Italian rapper Jovanotti pleased to play with a lower profile
An interesting interview By Lorianna De Giorgio - Toronto Star
Energetic Italian singer/songwriter and rapper Lorenzo “Jovanotti” Cherubini isn’t interested in becoming a big name in North America. The Tuscan artist is already a household name in his own country — selling over five million albums, filling huge stadiums with his sold-out concerts and— in his 25-year music career.
The 45-year-old prefers a more low-key approach to his craft when he’s overseas — choosing to play smaller venues, jamming with local musicians and immersing himself in the music culture he grew up listening to. Beginning Friday Jovanotti embarks on a mini-North American tour. ATO Records will release Italia 1988-2012, hits remixed and reinterpreted by American producer Ian Brennan. The album is the first physical album of studio recordings to be released in North America.
The Star reached Jovanotti at his home studio in Cortona, Italy ahead of his June 15 Toronto concert for Luminato — his second time in Toronto — to chat about his career, what he likes about performing in front of North American audiences and his plan to live in NYC under the radar in the fall.
Q: Your CD Italia 1988-2012 will be released Aug. 7 in Canada.
A: It was interesting working with this American producer (Brennan) because he has a vision of me that is totally virgin of any kind of knowledge about my career, about my musical journey. Italy is a small country. . . Everybody knows me. They know (everything) about me . . . The perception of my music seen by an Italian guy is not really pure.
Q: How has your music has changed over these 25 years?
A: The music has changed a lot I’ve changed a lot. I started (with a) sort of Alice in Wonderland (idea) of the world that was naive . . . I didn’t know much about pain, about suffering . . . I was like 20 but inside I was . . . six years old . . . Then my life became a real life. I started to discover the different tastes of life.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 25 years?
A: I don’t know because 20 years ago I didn’t see myself in the next 25 years. . . . I hope to be in good health and to stay creative. For me the biggest fear in my personal life is waking up one morning and not being creative anymore.
Q: What do you think of North American audiences compared to European audiences?
A: I really love to play in North America because (it is) something totally new. The audience is so strange. I have a big part of (North) American people who come to see me with a sort of curiosity.
It is challenging and fun and inspiring because I feel a little bit more free. When I do concerts in Italy I always feel the duty to do the songs that I know that the people want to hear, while in (North) America I don’t feel (that) kind of thing.
I feel also more free from the meaning of my words. . . in Italy everybody can understand (me). In (North) America I know that most of the audience listens to my words as a pure sound with no meaning . . . I grew up listening to music that I didn’t understand . . . I grew up listening to American music.
I am not looking for success in (North) America in the typical way . . . I am looking for space in the (North) American live scene that will permit me to do what I like doing most — that is music.
America is so full of good rock stars . . . they don’t need another one.