If you’ve been alive for the last five or so months, you might’ve heard of Måneskin. The insanely popular, rabidly beloved Italian rock band skyrocketed to international stardom earlier this year after winning the 2021 Eurovision competition with their song “Zitti E Buoni.”
On Wednesday, the four-piece group — made up of lead singer Damiano David, bassist Victoria de Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi, and drummer Ethan Torchio — finally made their stateside TV debut with a bedazzling and raucous performance of their cover of the song “Beggin” on Fallon. With more of the U.S. finally tuning into the rock quartet, we here at NYLON thought it would be helpful to come up with a comprehensive guide for everything one could possibly want to know about Måneskin, the hottest group of the moment, including how the band got together, their previous X Factor run, and, most importantly, which of their songs you should be listening to first.
Måneskin spent their early days busking in Rome
Lead singer Damiano David, bassist Victoria de Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi, and drummer Ethan Torchio formed the band in 2015 in Rome, and spent their earliest years busking in the streets and restaurants of the city.
Knowing each other from middle school and playing in bands together before, David and de Angelis recruited Raggi, another mutual middle school friend, into the band in 2015, and the three later found Torchio through an ad on Facebook called “Musician Wanted (Rome),” per the New York Times.
They entered into their first local music competition, Pulse, in 2016, and won — the moment becoming a major turning point for the group (and promising omen for what was to come). At the same time, the members landed on the name for the band, Måneskin, Danish for “moonlight,” at the suggestion of de Angelis who is half Danish. According to Italian press, the group also wrote and released their first song, “Chosen,” for the finale of the competition.
They were runner-ups in Italy’s 2017 X Factor competition
With the Pulse win in their pocket, more trips abroad, and a renewed focus on their music, Måneskin auditioned for and competed in the 2017 edition of X Factor Italia. They quickly became a fan favorite on the show, with Italian press describing the phenomenon as an affliction affecting everyone from young people to mothers with children their age. The public couldn’t get enough of their youthful energy, sex-forward and androgynous style, and ripping rock attitude on stage, and fan clubs dedicated to the group quickly sprung up on the internet, according to the Times.
Although they didn’t win X-Factor — Måneskin placed second after winner Italian singer Lorenzo Licitra — the group left the competition with other kinds of trophies; their cover of the Four Seasons’ song “Beggin,” which they performed on X Factor Italia, took off on the Italian music charts. They also formed a relationship with the Italian fashion house, Etro, who began dressing the band for photo shoots and album covers — and, later, for their Eurovision performances.
“What I love is the way that they mix clothes for women and men,” Etro told the Times. “There is something very revolutionary about them, the way they don’t have any fear and they have fun with clothes.”
Måneskin was a shoo-in to win Eurovision 2021
After their X Factor stint, Måneskin spent a few years releasing new music and albums, including their first full-length Il Ballo Della Vita in 2019, and embarking on their first European tour from 2018-19.
In March 2021, they competed in Italy’s national Sanremo Festival for Italian Song and to many people’s surprise, won, beating Italian stars and runner-ups Francesca Michielin and rapper Fedez; it was an unexpected victory for the group according to Italian commentators, as rock music has never been a mainstream genre in the country. But their win at Sanremo, which also functioned as Italy’s selection process for Eurovision, propelled them to the international stage as they represented their home country at Eurovision with their song “Zitti E Buoni,” or “Shut Up & Behave.”
The track, a prowling and explosive rock anthem, along with their undeniable stage presence made Måneskin an immediate favorite to win — and they eventually did, receiving a total of 524 voting points, becoming the third Italian act to win the competition ever, and the first to claim the prize since 1990. It was huge moment for Italy and as equally monumental for rock and roll as well. As Måneskin accepted their Eurovision trophy, lead singer David yelled into the mic: “We just want to say to the whole of Europe, to the whole world, rock and roll never dies!”
So why do people love Måneskin?
Well: they’re hot. Just kidding — but also not really; after all, everyone in the band is so dang good-looking, and their physical appearance is, for better or worse, a huge selling point in the band. As one YouTube commenter remarked on the music video for their newest song “Mammamia”: “This is literally the most attractive band to ever exist change my mind.”
That aside — there are nuances to their hotness that merits further investigation, especially regarding their unapologetically flamboyant and androgynous-leaning style as it intersects with modern day ideas of gender fluidity and presentation. As a band, and in their music, Måneskin plays into a revival of the glam, sleazy, rockstar persona that dominated the ‘70s and ‘80s, but in a way that feels more updated politically, and not actually sleazy. Their music video “MAMMAMIA” includes couples of all races, genders and sexualities, making out with each other to their unrelenting rock at a crowded house party — because everyone deserves a safe space to be a freak!
Finally, the music is actually good, with incisive songwriting that has the potential to become chantable mantras for anyone feeling like an outsider misfit. “We’re out of our minds but different from them,” goes one of the standout lines on their hit “Zitti E Buoni.” Pair that with some smoked-out eyeliner and bedazzled, black punk-rock outfits, and you’ve got the hot Italian rock band 2021 deserves.
Where should I start listening?
“Beggin,” the band’s 2017 cover that went viral on TikTok after their Eurovision win, is an obvious starting place. After that, we recommend diving into their own impressive catalog starting with “Zitti e Buoni,” or “Shut Up And Behave,” their winning song from Eurovision 2021.