Eurovision 2021 winners Måneskin: ‘Our lives have completely changed’

The Guardian - Sat May 14 15:28

It wasn’t so long ago that Måneskin were busking on the streets of Rome, performing for four hours straight even if only one person was watching. So the 2021 Eurovision song contest winners couldn’t believe their luck when the Rolling Stones invited them to open a concert in the US in November, giving them their first opportunity to perform in front of an audience of thousands.

“We thought, fuck yeah, we’re not going to decline that,” bassist Victoria De Angelis said in an interview with the Guardian alongside her three bandmates in Turin before the Eurovision 2022 final.

“Our lives have completely changed [since Eurovision]. We haven’t stopped. We’ve been having a lot of crazy experiences … all the things we dreamed of that we never thought would come true.”

For the most part, Eurovision winners tend to be swiftly forgotten about. But since their show-stopping performance of Zitti e Buoni in Rotterdam last May, Måneskin have not only achieved an unrivalled level of global success for an Italian rock band, they are inspiring a generation of young people with their upbeat rock and profound lyrics.

“We are super privileged, but when we started out in music we experienced some tough times. We were being super judged – for our makeup, nail polish and how we dressed – that it was hard to keep going,” said frontman Damiano David.

“So we try to be as authentic as possible, to share our experiences and hope that our music and the way we are can inspire someone and make them feel less lonely in the world.”

The band will perform their new single, Supermodel, a song inspired by the personalities they met in Los Angeles, at the Eurovision final on Saturday.

“We tried to make a funny critique about all these fake people trying to get to Hollywood,” said David. “It’s as if they get stuck in their character and start to act in a very weird way. At least that’s how we saw it … it was our main topic of conversation when we were there, and ended up being the topic of the song because I always try to write about something that I’m actually living.”

David, De Angelis and guitarist Thomas Raggi met as students in Rome, while drummer Ethan Torchio joined the group after responding to an inquiry on a Facebook page.

Raggi recalled the energy the band felt even if just 10 people watched as they busked on the Via del Corso, Rome’s main shopping thoroughfare. “We played as if we were in front of 10,000 people,” he said. David added: “We would get about €20, enough to go to McDonald’s.”

A brief low point came when David was accused of snorting cocaine during the Eurovision final last year. He tested negative in a drugs test, but French broadcaster Stéphane Bern told the BBC this week that as the votes rolled in, he received a text message from the French president, Emmanuel Macron, telling him that Måneskin had to be disqualified over what turned out to be baseless allegations.

“It’s the funniest thing that has happened to me,” said David. “And I feel that if a president tried to get us excluded, then it must mean we’re really important.”

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Måneskin’s other successes over the past year include three hits in the UK Top 40 singles chart (they were the first Italian band to make it into the Top 10 with Zitti e Buoni), a sellout tour in the US and a song with Iggy Pop.

The band hopes the next year will continue with the same momentum.

David puts their success down to being authentic. “We have found that being ourselves is the winning strategy,” he said.