Sardinian-Egyptian, born and raised in Milan.
The 26-year-old Milan singer Alessandro Mahmoud, performing under his stage name Mahmood, has won the top prize at the 69th edition of Italy’s best-loved song festival, Sanremo 2019, with his song Soldi.
The prestigious success means he will represent Italy in this year’s Eurovision song contest, to be held in Israel in May.
Although coming in only at third place in the phone-in voting by TV viewers, his Sanremo win was secured by the vote by the media jury, which carries a 30 per cent weighting, and the experts jury, weighted at 20 per cent.
Born and raised in Milan, Mahmood told media he feels totally milanese despite being the son of an Egyptian father and a Sardinian mother. At home in the southern suburb of Gratosoglio, he says, he speaks Sardinian dialect with his family.
Mahmood is no newcomer to the music scene: he has been playing guitar and piano and singing since he was 12, and has already chalked up prizes at Sanremo Giovani in 2018 and the TV series X-Factor in 2012, as well as a Sanremo runner-up position in 2016.
Milan mayor Beppe Sala immediately tweeted (in Italian), “Bravo Mahmood_Music! With you Gratosoglio, Milan and Italy have won. I’m expecting you in [city hall] Palazzo Marino to congratulate you in person.”