Francesco Gabbani has been chosen to represent Italy at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Unlike many of the other Eurovision countries who accept applications and then host national shows to decide on the candidate, it appears Italy took a more direct approach. Francesco Gabbani was approached directly and asked to represent his country in the famous competition. It was later announced that he had accepted.
Francesco will be competing with his award winning song ”Occidentali’s Karma”. The track was composed by himself, along with song writers Filippo Gabbani, Fabio Ilacqua and Luca Chiaravalli. The song is designed to be a mockery of western societies that try to appropriate Eastern culture and “westernise” them.
One of the best things about Francesco Gabbani’s entry, ”Occidentali’s Karma” (Westerners’ Karma), is that it features a dancing ape – and Eurovision fans are loving it. Francesco’s brilliant staging throughout this San Remo competition first saw him perform in an orange sweater, jeans and trainers, accompanied by an ape as a backing dancer to illustrate the lyrics of the song. In his second performance of the song, they flipped costumes. He performed in a gorilla outfit, whilst the gorilla performed in his orange sweater, jeans and trainers. For the final, Francesco switched to a star-covered suit whilst the ape donned a red bow-tie. Another staging masterstroke.
The inspiration for the song comes from a book by British zoologist and ethologist Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape. Lyrically, the song is a full-frontal attack on Western obsession with progress, selfie culture, and ;internetology’. He manages to quote Shakespeare. It refers to crowds matra, placing sex appeal of virtual humanity above singing in the rain.
On February 19 Francesco Gabbani spoke to ”Radio Nostalgia” stating he was willing to keep his entry in his native language. Now it’s official: “Occidentali’s Karma” will remain 100% in Italian at Eurovision 2017. (Well, besides “Chanel”, “singing in the rain”, “namaste” and a few other foreign flourishes).He made the announcement on Rai 1.
Francesco Gabbani is one of Italy’s rising stars. The 34-year-old was signed to BMG Rights Management in 2015 and shot to fame when he won the newcomers award of the Sanremo Music Festival 2016 with the song Amen.
The song was featured on his album Eternamente Ora which went platinum.
The following year he went back to the Sanremo Music Festival the following year in 2017 and won in the Big Artists section with the song Occidentali’s Karma, becoming the first artist to win the two awards in consecutive years.
The song is already hit number one on iTunes in Italy and Malta, it’s at number four in Switzerland and it’s rising up the charts in Netherlands, Spain, Germany and France too. Having an international hit prior to the Eurovision Song Contest can be a path to victory at the contest. It worked for Germany in 2010 when Lena romped home with her entry Satellite after hitting the charts in several competing countries before the show. In fact, it’s the best strategy for success for a song pre-qualified for the Eurovision final.