Interview – UK Songwriter Andrea Di Giovanni

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We Cath Up With One of London’s Rising Stars.

Born into a strictly observant Roman Catholic family, Andrea grew up in Rome as the middle child between his older brother and younger sister. His mother, who came from a large Italian family, installed in him the values of sticking together as a family and protecting each other… something Andrea still holds dear.

But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Andrea. He spent a lot of his younger life struggling with his sexuality and identity. Coming from a strict Italian background, there was no shortage of oppression from the wider community. Andrea was subject to bullying as a child, and as a result became withdrawn and shy. It was at this young age that he turned to music as a means of solace and to express his innermost feelings. Since then, he’s moved to London adopted an incredibly positive mindset, focused on creativity and performance. He’s performed at The O2 in Shepherds Bush, Pride Festival in Brighton and the legendary performance series Sofar Sounds.

His new single ‘Our Own Way’ is released today, so we caught up with the young songwriter to hear the story so far.

Hi Andrea! Introduce yourself to our readers, how have you been?
 
Hi guys, I’ve been really good thank you, working a lot. I am a 23-year-old dark/pop artist originally from Italy and now living in London. I love to combine pop music with electronic beats and dark atmospheres. I’m also a huge fan of fashion, books, RuPaul and every form of art, from poetry to paintings.
 
Tell us a bit about your story to date..
 
Since I was very young I was a pretty shy and introverted kid; music has always been an outlet for me to freely express my inner world but also a safe space from a world that did not seem to understand me. Growing up in a country that has a strong Cristian background wasn’t easy although my family would support me in the best way they could; I was bullied quite a lot not only for my feminine mannerisms and not-so-masculine passions but also for my skin condition – Vitiligo, which gives you white spots all over your body as a result of a melanin malfunction. Moving to London really helped me with finding and fully accepting myself and my sexuality; today, in fact, I want to speak to all those young ‘different’ kids all over the world and tell them that it’s cool not to conform, to be unique and that they can succeed, no matter how hard it can be, there’s still hope. I put my personal experience in my music and lyrics. I talk about the struggles I faced and how I got over them. Every time I release that pain I feel like I’m getting over it more and more. I wish for people to feel that same way while listening to my music.
 
I see you made the move to London to pursue music, must have been a big step from Italy?
 
It felt like a necessary move back then; I wasn’t really getting what I wanted from Italy, I wanted to discover more about myself and learn new things. London seemed like the place to be! It was hard at the beginning, especially being away from my mom, who has always been by my side, and my friends but I knew I needed a change.
 
How does the music scene compare in London to Italy?
 
London music scene is way more diverse, accepting and fun than the Italian one. In the UK, if you work hard, build a strong fan base and a solid team, you can be very successful; in Italy, DIY artists suffer a lot as there aren’t many outlets for us that value music over entertainment, the major radio circuit won’t play your music unless you are signed and with thousands of fans and even labels push you into participating to tv shows rather than taking care of your artist development.
You’ve performed some pretty special live shows, including Brighton Pride. How was that experience? 
 
Oh my! Performing at Brighton Pride was one of the best highlights of my career so far. As an LGBTQI+ member, it meant so much for me to be able to speak and show my music to my community but also the possibility to represent proudly my country.
 
 
Tell us a bit about forthcoming projects, what does 2018 look like for you?
 
I am beyond excited for 2018. I’ve just released a cover of Raye’s banger ‘Decline’ and I have 4 new singles coming your way very soon, the first one, ‘Our Own Way’, is out now!
 
 
Finish off with a quote.
If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you’re gonna love somebody else. Can I get an amen? – RuPaul Charles

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