Italy is a misogynistic country for female singers

Rose Villain, one month after the release of her debut album Radio Gotham, tells the evolution between therapy, the loss of her mother and the gender gap.

Rose Villain, photo by Federico Earth

Rose Villain, photo by Federico Earth

Rose Villain released his first official album Gotham radio last January 20: a long-awaited project, after years of success in collaboration for the artist always flying between New York and Milan. An album that had already received public acclaim in the first opening singles, but which was already telling in the tracklist a pop approach to rap musicalso thanks to the presence of collaborations of the caliber of: Salmo, Tedua, Guè, Geolier, Carl Brave, Tony Effe, but above all Elisa in Monet. But Gotham radio also represented the personal story of Rose Villain, stage name of Rosa Luini, who confessed precisely in this passage the pain for the loss of her mother and the nature of the revenge that spreads in the project: here the interview with Rose Villain .

On January 20th Radio Gotham came out, what’s your feeling now? Is there something about the public’s perception that pleased you and something else that annoyed you?

The release of the disc was liberating, it tells many things about my life and I was worried about showing some of my sides: my intimacy is something I’ve always wanted to preserve. I was scared of showing myself naked in front of others. Even though I’ve been making music for a few years, I felt that the release of the album allowed me to really connect with the audience. Many have written to me to tell me that we are connected: a magical thing. Something that annoyed me a little is the fact that I don’t hear the songs anymore just mine, I admit I’m a little jealous.

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Black and white, darkness and light, this duality how can it be represented in your music right now: what is brighter and what are you still hiding in your music?

We’re all a bit work in progress, right now being an artist also means knowing that in the coming months you don’t know what you’re going to write: on the one hand it’s fascinating, on the other it scares you. I think I put the last years of my life on the album, but the things from the past, especially childhood and adolescence, is something I haven’t worked on yet. I’m in therapy so I’m careful about the things I express and there might be some things that never end up in the songs.

In the story of the disc, we can start with Two Faces, also because in addition to telling a contrast already in the title, it also features the guitarist of 30 Seconds to Mars Solon Bixler. What was it like producing this project, what work was behind it and if there was a reference framework, even musical, that inspired you?

I am a singer, even a good singer. I admit that in the past I have left this thing aside for communication and style. Then in the last few years, melodies have entered the scene overwhelmingly and now I have the opportunity to show my voice. Since I was a child, when I sang a song with guitar and voice, I realized I was rapping: rap has always been present in my life. I’ve always been close to that Kate Perry or Max Martin idea of ​​pop. These things came together in Radio Gotham, I wanted to be myself in the sense of a pop singer, with a very strong rap influence.

Another song that leads back to a personal story is Lamette: the story of depression, silence and discomfort, with these somewhat grunge sounds. Can you tell me a little about the genesis?

In life, many people get to have suicidal thoughts and with this song I wanted to remove some of the shame on this thing. It happens so often to people around us that they don’t feel accepted, it happens to people who are judged by society for their sexual preferences. This feeling of unease is very strong and I wanted to clear it, remove this shame. I wanted to tell people that we are united in this thing, in a pop key.

Reconnecting to this, in October 2020, during your last interview, you spoke of an album that was already very structured, written in lockdown: did you already have this precise idea then and if something has changed, what has changed?

Surely in the last three years I’ve written a lot of songs that have taken shape: I really enjoyed experimenting with genres, from grunge to pop to dance. There are songs that I left out, but I didn’t throw them away. I think they can have a future value, also to show various aspects of my music and above all of my vocality.

We come to Monet, one of the more introspective pieces of the project. You feel the family bond with the text and the suffering that exceeds it, like never before on the album. How important was this kind of musical awareness in a piece and how much does the revenge, an energy that carries over into many tracks, also represent a response to that feeling of pain?

Being run over by something bad and turning it into something beautiful: for me this is the message of the album. Monet was born in a very bad time, after my first therapy session where I talked about my mother. I tend to be a very shy and introverted person: but at that moment I didn’t feel guilty about the pain I was facing. Before that, I had the feeling that the pain of losing my mother had to be minimized in front of the pain of others. At that moment I wrote Monet, who made me think even with the concept of death, a travel companion in my life since I was a child. One of the things I vividly remember was painting flowers on replica skulls – my room was full of these drawings. The rebirth from suffering has meant for me a mechanism of self-defense, but also of revenge.

A manga, a movie and a book that could represent you and Radio Gotham.

As manga, surely some work by Junji Ito who is the father of Japanese horror. While as a book, Suskind’s “Perfume” could certainly represent me, due to its hypersensitivity, very similar to mine. Instead, as a film I choose “Call me with your name” by Luca Guadagnino: love and purity are very present in my music.

I step away from the project for a moment: just in the last interview we discussed how in the United States, the role of the female interpreter in the rap game was total: Cardi B or Ariana Grande at the top of the ratings. Do you feel that this space is also growing in Italy and what perception do you have now of listening to the public?

I realized that the more I am inside this musical reality, the more I feel the gap. I warned it before but it was an external consideration, also influenced by what was happening in the United States. Certainly something has happened, there is greater interest than in the past in talking about this situation: there is an awareness, at least initially. From here to predicting a change, I think we are still a long way off. I think also due to a habit of listening to the Italian public, we can’t reverse the situation: and in recent years there have been artists like Mara Sattei, but also Madame, who have tried to create a rift.

However, in the last Festival they don’t seem to have convinced the public to compete for at least the first five positions.

Italy is a very misogynistic country, tied to the past, and you have to enter with a crowbar. An attitude that Italian singers aren’t even that happy about, also because we all want to make music and be happy.

You were among the protagonists of the cover evening of the Festival: first of all, what experience was it, how did you experience that stage and would you return as a protagonist?

I’ve always been skeptical of the Sanremo Festival, mainly due to the question of competition and televoting. Music shouldn’t be televoted. But in recent years it has become a super showcase and has allowed me to meet young artists. So why not?

Rose Villain, 64Bars

Rose Villain, 64Bars

What experience was the Red Bull 64 Bars instead?

I had a lot of fun: it’s something that moves away from the pop melodies I practice most frequently. In 64Bars, on the other hand, you don’t have to be pop, but goliardic on the track.

But why are you so mad at the Lean generation?

I really don’t have it with the lean generation, also because I talk about Xanax in my music. The Red Bull 64 Bars was a mockery, something goliardic to the average Italian rapper, to the fake story. On the other hand, the American artists I listen to most often are Lil Peep and XXXTentacion.

Could the cinematic world that you tell about one day take you as an actress or screenwriter as well?

I studied acting and cinema, I like to write: I gave birth to stories and I also wanted to add a booklet with some of my poems to the album. I have an entrepreneurial mind, so I will throw myself in any direction that inspires me.

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