Mahmood (singer)

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Mahmood in February 2019
Mahmood in February 2019
Background information
Birth nameAlessandro Mahmoud
Born (1992-09-12) 12 September 1992 (age 28)
Milan, Italy
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • guitar
Years active2012–present
LabelsUniversal Music

Alessandro Mahmoud (Italian pronunciation: [alesˈsandro maˈmud], Egyptian Arabic: [mæħˈmuːd]; born 12 September 1992), known professionally as Mahmood, is an Italian singer-songwriter. He first came to prominence after competing in the sixth season of the Italian version of The X Factor. In 2019, he won the Sanremo Music Festival with the song "Soldi", and went on to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019,[1][2] finishing in 2nd place. His debut album, Gioventù bruciata, was released in February 2019 and debuted at number one on the Italian albums chart.

Early life[edit]

Born in Milan to an Italian mother from Sardinia and an Egyptian father, he was raised around Gratosoglio, a district of Milan.[3] When he was five years old, his parents divorced and he was subsequently raised by his mother.[4][5]


2012–2018: X Factor and beginnings[edit]

In 2012, Mahmood auditioned for the sixth season of the Italian version of The X Factor. He became part of the boys category mentored by Simona Ventura. He was originally eliminated at Judges Houses, then returned as a wildcard, before eventually being eliminated in the third episode.[6] After this experience, he worked in a bar and attended a music school, studying piano, solfeggio and music theory, where he also started writing songs.[7] In 2013, he released his debut single "Fallin' Rain".[8]

In 2016, Mahmood participated in the Newcomers Section of Sanremo Music Festival with the song "Dimentica". In 2017, he released the single "Pesos", with which he participates in the fifth edition of the Wind Summer Festival, winning the third episode of the Youth section.[6] In 2017, he was also featured on Fabri Fibra's single "Luna".[9] In September 2018, he released his debut extended play, Gioventù bruciata. In November 2018, Marco Mengoni released his fifth album, Atlantico, which features three tracks co-written by Mahmood, including the single "Hola (I Say)".[6]

2019–present: Gioventù bruciata, Sanremo and Eurovision[edit]

Mahmood during a Eurovision rehearsal in May 2019.

In December 2018, Mahmood was one of 24 acts selected to compete in Sanremo Giovani, a televised competition aimed at selecting two newcomers as contestants of the 69th Sanremo Music Festival.[10] Mahmood was placed first in the second episode of the show, with his entry "Gioventù bruciata", also receiving the Critics' Award among acts performing in the second final.[11][12] "Soldi" was later announced as his entry for the Sanremo Music Festival 2019.[13]

Mahmood performed the song for the first time during the first live show of the 69th Sanremo Music Festival, which was held on 5 February 2019.[14] Dario "Dardust" Faini, co-writer of the song, directed the Sanremo Orchestra during his performance.[15] During the third live show, "Soldi" was the first performance of the night.[16] On 8 February 2019, Mahmood performed the song in a new version, featuring rapper Gué Pequeno.[17] During the first round of the final, "Soldi" placed 7th in the televote, but was the most voted by the experts jury, and the second most voted by the press jury.[18] As a result, Mahmood gained a spot in the top three acts of the competition and after an additional performance, the song was declared the winner of the 69th Sanremo Music Festival.[19] Mahmood also received the "Enzo Jannacci" Award for Best Performance.[20] and the "Premio Baglioni d'oro" award for best song voted by the participating artists.[21]

On 22 February 2019, Mahmood released his debut studio album, Gioventù bruciata, which topped the Italian albums chart.[22] In April 2019, Mahmood was featured on the single "Calipso" by Charlie Charles and Dardust, which has topped the Italian singles chart.[23] In May 2019, he represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He performed "Soldi" in the grand final of the contest on 18 May, placing second in the final ranking. The song topped the charts in Greece, Israel, Italy and Lithuania and reached the top 10 in five more countries, while also the song became the most-streamed Eurovision song ever on Spotify.[24] Mahmood performed at the closing ceremony of the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples with three of his songs "Soldi", "Gioventù bruciata" and "Anni 90".

