Nek "They even spat on me in Sanremo".  And Renga...

Nek “They even spat on me in Sanremo”. And Renga…

Francesco Renga and Nek are competing together at the seventy-fourth edition of the Sanremo Festival with the song “Pazzo di te”. “Climbing the Ariston park together, for us, is new”, says the former Timoria, guest of the Rockol Lounge, at the Club Tenco headquarters. His colleague and friend echoes him, adding: “The beautiful thing about this third entity, this official debut, is the lightness with which this entity experiences the Sanremo Festival, unlike all the others. Most of them they’re shitting themselves.”

During the chat with Rockol, Renga and Nek then think back to the most absurd thing that happened to them individually in Sanremo and, among other things, reveal their favorite song in the history of the Festival.

Rockol: What does it mean for you to go up to the Ariston park together?
Francesco Renga: For us, it’s new. It is the first time that we participate in Sanremo as a third entity, therefore not as Filippo Neviani nor as Francesco Renga, nor as both together, but as something new. So it’s a debut.
Nek: Quite an official debut.

Then, the beautiful thing about this third entity, this official debut, is the lightness with which this entity experiences the Sanremo Festival, unlike all the others. Most of them are shitting themselves.
Renga: Thanks also to, let’s face it, the experience of the other two: that is, Filippo and Francesco who made some of Sanremo. However, let’s say that the Ariston is always a demanding stage from an emotional point of view.

Rockol: “Pazzo di te”, the song you bring to the Ariston stage, what does it say and what message does it bring?
Nek: The song tells of a mature love, reflections on love from two who are well over 50. They are reflections on the feeling of “king”, towards which one should always bow. As Shakespeare said? Bend your knees at your heart.
Renga: In recent years we have talked about love in all its declinations, in all its aspects.

This, however, is a different story, which starts from a bitter observation of the representations we have been witnessing for some time now: of sick, toxic loves, which often end dramatically. We, as men, felt the urgency to instead talk about love as it should be: pure, absolute, unconditional, which like all loves compromises – it must. It never resolves itself, always searching for itself and this is what we felt the need to talk about. Also thanks, I must say, to our children who chose this song, it is probably also a necessity of that generation.
Nek: Therefore, the “Crazy about you” is precisely the crazy person of intense love, not of possession, but of intention, of feeling, of pure love: complete dedication to the other.

Rockol: A stance on a vision of love?
Nek: Yes, it’s our vision, of course.
Renga: There was a need to tell it, even through the song, especially through the song, especially in this context. And I must say that we also tried to give a allure close to Sanremo in black and white. Even the outfits tell of that world, when love songs had a specific narrative, which was the one there: there were great singers, who sang songs written by great authors, and told the love that we bring this year to Sanremo.

Rockol: What qualities and nuances did they individually bring to our duo?
Nek: This song has a strength in its melody. This is a piece of bel canto, precisely the one – as Francesco said – that was heard, and that is certainly heard every now and then, but which historically comes from those black and white Sanremos, which we all remember, in which there were simple, yet powerful songs that we grew up with.
I really appreciate the melody that Francesco sings, beyond the song that we present in Sanremo.

But, in this duo, this broad melodic expression, this broad singing. Normally, my pieces are always very tight, more rhythmic. So, for me, it was also learning to lay my voice on the melody.
Renga: And above all not to go in time (laughs, ed.).
Nek: For example, with this song, “Pazzo di te”, it was more complicated for me to be able to acquire Francesco’s characteristic of placing the words in that specific way, with that specific tempo, precisely because one of the characteristics of the piece is that the voice does not arrive perfectly in the downbeats and upbeats of the song. But it fluctuates, the expressiveness of the singing is a bit Gino Paoli-like. In music you never stop learning,

Rockol: What is the most absurd thing you have seen or happened to you here in Sanremo over the years?
Renga: Outside of the work context, Sanremo is, so to speak, a circus where truly strange things happen.
Nek: I remember something extremely strong, among other things not beautiful. My debut in Sanremo was with the song “In te”, a song that expressed concepts, told the story of a girl – a true story – who didn’t want to keep her baby while the boy, the father, wanted the opposite, he wanted to keep this child. And I remember that I arrived at the Festival in 1993, completely disorientated, I knew nothing, and the press was widely exploiting the song, filling me with insults and tension. And I even remember that someone spat at me at a press conference and I was so close to breaking his face with a punch.

Rockol: Is there a song from the history of the Festival that you are particularly fond of?
Renga: I choose a song taken to Sanremo in 1968, I’m from that year, so I definitely didn’t attend that Sanremo.

However, it is a song that my mother loved: “L’immensità”. And I remember, as a child, that my mother sang this song while she was doing the housework, so I would tell you that Sanremo there, from ’68, “L’immensità”: I think it was Johnny Dorelli, it was written by Don Backy, so he probably sang it too, because that was a Sanremo in which the same song was sung by two artists.
Nek: Among the many pieces that have made the history of the Sanremo Festival, for me one of the perfect pieces in terms of structure, music, arrangement, is “Si can give more” by the trio Enrico Ruggeri, Gianni Morandi and Umberto Tozzi. The message it sends is also a lot.

Rockol: What are your future feelings, together and individually?
Renga: This here, for us, is a parenthesis: we have finished a tour, a beautiful one by the way, which took us around Italy this summer. We also took advantage of it to go on holiday, so we had a very good time, we had fun together with a wonderful audience, we finished with the Arena and then the Forum. So, now we do this Saremo: Amadeus asked us to participate and we are very happy to do it with this song. We will resume with live shows, there are some dates already in the summer. And then we redo our dates in Milan, Rome, Bologna and the summer ones.