Back in May Alessandro Mahmood aka Mahmood’s career took a big step forward coming second in Eurovision for Italy. His song ‘Soldi” followed as the most successful Italian song on Spotify.

Months ago, he was named to Italian Forbes 30 Under 30, a list showcasing entrepreneurs, entertainers, and celebrities who have made a name for themselves before reaching the age of 30. This seems to be a really good debut for Mahmood who for the moment has only one album out but with a song topping 145 million views on YouTube.

We met him during the latest fashion week in Paris, where he was doing two sold-out shows. It was in a typical Parisian café, where we got a conversation with this pretty shy and friendly guy, trying to know better about his new successful life, his doubts and the next steps of his career which seems to be at its climax. Note that Mahmood will go back on tour and will stop as from next April in Milan, Paris, Amsterdam as well as London.

We are currently talking in Paris, during fashion week and we know you are interested in fashion and are close to Ricardo Tisci. When you compose music, do you think about these visuals and fashion aspects? 

Yes, I think about the image directly. Sometimes I get it, after creating. Very often I used to compose when I’m traveling on a train or in a car but in the end, I used to work with Italian producers. They know me and the process of how I construct a song and the artistic image around it.

It’s cool and interesting for me to explain how we can share our moods to build a piece of art.

The Eurovision contest gave you massive exposure. How do you deal with this new fame?

I saw Eurovision the last couple of years but not when I was a kid because Italy was not participating. So I did not expect to be part of it. For me, it was a big deal to be selected as I was nobody. It was a real challenge. The reality of this massive exposure came after the Eurovision contest by having sold-out shows in Europe.

Last year, concerning my private life, I was scared but after the summer holidays, I’ve got the time to think and focus on the next steps. I’m not afraid anymore, because I’m doing what I want to do since I was a child.

You told me previously that having a sold-out show was the most surprising thing, what’s your feelings about singing in front of your fans?

I like to be on stage as direct contact with the public is very important. Their reactions are very important. When I have a good song, the reaction that someone loves this song, is the most grateful sensation. For an artist, watching people singing your song by heart is the most amazing thing.

In your last clip, you put two men having an ambiguous relationship and we clearly defined they are having a homosexual relationship. Was it important for you to share this message?

It’s very important for me as I think freedom is the best thing that exists for an artist. People need to have the right of freedom too and I wanted to make it through this video: They are friends, maybe a gay couple, and what is the problem? Everyone has to be sincere with himself I think now its time to educate our generation, and the upcoming ones to bring some freedom and rights.

“I think freedom is the best thing that exists for an artist.”

While talking to you now, your song Soldi has 145 million views on Youtube and became the most listening Italian song on Spotify. How do you feel to be considered as an Italian Icon of the internet? 

There is a positive and negative side with this form of social media. You can handle it easily as it’s in your hands but the negative thing is you can’t appreciate real life. I want to enjoy Paris with it’s the sky, the Parisian, the monuments…but I’m always tempted to check my phone..(laughs).

Any French artists you appreciate?

I met last week, Shay, at the Burberry show. She’s cool and funny and I love her very much. I don’t understand her songs but I like the mood.

And lastly, what do you wanna try in Paris?

I wanted to explore the Louvre…


Interview by Ivica Mamedy and 35mm photos by Louise Reinke