As a rule, there is a certain xenophilia in the fantasies of the youngest: America’s dream of a success that knows how to cross national borders, rewrite and, at times, forget its own tradition. Alessia Zappamiglio, however, it has little convention. And, in his fantasies, the xenophilia was stifled by an attachment to his own territory, its nuances and sounds. “It is not parochialism”, he is keen to point out, “Only, I believe that Italian can be the most beautiful language in the world”, the words form images that America once loved and copied.
“My father told me how much, in the sixties and seventies, other countries drew from our music,” recalls the girl, who has shortened her surname for love of art.
Alessia Zappamiglio, born in Brescia in 1992, decided to give herself to music as Mile, a brunette singer, with short bangs and a promise to be true to herself written on her face. In spite of everything. Despite the sacrifices and double jobs, “Because you have to eat at the end of the month,” he admits.
How did this all start?
«Music belongs to the family. My father is a musician, my sister chewed it, my mother has always understood its importance. I grew up in an environment where music has always been present. My dad gave me my first guitar when I was still a child. I started playing with him, then by myself. Together with the instruments, the desire to write has arrived ».
No study, therefore.
“There was also a time for studying. When I was twelve or thirteen, I approached music independently. Writing has always been the result of a spontaneous motion. But this movement, although natural, needed a direction. So, I decided to start studying ».
When did you realize that music was going to be your job?
“It has always been clear to me. At one point I thought of enrolling in university, of trying with Dams. But at eighteen, nineteen, the need to go out and play was stronger. It is not always easy. You have to go to clubs and introduce yourself and play other people’s songs. If you are lucky and there is time left, you may want to think about putting something of your own at the end. I made a lot of apprenticeship, and I needed it ».
From Brescia, however, he chose to move to Bologna, an unusual choice for those pursuing fame.
«In Bologna, I played everywhere: on the street, in literary circles, in front of four people. I played wherever possible, I called the locals to find out if they had holes. And that’s what I love about Bologna. It is a city where you can sit in the square with a guitar and start playing. If I did it in Brescia, in piazza della Loggia, they would fine me ».
How did you get there, in Bologna?
“I discovered it slowly, many years ago, because my personal relationships brought me there. Once upon a time, Bologna represented only the motorway junction for me when people went on vacation. Today, I like to call it the city of toys. Go out alone and you never feel alone, in Bologna. Bologna is my home ».
Bologna is also the city of Lucio Dalla, of Francesco Guccini, of a songwriting tradition that has made history.
«And that it got lost a bit. The authentic Bolognese, people who lived through the seventies and eighties, tell me about it. There was Dalla and there was Guccini, and there were the drunk nights at Vito’s writing unforgettable songs. What I hope is that Bologna can relaunch itself. We need a new recycling that brings music back to life ».
Why didn’t you take the shortcut of talent to emerge?
“Because I believe they are a double-edged sword and I believe that not everyone has the structure, physical and mental, to get out unscathed. For me, talent would risk being a danger. I’m not structured to handle the situation. In talent, television arrives before music, and the artistic soul of the single is often suffocated by the show. They can give a lot, they can be bombs at the media level, but they are not for me ».
And what is it for her?
Again, a reference to the Italian tradition, in short.
«Sanremo is a lottery game, many are trying it. But it is a stage that I would like to tread. I like it, and I like it as a listener rather than as an artist. I have always followed him and, net of the situation we are experiencing, I believe I will try him ».
Will you ever try to sing in a different language, to have more appeal outside Italy?
“No. I don’t want to sing in another language, and it’s not just a matter of mastery. It is really that I am unable to express myself in a language other than Italian ».
«Because I think it is beautiful, powerful. Maybe I have always listened to a lot of songwriting: Rino Gaetano, Fabrizio De André, Ivano Fossati, Piero Ciampi, I devoured them when I was still a child. At twelve, thirteen, I was playing Ivan Graziani and my peers didn’t even know who he was. These artists have taught me how every word has a weight, a meaning. With them, I approached writing ».
Then, however, it broke away.
«Growing up, I discovered the underground, Italian and foreign. But I have never forgotten the textual power of a song and still today, when I listen to Nirvana, Oasis, what never comes to me is the text, but the musical power of a song. It is not parochialism, but something more visceral: Italian is my mother tongue and it is tremendously beautiful ».
Its debut dates back to 2018, with The electronic men. Then, there was The bar on the tracks, Flat land Padana and, lastly, Erasmusplus. When is a record?
«I’m working on it and I hope to be able to publish it by next summer. About February, I will release another single, but when thinking about promoting an album I can’t help but think about a tour. It is a critical moment, and I would like to release a record to be able to play it ».
No plan B, therefore.
“I don’t have it, I’ve never had it, and I’m not interested in having it. Even if sometimes you do it in your pants because fear exists, I would not be able to imagine myself anywhere else. I want to make music, and to do that I made a lot of compromises. I was a bartender, brought the pizzas. I have been working as a babysitter for four years. And it’s not easy, you know, it’s not nice. Because some families ask you what you do in life and don’t understand that you are an artist. But you have to eat at the end of the month, and compromises are needed ».