Even if it was in the air for days it was still a surprise - a bad surprise for most fans it seems judging the comments on various chats and blogs. But Italy will return to Eurovision with a fusion of jazz and blues written and performed by no doubt talented Raphael Gualazzi, a fresh winner of Sanremo 2011 newcomers category. In Sanremo he also won critic's Mia Martini award and the radio award but apparently not the televote even if Gianni Morandi, the host, insisted so in a couple of occasions?!
Raphael (29) first got famous for his version of Fleetwood Mac's Don't stop made for a TV ad. But before that he started taking part in various festivals making himself known. In 2008 he gets his version of Georgia on my mind to a compilation album in France along names like Norah Jones, Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Jamie Cullum, Ray Charles and Diana Krall. That takes him to New Hampshire for the The history and the mystery of jazz festival. In 2010 is signed by Caterina Caselli and does Heikeken jammin' festival amongst other. he starts recording his debut album and the track Reality and fantasy remixed by Gilles Peterson becomes a download hit all over the world and a hit in some French radios. Here's the original version and video.
Caselli - who has discovered amongst other Andrea Bocelli and Elisa bringing them to Sanremo, too - took him to Sanremo 2011 with Follie d'amore winning the newcomers category and ending in Eurovision as well selected by a special jury.He released his debut album Love outside the window in 2006 and a self titled EP in 2011. His new album came out with Sanremo and is titled Reality and fantasy.
The unfortunate rumour is he would perform Follie d'amore in English in Germany.... :-(