Alessandro Mahmoud, known as Mahmood, will represent Italy at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with his song “Soldi”. It’s a strongly autobiographic trap influenced R’n’B track. Filled with sounds from the Middle East, it will most definitely make your hands clap.

Italian broadcaster RAI chose Mahmood through the historical Sanremo Music Festival selection show. He survived a field of twenty-four finalists and emerged triumphant in a super final against much more established artists Ultimo and Il Volo, both of whom were considered strong favourites.

As we count down to Israel, we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Mahmood. Are you ready? Let’s do this!

1. His stage name is a play on words

Mahmood is a portmanteau of Alessandro’s surname Mahmoud and the English expression “my mood”. It represents the singer’s main goal: to bring his personal story and, therefore, his state of mind into his songs. “It’s a more complete version of me,” he said to Freeda.

2. He got a “familiar” tattoo

On the wrist of his left hand, Mahmood has a triangle tattoo. Many people think it is an esoteric symbol, a reference to the Illuminati. Well, they are wrong. It is a stylised letter A. “In my family, our names begin with this letter. I am Alessandro, my mother Anna and my father Amed”, he revealed.

3. He has a strong bond with Sardinia

Mahmood’s mother Anna comes from Orosei, a little town on the Italian island of Sardinia. Besides Italian, Alessandro also speaks Nuorese, a sub-dialect of Sardinian, often considered the most conservative of all Romance languages. “There is a phrase that my mother says several times, because I am always a bit late: ‘a ti mofese’. It means ‘hurry up!'” said Mahmood to Radio Italia.

He also told L’Unione Sarda: “I go to Sardinia every summer. If I miss one I feel sick. There is my grandparents’ house there and it is always nice because we are a very large family. My mother has 11-12 brothers (I never remember exactly how many!) and many cousins. The time I spend in Sardinia is really useful because I am very attached to Sardinian culture and folklore. And when I am on the island, perhaps because of the place, maybe because I hear the language, I feel truly inspired. Every time I breathe in Sardinia, all I do is writing”.

4. He is the king of cappuccinos

Like many others, Mahmood had to make a living doing jobs besides music. He worked as a waiter and bartender for three years in a cafe in San Babila, a neighbourhood in Milan. Interviewed by weekly gossip magazine Chi, the singer said: “At first my cappuccinos sucked: customers offended me more than once. Then I became the king of cappuccinos”. Mahmood also revealed that he wrote the lyrics of some songs on customers’ orders and during his commutes on the Milan metro.

5. He loves Pokémon

Mahmood calls himself a nerd. And his obsession with Pokémon has become an important part of his artistic expression. On the cover of his first album “Gioventù bruciata” the singer wears a shirt with a picture of Rayquaza, a legendary Pokémon from the third generation of the video game series. Pokémon also appears in the lyrics of “Gioventù bruciata“. Mahmood sings: “Giocavo in macchina con la Nintendo e i Pokémon / E ti lamentavi se non volevo più parlare” (I used to play in the car Nintendo and Pokémon / And you complained if I didn’t want to talk anymore).

6. His lucky star is Freddie Mercury

“I am a pacifist, I believe in the lucky star and perhaps my lucky star is Freddie Mercury”, says Mahmood in an interview by Chi. “The evening before Sanremo Giovani” — explained the singer — “the contest that allowed me to compete among the big names, I saw Bohemian Rhapsody. I cried three times because of the beauty of the movie. It gave me energy, a particular boost. I am convinced that it brought me luck”.

7. He entered X Factor Italy

When he was 20, Alessandro auditioned for X Factor Italy. He reached the Judges’ Houses stage, but failed to make it through to the live shows. However, the rules of the sixth edition allowed a previously eliminated contestant to return to the competition in the third live show. Unfortunately, the adventure of Mahmood — mentored by TV hostess Simona Ventura, who also coached Giusy Ferreri and Francesca Michielin — lasted only one episode. The singer was kicked out in the sing-off by Romina Falconi.

8. He attempted Sanremo previously

Before winning Sanremo with “Soldi” against all expectations, Mahmood had already taken the stage at the Ariston Theater. It was 2016 when he took part in the Newcomers category of the long-lasting Italian music festival with the song “Dimentica”, placing fourth in the final. Two other acts competed with him, that perhaps you might know: Francesco Gabbani, who won with “Amen“, and Ermal Meta, who placed third with “Odio le favole“. Should we check the list of 2016’s Sanremo Newcomers to find the next Italian Eurovision representative?

