Il mio new singolo mezzanine è fuori ovunque” (“My new single mezzanine It is already present on all platforms”). This is the cover letter from Ana Mena (Estepona, 25 years old) on her social networks. The biography that crowns all her profiles – on Instagram alone she has more than a million followers – is in Italian, although there is no biological root that connects it to this language. But sometimes it’s not so much where you were born as where you feel at home, as she herself confessed to EL PAÍS this Friday from the heights of the Hotel Emperador, located in the heart of Madrid’s Gran Vía.
The music of the singer from Malaga has penetrated deep into the Mediterranean country. So much so, that her fame helped her rise to the San Remo Festival, held last February, and chose to be Italy’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest, which Ukraine won this year. And while she didn’t make it – she was ranked 24th out of 25 applicants – the experience meant a lot to her. “At my house we always had a tradition of seeing the festival. To be able to present my first single It was a challenge there alone,” she explains.
After several years, the charts break with it One step away from the moon (2020) and light music (2021), now welcomes the summer season with his new single, 12 hours. A collaboration with Mexican artist Belinda, coming after releasing her version in Italian, mezzaninewhich surpassed a million streams on Spotify on the day of its release thanks to its fans on both sides of the Mediterranean (just over 51% of the streams came from Spain, while the remaining 49% came from Italy).
Questions. Who do you call when it’s twelve o’clock?
Answer. To the people I can’t call in the morning (laughs).
P How was this new theme received?
R It was very good. I didn’t expect the song, all in Italian, to be so well received in Spain. Mainly because the original theme was created in Spanish and then we versioned it in Italian.
P And how was working with Belinda?
R I really wanted to work with Beli. And in general I really want to work with more girls, but I need songs that go with that. In this case, 12 hours fully awarded. We wrote it last year, like October, along with the producers of Slow and other parts. And that’s where we had it stored. I always felt it was a song that was going to be released just before summer, so the collaboration came at the perfect time.
P Where does this affinity for Italy come from? Although he already speaks perfect Italian, he doesn’t have any roots in this country, does he?
R No, no, what’s the matter? I’ve been listening to Italian songs since I was a child thanks to my father, who generally played a lot of music to me. There has never been prejudice in my house when it comes to listening to music. Although flamenco has always been dominant. My mother was a cantaora and it’s in my blood.
P Why did you take the plunge into singing in Italian?
R It all started by accident, as a result of a collaboration five years ago, for a song with Fred de Palma [un rapero italiano]. At that time I wasn’t very well known and neither was he, we were both still at the beginning. Neither of us had any idea what was about to happen. That was cool. The song got where it went thanks to the people doing an organic job through word of mouth. That’s how you know you really like something. We never had a guarantee that the song would be a fluke, but thankfully, being in Italy now makes me feel like my second home.
P And that catapulted them to the San Remo Festival. How was the experience? Even if it didn’t work out in the end…
R What didn’t come out?
P Become a Eurovision representative for Italy.
R I did not want that. Nerd. I didn’t want to go to the festival. It may be understood here as if it were a Benidorm Fest, but that has never been a Eurovision pre-selection, although now the winner has a chance to go. I never intended to leave. In fact, when they ask me if I want to go to the Benidorm Fest… that’s not in my plans at the moment. Maybe another time, but I want to focus on my album. I really liked San Remo because there was always a tradition in my house to see it. It was my first time doing interviews in Italian on my own and having real colloquial conversations, so that was a nice challenge. Also that they let me participate as a foreign artist… I didn’t expect that.
P As you said, you want to focus on your album. But she is also an actress, takes part in the Netflix series welcome to eden.
R However, music has always been my first calling. I see myself making music my whole life. It also serves as therapy for me, if something happens to me or I have a problem, I let everything go in the studio.
P Have you ever been mentally overwhelmed?
R Of course. What makes me touch the earth is going back to my house. Aside from being sick, I had to leave a few weeks ago because I haven’t had two days off since January. I needed to breathe, see my family, rest and sleep. This is my way of healing myself from both professional and personal problems. Coming back to my house and being with my family is what stabilizes me the most.
P Was it also at home where you discovered that music is yours?
R I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was seven years old. I was a girl but that’s how I had fun. As a child I was very folkloric. Even as an actor, I was never afraid of the camera. He was like an old man. I was 50 years old in the body of an 8 year old girl and I admit that I was playing very strange things at that age.
P An example?
R I didn’t have fun with any toys or dolls. I liked going to the field. I could spend hours watching the animals. Another thing I remember is driving on A TV at around 10 years old. Every weekend I drove in front of my brother who was about three years old and I wanted to drift. do you believe yourself Skid down to the field, stuff myself with mud and get good. She also played marksmanship, she was crazy about slingshots and shotguns. I lined up a row of cans and I had fun creating obstacles or placing them farther and farther away.
P And was he good at it?
R what are you shooting Not now, I don’t see three on a donkey. At that time I was also very fond of drawing.
P Now how do you have fun when you disconnect?
R Drawing is still with me. I also really like cycling and the countryside. In fact, I work a lot with my father in a tomato garden that we have. They’re not very big, but they have spectacular flavor. Yesterday I made myself a good salad from my garden. And among other hobbies I want to learn to surf this summer.