Public image[edit]

Mahmood is a portmanteau of Alessandro's surname Mahmoud and the English expression "my mood".[25] Despite his father's origins, Mahmood does not speak Arabic but is fluent in Sardinian.[5] Following his Sanremo win, then Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is known for his anti-immigrant views, criticized him for winning over Ultimo who received the highest number of public votes.[26]

Mahmood has an aversion to being categorized by his nationality or sexuality.[4] He has stated that "declaring 'I'm gay' leads nowhere" and "If we continue with these distinctions, homosexuality will never be perceived as a normal thing, which it is".[27] In 2019, he was named to Italian Forbes 30 Under 30, a list showcasing entrepreneurs, entertainers and celebrities who have made a name for themselves before reaching the age of 30.[28]


Mahmood has described his music as Moroccan pop. According to him "what sets me apart are the Middle Eastern sounds that emerge here and there".[27] "Soldi", which is an autobiographic song about his "unconventional family", includes a sentence in Arabic.[29] One of his earliest musical memories is listening to Arabic music with his father, before he left the family.[30] Growing up he also listened to Italian artists like Lucio Battisti, Lucio Dalla and Paolo Conte.[30][4] He considers himself very linked to Sardinia's culture and folklore, which often acts as a source of inspiration for the composition of his songs.[5]

Mahmood has cited American singer Frank Ocean as his biggest influence: "[His music] is very free and in which everyone can identify themselves, gay or straight, because the essential is the person and the energy that he transmits and not the sexual orientation".[31] His other favorite artists include Travis Scott, Beyoncé, Jazmine Sullivan, Rosalía and SZA.[31][32]


Author and songwriter for other artists[edit]

Mahmood during his career has written and composed songs with many italian authors and producers, including Francesco Catitti, Dardust, Charlie Charles e Alessandro Raina, and artists such as Marracash, Chiara, Marco Mengoni, Fabri Fibra, Elodie and Michele Bravi.[34] In 2019, thanks to the victory at the Sanremo Music Festival, Mogol offered the artist a scholarship to improve his skills as a songwriter at the European Centre in Toscolano for authors, composers and artists.[35]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Award Work Result
2018 Sanremo Giovani[36] First place "Gioventù bruciata" Won
Critics' Award
2019 Sanremo Music Festival[37] First place "Soldi"
Enzo Jannacci Award for Best Performance
Baglioni d'oro Award for Best Song
OGAE Poll[38] Best Song of Eurovision 2019
Marcel Bezençon Awards[39] Composer Award
Wind Music Awards[40] Triple Platinum Certified Single
Gold Certified Album Gioventù bruciata
MTV Europe Music Awards[41] Best Italian Act Himself


