by ANDREA SCARPA - Photo by ANDREA COLZANI
It was seen as the Bengodi (Idiomatic expression. Imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease)… as the USA was for the world, Milan was the city that offered many chances, there were many opportunities to work … I’m talking about ’61, when it was another world… So at twenty years are old I came to Milan.
GIRLS FROM BOLOGNA
I bit the brake because Bologna is a wonderful city, it revolves around the University and so it’s fun. But the job opportunities weren’t fantastic… plus the mentality… I’m talking about how it was back then… girls were supposed to get married, there was a specific life pattern.
AT MY SISTER’S
My sister married an engineer and came to live in Milan, she worked for a company in Milan. I broke her balls so much that after a while my sister made me come to Milan and I started working.
A THOUSAND JOBS
Of course I did many jobs, I went to work in a company that made fungicides for agriculture, especially for crops of tobacco, then I went to work for a company that made firefighting equipment.
Until one day when on The Corriere della Sera I found the typical ad “Looking for a press office secretary”. I showed up, it was a small record company but with great success in editorial and non-editorial products, where the owner was Alfredo Rossi, a man from Rimini who had a brother who was a great author, Carlo Alberto Rossi. Alfredo hired me as the press office secretary.
20 YEARS OLD AND GREAT EXPECTATIONS
I was twenty and I had such high expectations, I didn’t know what they were, I had dreams, I was hoping to work and have fun… I was a music lover in a normal way.
I was also very helpful with the artists, who always have some problems with uncertainties, insecurities and at Ariston I did my first Sanremo… Sanremo Music festival was very different back then, it was held in the casino, not where the Ariston is.
MY FIRST SANREMO
I remember that at my first Sanremo I introduced myself to everyone: “Good morning I’m Mara Maionchi from Ariston’s press office, I’m here with…” I think I was there with Ornella Vanoni, who sang “Casa bianca” together with Sannia. I introduced myself to everyone because no one thought of doing it in my place, so I managed to do it on my own… I broke everyone’s balls.
I guess all the things that have happened to me were a bit accidental, or maybe I was prepared to receive them and I welcomed them, I was lucky but I never made great plans.
MARA THE DUNCE
In school I was a terrible dunce and I must say I was not so suited for it because I wasn’t really a studious girl, I was interested only in some subjects so at some point my father fairly said, “Look Mara, either you or work or you study”, because I couldn’t waste time.
BUILDING A SUCCESS
Many people contribute to the success of an artist, so, more than a medal I would say lucky breaks or fucking strokes of luck, as I say…
I mean that the group of people who have guessed the same thing eventually lead to a result… I have never done anything on my own.
I believe that people are grateful, but they can’t spend their whole life being grateful, that’s a pain in the ass… Gianna Nannini the other day was at Giletti’s show and she said “Mara was the only one who believed in me” and that is nice, then many other people contributed to Gianna’s artistic journey.
GIANNA’S (CHALLENGING) BEGINNING
Gianna’s great beginning, in ’78-’79, was the production by Michelangelo Romano, I called Michelangelo Romano, I always believed in Gianna Nannini and I must say that she knows it, but I struggled because in a company in which her second album didn’t make money, there is no doubt that my director was pressuring me, “Mara here we keep spending money but there are no results”. I had to resist to these attacks… of a man who reasonably had to run a company, pay salaries, pay for everything… he needed money not words. But if there is no artist you can’t do anything.
Alfredo Rossi, who died, there are his daughters, because he opened the door to this life and work chance.
I haven’t been able to shed light on some artists who perhaps were worth more…
For example, we had this guy from Bologna, Cialella, who wrote wonderful things but who didn’t work out on stage… he couldn’t relate normally with people, a huge flaw… because he was talented, and I am very sorry that we, Salerno and I, couldn’t push him enough to expose himself to his best, and he couldn’t find a rule… as opposed to what happened with Tiziano Ferro, who was a talented guy but who was perfectly able to channel his qualities, also following our advice… but if he hadn’t understood nothing would have happened.
