Let’s get the thought out of the way right away: who is Annalisa?
«When, at the last X Factor, a contestant showed up with one of his songs, it didn’t seem like much to me from a harmonious point of view: I said so. And I had heard her name only because she had already been to Sanremo but I didn’t know her: I said this too. Everyone is scandalized…”.
But don’t you listen to the radio?
«No, when I get in a taxi I make it turn off».
Let’s go back to Annalisa.
«I informed myself. She is an excellent pop product, she has the physique du rôle. I suspend judgment on the technique.”
And how did «Sincerely» seem to you at this festival?
“I don’t watch Sanremo.”
Maybe it’s the desire to be like everyone else, because then everyone still does that: Sanremo is looked at but not said. Morgan, born Marco Castoldi, born in 1972, raised in Brianza and Milanese all his life, singer-songwriter, musician, writer and polemicist – “I hate the term, I simply have a critical sense” – was able to string together a very long series of successes and failures , doors thrown open and then slammed or grabbed in the face. Now, once the Festival has started, he lets it be known that “I don’t watch it, I don’t like it, we’ll hold our breath until it passes”. Yet his association with Ariston is extensive. The first time thirty years ago: in 1994 Bluvertigo – founded by Castoldi in 1991 – reached the challenge among young people with their first single, then they were still there in 2001; up to the pyrotechnics of 2010 (Morgan from favorite to eliminated for an interview in which he talked about using drugs) and 2020, the year of the now super-cult affair with Bugo who left the stage live during the performance. An affair that ended up in court, with record manager Valerio Soave also involved.
The singer-songwriter shows up at the interview with a spectacular fur coat, black waistcoat and scooter, «but I realized that in Milan I can’t use it anymore, the scooter I mean. You need a helmet and arrows…”.
All right, Morgan, she has nothing to do with Sanremo. But you will have known that Marco Mengoni, who is a dolphin of her, winner of the last edition, co-hosted the first evening …
«Mengoni was my dolphin. I haven’t been able to communicate with him for some time now, they’ve disconnected his phone line.”
And how are your relations with Bugo today?
«The truth is that I respect Bugo, and I respected him at the time too. In the past, when I found myself homeless and needed help, he lent me a hand. And I want to apologize to him if he felt offended by my tone in some interviews, which were the result of the fracture of that moment. I often use hyperbolic and scathing language. It would be nice if we were back on stage together.”
That video from four years ago, with her on the keyboard and Bugo leaving the stage, has had 23 million views online. It is among the most viewed scenes in the history of Sanremo.
«A moment of great spectacle. I can only say that I didn’t earn a single euro from it.”
How are things going with manager Soave?
At this point Morgan, as agreed with his lawyer Rossella Gallo, takes a piece of paper out of his pocket.
«I would like to take advantage of this interview to entrust the newspaper with a statement. Regarding certain expressions and statements that I used immediately after the event, such as for example in the press conference at Palafiori the following afternoon and then also in some television broadcasts of that February 2020, I would like to say that Valerio Soave, i.e. the owner of Mescal , was also my manager in the past and I was the one who proposed myself to him because of his renowned competence and excellence in the musical field. Regardless of the reasons I am supporting in civil court (they concern aspects linked exclusively to the area of copyright on the episode of my last evening participation in Sanremo20, for which I remain absolutely firm in my position), my esteem and gratitude for the work done together in the past for over a decade of success are unchanged. Therefore, regarding expressions and epithets used at the time in those interviews towards Valerio Soave and which he perceived as offensive, I sincerely apologize.”
Statement published. But now admit it: you like arguing a bit…
“False. Sgarbi is someone who likes to argue, I just say things to your face, I’m direct. With my language I build my life, my art is made of words.”
Which sometimes backfires. He’s looking for it a little.
“The argument leaves me with a bad feeling, for my part I am willing to ask for forgiveness and forgive.”
In this festival – which she is not watching – Loredana Bertè sings «I don’t need anyone who forgives me, I do it alone».
«Loredana is beautiful, a true artist. But I don’t forgive myself, it wouldn’t make sense. I make mistakes – even last year in Selinunte, I blurted out against the noisy audience: I used terms that don’t belong to me, I’m really sorry for having lost control – but I don’t experience the sense of guilt: I experience the sense of responsibility. And sometimes shame attacks me.”
The drug interview?
«Yes, I’m ashamed of it. In my life I have made mistakes, as we all do, but also beautiful things, I have brought music to many television programmes, in schools, I have disseminated it. But Morgan always makes mistakes: I wish it wasn’t just like that. When I was excluded from the Festival that year, I watched it together with Celentano, Claudia Mori made soup in it. I love them with all my heart, they are like two uncles to me.”
