Sunset, light breeze, the sounds of the city from afar, and echoes of a fun afternoon: it’s all as poetic as it sounds. I’m not overstating when I describe the mood, and I’m not overstating when I define Angelina Mango as one of the wisest and most interesting people I’ve ever talked to.
Born and raised in a family of musicians, Angelina had to experiment with several different passions before finding the one and only, what would have become her present and future: music. From sad songs to the piano to the co-productions with her brother, from her EP “Monolocale” to dream mentors like Tiziano Ferro, Angelina writes music for herself and for the others, to talk about herself and situations that are hers as much as universal, just human.
After the success of her single “Walkman” and her triumph at the Primo Maggio concert in Rome, with the promise of a new EP, and waiting for lots of summer gigs, there’s nothing left for us but to wait and enjoy the journey, following an artist on which it’s worth to bet.
What’s your first music memory?
My first music memory dates back to when I was very young and went on tour with my dad; back then, we would travel altogether because my brother and I didn’t have to go to school yet. I have some pictures of myself when I was 1 year old and walking and dancing on stage! [laughs] This is my first general music memory.
As far as my music is concerned, instead, I remember when, in my last elementary school year, they gave me my first computer as a gift, and it had Cubase, a program to make arrangements: that was when I started writing some very sad songs, too sad for my age.
As kids, either we want to follow our parents’ path, or we want to move as far away as possible from it. What was your experience like growing up in a family of musicians? Have you always wanted to do this job, or did you also have other aspirations?
To be honest, I’ve had a weird relationship with this issue because, as a kid, I didn’t really consider the possibility of doing this job. I’ve always liked writing, but I also wanted to be a researcher, I’ve taken dance classes for many years and that felt like my passion. I realized I wanted the music to be my job only when I finished high school and wondered: and now, what do I do? I tried to go to university and study Literature, but there I realized that what I really cared about was doing music.
On one side, I didn’t have much of a choice but not to do this because no other thing ever felt that right.
You debuted with the song “Formica” and became known with the single “Walkman” that you performed during the Primo Maggio concert in Rome. What do these songs represent, respectively, for you?
“Formica” was a way to say, “Okay, this is me,” so it’s my story. This song and “Walkman” are the beginning of the journey I want to do because, for the first time, I can see myself a bit better, instead of looking outside, and I can see in myself all the vulnerabilities that I would have been scared to express before.
“Formica” is the introduction, “Walkman” is what’s inside.
I really loved how in “Walkman” you use the object, the Walkman, as a metaphor to explain how your head works, the fact that it bursts with thoughts and second thoughts, just like a player with a CD that turns endlessly. You gave the perfect idea of the concept of overthinking, I believe. Are you an overthinker? How was the piece born?
I’m definitely an overthinker!
“Walkman” has a double meaning: one is certainly what you’ve just said, the fact of constantly thinking about things even when you shouldn’t, of always thinking about how things are going, what you should do, what you have done, the future, the past. I’m a very overthinking person. On the other side, it’s also a metaphor for what we are inside. Let me explain: I found myself looking around and thinking, “Okay, it’s been three years since I’ve finished school, time flies, I’m becoming an adult and I’m not even realizing it;” so, the Walkman is something to which everyone can relate, it’s the concept of time passing while we often don’t realize it and have no choice. I don’t know if that’s positive or negative!
I guess it depends on how you look at it!
Speaking of writing songs and making music, how does your creative process generally originate and develop?
In the beginning, I would mainly write in two ways: on the piano, which I would play in the phase where I wrote pop and “classic” tunes compared to what I write today; or I would write with my brother because, when we were younger, he would do the arrangements and I would write lyrics and melodies on his productions. Now, my brother is a drummer, and I’ve slowly started to produce on my own.
To be honest, I don’t really have a specific method for writing. Lately, I’ve been writing a lot while doing other stuff: while I walk the streets, while I’m in the car, while I’m cooking, some clear things come to my mind and it’s as if the song is ready at that moment, finished, and then I put it down, do the arrangement and so on, but in my head, it’s already there the way I want it to be. That’s what happened with “Walkman,” for example.
“…in my head, it’s already there the way I want it to be.”
You have some illustrious mentors, the likes of Enrico Brun e Tiziano Ferro; the latter, in particular, has fallen in love with your talent, and he’s produced “Walkman.” How was this collaboration born?
In an extremely human way.
He’d listened to my first EP, “Monolocale,” and reposted me on Instagram. At that moment, I nearly died [laughs]. After that, I got back to life and thanked him. He told me: “Look, if you write songs, send them to me, even if you just want some feedback.” Right then, I’d just finished the very first draft of “Walkman,” which had a hint of arrangement, and tiny pre-production, and he went crazy! As if he were a friend of mine, he said to me: “I’m going to the studio with these musicians on Friday” (and he named them), and he made these musicians play what I had in my head.
This was so important for me also because I was a bit off in that period, and I had lots of doubts about what I wanted to do after “Monolocale.” Let’s say I’m not really a peaceful soul, I always have a mess in my head! [laughs] This was good for my self-esteem because if someone so brilliant notices and appreciates you, there must be a reason; moreover, he encouraged me to prove that I deserved what he was giving to me. Later, in the studio, “Walkman” went through other phases with Enrico Brun from Sony, with whom I regularly work now, and I still have the live versions played by all the musicians together! So cool!