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Dada': "I did not need to conquer Neapolitan culture, for it is she who inhabits me, having conquered me"

From the X Factor stage to the summer tour: "Dada', the artist who is redefining the music scene in Naples

Dada': I did not need to conquer Neapolitan culture, for it is she who inhabits me, having conquered me From the X Factor stage to the summer tour: Dada', the artist who is redefining the music scene in Naples

Dada' may sound like the name of a cartoon character, almost fairytale-like, but it is the name of the artist who is revolutionising the music scene in Naples. We had the opportunity to interview her so that she could tell us a little about herself, her art and her connection to the city. "As a child, I loved to create, whether it was schoolwork or homework. Painting was my passion, I could feel my heart beating like crazy. I had the same feeling when I listened to music, which made me want to learn an instrument. At first I was offered the drums, but because of the noise, I finally decided in favour of the keyboard. However, I wasn't completely satisfied until the guitar made a strong impression on me. I started studying classical music but felt constricted in an academic environment, so I broke all the rules to progress aesthetically as well." "'This' is Dada's world, his music, his home. A magical forest of tigers, keyboards, talking books and totem lamps. And Dada' was kind enough to lead us into this universe, his universe.

Gaia Eleonora Cipollaro, known under the pseudonym Dada', was born in Naples in 1995. I was always a child, a girl who had to find her shape to fit into society. I realised early on that I didn't have a powerful voice like Celine Dion, but I have a special timbre, a present heart and a great desire to tell stories. I always knew that I wanted to create my own lens through which to view the world, and that the ones I was sometimes offered made me suffer greatly; and so I've always worked internally and externally to not deny myself any opportunity to have my own place and shape among things. I unconsciously propose the same principle of unique creation in friendships, in art and therefore also in music: For me, it cannot be that there is only one form to say one thing, or only one guise in which that song can have life. If I can't manage to sing to an original Adele base at karaoke, I catapult it onto the guitar in my own way and knead the emotions of the song with my voice."

After her debut on the music scene in 2021 with the trilogy of singles 'Jesche', 'Siènte 'e rrise' and 'Avena', all produced by Big Fish, she released the track 'Gianna Oh' in collaboration with producer Dashiki in the summer of the same year. "Yes, you could say I came into the light in a big way with this trilogy after spending many years between different genres of music and the grind; I started producing with the computer and therefore put the guitar aside for a moment. Before Covid, and probably during the social "emptying" of the lockdown, I let myself be inspired by this dubious opportunity of standstill and pauses and outlined a first, completely unexpected step towards my own identity compared to my previous career."

Dada': I did not need to conquer Neapolitan culture, for it is she who inhabits me, having conquered me From the X Factor stage to the summer tour: Dada', the artist who is redefining the music scene in Naples | Image 476785

Dada': I did not need to conquer Neapolitan culture, for it is she who inhabits me, having conquered me From the X Factor stage to the summer tour: Dada', the artist who is redefining the music scene in Naples | Image 476808

2022 began with the release of the singles 'Cavala', produced by Big Fish and the Retrohandz, and 'Tiè Tiè', produced by the Retrohandz. In July she released the track 'Aumm Aumm' with the Ackeejuice Rockers and a few weeks later she performed at Jova Beach 2022 in Castel Volturno. She took part in the 2022 edition of X Factor, becoming part of the Fedez team and immediately impressing the jury and viewers thanks to her natural ability to fuse Neapolitan singer-songwriting with electronic music, creating a musical genre described by many as innovative and influenced by world music, enriched by numerous sound contaminations. Shortly after leaving the talent show, he released the song 'Mammamà', an elegant, mischievous and light-hearted joke that invites you to feel the overwhelming rhythm of lightness. This is followed by 'The Macaroni Legend', which will be released in May 2023.

"At first I felt unprepared to deal with growing up, especially when it happened in front of a lot of people. I learnt to deal with myself and my artistic expressions in front of everyone. I avoided excessive rehearsals to learn how to be authentic in public. This experience made me realise the challenges of this profession, including the mental and physical ones. The tour was more challenging than expected, but it was a wonderful experience that I cherish. I have to admit that I miss it. I miss it because during these experiences I can spontaneously connect with a part of myself that is hard to reach in other circumstances. In solitude, I can fill my house with animals and plants to my heart's content, but interacting with others, existing with others and meeting different people on every date always makes a difference and makes you discover who you really are."