Did you have a listening group?
«Even with Battiato, we spoke on the phone».
If she says she doesn’t watch Sanremo, it’s not easy to believe her.
«I love Sanremo. It’s this type of Festival that I don’t like: the market wins and not the quality, so the music doesn’t evolve. Let’s take the authors: in my opinion each author should sign only one piece, but no, they are always the same. Amadeus makes television but music is not his specific field, he cannot choose everything. Pippo Baudo also made five editions but Sergio Bardotti, an exceptional record producer and author, expressed himself on the songs”.
In 2020 Amadeus chose her too.
“I was there because I had something to propose.”
Who will win on Saturday night?
«At this point I hope that Annalisa wins».
There were years when on X Factor she was a bit like Mourinho, divisive but always winning: with the Aram Quartet, Becucci, Mengoni, Chiara Galiazzo, Michele Bravi.
«The best ones I’ve had are the Clusters. I still feel with Michele Bravi, he is a real talent. And so is Chiara, she did pop for a while but I think her path is jazz.”
But even she makes mistakes sometimes: in one last battle she eliminated Mahmood.
«I don’t remember well, he wasn’t very well prepared. When the Moro Tower burned in Milan, I, who live near Via Antonini, I did a live broadcast to raise the alarm. I said I hoped Mahmood was okay: I knew he lived there. But he got angry. After months we saw each other at the Arena in Verona and he said to me: are you crazy for saying where I live? Assuming one isn’t John Lennon, shouldn’t he be happy if the fans come to his house?”
It didn’t go very well with the other judges of the latest X Factor. But who would want with her at the table, if he had the choice?
«People who know about music. I say: Asia Argento, Red Ronnie and Pino Pischetola, who is a great producer and sound engineer.”
A year ago Fedez and Ferragni were the royal family of Sanremo, now they are going through complicated months. After so many arguments, insults, perhaps complaints, what would you say to Fedez today?
«The central issue of what is happening for me is the distribution of wealth. In Italy, in the world, this is a decisive problem today. Fedez and Chiara Ferragni showed off their wealth, then the mechanism backfired on them in a violent way: I’m sorry about this on a human level, because a lynching is underway. The pillory is terrible: I know because I’ve been through it.”
Even Selvaggia Lucarelli, who raised the Pandoro case, then ended up in the storm for criticizing the restaurateur from Lodi, Giovanna Pedretti, who committed suicide.
«Selvaggia Lucarelli is an intelligent person and I hope that this experience has marked her in some way».
Morgan, is there anyone you’ve never argued with?
«Many, most. It’s just not newsworthy. Can I say something about Giorgia Meloni? ».
«Giorgia Meloni deserves credit for being an incorruptible woman. And she certainly isn’t a warmonger. When you go around the world with other heads of state, you can see that you work for peace.”
And who do you respect on the left?
«Prodi. And always Bertinotti.”
A relationship that you are happy to have rebuilt?
«Many. I would like to quote Massimo Gramellini: he wrote very badly about me and I replied the same, but one day he invited me on television and I found an open journalist, capable of going further. He also made me find my friend Vecchioni on the show, one of the noblest people in this world, a gift. When Battiato was there I was grateful every day for living on a planet where he was, now that Battiato is no longer here I think of Vecchioni.”
He just rewrote O mia bela Madunina, posted it on Instagram. What relationship do you have with Milan?
«I also made a video with street view, which is a frontier: but when can you take the streets in reverse and go up and down bridges? On street view I have some fantastic trips. In the video I start from XY and arrive at the top of the Duomo. I love Milan, it’s Gotham City and Gotham City is super cool.”
Gotham for the security problem?
«But no, I don’t feel this is a problem. Maybe it’s because they don’t bother me. But I often ask taxi drivers what it’s like to work at night: they confirm that it’s ok.”
His new album is about to be released.
«I haven’t released an album of unreleased songs since 2006. Here, with Panella, I worked up to ten hours a day. Television has engaged me, it has given me visibility and I don’t deny anything. But now I have the best job in the world.”
Do you also dream of the artistic direction of the festival?
«I once proposed it to Celentano: let’s do it. He – Prime Minister Berlusconi was there – replied to me from the columns of the Corriere: if I do Sanremo the government will fall”.
In short, it’s not destiny.
“In truth, I’m only interested in making music: I’m convinced I can compete with those twenty years younger than me.”
February 9, 2024
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