The Untold Truth Of Maneskin

Måneskin is an Italian rock band made up of four members: lead singer Damiano David, bass player Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi, and drummer Ethan Torchio. Known for their classic rock and roll style, both in terms of music and aesthetic, the group participated in a few televised competitions, like Eurovision, that helped grow their audience. "Since that moment we were only basing our projects for Italy and on Italy and that was the chance to break out in Europe, then from Europe to the US, and we hope to grow more and more," David told CNN. Måneskin's popularity grew even more due to its hit song "Beggin'," which landed on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks in part to the song going viral on a popular social media app. Måneskin followed up this success with other hit songs like "I Wanna Be Your Slave" and "Supermodel."

Along the way to fame, Måneskin faced doubters and one controversial moment that could have derailed the group's career. It was nothing the rockers couldn't handle, as the band continues to delight fans with its signature extravagance. The quartet also has no intention of letting up on its impressive rise in the music industry. "We don't want to set any specific goals, but we just want to go on and see what happens and keep getting better and doing what we feel is right," De Angelis said to CNN.

Get ready to rock because this is the untold truth of Måneskin.

The Måneskin origin story

Måneskin first came together in Rome, they took whatever gigs they could. As Damiano David told NME, the group played on the streets of the city and small venues like bars or schools. "It got pretty serious in a very short amount of time," Victoria De Angelis said. "Even though we were very young and it was like a dream, we were always aiming for something bigger." she added. The future success of Måneskin makes photos of them busking on the streets of Rome in 2015 that much more charming. There were glimpses of the future superstars at the time, like guitarist Thomas Raggi kicking his leg in the air on the street, which he told GQ was his "iconic dance." The first song Måneskin wrote together was called "Introduction," the group revealed to NME. All the members agreed the song and concept was awful.

By 2017, the band entered "X Factor" in Italy. As David said in NME, "Basically, we were sick of carrying instruments and amplifiers on our f***ng shoulders. We saw an opportunity and we just jumped on the train." In 2018, Måneskin released its debut album called "Il Ballo della Vita," via Genius. The album, which translates to "the dance of life," was a huge success in Italy, going triple platinum. A few years later, Måneskin won the 2021 Sanremo Music Festival, which earned them a spot to represent Italy in the Eurovision competition, The Guardian recapped.

What does Måneskin mean?

All members of the Måneskin are Italian, and Damiano David, Victoria De Angelis, and Thomas Raggi are all friends from middle school. The three musicians then rounded out the still nameless group with drummer Ethan Torchio after he responded to a post on Facebook called "Musicians Wanted (Rome)," per The New York Times. As they told the outlet, the four began performing and signed up for competitions and, according to De Angelis, this is how the name Måneskin came to be. "We had to participate in a musical competition. We just had one hour to find a name and we couldn't come up with anything," she explained in a YouTube short. So, her bandmates suggested she start saying random words in Danish because De Angelis is half Danish. Everyone agreed on Måneskin but thought they would later change the name. Instead, the Danish word for moonlight stuck. 

With Måneskin fans from all over the world, it means that the quartet has heard a bunch of variations of how to pronounce its name. For example, David pronounced it the Italian way, which sounds a bit like "Maan-eh-skin." Raggi said another common pronunciation is "ma-nes-kin." Americans, according to David, often pronounce it "man-skan." De Angelis clarified the correct way to say the group name is "Moan-Ah-Skin." The band also doesn't appear to mind if fans don't exactly pronounce Måneskin correctly. "Yeah, everything is fine," De Angelis told CNN.

The one event that changed everything for Måneskin

Every year, musical acts from across Europe gather for the Eurovision Song Contest, a competition that aims to find the best original song. With many legendary pop acts like ABBA and Céline Dion taking home the prize in the past, some people felt Måneskin did not fit the contest's mold. "People were telling us it was impossible for us to win Eurovision," frontman Damiano David told Upset. Bassist Victoria Angelis added, "They were saying we'd never win playing this kind of music. They said no one wants to listen to rock music nowadays. Even on the last night, they were saying it's impossible." This put some extra pressure on the band members. "Before the show, I think that we were very stressed ... it's just one shot. So you have to give everything you got," David told the BBC.

