Italian Song Challenge Day 26: Gianna Nannini

Gianna Nannini grew up in the Tuscan town of Siena. She spent her childhood learning music, she studied piano at the Conservatorium at Lucca and worked in the family business as a pastry chef.

At the age of 18, Nannini participated in a music festival at Montecarlo, coming in fourth place. The following year she decided to move to Milan to pursue a career as a musician.


Nannini performed regularly around Italy and Europe and discovered a love for the blues and Italian folk music. She began to write songs and became the lead singer of a feminist band called Flora Fauna Cemento with moderate success. After the band broke up, she recorded her experimental first album in 1979 as a singer-songwriter.


After several successful singles including America, Viene Ragazzo (Come here boy) and Latin Lover her popularity grew. Her second album sold 250.000 copies, especially in Germany.


Gianna Nannini is tirelessly touring throughout Europe and releasing regular albums she became a regular in the major festival lineups. In 1986 her sons Bello e impossibili (Handsome and impossible) was a European hit. Her 1987 compilation Maschi e Altri (Males and others) sold over a million copies.


In 2004 she released her greatest hits album Perle where a number of her most famous songs were arranged by classical musicians. Nannini then toured Europe with her small orchestra for a year.


When her album, Grazie (Thank you) was released in 2006, and the single Sei nell’anima (You are in the soul) peaked at number one in the Italian hit parade.

Other songs from her wildly successful album including Sei nell’anima (You are in the soul) and Aria (Air) were used in a popular ad campaign for Fiat.


Gianna Nannini has been around the Italian music scene since the mid 1970’s and her rough, emotive and passionate performance style has made her famous.

Her musical form includes quirky love songs, typical 1980’s pop and powerful ballads. Her voice isn’t considered typically beautiful, but she has always been unapologetically unique.


Nannini is an influential activist for women’s causes. She is considered to be an icon for the Italian LGBT movement as she was the first openly gay singer-songwriter to become widely popular in Italy.

She came under fire and criticism when she decided to have a child at the age of 56.

But her music is still always well received. Her songs are considered to be some of the best of the Italian pop genre.


Sei nell’anima (you are in the soul) is a beautiful but sad love song about the end of a meaningful relationship. It reflects the beauty of any relationship and how human connections can become a part of our own identity and experience.

Nannini is respectful of the pain of a break up while also acknowledging its importance.

She shows how an intimate connection with another person is precious.

A particular person in our lives literally becomes a part of the soul. The memory of a relationship remains with us for our whole lives.

4 thoughts on “Italian Song Challenge Day 26: Gianna Nannini

  1. Ciao! Just a small thing I wanted to point out (I hope you don’t mind): the title is “Sei nell’anima”. Anima is feminine so you have to use the preposizione articolata “nella” and cut the “a” at the end with an apostrofo. Annoying grammar I know, but it might be useful to know 😉
    Great pick ❤ Sara

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