Francesco Gabbani won the 2017 Sanremo Music Festival in February and was offered the opportunity to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest, which he accepted. Prior to the Grand Final, Francesco's music video was the most watched out of all the participants this year. According to the singer, the song Occidentali's Karma, is a call for people to look at the way in which they live their lives.
Francesco explained the lyrics of his entry: "The first verse of the song describes the scenario that we live in." Francesco explained that he was inspired by Shakespeare's famous phrase 'To be, or not to be,' which he believes has changed in our time to mean something else. "To be, or have to be," he said.
The song title, Occidentali's Karma, means Westerners' Karma and is essentially a comment on modern day living, from the superficial to the spiritual, including philosophy and meditation. "Some people really are know-it-alls and selfie obsessed. In the end everything is very superficial," he said.
One month after Sanremo, Francesco released his Eurovision version of the song, adjusted to the three minute-rule to fit the contest. He decided to remove one verse and keep the last chorus with the ending crescendo. During Francesco's performance, he was joined on stage by a gorilla which is specifically related to the meaning of the song. "In the end we become aware that after all we’re naked apes," Francesco explained, meaning that at the end of the day we are all humans.
Francesco Gabbani finished sixth in the Grand Final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.