The group competed in the 65th Eurovision, which took place in 2021 after the originally scheduled competition was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Måneskin won the grand prize for its song "Zitti e buoni," and became the first group since 2006 to win the competition, according to The Guardian. While speaking to a reporter after the win, the members of the band were visibly emotional. David said the band's victory was especially meaningful since "Zitti e buoni" was one of the first songs the group ever made together, nearly five years before performing it for Eurovision.

How Måneskin feels about the sudden success

Few could have expected how quickly Måneskin went from a virtually unknown Italian band to a worldwide sensation. "It's been great. It's like a dream come true," bassist Victoria De Angelis told Kerrang about the band's sudden fame. Of course, most bands aspire for such positive recognition, but to see it play out so quickly was unexpected. "It's something we've wanted for many years, and to see it happen in such a short amount of time is amazing. It's like we can't decide whether it's real or not. It's sometimes difficult to tell what's really going on," De Angelis added. She also said that despite the speed of the trajectory, she didn't feel fame changed any of the members. In fact, lead singer Damiano David said fame helped because, as he put it to CNN, "I'm less worried about things, actually. I guess I'm stable."

The quick rise of Måneskin also created opportunities that the members could only have dreamed of at a younger age. For example, the group performed at the popular Coachella festival in Southern California and have gotten chances to rub elbows with A-listers. As they shared with NME, they once had breakfast with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and actor Dakota Johnson. "Yeah, Dakota [Johnson] cooked eggs for us, Sean Penn was there. It was wild," David recalled.

All about Måneskin's frontman

Bands like the Rolling Stones, Queen, and Black Sabbath all have one thing in common: a larger-than-life frontman. Now, if you are familiar with his performance style, it should come as no surprise that Damiano David grew up idolizing rock and roll frontmen. "[T]hey just seemed more powerful. The connection with the crowd and the energy they inspire, it's different from anything else," David explained to Upset. In a video for NME, he shared that the first CD he bought was "Nine Lives" by Aerosmith, a band that's of course fronted by legendary rocker Steven Tyler

While some might assume David's main character energy on stage would translate into a wild personal life, his bandmates said the reality is much different. "Damiano barely drinks beer," Victoria De Angelis told The Guardian. Guitar player Thomas Raggi added, "he's such a sfigato, a dork: he goes to bed at 11pm with his chamomile tea." Still, David knows how to properly rock out on stage, which only made it more difficult when most live music came to a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. "The worst moment for me as a lyricist was lockdown because the only thing I saw was Netflix and my cats," David told Upset. "I wasn't really on fire; I was just f***ing bored and angry."

Since Måneskin's debut, David has amassed an impressive fortune. As of 2022, he was worth an estimated $4 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Måneskin wants fans to 'feel free to be themselves'

The members of Måneskin are proud of their successes, of course, but they are also proud of the positive impact they have had on their audience. "We've had so many of our fans telling us that we helped with their sexuality or coming out, or even just boys just saying, 'Thanks to you I now feel safe to wear make-up and nail polish,'" Damiano David told NME. "Something that can seem small can be very big to someone who might be afraid or insecure. Suddenly they have something to gain strength from," the lead singer added. Chantal Ciaffardini, who has been the group's MUA since 2021, told Vertigo Mag, "They all dare and like to experiment with makeup, especially for their live performances." 

The band is all about embracing identity. "I think it's very important for everyone to feel free to be themselves, with your body but also with your gender and sexuality," Victoria De Angelis told GQ. "You can just be yourself, both in music and in your own private life. Just be who you are," she said in Upset. And in a separate interview with NME, David celebrated Harry Styles, who once wore a Gucci gown on the cover of Vogue, for defying expectations placed upon a traditional male pop star. "It's literally what an artist should do: be true to yourself," he said.

A mini Eurovision controversy

On the night that Måneskin won the 2021 Eurovision competition, cameras caught lead singer Damiano David hunching over a table at one point. This brief moment sparked a whole boatload of speculation.

