Mahmood and Blanco Q&A: Meet Italy’s Eurovision 2022 hopefuls

Following a brilliant performance in 2019 that landed him 2nd place, Italian artist Mahmood is returning to Eurovision – only this time, he’s brought a friend.

Crowned Sanremo champions in February, Mahmood (born Alessandro Mahmoud) and fellow rapper/singer Blanco (Riccardo Fabbriconi) are favourites to win this year’s song contest with their song “Brividi”.

The track, co-written with songwriter and producer Michelangelo – a frequent collaborator of Blanco – is a poignant ballad that incoroprates surrealist imagery into the story of a difficult relationship (read the Italian and translated English lyrics here).

We spoke with the duo ahead of their performance at the grand final on Saturday 14 May.

Ciao Mahmood and Blanco – how did you come up with “Brividi”?

Basically, we were at Michelangelo’s studio and a song was born from a wrong chord, so we decided to play the refrain on the piano, and then we wrote the lyrics in the following months. The whole piece took four months to put together! It took a long time – the song was born that day, but then we needed more time to write the other parts.

The song seems to link to some of your (Mahmood’s) previously explored themes about relationships.

I thought a lot about sex [for the song] – I think it’s very important. It can be a solution, yes, but other times it can solve nothing. And in this case we’re talking about something deeper: the willingness to express yourself, but also fearing to reveal your emotions – so sex can be a trap.

Mahmood, how are you feeling about returning to Eurovision after 2019?

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As if it were the first! Because it’s a completely new experience – I’m with Riccardo this time, it’s in Turin… It’s as if it were a totally different experience.

Does this year feel particuarly special because it’s in Italy?

Yes definitely! To me (Mahmood), it’s an honour that Eurovision is in Turin. Also Riccardo was happy because he always wants to go to the same restaurant (for risotto with artichokes).

This infographic, produced by Statista for The Independent, shows the top performers in Eurovision contests


What did you think of Italy’s 2021 champions, Måneskin?

Blanco: I think Måneskin were great, they were amazing, they opened doors to all other artists. I think Måneskin only think about the music, nothing else, and me and Mahmood are the same.

What are your hopes for your performance at the Eurovision 2022 final?

Blanco: We hope most of all to give a beautiful performance. We don’t take this for granted – even though we’ve performed this song many times, we always want to do something more.

Mahmood: It’s right to show the reality of things. Men and women all have a vulnerable side, sometimes you try to hide it, and then there’s me and Ricci who want to be honest on the stage, and show not everything is easy. Especially in relationships, which is something big in your life. Of course, we will be happy if we get good results, but the focus point is music. Music is our purpose.

The Eurovision 2022 grand final takes place on Saturday 14 May. Follow live updates from the final here.


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