriere della Sera’ scores ‘Due Vite’ 8/10, defining the song a “classic ballad” which “balances melody and rhythm well”. Valentina Colosimo of ‘Vanity Fair’ states that the song “allows Mengoni to show off all of his singing skills”, giving the listener “a ton of feelings“.
Marco will be previewed in semi final one on the 9th May, however will advance to the final automatically thanks to Italy being a member of the big five, so we can expect to hear ‘Due Vite’ on the 13th May. It’s worth noting that Marco has an incredible voice, which may help them picking up jury votes. The entry is also a quintessential Italian ballad, which audiences across Europe may warm to, so perhaps a decent televote result is on the way too. Overall, it’ll be interesting to see how Italy place.
You can listen to the official three minute Eurovision cut of the entry here: