The return of Malika Ayane

Malika Ayane's return: the video interview

“More than a new beginning, I like to think of a room where you put exactly the things you like,” explains Malika Ayane: the singer is back, without ever having left. “Sottosopra” is the first single in two years – but in between he collaborated with many other artists (from Paolo Benvegnù to Negramaro, with whom he duetted last Sanremo), and worked in the Italian version of the musical “Cats”, where he played Gizabella.
But with “Sottosopra” she returns to being a full-time singer: a theater tour will arrive in November, then the new room will be furnished with other songs that will become an album.

“Sottosopra” is also the fruit of the new collaboration with. MAST, Believe's label, after a brief passage in Warner (which released the single “Una Ragazza” in 2022) and a career in Sugar (which released the latest album “Malifesto”, in 2021). Accompanying her in this new path includes trusted collaborators – the authors Pacifico and Andrea Bonomo – and a new producer, Estremo “I simply thought it was time to release something, because my management, Woodworm, and my new label, made me. note that I can't take five years every time,” he smiles. “In the meantime, we're working on the other songs, which maybe I'll record during the live show in November. I'm thinking of releasing an album by the beginning of 2025 that I don't know what it will be like, but it will be certainly very very very sincere.”

Upside down and imbalance

Meanwhile there is “Sottosopra”: the song, he explains, was born from a writing meeting “without perspective: “A couple of years ago we found ourselves in Paris with Pacifico and Andrea Bonomo, a bit analyzing the state of the moment : it came out with great simplicity”. At a later stage, Estremo arrived: “In my opinion, the current producer scene is very interesting. They teach you things you don't know: Estremo, in this sense, is fantastic, because he also has an excellent knowledge of music, not only electronic but in a broader, more organic sense. It's easy to talk to each other, from an authorial point of view.” In “Sottosopra”, Malika explains, we talk about moving in disequilibrium: “Not necessarily the bottom as a negative state and the top as a positive state but the continuous changing of things around a line that allows us to be able to parameterise it, as moving at sea level: below you don't have the air to breathe and so you have to build up oxygen reserves”.

singles, albums and duets

“I published the last song two years ago before today,” explains Malika, regarding the current dynamics of platforms which seem to require the continuous publication of songs, disadvantaging albums.

“I like to think that you have the possibility to publish things if you like: it's something that I find extremely positive. But at the same time I am still a musician who needs to tell her story in a more complex way, to allow the listener to enter an atmosphere that tells a story: I like to think of a bigger picture. It's nice to know that there is the possibility of doing everything that comes into your head, but for someone who is a little distracted like me, if I thought about this logic I would lose sight of putting together a longer story. However, this system has allowed me to make beautiful duets in recent years, I think of Paolo Benvegnù, a surprise. My dream would be to duet with Elvis Costello,” he concludes.

Live (and the lesson of the musical)

The tour in theaters begins on November 10th, with 10 dates around Italy: “In my opinion it will be a beautiful story because in the end we just play: no wind instruments or strings this time, a band with two guitars, two pianists in a that one can focus on the sounds and the other more on a lead part. Very traditional therefore, but dynamic.”
However, Malika has frequented the stage a lot in this last period, but in a different way: after having played “Evita”, she was Gizabella in “Cats”: in Italy the musical sector does not have the tradition and prestige that has in Anglo-Saxon countries – at least for the public and for artists of the “traditional” music market.

Even though things are progressively changing and Malika tells how much this experience has taught her: “Extraordinary and very tiring. The first thing you learn is that you count for nothing: you are a piece of something that goes on even without you. The second thing is that there is some music that is so well written that you have to do your homework. The third is repetition: in the end every day you tell the same story to different people and you understand that even in being the same character you can grasp nuances. If you sell out a day like what happened with “Cats”, it's like building a stadium at the end of the month.”

Doing musicals, explains Malika, helps you control the ego: “Yes, there is too much for everyone at the moment and when it is not self-induced, very often it is injected: we are in a moment in which we risk feeling too little and to expose a lot: if everything becomes phenomenal in the end, what is phenomenal? Every show is the best, every artist is the record-breaker. Everything must be done in an ever bigger, ever louder way and always under more tiring conditions. We can all relax too.”