Belonging to Neapolitan culture has always been the subject of analysis, criticism and debate - and never more so than this year. Everyone is asking themselves what it means to be Neapolitan and what elements form the bond of this community. Dada' provides an answer and shows how the city, with its rich history and traditions, has overcome social and ethnic challenges. Although it has sometimes been overshadowed and challenged, Naples has continued on its path uninterrupted. "I was born in the navel of Naples - the historical centre - which lives from underground and open influences that are really crazy, and my output (if we want to speak of sound) is this: I like Monteverdi, and while listening to him I ask my mother what there is to eat, or I have to interrupt to lower the basket from the balcony; even in my movements, while I exist, I realise that I am constantly synthesising things, and my artistic world could not help but be influenced by it."

Dada' won the San Gennaro World 2023 Award with his signature on the official title track 'San Gennaro Groove'. The innovative track, created from an ingenious mash-up inspired by the Parenti di San Gennaro, has been available on all digital platforms since 27 October. The request from Gianni Simioli, the artistic director of the award, prompted Dada' to create a unique work for the 11th edition of the festival. "Gianni has welcomed me on the radio several times and has always been affectionate and surprised by my artistic world; last time we jokingly expressed the same provocation: to make a song that samples the lamentation of the relatives of San Gennaro." He continues: 'Today, San Gennaro represents for me a return to my roots, after a period in which I moved away from Naples and my homeland, as often happens at a young age, in order to grow and differentiate myself. The call of home and the call of San Gennaro were both intense and were given to me by my grandmother in the form of a figurine that I always carried with me from then on. This image has multiplied over time, to the point that my computer is adorned with small representations of San Gennaro during my performances. For me, this 'army' of San Gennaro symbolises homecoming, a friend and an earthly spirituality that is easily accessible."

But that's not all: Dada' also took part in the documentary film 'J'Adore Napoli - Lost in NYC'. The award, the new single and all current projects crown a year full of triumphs, with a summer tour that enchanted Italy and emphasised Dada''s elegance, personality and unmistakable style. "I have always listened to and demanded international, sophisticated and complex music. All this happened while I was living in Naples, eating ragù and maybe listening to my father Carosone in the background on Sundays. During curfew, I spent my time playing without thinking of any serious or professional purpose. This is how this project, which I am now sharing with you, was born, also to my amazement. The balance between roots and wings for the contemporary is part of my physiological characteristics, a sum of social and emotional genetic concomitants... it's natural in me. it is natural in me."

The central theme of all these artistic works is duality, which Dada' extremises and crumbles to make everything plural, ambiguous, rich, different and fluid. This duality is explored, alive and present in the album 'Mammarella', the record project with which he toured Italy throughout the summer and with which he has continued to leave the traces of his unmistakable musical style. "I'm still in the process of discovering many facets of myself. Growing up, I realised that each of us is made up of many parts. Perhaps the key lies in awareness and the ability to accept, welcome and integrate these different dimensions. I realised that I am diverse not only in my daily experiences, but also in my feelings and music. Perhaps the real preparation lies in not being afraid, for only when you overcome fear can you fully embrace your identity. Even on stage, exhibiting and sharing this richness becomes an enjoyable game. What I used to see as a risky environment, I now see as a fun pastime, and I enjoy seeing the amused and surprised looks on the audience's faces."

Dada' stands for a music that skilfully balances the old and the new, that interweaves his personal and artistic life and makes the viewer pause at the threshold of his memories, his temperament, his music and his Naples. He becomes a guide on a journey through several stories. But how do you achieve all this? "By asking yourself without fear, but with courage: "Who am I and who do I want to be?". Making a sincere connection between these two things and, with dedicated work, building a solid personal path, a vision, beyond trends and social and discographic boxes. And to move when you feel ready, when your hands are always shaking but your heart has learnt to stand still under existential earthquakes: I'd like to say that I didn't emerge from the waters of my dreams like Venus Napulegna, but that I did painful and exhausting existential somersaults in front of it all and then decided with clarity what I wanted to do with it all. Very satisfying."