Francesca Michielin (Italian pronunciation: [franˈtʃeska mikjeˈlin]; born 25 February 1995) is an Italian singer-songwriter. She rose to fame after winning the fifth series of the Italian talent show X Factor. Her first single, "Distratto", debuted atop the Italian FIMI Top Digital Downloads chart and was certified double platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Michielin's debut studio album, Riflessi di me, was released in October 2012, preceded by the single "Sola".
She also appeared as a featured artist on Italian rapper Fedez's singles "Cigno nero" and "Magnifico", both of which achieved commercial success in Italy. Michielin's second top-ten solo single in Italy was "L'amore esiste", which preceded the album di20 in 2015. Her second studio set was re-released in February 2016, including the track "Nessun grado di separazione", which placed second in the 66th Sanremo Music Festival and topped the Italian singles chart. She represented Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016.
Michielin was born in Bassano del Grappa, to Vanna Moro and Tiziano Michielin. She has an older brother, Filippo. Her first approach with playing music came studying piano, and she later started studying bass too. At the age of fourteen, she started singing in her hometown's gospel choir. Thanks to her brother, she developed an interest in rock music, and she later focused on artists like Bon Iver, Jeff Buckley and Damien Rice. After listening to Adele's debut album 19, Michielin also started writing her own songs, composing musics with piano.
2011–2012: X Factor and Riflessi di me
Michielin auditioned for the fifth series of X Factor in 2011, singing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love". Mentored by Simona Ventura, during the live shows she performed songs including Adele's "Someone Like You", "Roadhouse Blues" by The Doors, and "Higher Ground".
On December 29, 2011, during the semi-final, Michielin sang for the first time the previously unreleased song "Distratto", written by Elisa and Roberto Casalino. The following week in the finals on January 5, 2012, she was announced the winner, beating runner up vocal group I Moderni. Michielin's prize was a recording contract with Sony Music, with a stated value of €300,000.
Her debut single "Distratto" was released as a digital download EP on 6 January 2012. On 12 January 2012, the song debuted at number one on the Italian Singles Chart, and it was later certified double platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry, for domestic downloads exceeding 60,000 units. The song was included in Michielin's debut Extended Play, Distratto, physically released on 24 January 2012. The EP includes re-recorded versions of some of the songs she performed during the live shows. On 17 February 2012, Michielin appeared as a guest during the fourth night of the 62nd Sanremo Music Festival, performing the song "Al posto del mondo" with contestant Chiara Civello.
Michielin's second single, "Sola", was released on 31 August 2012. The single preceded her debut studio album, Riflessi di me, featuring collaborations with producer Andrea Rigonat and singer-songwriters Elisa and Roberto Casalino. Michielin also contributed writing three songs on the album, including the title-track, co-written with Elisa and Virginio Simonelli. Riflessi di me later spawned the singles "Tutto quello che ho" and "Se cadrai".
2013–14: Collaborations and "Amazing"
In March 2013, Michielin was featured on the song "Cigno nero" by Italian rapper Fedez. The song, co-written by Michielin herself, was included in Fedez's album Sig. Brainwash − L'arte di accontentare and was released as its second single.
In 2014, Michielin took part in the theatrical performance La ragazza con l'orecchino di perla, with music written by Franco Battiato. The show was held at Teatro Comunale di Bologna on 19 and 20 January 2014. On 28 March of the same year, Michielin released a new single, "Amazing". The song, entirely composed in English, was written by Michielin with Fausto Cogliati and Negin Djafari for the Italian version of the soundtrack of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
In 2014, Michielin also returned working with Fedez, recording the track "Magnifico" for his album Pop-Hoolista. After being released as the album's second single, the song reached the top spot of the Italian Top Digital chart, and it was certified triple platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.
2015–16: di20, Sanremo Music Festival and Eurovision Song Contest
In April 2014, Michielin confirmed she was working on new material. The single "L'amore esiste", produced by Fortunato Zampaglione and Michele Canova, was released on 6 March 2015, to precede her second studio album, di20. The song achieved commercial success, entering the top ten of the Italian FIMI Top Digital chart, and received the "Lunezia Pop Award" during the summer of 2015. "L'amore esiste" was followed by "Battito di ciglia", released on 10 July 2015, and "Lontano", released on 25 September 2015. To launch di20, Michielin performed at the Unicredit Pavilion in Milan on 21 October 2015, four days before the official release of the album.
In January 2016, Michielin also embarked on her first concert tour, titled Nice to Meet You. A live extended play was recorded during the show and released to digital stores only on 30 January 2016. During the following month, she competed in the 66th Sanremo Music Festival, performing the song "Nessun grado di separazione". The song placed second in the competition, behind Stadio's "Un giorno mi dirai". The band was then eligible to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, but they declined, stating they would be on a previously planned tour in May 2016. Their decision led RAI to select Michielin as the Italian entry for the 61st edition of the European competition. Michielin's entry was a new version of "Nessun grado di separazione", featuring an English-language chorus and titled "No Degree of Separation". During the final, she placed 16th in a field of 26. "Nessun grado di separazione" debuted atop the Italian singles chart, and it was included in di20are, a new edition of Michielin's second studio album.
In January 2017, Michielin announced through her Twitter account that she started working in studio on her third album, "2640". The album will be released on 12 January 2018 and was preceded by the singles "Vulcano", which released on 21 July 2017, and "Io non abito al mare" released on 17 November 2017.