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Angelina Mango’s ‘La Noia’ Advances Italy’s Odds to Win Eurovision 2024

Italy has been in the habit of sending male singers to the Eurovision Song Contest. Perhaps it is because one of the most successful Eurovision songs of all time is Domenico Modugno’s “Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu,” also known as “Volare,” a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. (More recently, the co-ed, male-fronted rock band Måneskin won Eurovision for Italy in 2021, propelling them to the global stage and Billboard chart success.)

Angelina Mango is the first female to compete for Italy since Francesca Michielin placed 16th in 2016 with “No Degree of Separation.” Mango has moved up in the bookmakers’ odds this week, with Italy now the third favorite to win the 2024 contest, behind Croatia and Switzerland. Billboard met up with her in Malmö, Sweden, host city to this year’s competition, to talk about her entry, her career and what’s next.

What is your own personal history with Eurovision?

I always watched Eurovision with my mom when I was a child because she’s a fan. It was really [not my thing], I have to be honest. I’m not talking about taste or music. I’m talking about experience. It was a surprise when I won the Sanremo Festival and understood the possibilities to come here. [The winner of Italy’s annual Sanremo Festival has the option to represent the country at Eurovision.] I’m very young and I just started a music career, so everything is new. I’m trying to learn a lot from everything and everyone, because this is an experience that happens once in your life. I want to live it all and not forget anything.

As a child, do you remember seeing any particular Eurovision songs or artists that stood out for you?

I really loved MARO from Portugal [with “Saudade, Saudade” in 2022]. Obviously, Loreen with “Euphoria.” We would always watch the TV program and talk about music, because I lived in a house of musicians.

Your father Giuseppe, who went by Mango, had a very successful career, releasing over 20 albums in his lifetime.

My mom was also a professional musician and my brother. When I was two years old I learned how to communicate through music. Music is like a language. When I did pre-promotion for my Eurovision song “La Noia,” I heard other people sing it with different accents and it was spectacular for me, because it doesn’t matter which language you are speaking, it’s just energy. Music really unites people everywhere. Eurovision is an opportunity for people to share music. You can do it alone, but I want to share it and learn from others in different countries.

 

Along with Eurovision, the Sanremo Festival is one of the world’s best-known song competitions. Why did you decide to enter?

In Italy, Sanremo is like Christmas. Everyone waits for Santa. I wrote “La Noia” and then I thought this is a song that has no regrets. I can take it on the stage with everything in me. So it’s perfect for Sanremo, because Sanremo is a celebration of music and a mirror of what has happened with music in Italy. But I honestly didn’t think about winning, so that was a surprise.

The winner of Sanremo has the option to represent Italy in Eurovision. Was that a difficult choice to make?

I didn’t have to think about it a lot. For me, it was obviously a good choice.

“La Noia” is a great pop song that sounds like a big hit. When did you write your first song?

I was five years old when I wrote my first song from the beginning to the end. The title was “I Fell in Love With Me” and I wrote it about myself, that I could be a woman without a man and without marriage. These were my thoughts at five.

Did you write the words and the music?

Yes, everything.

And you kept writing songs?

Yes. From that moment on, I couldn’t stop.

What inspired “La Noia”?

I wrote “La Noia” in the studio with Madame and Dardust [Dario Faini], a songwriter and a producer that I really love. I decided to talk about my life and my story. For me, it was very important to have a positive message. Dancing with a crown of thorns is something very important because everyone has a crown of thorns, something bad that has happened in your life, but we can always smile and we can always see positive things and this is something that I learned and I want to share with everyone, especially teenagers who listen to my music.

 

Is there an album on the way with “La Noia” on it?

I’m very proud of my album because I worked on it a lot. The title is Poké Melodrama. It is a reflection of my personality at this moment. It will be out May 31, and I can’t wait.

When you write songs, what comes first, the music or the lyrics?

It’s totally random. I can’t stop writing during the day. I always think about music. It’s difficult to explain. When I go to the studio, everything is ready in my mind. It’s strange, but it’s beautiful.

Aside from your parents, were there any musicians who inspired you when you growing up?

When I was six years old, I heard Woodstock for the first time and I learned about rock n’ roll. I went to see the Rolling Stones when I was 13. When I was in high school, I started listening to urban music, mostly from Italy.
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What have you learned about yourself from your Eurovision journey so far?

Today I’m more self-confident. I understand this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

What can you tell me about your upcoming tour?

It’s a long tour, beginning this summer. I’ll do some festivals with my band, both in and out of Italy. In October, we will do a club tour in Italy, and in November, a club tour in Europe. That’s a big thing for me because it’s the first time I have played music with my band since I was 13 years old. We grew up together and now we are in Malmö. It’s very strange, but it’s beautiful.

Mango will perform “La Noia” in the second semi-final of Eurovision 2024, although she will not be competing on Thursday (May 9). As one of the “Big Five” countries that contribute the most to the production budget, Italy is automatically qualified for the grand final. The second semi-final will be seen in the U.S. on Peacock at 3 p.m. ET on May 9. The grand final will air on May 11 at that same time.

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