Italy nearly won the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv. Only 27 points were missing. But who is the talented artist who performed Soldi, a song about the hypocrisy of people who are only interested in money? 25 facts about Italian rapper Mahmood, Italy’s 2019 Eurovision entry.
25 facts about Italian Rapper Mahmood
Mahmood’s real name is Alessandro Mahmoud.
He was born in Milan on 12 September 1992. He grew up in the Gratosoglio district in Milan.
His mother Anna is Italian (Sardinian), his father Ahmed Egyptian. They divorced when Mahmood was eight years old.
Mahmood doesn’t speak Arabic, even though his father is Egyptian.
His father Ahmed abandoned his Italian family when Mahmood was a child. Ahmed had another family in Egypt. Today, the 27-year old artist has litttle contact with his father.
According to Mahmood, his mother Anna raised him alone. She was his mother and his father.
Mahmood took singing lessons when he was a child. His mother supported him.
Milan and Sardinia are a source of inspiration for Mahmood, even for his songs. He speaks Sardinian fluently, because his mother comes from Sardinia.
The name Mahmood is a mix of Mahmoud, Alessandro’s family name, and my mood.
In 2012, he took part in the Italian TV show X Factor, but he wasn’t very successful.
In 2013, he started to write his own songs.
In July 2013, he released Fallin’ Rain, his first single.
In 2016, he competed for the young section of the San Remo festival, Italy’s most important song festival. He finished fourth.
In 2017, he won the Summer Festival (young category) in Rome with his song Peso.
The same year, he began to co-write songs for various Italian artists, including superstar Marco Mengoni (Hola, I Say).
In 2018, Mahmood released Gioventù bruciata, his first EP (extended play).
In February 2019, Mahmood won the San Remo Festival, Italy’s most important song festival, with his song Soldi.
In May 2019, Mahmood represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. Soldi was one of the most clicked videos of the festival. Mahmood nearly won the Eurovision Song Contest, but unfortunately The Netherlands received 27 points more than Italy.
On Spotify, Soldi is the most-streamed Italian song of all times. 80 percent of the streams are from outside Italy.
In a video interview with Noisey, Mahmood said: “My song Soldi is not about the material value of money, but about the distance money can create in a family. Part of it is the story of my family.”
The song Soldi is mainly about Mahmood who talks to his father Ahmed who abandoned his son and his wife in 2000. Mahmood sings for instance:
Beve champagne sotto Ramadan, fuma narghilè, mi chiede come va (he drinks champagne during Ramadan, he smokes narghile and asks me how I’m doing).
È difficile stare al mondo quando perdi l’orgoglio, lasci casa in un giorno (it’s difficult to be in this world if you lose your pride, you leave your home in one day only).
Mahmood went to Egypit twice. The first time he was eight years old, the second time 12 years old. “It was great,” he says. “I remember very colourful places and the smell. During a week, we rode horses in the desert. One day, I fell from the horse because it freaked out. I never sat on a horse’s back again.”
During his first trip to Egypt at the age of eight he met Hassan, one of his brothers, for the first time. Mahmood’s father had had several families and children.
He loves rap, but he doesn’t define himself as a rapper. “I’m neither a rapper nor a trapper or an indie or pop singer. “I don’t like being defined by a classic standard. I want to create new things. Otherwise, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Mahmood has a few tattoos: a bathing Nefertiti on the inner arm, a scarab and a triangle that symbolizes his family (the triangle is similar to the letter A which stands for Anna, Ahmed and Alessandro).
During his stay in Israel, Mahmood visited Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. In one of the most recent pictures he posted on Instagram, you can see the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in the background (see picture below).
La pazza gioia is one of Mahmood’s favourite films. In this Italian film with Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti in the leading roles, two female patients escape from a psychiatric hospital to seek freedom and enjoy life.
Mahmood was inspired by hip-hop, rap as well as ryhtm and blues. The Fugees, Lauryn Hill, Frank Ocean, Jazmine Sullivan, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles are some of this favourite musical artists.
Mahmood is a very modest person. Even though he’s gay, he doesn’t like to talk about it, because it’s part of his private life. You won’t find any reference in his songs. He never made an official coming out. He wants his fans to be interested in his music only. Bravo, Alessandro!
Cover photo: Eupa Images / Shutterstock
Photos: Courtesy of Mahmood Instagram
MAHMOOD’S CONCERT TOUR 2019
This fall, Mahmood will perform a series of concerts in Bologna (13 September), Lugano (23 October), Zurich (24 October), London (27 October), Paris (28 October), Luxemburg (29 October), Brussels (31 October), Berlin (3 November) and Barcelona (5 November).
MAHMOOD SINGS BARRIO LIVE AT THE ARENA DI VERONA (SEPTEMBER 2019)
Video: Soldi by Mahmood
Video: Mahmood performs Soldi at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv
Video: Mahmood sings Soldi live in London (October 2019)
Video: Milano Good Vibes by Mahmood
Video: Fallin’ Rain, Mahmood’s first song
Video: Pesos by Mahmood
Video interview with Mahmood
Video interview with Mahmood in Tel Aviv (in English)
Follow Mahmood on Instagram