9. He took part in the Summer Festival

One thing is for sure: Mahmood is not afraid to prove himself and competitions do not scare him at all. In 2017, he participated in the Emerging Artists category of the Summer Festival, a musical event held in Piazza del Popolo in Rome, broadcast since 2013 on Canale 5. The show offers the audience the most successful summer songs in Italy and a contest dedicated to rising artists. His entry “Pesos” reached the final, but first prize went to the duo I Desideri with the song “Uagliò“.

10. He writes hits for others

Mahmood’s was an in-demand songwriting talent even before this year’s exploits. The singer has in fact written some successful songs, such as “Hola (I Say)” for Marco Mengoni (Italy’s 2013 rep) and Tom Walker and “Nero Bali” for Elodie and Michele Bravi. He also composed two other songs, “Mille lire” and “Rivoluzione“, for Marco’s latest album Atlantico. In addition to that, he wrote and sang “Presi male” with Michele Bravi and “Luna” with rapper Fabri Fibra.

Do you think Mahmood can give Italy their third Eurovision victory? Let us know in the comments.

Read more Eurovision 2019 artist facts here.

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Mila
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Mila

The most irritating interviewer ever. Barely managed to watch it till the end

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Fatima
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Fatima

>Mahmood is a portmanteau of Alessandro’s surname Mahmoud and the English expression “my mood”
Seriously? It does seem odd that he’d pick an English expression when he avoids speaking English in interviews. The Italian word for mood is much more interesting, so he could/should have been called “Mahumore.”

Clara
Guest
Clara

He can speak english, watch this video
https://youtu.be/VFo5OtkOnjI
Interview mahmood english eurovoxx
He preferred to speak Italian in the interview with William and it was good because we like him speaking Italian, one of the most beautiful and musical language 🙂

Ffs
Guest
Ffs

The more I hear his song the more I like it and he seems like a nice person. I’d love him to win but I’m afraid he won’t …. they push the Netherlands so hard that it’s almost inevitable

Mirko
Guest
Mirko

And the jury will blow away our opportunity to win the competion, like every year!

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I’m afraid that’s a distinct possibility. The juries placed DoReDos higher than Fabrizio & Ermal last year…they are not very bright.

Charli Cheer Up
Guest
Charli Cheer Up

Probably the most modern and urban sounding entry to come out of San Remo to Eurovision since Italy returned!

Clara
Guest
Clara

In the article it is not written but Mahmood also wrote an amazing song for one of the most important italian rappers, Gué Pequeño; the song is called “doppio whisky”. The music and the atmosphere of this song are something hypnotizing … you’ll like it !
I put the link to the studio version of the song and also to the exhibition of Gué Pequeño and Mahmood in the big concert of Gue Pequeño last month in Milano, Forum Assago.
https://youtu.be/SlSZkZLLqwA
Gué pequeno feat mahmood studio version doppio whisky
https://youtu.be/EIUVObZmjI8
Gué pequeño e mahmood live doppio whisky forum assago milano

Christian
Guest
Christian

Not a big fan but good luck

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

I’m going to his concert soon, pretty excited 🙂

Clara
Guest
Clara

Me too! In Milano Mi Ami festival 🙂

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

Sorry to burst your bubble, but as much as I love Slovenia (4th place), it will not win.

Anniee
Guest
Anniee

Love this artist and his music! Dimentica is another of his fab works. I’ve been listening to it on repeat <33333

Darren
Guest
Darren

I want him to be my boyfriend so much. We can travel around beautiful Italy together eating pasta and drinking coffee.
I would be living my best life.

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

He’s not even cute. And he’s probably a bottom as well

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

He’s definitely not cute, but gorgeous and hot.

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Nicky91 😀

Darren
Guest
Darren

Nicky91
I’m a top so it wouldn’t matter

Clara
Guest
Clara

Nicky91
He’s more than cute…. handsome and sexy, he can be a model, and you know it very well or maybe do you need a pair of glasses

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

He’s ugly.. get over it

Clara
Guest
Clara

Above, in the article, there is the video of Pesos… open it and watch how ugly Mahmood is?

Alessandro Leonardo Gauci
Guest

When I first saw him on the first night of Sanremo I didn’t feel attracted to him, to be honest. But he quickly grew on me and personally, I think that he is extremely hot. He also has a beautiful personality – he is cute, humble and thankful for what he has. He hasn’t let fame get to his head.

Jingo
Guest
Jingo

???

