From Aiello to Extraliscio: Meet the Participants of Sanremo 2021

This year marks the 71st edition of the prestigious Sanremo Song Festival in Italy, set to begin on March 2nd. The 26 participants of this year’s contest were previously revealed by the Artistic Director, Amadeus and will feature a number of returning artists, as well as newcomers to the contest. Meet the participants in our preview series, starting with Aiello and continuing through to Extraliscio ft. Davide Toffolo.

More about the history of the Sanremo Festival and their connection to the Eurovision Song Contest can be found on this special theme page about Sanremo.

Aiello – Ora 

Aiello isn’t new to the Italian music scene, having debuted with his first single in 2011, titled Riparo. It wasn’t until 2017 where Aiello started to gain some momentum, having released his first EP in 2017 titled Hi-Hello. In 2019, he released his first studio album titled Ex Voto with the label RCA Records, and in 2020, his song Festa was part of the soundtrack for the film Bangla. The song was nominated for best original song at David di Donatello, which are film awards given out by the Accademia del Cinema Italiano. 

What can we expect from Aiello at Sanremo 2021?

Aiello certainly has the vocals to hold a strong ballad, but could surprise with a strong upbeat number, like one of his previous releases, Vienimi (a ballare). With a self-penned song, I would assume he would stick with something in the realm of his previous releases. At this stage, I wouldn’t pick Aiello as a strong contender to win, especially when competing against some huge names this year, but I am curious to see what he will deliver. 

Annalisa – Dieci 

Annalisa is no stranger to Sanremo, having participated in the contest four times previously, the first being in 2013 with the song Scintille, and the most recent in 2018 with Il mondo prima di te. The latter achieved third place at the contest, and it’s safe to say that she is well loved in the Italian music scene. 

Annalisa rose to fame after participating in the 10th edition of the Italian talent show Amici di Maria De Filippi where she finished in second. Annalisa has released seven studio albums, with the most recent release in 2020 titled Nuda. 

What can we expect from Annalisa at Sanremo 2021?

While she faces some tough competition, there’s no denying that Eurovision fans want to see Annalisa take to the Eurovision stage. It’s easy to understand why, as her vocals are a stand out. The talented vocalist can slay a ballad, but can also belt out an upbeat banger. Whichever it may be, we know that she will sell the performance. 

Arisa – Potevi fare di più

Arisa is of course known as the last female to have won Sanremo. Back in 2014, when Emma Marrone was already selected internally for Italy at Eurovision, she took the win with her song ‘Controvento’. Arisa hopes to get back to the glory years (second in ‘12, winning in ‘14), as her two recent attempts in 2016 and 2019 were not as successful.

What can we expect from Arisa at Sanremo 2021?

Her 2021 song, which translates as ‘You could have done more’ has been written by veteran Gigi D’Alessio. So we are expecting a ballad by Arisa. This could definitely push her towards the top of the table, with her more successful Sanremo attempts being slower, more delicate songs. 

Bugo – E Invece si

When Bugo teamed up with Morgan in 2020 he could not have known he would end up being part of one of the most memorable and iconic moments in Sanremo history! The two could not get along at all, and at the night of the grand final things exploded when Morgan changed his opening lyrics of their song to new words packed with insults towards Bugo. Bugo then angrily left the stage (Che succede?), not to return, giving the duo a disqualification.

What can we expect from Bugo at Sanremo 2021?
Bugo learned his lesson from this and now returns solo to Sanremo. Will he get the ultimate revenge with a good result? While his song in 2020 had a lot of synthesizers, this was mostly the influence of Morgan. We expect a more mainstream song with mainstream instruments for this song.

Colapesce & Dimartino – Musica Leggerissima

Lorenzo “Colapesce” Urciullo and Antonio Di Martino have written thi song together. Whilst Colapesce is a newcomer to Sanremo, he is not an upcoming artist anymore. He already released four solo albums. His music style is Indie pop, and he usually composes and plays his own songs on the guitar. He previously teamed up with Dimartino, composing the song ‘Lo stretto necessario’ for Levante in the summer of 2019. A collaboration that made sense, given the fact that Dimartino is also an Indie pop/rock singer-songwriter, with already six released previous albums.

What can we expect from Colapesce & Dimartino at Sanremo 2021?
These are two talented and experienced artists, Colapesce not even being 40 years old. Even though they are new to Sanremo, we expect this experience to pay off for them at their performance. When we have written about their musical style, it’s hard not to imagine them coming up with a Indie Pop/mild rock song.

Coma_Cose – Fiamme negli occhi 

Coma_Cose is an indie pop/hip-hop duo formed by Fausto Lama and California (Francesca Masiero). Their debut single was titled ‘Cannibalismo’, which was released back in 2017, however gained attention for their 2018 single ‘Post Concerto’ which reached gold status. To date, the duo have released one studio album titled ‘Hype Aura’ which was released in 2019, and two EP’s including the latest, ‘Due’ which was released in 2020. They have been a featured artist on the song ‘Riserva Naturale’ by Francesca Michielin, another of the competing Sanremo artists this year. 

What can we expect from Coma_Cose at Sanremo 2021?

This is a very interesting addition to the line-up, and I hope that we see something different from the usual Sanremo style. Their previous releases feel both modern and retro, and while the duo themselves might appeal to the younger audience, I think the music can appeal to a wider audience. There’s a certain sense of nostalgia with this duo, and while we don’t necessarily see them as a strong contender for the win, they should add to the diversity of the line-up.

Ermal Meta – Un Milione di cose da dirti

Ermal sees the Sanremo Festival as an important tradition, and that is why he returns to it, even though he already won in 2018 (together with Fabrizio Moro) and we haven’t seen an artist winning for a second time since 2002. One of the reasons to love the Italian music competition is that the big names just like to take part, no matter what the previous results have been. It’s just prestigious to be there. It will be good to enjoy another performance by Ermal Meta in 2021 as he is surely one of the main contenders to watch beforehand.

What can we expect from Ermal Meta at Sanremo 2021?

The bookmakers expect something from Ermal Meta, and so do we! He is currently placed fifth in the odds of the bookies, even though his song has not been released yet. He has described his song as ‘simply a love song’ with a focus on the orchestration and not just the vocals. 

Extraliscio ft. Davide Toffolo – Bianca luce nera

Extraliscio is a folk group that has been active since 2014 and released three previous albums. The three men in the group team up with Davide Toffolo, a rock singer whose token sign is the mask that wears at every performance. He has made albums as a solo artist and as the lead singer of the group Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti.

What can we expect from Extraliscio ft. Davide Toffolo at Sanremo 2021?

Spectacle! That’s what we expect from this gig. In recent years fun and entertaining performances by folk/rock/punk-songs have done fairly well at Sanremo. Think about Pinguini Tattici Nucleari last year or Lo Stato Sociale who came second in 2018. ‘This punk song will beat hard’, they said at their press presentation on RAI.

Who are you looking forward to seeing at Sanremo this year? Stay tuned for the next part of our Meet the Participants series for Sanremo 2021!

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