BigMama: “I don't know how to write love songs, pain inspires me”

BigMama: “I don't know how to write love songs, pain inspires me”

The Sanremo hangover is over BigMama on March 8th he releases his first CD, the follow-up to his debut EP “Next Big Thing” released in 2022.

Blood“, this is the title chosen by the rapper from Avellino (born in 2000), contains the song presented at the Festival “Anger is not enough for you” and another series of songs that move between rap, urban and other new sounds that broaden the musical spectrum of Marianna Mammone (as she is born).

“Last 2023 I looked for the right key to express my concepts through music. My style was missing something that could open up to other genres different from the usual, so I chose new influences, far from urban rap, adding pop, dance and even reggaeton.”

What however explodes loudly in “Blood” in addition to the musical value, it is the conceptual, thematic one and here too the “sample” is very broad: we talk about violence against women, family relationships, bullying, hardship, up to the intensity of “Poison” in which the artist recounts in first person the difficult period of chemotherapy (“I had a blood tumor”, Hodgkin's lymphoma) “I'm talking about stories experienced first hand, on the album each song is a chapter of my life, the most delicate part is missing which I want to delve into later, I couldn't put the more macabre things on the first album. The story of bad things that happened in my life, of sensitive issues, others less so, but all treated lightly and above all real, autobiographical. I'm not capable of writing love songs, pain inspires me, I talk about the bad things I'm experiencing or have experienced. Even in a relationship I talk about the difficult parts, not about falling in love.”

There is therefore a lot of emotion and viscerality in this album which not surprisingly bears the title “Blood”: “Where I come from – says BigMama – “'throwing blood'' means suffering”. And the suffering experienced firsthand is part of Marianna's life, for whom music has a therapeutic, healing value.

“Music has been my cure since I was little. At first I vented through music because I couldn't talk about my discomfort. Then I used it to position myself and, in the difficulty of the illness, to vent. It was the most healing medicine. During that period of treatment, which was the COVID one, I was locked in the house. Music was the only outlet and so I made videos with a wig. I never said I felt bad – she confesses – because I didn't want to be 'the rapper with cancer'. However – she adds – I still write today when I am nervous and sad.”

However, there is a flip side to the coin: “There was also a period in which music hurt me. Two years ago I didn't enter Sanremo Giovani and it affected me, it was a big blow, I had to follow a psychological path and take up boxing to be able to overcome that trauma. In light of this year's Sanremo experience I realized that I hadn't prepared enough. And then I always tend to blame myself, I'm very strict with myself, extolling my limits, the ones that only I find and to which I trace every defeat.”

Then the main door of the Sanremo Festival opened wide, which for BigMama was a turning point, a repositioning of herself as a character and not just as an artist. “I wanted Sanremo so much, I hoped to send a good message. I think that a figure like mine was missing in Italy, and I'm not saying this out of egocentrism. Now many thank me and write to me saying that I saved their lives, or that in any case I helped them. On the internet there are many girls who do activism, and even on TV, in music a figure of this kind was missing. I would have liked to have had a BigMama when I was little who told me that I could believe in my dreams, that I would overcome difficulties. You don't get out of those alone but if you find someone who has made it this person becomes a help, an example, a model.”

In “Sangue” there are two featuring, one with Myss Keta (“Touchdowns”) and the other with Lto Nina Del Sud (“She loves Me, she loves me not”), to which is added the precious collaboration of the pianist of American origin but Neapolitan by adoption Mark Harris, already on keyboards with Napoli Centrale (from 1974 to 1975) and then collaborator of Fabrizio De André, Edoardo Bennato, Pino Daniele, Eros Ramazzotti and many others. “With Myss there is a friendship, not only musical, that has lasted for years and we have already collaborated. We share many issues, she spoke about it when no one was doing it yet and above all she brought queer issues to the world of rap and was the first to do so in our country. Instead, I am in love with Nina's musical personality, who is an interesting artist on the scene, and I was keen to have her with me, even on the Sanremo stage. I would make 100 albums of her with her.”

However, the approach with the “boomer” is different Mark Harris which plays in a piano and vocal piece of great intensity. “Veleno” is in fact the song with which BigMama talks about the terrible experience of chemotherapy. “Mark Harris brought his Neapolitanness and blues with a spirit of strong collaboration and magic. He's a funny 69 year old gentleman with an amazing journey, far from mine, which was hilarious when he mangled rappers' names. We recorded together, we followed each other almost live. It was a new different way of working, never done before. Great pride to have worked with Mark, a true professional. However, listening to that text again today has a lot of emotional weight.”

BigMama also weighs in on the issue of chauvinism in the rap scene. “Across the world the queer scene has a large representation and globally there are many women in the rankings; in Italy this is not the case. Rap reflects reality, so if you live in a chauvinistic society, how can you not also live there in rap? If it were different it wouldn't be real and therefore not rap. Rather, it would be necessary to solve the social problem, rather than that of rap. Furthermore, in Italy there are many homophobic and/or transphobic texts, many of which are written by those who are not openly homosexual. As for the female universe in rap, I don't like self-aggrandizement. We women must unite, not compete with each other or isolate ourselves, we must create cohesion as men have now done.”

BigMama, while waiting for her concert at Alcatraz scheduled for November 19th, is planning a summer tour whose calendar will be announced shortly.