Five Minutes With Jovanotti

It was like an epiphany; I was so attracted to music, style, art and graffiti. I had discovered that somebody was finally talking my language, especially when I started listening to the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash, and Public Enemy.
It's what happens when you're really young; you want to feel different and be part of the new wave. Music helps you do that. It becomes so much more than just music—it helps to create your identity.People say that bringing rap to the United States is like selling ice to the eskimos. What's your spin?
[Laughing] Yes, it's like that. But I hope that if you make good enough ice cream, the eskimos will still be interested. I don't believe that my music can become popular in the United States. What I hope is to find a way to play music in this country, because there are so many people here that are passionate about music. 

You've performed at stateside music festivals like Bonnaroo, Summer Stage and Outside Lands. When you're on stage, do you feel a different energy from Americans than the Italians?
Yes. [The Americans] look at me like some sort of exotic animal, so I try to be the best exotic animal I can.

Which exotic animal?

Like an Italian giraffe. But, even if you don't understand the meaning of the language, the Italian sound is very recognizable. If you don't understand the context, the energy is understood. For example, the first 30 years of my life I didn't understand a word of the American music I was listening to. When I was loving hip-hop, I was loving it without understanding anything. It's not the most important thing to understand the words.

What do you think is the most important thing?
Perhaps it's the form, or the energy. I think the most important thing is a mystery.