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We met the Italian chart-topper in Zurich

We met the Italian chart-topper in Zurich

Mahmoud is currently touring Europe with his third album “Nei Letti degli Altri” and will visit French-speaking Switzerland on Friday. For Watson, he speaks from the inside out.

One of his most recent songs is “Tutta Gold,” which was performed at the Sanremo Festival last February, and which reached 49 million views on YouTube and more than 70 million views on Spotify. Shortly after its release, the track rose to number two on the platform's “Top 10 Global Debut Chart” behind Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign. The song was certified triple platinum in Italy.

Alessandro Mahmoud – Mahmoud is his stage name – was born on September 12, 1992 in Milan to a Sardinian mother and an Egyptian father. His style, which he describes as “Moroccan pop,” and his voice make him one of the unmissable artists in this new generation of Italian singers, whose influence is constantly growing and spreading far beyond the country’s borders. We met him on Wednesday in Zurich, where he was performing.

You are currently touring Europe to release your third album. How is it different from the first two?
Mahmoud: It's the most empathetic and direct album I've ever written. In the past few years, I have become more mature, especially emotionally. I think this evolution has carried over into my writing and the way I tell people about my relationships.

“A lot of things happen in bed, which is why I chose that name for the album.”

What do you mean by that?
The bed is the most private place in a person's life. A field where only close friends and people you really like are invited. Here you betray, here you deceive. It is also the place where you are alone and think about your daily problems. I think this applies to everyone, which is why I chose the bed as the starting point for my album.

There is a song with Angèle on the album: “Semper/Jamais”. How did this collaboration come about?
Angela is incredible. She is very personable and a true professional. When we met in the studio in Paris to produce this track, we focused on the song that represented my musical world, but also theirs. With her it was easy to combine these two things.

It's true that this song is the perfect combination of the two of you. Why did you want to sing with Angel?
I've been following them for some time and always appreciate them. We wrote to each other on Instagram and something happened. We finally met at a fashion show in Paris and talked a lot over dinner. She told me about her past and experiences. Our personal stories have many similarities.

You represent a generation that comes from different countries and feels that it belongs to several countries. Is this something you want to photograph?
It's always difficult for me to say that I want to represent someone or something. In fact, I am representing my truth, my life.

“I hope a lot of people can see for themselves in what I went through.”

I think this is true. I receive many messages from people with similar experiences. I'm really happy about that. But it's always difficult to say, “I want to be a symbol of something.” In fact, I just want to be myself.

I have won the Sanremo Festival twice, in 2019 with Soldi and in 2022 with Brividi. What did these victories achieve?
They gave me the opportunity to do what I do today: to make a living from my music, tour abroad, become known, and work with foreign producers.


Image: World Music

Is this your first time in Zurich?
No, I've been performing here for two years. That was beautiful and funny. The city is beautiful and clean. I like clean and simple things, that's why I really like Zurich.

Your concert starts in a few hours. Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
Yes, I prepare for two hours (laughs)!

Yes, I take a shower, warm up my voice and take a moment to relax. I need a moment to prepare myself. During my last performances it was difficult for me to maintain this ritual because everything happened so quickly. I have interviews and very little time. Proof: I haven't had lunch yet. That's why I'm focusing my attention on bananas (editor's note: he actually ate a banana at the beginning of the interview). But I love the spirit of the tour.

Can you relax before the concert tonight?
If there are only two hours left, this is probably no longer possible (laughs)!

What do you usually do after a concert?
If we can, we'll go out to eat after the party. We haven't really been able to do that lately. I think we need to find a restaurant for tonight.

I have several addresses in Zurich. If you want, I'll give you my tips.
Yes this would be great! Let's discuss this later.


Image: World Music

What is the last song you listened to?
I'm on board, let me check. It was “Headhigh” by Doja Cat.

You say you sometimes feel embarrassed when you play one of your intimate songs for someone.
I feel a little embarrassed because I express in my songs what I cannot say verbally. It's as if you're telling the truth to everyone. People listen and look at you and say, “You never told us that.”

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