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14 june 1956

Gianna Nannini was born in Siena as former Formula 1 driver Alessandro Nannini's older sister, she studied piano at the conservatrium ‘Boccherini’ in Lucca and then composition in Milan. In 1974 she was already co-author of the song ‘Stereotipati noi’ sung by Flora, Fauna & Cemento. In 1976 she debuted with the self titled album and was often compared to Janis Joplin for her raspy voice. Her second album ' …una radura' was a collaboration with rockband PFM but it was not until 1979 to have her first hit with the single 'America' (which was about an argument over masturbation) and the album 'California'. The album sold well in Italy and Germany where she was invited by producer Conny Plank to record in his studio in Cologne. The result was 'Latin lover' with the single 'Ragazzi dell’ Europa' (with Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics on backing vocals). Her definite rise to fame in Italy came in 1984 with the release of her sixth album, 'Puzzle'. This album peaked in the top 10 at the Italian, German, Austrian and Swiss hit-parades. She sang for the videoclip 'Fotoromanza' (directed by Michelangelo Antonioni), won several musical awards and started a European tour, including a participation at the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1986 her hit 'Bello e impossibile' was a huge success and brought her more awards in Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In 1988 she returned to Conny’s studio for 'Malafemmina'.

In 1990 she sang 'Un'estate italiana', the official song of the Football World Cup 1990, together with Edoardo Bennato. She graduated in philosophy from the University of Siena in 1994 with a paper called ‘Il corpo nella voce’. The following year she took part in a protest organized by Greenpeace at the French embassy in Rome against the decision of the French government to pursue nuclear experiments at Mururoa. In 1996 she investigates the world of classical music with the project 'Short operas'. In 1998 she quickly abandons this path to record what some call her best album 'Cuore'.

In 2004 she released a kind of Greatest Hits compilation 'Perle', but the songs were all rerecorded for the occasion. Orchestral arrangements bring a new dimension to the familiar Gianna melodies. With this orchestra Gianna went on the 'Perle Tour' in central Europe during 2004-2005. On the album she also does a cover of 'Amandoti' written by Italian punkband CCCP. An album 'Grazie' was released in February 2006, and has peaked at number one of the Italian hit-parade with the single 'Sei nell'anima'. In September 2006 she recorded a duet with Andrea Bocelli 'Ama credi e vai' and sings on Einstürzende Neubauten member Alexander Hacke's solo album 'Sanctuary', on the track 'Per sempre butterfly'.
In April 2007 she released 'Pia come la canto io', a collection of songs written for a pop opera that will be performed in 2008. This work has been eleven years in the making, and is based on the mediaeval Tuscan character Pia de' Tolomei (mentioned briefly in Dante's 'Inferno'). In the same year an acoustic version of her song 'Meravigliosa creatura' (from 'Perle') was used for a TV commercial for the Fiat Bravo. In 2008 she duetted with Fabri Fibra - an italian rapper - in his videoclip version of the song 'In Italia'. In return, Fibra collaborated on one of the songs on Gianna's 2009 album 'Giannadream'. On 26 November 2010 Gianni became mother (at the age of 54) of daughter Penelope. A new album was released early in 2011. After a long tour (with the baby in the back of the bus) she returns to the studio to record a set of new songs written together with Tiziano Ferro, Pacifico and Isabella Santacroce that show a return to the more focusses and raw sound of the past.

On the web:

- Gianna's website: http://www.giannanannini.com

What do we think:

PR: Gianna Nannini is a great example and ambassador of European pop music. She writes great rock and pop songs, open to experiment with influences of the moment (rock guitars, synths, beats, unplugged etc.), but always putting the song in the centre. And always singing in het native, Italian language. Listening to her older albums, the production may sometimes sound a bit out-of-date, but the songs themselves certainly stood the test of time. And she is still going strong, releasing interesting albums every few years. Who knows what Italy's own rock chick will come up with in the future...

DB: Gianna is the rough side of Italian pop which is mainly because of her voice that sounds like she’s been smoking heavily and lacing it with whiskey. Oddly enough this is in fact her natural voice and although some may find that she overdoes it a bit she cannot sing in another way. Gianna may not have the range other Italian singers like Alice and Mina have, she makes it up with a talent for good songwriting and making interesting productions. Because of this she probably is one of few the Italian pop artists that has a steady following in Italy as in other European countries.

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Renata Przemyk (Poland)

Catherine Lara (France)


Gianna Nannini - 1976

♪♪ - Una radura - 1977

♪♪♪ - California - 1979

♪♪♪ - GN - 1981

♪♪♪♪♪ - Latin Lover - 1982

♪♪♪♪ - Puzzle - 1984

♪♪♪ - Tutto Live - 1985

♪♪♪ - Profumo - 1986

♪♪♪ - Malafemmina - 1988

♪♪♪ - Scandalo - 1990

♪♪♪ - Giannissima - 1991

♪♪♪ - X Forza e X Amore -1993

♪♪♪ - Dispetto -1995

♪♪♪♪ - Cuore -1998

♪♪ - Aria - 2002

♪♪♪♪ - Perle - 2004

♪♪♪♪ - Grazie - 2006

♪♪ - Pia come la canto io - 2007

♪♪♪ - Giannadream (solo i sogni sono veri) - 2009

♪♪½ - Io e Te - 2011

♪♪♪♪ - Inno - 2012

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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