Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Globe is Golden For Laura Pausini!

These have been some exciting days for Italy's popular music Prima Donna (and Latin America's "adopted" Mujer Grande), the wonderful Laura Pausini.

The song "Io Si," which she sang and co-wrote for the movie The Life Ahead (starring the 86-year-old Sofia Loren), won the prestigious Golden Globe award on Sunday night.

Then Laura sang this song on the final day of Italy's San Remo Music Festival, revisiting the place and the event where she first became famous 28 (twenty-eight?!) years ago.

It cannot be possible that I first arrived in Rome 28 years ago, in March of 1993. The buzz about the 18-year-old girl who had just won the Festival was still fresh at that time. The San Remo Festival is a big event in Italy, which has been nationally televised and nationally watched every February-March since the 1950s. Long before Eurovision, or American Idol, or X- Factor, or The Voice, or any of those competitions there was San Remo. In Italy, after all, "popular music" is broadly defined, and singing is even more valued than soccer. Artists have gained national attention there (and occasionally international fame) for a long time. I was still living in Rome in 1994 when a much older (but previously unknown) male singer won and began his own international career. His name was Andrea Bocelli.

Italians are pretty talented people.

Now, after winning at the (mostly virtual but expertly presented) Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Laura returned (not for the first time) to San Remo to sing to the entire country. Again it was a partly virtual show this year, but it seems that "we-are-getting-good" at doing this new kind of event. It's hard to know what that might mean for the future. But when I compare today to images from 1993, I realize that the world has indeed changed in many ways, even before the pandemic.

While most '90s pop stars have faded, Laura is bigger (and better) than ever. There are enough Latinos and Latinas in the United States that Laura got a big spot on Times Square on Monday (see picture second from the top). Anglo-America may start, finally, to wake up.

The Oscars are coming soon. I hope she wins again.