Antonio Diodato, simply known as Diodato, was due to represent Italy at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam with his song “Fai rumore“. It’s a moving power ballad, whose title is a plea for a former love to manifest themselves once more and to give a sign of love and life.
Italian broadcaster RAI chose Diodato through the historical Sanremo Music Festival selection show. He competed with twenty-three other artists and emerged triumphant in a super final against Eurovision star Francesco Gabbani and indie band Pinguini Tattici Nucleari.
We’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Diodato. Are you ready? Let’s do this!
Italy at Eurovision 2020: Facts about Diodato
1. He is a wandering man
Diodato was born in Aosta, the principal city of Aosta Valley, a bilingual region on the border with France and Switzerland. However, he grew up in southern Italy, in Taranto, Apulia. When he was 20, he moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where he had his first musical experiences. He then returned to Italy, to Rome, where he graduated from the Roma Tre University in cinema, television and multimedia production. He currently lives in Milan.
Japan is one of his favorite places. He told Il Corriere della Sera: “When I was a kid, Japan was more present in our culture: I remember a TV show with a samurai, the Shinobi video game that made me dream that I could disappear like ninjas in a breath. Last year I’ve been to Japan, I felt that they have the same attention to detail as I do, even though being a true Southerner has tempered my attitude a bit”.
2. He entered Sanremo previously
Before winning Sanremo with “Fai rumore”, Diodato had already taken the stage at the Ariston Theatre. It was 2014 when he entered the Newcomers category of the long-running Italian music festival. He placed second with “Babilonia“. He returned to the competition in 2018, in the main section, paired with trumpeter Roy Paci. They reached eight place singing “Adesso”.
3. He was in a relationship with Levante
From 2017 to 2019 Diodato had a love story with fellow singer Levante. Their relationship was never in the spotlight, but ended up in the papers when both entered Sanremo 2020. Many thought that “Fai rumore” is a heartbreaking dedication to his former girlfriend, but Diodato never confirmed it completely.
Levante instead wrote a song about the matter, entitled “Antonio”. She included it in her album Magmamemoria. She told Vanity Fair: “I wrote it when we were still together, then when I finished my record our story was over. But I decided to keep it because we had a beautiful love story that deserved a beautiful love song. You don’t deny the happiness you experienced. I wanted to keep track of the beautiful things that we had together”.
4. He collaborated with Swedish House Mafia
Under the stage name Tony Deodato, he collaborated on a song which was included on Beirut Café Stockholm Vol 2, a lounge compilation. The song “Libiri” also involved Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello, who founded the Swedish House Mafia a few years later.
“I was on vacation in Sweden and ended up in the studio. I’m still in touch with them. Maybe one day I’ll ask them to remix one of my records” said Diodato. There’s a funny anecdote to this song. The title should have been “Liberi” (Free), but the producers mangled the word, without realizing it.
5. He was nominated for Best Original Song at the Italian Oscars
Diodato’s single “Che vita meravigliosa” (What A Wonderful Life) appeared on the soundtrack for the movie La dea fortuna (The Fortune Goddess) by Italian-Turkish director Ferzan Özpetek. It’s among the most successful Italian movies of the last few months, taking in over €8 million at the box office. “Che vita meravigliosa” has been nominated for Best Original Song at the David di Donatello 2020, the Italian Oscars.
6. He is a fan of Juventus
Besides music, football is one of Diodato’s passions. The singer is a fan of Juventus, the world-famous Italian team. His wish was to meet Cristiano Ronaldo, a desire perhaps fulfilled as the Portuguese footballer was among the guests at the Festival of Sanremo 2020.
“To meet him would be a great emotion, I would tell him that when I played at the playground I tried to imitate him” said the singer in an interview by SkySport. “I grew up admiring the exploits of champions like Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero, but if I had to choose just one player, my heart would beat for Roberto Baggio”.
In 2019, Panini — an Italian company that has been producing football stickers since 1960 — created a special sticker dedicated to Diodato.
