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Italy's first rehearsal in 14 years

07 May 2011 at 17:22 CEST

Moments before his rehearsal, we met backstage with Raphael Gualazzi warming up his voice a little bit. He has prepared in a calm way. "Yesterday night, we had a little welcome party, but I made sure to get to sleep quite early."

 We will be very simple and play our music, with six musicians on stage.

Raphael feels the support of people in Italy. "I have been busy lately, but I think they are happy. This is a good opportunity for us, and we are happy to come back," he says.

One of his main hopes with coming to the contest is meeting other musicians in the hope to do some collaborations."It's a great opportunity, there are a lot of great musicians here, and for me that's the meaning of this festival".

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The atmosphere of his jazz-pop song Madness Of Love, written and composed by himself, invaded every corner of the Düsseldorf Arena during the rehearsal, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying other songs. "The festival has a lot of different songs, that's why we enjoy it, and as artists we should think of collaborations. Sometimes, different styles should come together."

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"It was absolutely exciting... only an appetizer of what is gonna happen. it's marvellous to be here, for Italy and for us". That's how Raphael Gualazzi started his press conference, the first one Italy is giving in their Eurovision Song Contest comeback.

The Italian team was extremely glad and happy to experience in person the support they had been feeling since they decided to return to the competition as expressed by their head of delegation, Mr. Nicola Caligiore. "We're very happy to be back, and we hope we'll remain in the competition".

Raphael enjoys playing for small audiences but also in the huge stage of this year's contest: "I appreciate to play in different locations and I think that every time I play in a different location I get a different emotion".

Some journalists thought his song was a bit too artistic for a song contest bus, as Raphael explained, "I don't believe very much in in music competitions, but it is good if it puts great artists and musicians together, I believe it is a great idea to take part in Eurovision, of course".

The Italian artist loves to listen to music, many different kinds of music, but for himself as an artist he likes to mix very much the jazz, which he considers the matrix of most modern music, with other styles. "Jazz has to come back to its own popularity".

To get the Italian audience re-introduced to Europe's favourite TV show, their broadcaster RAI, has prepared a show introduced by the popular italian artist Raffaella Carra and French DJ Bob Sinclar to help their public get acquainted with the contest again respecting as much as we can the original format  and not adding any content.

Raphael Gualazzi's album called Reality And Fantasy including Madness Of Love is already released in Germany, France and Italy and soon in the rest of Europe as confirmed in their press conference before they treated us to a wonderful live rendition to their song.

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