Achille Lauro Q&A: Meet San Marino’s contestant for Eurovision 2022

Singer and rapper is hoping to impress the judges and voters with his raucous rock song ‘Stripper’

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 12 May 2022 21:26
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Achille Lauro to represent San Marino at Eurovision 2022

Italian artist Achille Lauro is representing San Marino at Eurovision this year with his song “Stripper”.

The flamboyant singer/rapper from Verona is one of the most popular contestants this year, and is already well-established in his home country.

We caught up with him ahead of tonight’s semi-final, where he’ll be competing for a spot in the grand final on Saturday 14 May.

Ciao Achille, can you tell me a bit about how you first got into music? Who were your earliest influences?

I started making music when I was 15 years old. At that time, I was living in the suburbs of Rome, in a group home of young artists without a family. At the beginning, music represented for me a way to express myself and put my feelings in writing. I didn’t see it as a job, but as my way to understand the reality. Today I still have the same passion, but I have developed a wiser vision.

How has the Italian rap scene changed in the past 10 years?

I think that in Italy many young artists have started bringing their own identity without following the trends of the moment. They are achieving great results. And this is very nice.

Who are your go-to collaborators, and other Italian rappers you admire?

I’m not a big consumer of rap music anymore. There are a lot of good rappers here too, but I prefer to listen to the great Italian songwriters of the past.

Can you tell me what inspired the lyrics and sound for your song “Stripper?”

Absolute freedom. Self-determination, beyond labels and taboos

Your 2019 and 2022 entries for Sanremo were both met with controversy due to the lyrics for each track – have you experienced anything similar for “Stripper”?

No, fortunately. I believe that a wider audience, out of national thinking, favored a lighter interpretation of the lyrics. The same should have happened for other songs, but luckily there has always been someone who has understood. And I am grateful for that.

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

Can you tell me about your work with Alessandro Michele of Gucci and the creative vision you came up with for your Eurovision performance?

It is always a pleasure to share my creativity with Alessandro Michele. He is a genius, he is extremely eclectic. He follows my madness, and it has worked very well so far.

In the past few years with Maneskin and Mahmood especially, Eurovision seems to have helped radically change outside attitudes (especially in the UK and America) towards Italian music. How do you feel about this?

I think that people’s perception of Eurovision is changing for the better and that the Italian audience is favoring this trend. Italian artists certainly have a lot to say, and I think that what should be considered a great result is the variety and the search for and enhancement of diversity!

What is your view on last year’s winners, Maneskin, and on this year’s Italy contestants Mahmood and Blanco?

I think they are all very good artists. I used to root for them and I still do. I don’t live Eurovision as a competition. We all bring something different to the market and to the audience. Everyone follows their own path.

You’ve competed in Sanremo three times now but ended up representing San Marino – how do you feel about that?

I competed three times in Sanremo and once I took part as a super-host all five nights, bringing performances that described an aesthetic journey through the genres of music I am closest to. I think I have been the only one who did that. At Sanremo I tried to unhinge the traditional logic of that format. After that I was invited to San Marino. I decided to accept and I won. I’m putting on a good show. That’s what interests me, and I thank those who allowed me to do it.

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