Tommaso Paradiso talks about himself, his music, his band, his Rome…
Young face of Italian music, on the hunt for its secrets in its beloved land
He’s the frontman of Thegiornalisti, the group which, after a sensational tour of Italian stadiums and the success of their latest single Maradona y Pelé, returns to Rome for a major concert at the Circus Maximus on 7 September. Tommaso Paradiso is currently the top Italian artist. Born in Rome on 25 June 1983, he grew up in the Prati district and dreamed of music as a boy listening to Neil Young and Oasis. After studying Classics at high school and gaining a degree in Philosophy, he embarked on his career in music. He started Thegiornalisti in 2009, and success came in 2014 with the album Fuoricampo and was confirmed by Completamente Sold Out, released in 2016. Today Tommaso is considered one of Italy’s greatest songwriters, and he also writes for other major names in Italian music, from Gianni Morandi to Noemi.
Do you remember what the first thing you wrote was?
I remember the first song I wrote was about a dream I had of Jesus Christ, and I wrote it in English. The song was called “Let the dream cry”.
What has Thegiornalisti’s success given you, and what has it taken away?
It hasn’t taken away anything, and it’s given me a job. Of course I had a job before, but I wasn’t so happy. What’s changed is that now I can work in music, and for me that’s an amazing thing, I can support myself and my family thanks to my greatest passion.
Love is the title of your new tour as well as your latest album. It’s a simple word, universal…
It’s hard to be simple and not come across as banal. I always say that the great universal works are simple and direct; of course they can be interpreted in other ways too, but what strikes you is their immediacy and simplicity.
In September you’ll be playing in Rome. How does it feel to perform in your home city?
Our band is loved from north to south indiscriminately. I think we’re very lucky. We’re Roman and proud of it, but we’re greeted with the same warmth and the same enthusiasm all over Italy. In fact, I think our concert at the Circus Maximus won’t be just for people from Rome, I think our fans will come from the whole of Italy, particularly those who have already seen us play.
Which of the great songwriters in music history do you model yourself on?
There are so many who inspire me, and I think my writing is a compendium of everything I listened to as a kid, from the Oliver Onions to Oasis, the Beatles, Antonello Venditti, Vasco Rossi and Lucio Dalla.
Which book has had the biggest impact on your life?
Your favourite poet?
I love prose, not poetry. Poetry doesn’t touch me so deeply.
Who are the legends that inspired Maradona y Pelé, and why them?
Maradona, Pelé, Sandokan and Robert De Niro. I like to draw inspiration from the symbols of my life, people who to some extent are part of everyone’s life.
What’s your idea of happiness?
It corresponds with calm, tranquillity.
Your most precious possessions?
My family, the people I love, my friends, my dog… my life.
Tommaso Paradiso’s Rome: a place of the heart, a place of the soul and a place of joyful living.
A place of the heart is the banks of the Tiber, the stretch between Ponte Cavour and Tiber Island, just below Castel Sant’Angelo. When I go running there I feel calm, it’s an area that brings me peace. Those are my places of the soul too: everything’s there, along the Tiber, below Castel Sant’Angelo, where the cycle track almost touches the river, and you can see the beautiful buildings reflected in the water, the trees and plants. It’s all there. In that area there are also some restaurants I love, above all Settimio all’Arancio in Via dell’Arancio: it’s a place where I feel carefree, I feel good, a restaurant I grew up in and still frequent today. My joyful place, on the other hand, might be my new house. I haven’t moved in yet, but it won’t be long, they’re finishing off the work. I hope that will be my place of joyful living.