  1. ^ "Sanremo, il vincitore è Mahmood. Ultimo è secondo, terzo classificato Il Volo". La Repubblica. 10 February 2019.
  2. ^ Castagneri, Alice; Pavanello, Roberto (10 February 2019). "Mahmood vince il Festival di Sanremo". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. ^ Rio, Paolo Giordano Laura. "Mahmood conquista l'Ariston: "Sono un ragazzo italiano"". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Italian Minister Pans Hit Song by an Immigrant's Son". The New York Times. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Mahmood: "Quel padre scomparso e la Sardegna, fonte della mia ispirazione" IL VIDEO". (in Italian). Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Mahmood (Italy) / Махмуд (Италия)". Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2019: Who Is Mahmood?". Italics Magazine. 23 February 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  8. ^ Alberto Muraro (24 July 2013). "Mahmoud – Fallin' Rain (audio e cover singolo)" (in Italian).
  9. ^ "Luna (feat. Mahmood) - Single by Fabri Fibra". iTunes. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Sanremo Giovani 2019, ecco i 24 cantanti selezionati per la finale: tanti ex dei talent". La Stampa. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Sanremo Giovani, Mahmood vince la seconda finale e va in gara tra i big. A lui anche il Premio della Critica. La classifica" (in Italian). 22 December 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  12. ^ Giuseppe Candela (22 December 2018). "Sanremo giovani, Mahmood è il vincitore della seconda serata. Ecco il cast completo di Sanremo 2019". Il Fatto Quotidiano (in Italian). Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Sanremo 2019: duetti, ospiti e ultime notizie dal Festival". TV Sorrisi e Canzoni (in Italian). 8 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Sanremo 2019, la cronaca della prima serata". Rolling Stone (in Italian). 5 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Mahmood vince Sanremo 2019, l'ascolano Dario Faini ha scritto la canzone". Il Resto Del Carlino (in Italian). 10 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Sanremo 2019, terza serata: date la conduzione del Festival alla Vanoni, gli Zen Circus spaccano" (in Italian). 7 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  17. ^ Alessandra Vitali (8 February 2019). "Sanremo, la quarta serata è dei duetti. Con Ligabue l'Ariston è rock, Anastasio canta gli sdraiati". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Classifiche Sanremo 2019" (PDF) (in Italian). RAI.
  19. ^ Alberto Mattioli (10 February 2019). "Mahmood vince il Festival di Sanremo, sul podio Ultimo e Il Volo". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Sanremo 2019, il Premio Enzo Jannacci assegnato da Nuovoimaie a Mahmood" (in Italian). Rockol. 8 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  21. ^ Barbara Conti (12 February 2019). "Sanremo 2019: un Festival che vuole descrivere il nostro Paese". Avanti! onLine (in Italian). Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Discographie Mahmood (Albums)". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Top Singoli – Classifica settimanale WK 18" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Italy: Mahmood's "Soldi" is now the most-streamed Eurovision song on Spotify". Wiwibloggs. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Mahmood: 10 facts about Italy's Eurovision 2019 singer". Wiwibloggs. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Winner of Italy's Sanremo song contest highlights political divides". Euronews. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Mahmood: "Vi piace cantautore Moroccan pop?"". Vanity Fair. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Forbes 100 30 Under 30 Italia 2019". Forbes. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  29. ^ "Sanremo, Mahmood: Soldi canzone autobiografica piena di rabbia". Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian). 11 February 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Sanremo Giovani, il trionfo di Mahmood: da X Factor con la Ventura ai big del Festival". Blasting News. 22 December 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  31. ^ a b "La 'gioventù bruciata' di Mahmood". Rolling Stone. 30 September 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  32. ^ "40 cosas sobre Mahmood que (quizás) no sabías". Los 40. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  33. ^ [ "Ghettolimpo"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  34. ^ "Mahmood". Genius. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Mahmood invitato alla scuola di Mogol, il maestro: 'La canzone è carina ma è da sgrezzare'". Blasting News (in Italian). 27 February 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  36. ^ "Mahmood piglia tutto: Gioventù Bruciata trionfa a Sanremo Giovani". 22 December 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  37. ^ "Mahmood vince il Festival di Sanremo. Oltre le polemiche e le critiche, a Baglioni il leoncino d'oro per l'innovazione (dall'inviata L.Varlese)". HuffPost. 9 February 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  38. ^ "OGAE Poll 2019: Italy's Mahmood crowned winner". Wiwibloggs. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  39. ^ "Here are the winners of the 2019 Marcel Bezençon Awards". Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  40. ^ "Seat Music Awards 2019, Claudio Baglioni re-bis. Sfera Ebbasta pigliatutto ma non canta". 6 June 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  41. ^ "Mtv Ema 2019, Mahmood vince il "Best Italian Act"". Il Corriere della Sera. 3 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro
Sanremo Music Festival winner
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro
with "Non mi avete fatto niente"
Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
with "Fai rumore"