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Explaining Loredana Bertè to Gen Z

A female pillar of Italian music at Sanremo 2024

Explaining Loredana Bertè to Gen Z A female pillar of Italian music at Sanremo 2024

At Belve, Loredana Bertè gave her best, sharing her story unabashedly and without hesitation, and not holding back details about her relationship with Björn Borg. Just as she has always done and probably always will. An example? Her recent participation in Sanremo. The song was titled Pazza, and it went like this: "Okay, I'm crazy, so what? I'm crazy about myself and I want to shout it out again. I don't need anyone's forgiveness, I stand on my own and I'm crazy about myself, because I've hated myself enough. First they say you're crazy, and then they make you a saint. I walk in the jungle with pointed boots and I dance on vipers. My conscience doesn't hurt me, and I give myself a pat because I can't ask for it." She sang it in a powerful way, wearing a total Valentino look and her now iconic blue hair, greeted by the standing ovation of the Ariston Theater. She ranked first in an all-female podium after Tuesday's night (the one where only the votes of the Press Room counted) and it's not surprising.

Loredana Bertè at Sanremo, a Song That Packs a Punch

This song, brutally honest, is a sort of summary of Bertè's life and career, where rebellion has been her trademark even on that stage, clashing head-on with the wall of Italian public opinion, which has never handled determined and unconventional women well. Starting from the adjective crazy, which she decides to reclaim and which has been frequently used against any woman who steps out of line, to belittle her agency and message. As if that weren't enough, the singer of Sei bellissima also experienced firsthand the treatment reserved for her sister Mia Martini, whose career was severely damaged by a disgruntled man, Fausto Paddeu, who, after her refusal of a financial agreement, spread rumors that the artist brought bad luck and then suffered from the crazy rhythms to which she was subjected. In Pazza there's also this: a cry of anger, awareness, but also maturity and self-acceptance, touching all women and coming after a decades-long career, amidst highs and lows but always consistent. Let's take a quick look.

Beginnings, Career, and Love Life

Loredana Bertè's music career takes off in the Seventies, after a period as a dancer at the Piper Club in Rome. Her very first EP, titled Streaking and released in 1974, was immediately scandalous. The work was indeed censored by radio and television and removed from the market. In 1975 came Sei Bellissima, which Rai deemed too sexually explicit, resulting in two versions, one more innocent than the other. The incriminated verses were: "In bed he always told me I was worth just a bit more than nothing," which were changed to: "And then he always told me I was worth just a bit more than nothing." Lucky the song, very lucky the artistic partnership with Mario Lavezzi, author and producer. In just over 5 years, Loredana became a pillar of Italian music, so much so that she was voted best female voice in the Vota la voce contest organized by TV Sorrisi e Canzoni 5 times. Then the controversies at Sanremo, the tormented love story with tennis player Björn Borg, the return to Ariston in 1993, and the death of her sister Mia Martini in 1995. Bertè reinvents herself as a singer-songwriter, writes her songs, collaborates with Renato Zero, returns after each break more determined than before. Always changing, but always true to herself.

Loredana Bertè's Feminism is for Everyone

Loredana Bertè's Pazza is a universal song, which all women who have felt belittled - led around by the hypocrisy of men and patriarchy at work and in life, marked by their prejudices - can understand upon first listen. Loredana Bertè's feminism is like this, and has been throughout her career. Free from ideological and instrumentalizing drives, free from superficial discussions on social media and from flags, because filtered through her life and her view of things. A feminism that perhaps has never been called feminism, but that has never forgotten anyone. Like for example that Sanremo from her past where she took to the stage with Re (a song written for her by the Mango brothers) and a fake baby bump, to tell everyone that moms were incredibly strong. In short, an example for all artists, both new and seasoned, who took on the label of sexy and transgressive singer that had been pinned on her since her very first EP and turned it around and wielded it like a weapon, using it to annoy the self-righteous, and not to be the sexy doll of men.