First Listen: “La Mia Città” by Italy’s Emma Marrone

Italy has changed up its approach to the Eurovision Song Contest this year, bypassing the Sanremo festival and selecting internally Emma Marrone and her song "La Mia Città" ("My City").

Since its return to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, Italy has been a dominant force in the Grand Final. All three of its previous entries have finished in the Top 10, with two of the three ranking the highest of the automatic qualifiers. For those three entries, Italy based their selections on the annual Sanremo music festival. This year, possibly because of how crowded the selection calendar is getting, Italy has gone with a fully internal selection: “La Mia Città” (“My City”) by Emma Marrone. Take a listen:

This track is also a departure from previous Italian selections, in that it isn’t jazz.1 Also, rock traditionally does not do well in the Contest, but since Italy is a Big Five auto-qualifier, this entry doesn’t have to clear the hurdle of the semi-finals. I don’t feel the gravitas that can usually be found in frontrunners, but with so few entries fully selected at this point, perhaps the gravitas has yet to materialize.

There’s some work to be done on this track. It runs long, so expect a rewrite to happen. Also, there is the possibility this could be translated—partially or fully—which may unlock some hidden potential. What I am looking most forward to is how this song will be presented on-stage. In 2012 and 2013, I felt Italy underplayed the stage performance, which may have caused the entries to mitigate their scores. There’s no way this song will be Marrone standing behind a microphone alone on the stage while a backing track plays.

Italy is one of the most strategic delegations in the competition, so I’m curious to see how this entry evolves.

  1. Normally jazz is THE WORST, but Italy has consistently presented fantastic songs from the genre.  

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