Michele Merlo, from the dream of Sanremo to friendship with Emma: the story of an artist who left too soon

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“I sang loud for you last night. This morning my heart broke into a thousand pieces. I have no words, my friend. I kiss you on the forehead and always cracked corners of the mouth. Have a good trip Michi. ‘ This is the message that Emma Marrone, his coach at the evening of Friends than four years ago, he chose to dedicate to Michele Merlo a few minutes after the news of his disappearance, which occurred on the night between 6 and 7 June due to a fulminant leukemia which tore him from life at just 28 years old. He has always presented himself to the public with pseudonyms: first as Mike Bird, later as Cinemaboy. His name and surname, on the other hand, chose to use them only in 2020, on the occasion of the release of Stupid hearts, his first album completely sung in Italian, a language to which, at least initially, he always preferred English. The year he lived in London after his high school leaving certificate, which led him, in addition to cultivating the dream of music, also to devote himself to a job as a warehouse worker to earn money was, in fact, decisive in getting in touch with sounds that, to say the true, Michele, originally from Marostica, in the province of Vicenza, has always appreciated in his heart.

“I wrote in English because it was the language with which I was able to communicate better, even with myself” said Merlo in an interview with OnStage a year ago, defining himself as “a person with many difficulties, I am very fragile, very introverted, with a tough, sometimes arrogant character, but in reality it is an armor that I imposed myself a little because, in the end, even a mouse, if you put it with its back to the wall, pulls out a knife, so it was never to pose as a bully ». His character, on the other hand, had already come out during the sixteenth edition of Friends because of the constant bickering with Morgan, his first coach, which has repeatedly led him to want to leave the program. “L‘being stormy has always been part of my life. I believe that the “truth” of the artists does not come only through the songs but also the attitudes, the messages, what you communicate to those who listen to you. And I’ve always been true, with all the pros and cons of the case “said Michele in an interview with Vanity Fair a few days after the end of his experience as a competitor, the one that led him to insist with music to find his own identity.

One of his dreams was to tread, sooner or later, the stage of the Ariston: in 2020 he tried with the song I would like to protect you from the world, which however did not pass the selections. In one verse Michele Merlo sings: «I would like to protect you from the world because the world is not fair, because you are alone and you do not understand what is true and what is false. I would like to protect you from everything, you star against the universe. Trying to take life even if you don’t find meaning in it, even if you don’t find meaning in it ». In his case, that of an artist who died too early, barely 30 years old, that “unfair world” becomes an obsession from which it seems impossible to free oneself. The severe headaches that took him to hospital only to be discharged afterwards, mistaking the symptoms for a “viral form”; cerebral haemorrhage that led the medical team to emergency surgery; the drug coma and, finally, death, accompanied by thousands of messages of condolence from colleagues and fans who have never abandoned him. It is useless to think about what could have been done or not done to save his life: the only hope, at this point, is that his songs, from All for me a Big, can find a place in our Spotify playlist, a way to keep alive a talent that could still have shown so much.

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