On a personal level I’m fine but I can’t afford… we have thrown away so much money, my husband and I, to try to make these guys but then it was not possible to continue…
ARTISTS IN THE TALENT SHOWS
They sing well, but that’s not enough… the artistic ingredient is lacking, in their singing, in the expression and movement, in the choice of what they wants to say… there is where it all bloody is!
A BORN TALENT
Mengoni, when we saw him, beyond the fact that he also sings better than many others… however, he was one who had a credible and strong appearance on the stage… he had it by nature, he was born that way.
THE BEST IN ITALY
I find Cremonini a very good one, Cremonini writes really good lyrics… someone who wrote Vespa 50 had to remain strong… He is good. I like Fedez I must say, he was very accurate in some things.
RECORDING INDUSTRY IN THE OUTSKIRTS
I’m very sorry that the recording industry has been reduced to… the outskirts in Italy… But the market is so difficult…
THINGS TO PROVE
I never wanted to prove much to anyone… I try to do the most of what I think I know how to do…
I’ve never had a lot of money and so I couldn’t even lose it… now let’s face it, I’ve played and lost, it’s true… it is true that sometimes I also won, but no, I wasn’t a formidable player.
IT’S NOT A GAME
Gambling is dangerous, especially if it is done by people who still don’t know that you never win.
ME AND POLITICS
For four years I was councilor in a small town in Italy, near Como, where, I have to say, when you win and you do not have the opposition with you but the opposition is against you because they are under 15 thousand inhabitants… but I have to say that there are really a lot of problems… they asked me in San Fermo because they know me, but you know, it is a village of 5,000 inhabitants…
YES TO THE MOSQUE
I believe that everyone has the right to pray in their place… we have to be careful, given the historical moment, to give certain permissions, but it seems to me that you can’t deny religion to anyone.
TV DOESN’T MAKE YOU RICH
Many think that if you work in television you become super rich. But it’s not true. If today you hope to earn a lot of money working in television it’s best you immediately give up that idea. The earnings are those of a good professional…
I must tell you that Skin is very nice, she is a delightful woman, her only problem is the language… maybe Mika having lived in Paris… and then some people are more gifted… I suck at it for example… I could never learn English, maybe for a miracle… when Skin wants to express herself, she goes in search of the right words and it is very hard for her… but I have to say she’s nice and fun, she puts a lot of passion into it.
MILAN, VIA WASHINGTON
I’m very attached to this area of Via Washington, because Salerno was born here, I have always been around here so it’s an area that I know well and it is familiar… the Duomo because for many years I worked in Ricordi and Ariston that were both in the center. The Duomo was very different then, now there is more confusion… back then it was the symbol of Milan.
The future? I don’t even know if I’ll get to the next year… look you know what? When you are 74 years old, I think it is good if you make it to the next morning. Now, I’m not saying that one should die at 74, but when you get to a certain age, then I had breast cancer, I must say that a bit of calm about your future wouldn’t hurt… so far so good, don’t overdo it… then if something comes up I would gladly do it.
HEAVEN OR HELL?
Roxy Bar? as I call it when I say Vasco… Well there is hope there, I mean to at least burn for a few years but not forever… but to go to heaven you have to be very very good, and I think that it won’t be my first step. I’ll spend some time in the dark…
ARTISTS AND FRIENDSHIP
I have many friends I’m very happy to see sometimes, but then they are very busy, I’m busy, but I have always considered work as work, because, you see, sometimes if you’re too good of a friend you can make them make mistakes… because you care for them so much and maybe you end up not underlining a mistake they are making, so I think we have to be serious about work… because for them it is a job and their life.
I only play Burraco on the computer, and then I read some twitter every now and then, because I enjoy it… when I read that one says I’m a dickhead… maybe it’s true!