Michele Zarrillo (59) is the Newcomers 1987 winner with La notte dei pensieri, and already at his 12th festival but it's been nine years since he graced Teatro Ariston with his presence. Some of his Sanremo songs have become real evergreens despite their fate in the festival: Una rosa blu (1982 didn't make the final but many years later becomes a hit), Strade di Roma (11th in 1992) and most of all Cinque giorni, that was only 5th in 1994 but still sung in every karaoke.
Zarrillo is another Roman artist (like Moro, Turci, Giorgia....) and starts with music as teenager in rock bands as guitarist. In 1979 he takes part in Castrocaro festival for new talents and wins. However soon he puts his musical career on hold after a string of unsuccesful singles. But he's back in Sanremo 1987 and wins the Newcomers. Since then he has been around with more or less success until 2013 when he suffers a heart attack. Next year he makes a comeback to performing live.
He returns to Sanremo with Mani nelle mani (Hands in hands) and will release his 10th studio album Vivere e rinascere (To live and be born again )right after the festival, his first in six years.