Marco Mengoni (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmarko meŋˈɡoːni]; born 25 December 1988) is an Italian singer-songwriter. He rose to fame in 2009, after winning the third series of Italian talent show X Factor. His debut extended play, Dove si vola, was preceded by the single with the same title, which reached the top spot of the Italian Top Digital Downloads chart and also served as his coronation song.
In February 2010, Mengoni competed in the 60th Sanremo Music Festival with the song "Credimi ancora", placing third in a field of fifteen. The song was included in his second extended play, Re matto, which debuted at number one in Italy. The EP was promoted through an Italian tour, which yielded the live album Re matto live.
Mengoni's first full-length studio album, Solo 2.0, was released in September 2010, and it was certified gold by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry. In 2013, Mengoni won the 63rd Sanremo Music Festival with his song "L'essenziale". During the competition he was internally selected by RAI to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö, where he performed "L'essenziale". The song also became the lead single of the album #prontoacorrere, which became his fourth number-one on the Italian Albums Chart.
During his career, Mengoni has received several awards, including two TRL Awards, nine Wind Music Awards and nine MTV Italian Music Awards. In 2010 and 2015, he won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best European Act, becoming the first Italian artist to win that prize. While in 2013, he won the MTV European Music Award for Best Southern European Act.
Marco Mengoni was born on 25 December 1988 in Ronciglione, a comune in the province of Viterbo, in central Italy, where he also spent his childhood. He is the only child of Nadia Ferrari and Maurizio Mengoni. At the age of fourteen, while studying industrial design in high school, he started to take singing lessons. Mengoni later started to perform as a member of a five-piece vocal group. After graduating, he moved to Rome, where he enrolled on a degree course in Languages. During his studies, he occasionally worked as a barman and he performed in piano bars and during weddings. During the same years, he had his first experience in the recorded music business, working as a sound mixer and as a music programmer.
2009: X Factor and Dove si vola
Mengoni auditioned for the third series of the Italian talent-show X Factor in 2009, performing a cover of Eduardo De Crescenzo's "Uomini semplici". His category, "16–24s", was mentored by Morgan, who chose Mengoni as one of his top 4 contestants. During the live shows, he performed songs from a wide range of genres, receiving the congratulations and admiration of popular Italian singers such as Mina, Giorgia, Elisa, and Adriano Celentano. On 2 December 2009, Mengoni was announced the winner of the competition, receiving a recording contract with a stated value of € 300,000 and being automatically selected as one of the participants to the Sanremo Music Festival 2010.
Mengoni's winning single, "Dove si vola", debuted at number one on the Italian Top Digital Downloads chart, and it was included in the extended play with the same title, released on 4 December 2009. The EP, also including the original song "Lontanissimo da te" and five studio recordings of covers he had previously performed during the TV show, peaked at number 9 on the Italian Albums Chart and was certified Platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.
2010: Sanremo Music Festival and Re matto
In February 2010, Mengoni competed in the Big Artists section of the 60th Sanremo Music Festival, placing third with the song "Credimi ancora". After being released as a single, "Credimi ancora" peaked at number three in Italy, and it was certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry. The song was also included in Mengoni's second EP, Re matto, released on 17 February 2010. The EP held the top spot of the Italian Albums Chart for four consecutive weeks, and it also spawned the singles "Stanco (Deeper Inside)" and "In un giorno qualunque".
The EP was also promoted through Mengoni's first concert tour, Re matto live, which debuted in Milan on 3 May 2010 and consisted of 56 two-hours shows, including choreographies by Luca Tommassini and featuring songs from his previous studio records, as well as covers such as "Live and Let Die", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Mad World", "Proud Mary" and "Tears in Heaven". A live album and video album was recorded during the tour. Titled Re matto live, it was released on 19 October 2010, and it debuted and peaked atop the Italian Albums Chart, later being certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.
During the same year, Mengoni received the TRL award for Man of the Year. After being voted Best Italian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010, he also won the award for Best European Act, becoming the first Italian artist to receive the prize.
2011-12: Solo 2.0
On 2 September 2011 Mengoni released the single "Solo (Vuelta al ruedo)", preceding his first full-length studio album, Solo 2.0. Mengoni co-wrote most of the songs on the album, working with composers including Italian singers-songwriters Neffa and Dente. Influenced by electronic and rock music, the album also includes tracks featuring the Italian a cappella group Cluster and the orchestra directed by Fabio Gurian. Released on 27 September 2011, Solo 2.0 debuted at number one on the Italian Albums Chart, and it was certified gold for domestic sales exceeding 30,000 units. On 21 October 2011, "Tanto il resto cambia" was released as the album's second single, while the third single, "Dall'inferno", was released to Italian radio stations on 27 January 2013.
In 2011, Mengoni also appeared on Lucio Dalla's compilation album Questo amore, duetting with him on a new version of the hit "Meri Luis", and on Renato Zero's video album Sei Zero, performing "Per non essere così". To promote his first full-length album, Mengoni embarked on an Italian tour, the Solo tour 2.0, which debuted on 26 November 2011 in Milan. In April 2012, a second leg of the tour started. Taking place in Italian theatres, it was created by Mengoni with Andrea Rigonat and Italian singer Elisa.
2013: Sanremo Music Festival, #prontoacorrere and Eurovision Song Contest
In February 2013, Mengoni competed in the 63rd Sanremo Music Festival with the songs "L'essenziale" and "Bellissimo". On 12 February 2013, "L'essenziale" won against "Bellissimo" as the song to be performed by Mengoni during the next stages of the competition. During the fourth night, he also performed a cover of Luigi Tenco's "Ciao amore ciao". On 16 February 2013, Mengoni was announced the winner of the competition. During the same night, an internal jury also chose Mengoni among the other participants to the competition as the Italian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013.
A shortened version of "L'essenziale" was later chosen as the song to be performed during the Eurovision Song Contest. As part of the "Big Five", Mengoni automatically qualified for the final of the competition, held in Malmö, Sweden, on 18 May 2013. Mengoni finished seventh in a field of 26, receiving 126 points.
After being released as a single, "L'essenziale" debuted at number one on the Italian Digital Downloads chart, holding the top spot for a total of eight consecutive weeks and being certified multi-platinum. Both "L'essenziale" and "Bellissimo" were included in Mengoni's second studio album, #prontoacorrere, produced by Michele Canova and released in Italy on 19 March 2013. The album, which features songs written by artists such as Mark Owen, Gianna Nannini, Ivano Fossati and Cesare Cremonini, debuted at number one in Italy, and it was certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry. The following singles from the album, "Pronto a correre" and "Non passerai", were released in Italy on 19 April and on 23 August 2013, respectively, and they both entered the top-ten in Mengoni's home country.
In July 2014, Mengoni said that his Eurovision experience left him "a little astonished" and that he would compete again "without a second thought."
2015: Parole in Circolo, MTV EMA 2015 Best European Act
In January 2015, his third studio album, Parole in Circolo, was published. In October 2015, the second part of this new work was published in a fourth studio album, with the name DuediDue After being voted Best Italian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2015, he also won the award for Best European Act for the second time.
Musical style and influences
According to Il Corriere della Sera's Luca Benedetti, Mengoni has a typically soul voice, with pop rock tones. His tone was also described by Maurizio Porro as "a sort of captivating miaow".
In late 2009 he defined his musical style as "British/black". In several interviews, Mengoni has claimed that one of his most relevant influences is The Beatles. Mengoni also cited David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Renato Zero among his most relevant influences.