Clara
Guest
Clara

Mahmood is a great artist and we all love him and his music! I suggest you to listen to these songs of the album Gioventù bruciata I put below the link, they are amazing
https://youtu.be/-w5pbp3d-yQ
Live asia occidente – Mahmood
https://youtu.be/I0GbfjV8hdc
Il nilo nel naviglio mahmood live radio2
https://youtu.be/M_SHQeleiIA
Uramaki
https://youtu.be/GfUyQ1f7bds
Good vibes
Alessandro you have to know we’ll always support you, we don’t care about your position in this competition because the important for us is that now we know a great artist as you are and we wish you all the best !

Tom Ripley
Guest
Tom Ripley

The Winner!

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

Fact N11…. he likes D*ick

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

And so does the majority of this community, so who the frick cares..

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

So what?
the main reason people love Mahmood its because of his talent and nice personality, he can love whoever he wants:)

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

At least Duncan is open about it

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

It’s none of your damn business what people do in their bedrooms, Mahmood (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t owe you to be open about anything!

Susane
Guest
Susane

What do you mean ‘open’? Mahmood’s love life is literally a reallity show in Italy, lol
Italians always know when and where Alessandro and his fiancee Lorenzo eat in restaurants, shopping in malls, smoking on the street,hanging out with friends, hugs,
laughing or kissing in the car, recently two love birds had a big dramatic fight in the middle of the street, with tears, screams and dramatic gestures….
how more open you want him to be? Have sex with Lorenzo on the stage? Lol

Nicky91
Guest
Nicky91

Yes he better have sex on stage to win the contest with that cheap basic song smh

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

SOLDI, SOLDI, that means MONEY, FYI. Got the irony of your rude comment? The only basic and cheap thing here is your comment.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Good for him. The same goes to many, many women. See?

Clara
Guest
Clara

Well this Nicky 91 is an hater of mahmood (and supporter of another big contender in Esc) who always talks bad about mahmood.
“Dear” nicky and dear all, please stop talking always about mahmood’s sexuality. There are others important contenders in this Esc, even your favourite, nicky, who are gay or bisexual and noboby cares about that ! Why just talking about mahmood there is always someone who underlines these kind of things, that are private and mahmood said many times he doesn’want to speak about ??? Please respect him!

Rimig
Guest
Rimig

Why do you guys feed these trolls? Better just ignore them

melody
Guest
melody

just like you

Una
Guest
Una

He seems to be good quality person. Humble yet confident, hard working, knows his priorities, focused, self-aware. I like him.

Nvm
Guest
Nvm

Sanremo newcomers category, 2016. That year Gabbani won, went to Sanremo in 2017 and won. In 2018 Meta went to Sanremo and won. In 2019 Mahmood went to sanremo and…
Freaking iconic.comment image

Ric
Guest
Ric

So i suppose next year The short girl in the photo Will represent Italy

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

I think the massive pants Mahmood’s wearing in that picture will represent Italy.

Nvm
Guest
Nvm

Who knows? We’ve had male Sanremo winners for 5 years straight (Michielin came 2nd) so why not? No idea who she is though lol. Not that we knew who Mahmood was until February 9th anyway, and look what’s happening to him now xD

Michèle
Guest
Michèle

What great talent.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

so get ready for Carlo Conti in 2020.

Nina
Guest
Nina

Too much Pokemon lovers this year ) I like it !!!!

Cilo
Guest
Cilo

11. He’s a dominant top 😛

Ivar
Guest
Ivar

Are you sure you are on the right website?

La Signora
Guest
La Signora

Definitely not

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

This one is my favorite 10 facts so far. Bilal at #2.

ItalianDude
Guest
ItalianDude

Mahmood also engaged with his longterm boyfriend Lorenzo Marcucci 🙂
Italy proud of you Alessandro, no matter which place you will get in the GF, just enjoy your Eurovision adventure!

Kris
Guest
Kris

Lorenzo is one lucky guy 😛
They look so hot together , dark and brutal Alessandro and blue eyed blondy Lorenzo lol

Nguyet Huynh
Guest
Nguyet Huynh

Both Dimentica and Pesos are so good. I’ve listened to them a lot recently <3 Along with many other tracks on his album :)))

Rimar
Guest
Rimar

He is just such a truly amazing artist with original and personal songs. In addition, he is himself and doesn’t change to what other say he should do.

Laia
Guest
Laia

11. He has a very irritating voice, like so many other italian singers

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Yes, very nasal, but not all of them. Pausini does not have for one.

Clara
Guest
Clara

Also you , laia, are very irritating…

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

I utterly enjoy those nuances of Italian voices, though I can’t call them irritating.

James
Guest
James

11. Mahmood’s Sanremo journey was sort of foretold when he took part in a music school competition when he was younger. Hehe
https://youtu.be/z7b6qmiAcMo

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

I like him even more now that I know his name should be spoken in a Yorkshire accent!