Nina Zilli

Nina Zilli Nina Zilli

A cursory listening to the works of Maria Chiara Fraschetta defies any simple explanation or categorical classification. Maria grew up listening to a multitude of artistic styles and decided to dedicate herself to the study of piano, guitar and voice theory. Her early personal compositions contained elements of soul, rhythm-n-blues, reggae, rock-steady and the classic Italian pop-rock beats of artists such as Adriano Celentano, Mina and Caterina Valente. Her brief but impressive song catalog reflects her inter-continental upbringing in multiple countries.

She was born in the city of Piacenza in the region of Emilia-Romagna on February 2, 1980 and soon thereafter her family moved to the nearby city of Gossolengo. Her family relocated to Ireland briefly during her early adolescent years and she soon mastered the English language. She continued to compose and perform during her formative years and even resided briefly in the United States, spending time in both New York and Chicago.

Upon her return to Italy, she formed her first musical group named "The Jerks" in 1997 and later "Chiara & Gliscuri" in 2000. She signed her first recording contact with the Columbia Records division of Sony Music in 2001 and released in May of that year, her first single "Tutti al mare." In addition, she spent time as a video jockey on MTV Italia, as hostess of several television entertainment variety shows, and touring as a supporting vocalist with other upcoming rock-steady and reggae artists.

In spite of this early public exposure and success, her passion for composing and performing could not be quenched. Opportunity finally came knocking in 2009 as she adopted the stage name of "Nina Zilli," which was a combination of her favorite female vocalist Nina Simone and her mother's maiden name. Nina signed her next major recording contract with Universal Music Italy and released her breakout single, a duet performed with Giuliano Palma entitled "50mila," which was included in her first album, an extended play recording entitled, "Nina Zilli" (2009). The album also yielded the hit singles "L'inferno" and a remake of the Supremes 1966 Motown hit "You Can't Hurry Love," now christened with Italian lyrics as "L'amore verrà."

The release featured a distinctive soul and rhythm-n-blues feel and paved the way for her inaugural appearance at the prestigious 2010 Sanremo Music Festival. Her entry, "L'uomo che amava le donne" finished in third place in the "Nuova Generazione" (New Generation) category and earned the distinguished Mia Martini "Premio della Critica" (Critic's Choice Award). The single would earn other accolades throughout the year, including gold certification status as it exceeded over 15,000 digital downloads. Her debut album was re-packaged and re-released with the name "Sempre lontano" and included this hit single along with three other new songs. The recording achieved platinum status selling over 60,000 copies. It became one of the best-selling albums of the year, received substantial radio airtime and remained on the charts for months.

Nina immediately went out on tour in support of her release and displayed an instinctive and effortless connection with her audiences as she orchestrated a classy and emotive stage show. She was also recognized by the Wind Music Awards as the "Migliora Nuova Artista" (Best New Artist) in Verona later that year. Her good fortunes continued as she returned to the Ariston Stage at the 2011 Sanremo Music Festival and accompanied the group "La Crus" on their hit entry "Io confesso."

Nina was acknowledged by the TRL Music Video Awards committee in 2011 for her music and presentation styling in the "Best Look" and "Italians Do It Better" categories. She also guest hosted the weekly "Stay Soul" radio program on Radio 2 during the summer of 2011, before returning to the studio to begin work on her second recording. She began the New Year by making another appearance at the 2012 Sanremo Music Festival as she presented her composition "Per sempre." The song fared well and went on to sell over 30,000 digital downloads and it would make its way onto her second release "L'amore é femmina" (2012).

The recording featured Nina having a hand in composing nearly all the tracks and included contributions by Carmen Consoli, Pacifico, Diego Mancino and Roberto Casolino. The quality of the album is evidenced by the fact that it would yield six singles, remain on the charts for an extended period and was eventually certified gold by FIMI (Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana). She immediately began a lengthy European tour and was chosen to represent Italy in the 2012 EuroVision Song Competition which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

In 2013, Nina began experimenting with new sonorities as she embarked on a Jazz-styled mini-tour along with legendary Italian jazz trumpeter Fabrizio Bosso as they paid homage to Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone, two of her personal favorites in that genre of music. Plans are underway for the preparation of her third full-length album with a release date tentatively scheduled in 2014. For more information you can visit her website at

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