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Ho passato la mia infanzia a sognare di finire sull’album Panini e nel momento in cui sogni, sei certo che tutto si avvererà. Poi cresci e ti accorgi che come giocatore di calcio non sei un granché e allora pazienza, sarà per la prossima vita. Che forse avrei voluto fare il calciatore proprio per finire nei pacchetti (che odore indimenticabile avevano), nei mazzetti tenuti dagli elastici. Ce l’ho, ce l’ho, mi manca. E mi mancava questa. Grazie @figurinepanini per aver realizzato un po’ di quel sogno. #diodato #figurinepanini
7. His biggest source of inspiration is Fabrizio De André
Among Diodato’s influences we find Pink Floyd, Luigi Tenco, The Beatles, Domenico Modugno, Radiohead, Mina and U2. But the musician who has left the biggest mark on his career is undoubtedly Fabrizio De André, a man renowned for the quality of his lyrics and often considered a poet.
Interviewed by Spettakolo! Diodato admitted: “De André is one of the greatest songwriters, not only in Italy. His use of the Italian language is amazing, for me he’s an example. I’ve often thought, listening to his songs, that I’d like to write them myself. That’s what happened with ‘Amore che vieni, amore che vai'”.
A cover of the song was included in the soundtrack of the movie Anni felici in 2013 and also won the De André Award for Best Reinterpretation. “Sometimes you can tell something about yourself even through someone else’s words. You have to do it with your own style, your own musical approach. That’s an important thing and also a form of respect for the original work” said Diodato.
8. He loves reading
Gabriel García Márquez, Eugenio Montale, Primo Levi and Charles Baudelaire are the writers who have most inspired the music of Diodato. It is the singer himself who reveals his passion for reading in an interview with OndaRock: “I love reading so much, but I must admit that I rarely happen to write something inspired by specific readings. While I was working on my album Cosa siamo diventati, for example, I was reading Fiabe italiane by Italo Calvino, and from the story and the kind of narration came a consideration that pushed me to write ‘Guai'”.
9. He released a cover of Italy’s 1959 Eurovision entry
In 2014, Diodato released A ritrovar bellezza, a tribute album to Italian music, revisiting ten songs from the 1960s. “A record to rediscover the beauty of being Italian,” he said. The tracklist included “Piove (Ciao, ciao bambina)” by Domenico Modugno. The Sanremo 1959 winning entry placed sixth at Eurovision the same year.
“Modugno has been a spokesman for Italian beauty in the world,” told Diodato. “He was able to share with the public the joy of doing this work through that embrace that seemed to give every time he sang. When I tried to play ‘Piove’ for fun, the magic of the piece came back even though it’s over 50 years old and uses a language that we wouldn’t use today. The work I did on this record brought me back to my roots”.
10. He is the artistic director of the May Day Concert in Taranto
Since 2016 Diodato has been in charge, together with Roy Paci and Michele Riondino, of the artistic direction of one of the leading musical events in Southern Italy. The May Day Concert in Taranto — inspired by the great concert held in Rome since 1990 — is an occasion that combines music performances and moments of reflection about the defence of the territory and the protection of universal rights.
Diodato told Il Corriere del Mezzogiorno: “I blindly believe in the power of music as a message amplifier for which I have always fought for. Music helps to get as far away as possible and is a valuable vector”.
The concert was created as a protest initiative to demand the closure of the ILVA, a steel company based in Taranto. During a 2012 investigation, it was found to produce elevated emissions of dioxin which correlated to abnormally high cancer rates in the region. This brought about the seizure of the plant by the Italian state.
Eurovision 2021 update
As of 17 April, neither Diodato nor the Italian broadcaster has commented on their plans for 2021. Upon the cancellation of the 2020 contest, Diodato wrote:
“I am really sorry for the cancellation of the Eurovision, for the hard work carried out over the past weeks by Carosello Records and RAI, for all the beautiful ideas that we were giving life to, but we are living a dramatic time of great struggle and I am convinced that the priority should be to protect the health of all citizens. Only when we will overcome this dark moment we will be able to go back to experience an event of such engagement with the right lightness and joy”.
Would Diodato have given Italy its third Eurovision trophy? Do you feel the moving vibes of “Fai rumore”? Let us know in the comments below.