During a post-show press conference, one reporter said (via PinkNews), "I have to ask this because there was a sequence during the broadcast when you are seen in the background leaning over the table and seem to be snorting something. Online, people are suggesting that you are taking cocaine." David promptly refuted this rumor, explaining that he was merely reacting to a broken glass. The Måneskin account then took to Instagram Stories to deny any and all allegations of drug use and said the members were willing to be tested. The Eurovision Broadcasting Union confirmed there was broken glass, but conducted an investigation anyway. They found that Måneskin did not take any drugs during the finale, The Guardian reported.

Looking back on the moment, David told he told NME, "[I have] never done coke in my life and I don't think I ever will because my heart is too weak for that and I'm too f***ing stressed." Though it worked out well in the end, David joked that he could have instead not denied the allegations. He said, "Imagine if nobody knew if I did a line of blow in front of 80 million people or not. That would have been a f***ing legend!"

What Måneskin thinks about the haters

While millions of fans love Måneskin and love to rock out its songs, the band isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea. Though they are one of the biggest musical acts to come out of Italy in recent history, some people from their home country aren't exactly supportive. "Italy is split into two halves — one side is super-proud, and the other half f***ng hates us," singer Damiano David revealed to NME. Not that it affected the band too much. "It's good; I love it. That's my favorite part. Haters gonna hate," David added. Looking deeper into the disdain from these haters, David revealed that Måneskin first had full support from others.

As the band started to make more music and figure out its identity, it was met with some resistance. "Everything started well, and then all of a sudden, people started trying to stop us from doing what we thought was the best thing for us," David told the BBC. Fortunately, the group stayed true to its image and some of those detractors eventually came around.

That said, Måneskin continues to keep an eye on the fair weather fans who only began supporting the band after, say, Eurovision happened. "But you never said that before we were famous, so we don't trust you," drummer Ethan Torchio said to the BBC. "I think they're having tough nights because we made it. I think they have a lot of itches," David added about those same critics.

How Måneskin feels about life in Los Angeles

As Måneskin's recognition began to expand beyond its home country of Italy, the group spent considerable time living in Los Angeles and noticed several big differences with Europe. "What shocked us was there's a lot of people who only try to get something from others and they want to be at the top of the spots and under the spotlight but then you see that they're playing a character. It was strange for us," Damiano David told Billboard. According to the singer, these people were exactly what he expected before moving. Guitarist Thomas Raggi said he also found parts of Los Angeles to be similar to what he imagined from films and TV. "My favorite are restaurant owners. When they come to your table and they're like, 'yeah, yeah, have a nice meal.' I love them, they're my favorite," he told Forbes. David and drummer Ethan Torchio recalled one particularly memorable party where the host filled up a pool full of Jell-O. 

While these parties may look glamorous from the outside, especially with many fashionable attendees, David told NME he can't help but wonder how everyone in attendance actually feels when you pull back the curtain. He also noted that many of the country's harsh realities are glossed over. "[T]here's a lot of injustice, unfairness, homeless people and racist s***, he said. These observations inspired "Supermodel," a Måneskin song that features the help of the legendary Swedish producer Max Martin.

Inside the tour life for Måneskin

As true rock and roll stars, the members of Måneskin bring their energy to live performances across the world. "It's basically all we dreamt of in these past years while we were playing and doing music in Italy. So we're very happy about it," Victoria De Angelis told the BBC. With the group's rapid success, it also meant a grueling tour schedule, which brought them to over 30 different countries to perform. "How many nights did we sleep in our own beds? I don't know, I think maximum 10," De Angelis remembered. It was especially difficult for lead singer Damiano David, who admitted he is a homebody. Still, these live shows led to memorable moments like when the band opened for the Rolling Stones in Las Vegas.

"It's great to have had the opportunity to travel and to visit new cities that otherwise we wouldn't have had the chance to go to. It's also cool to have feedback from different people and different cultures and to interact with all those people. It's very inspiring and it's very cool," Damiano David told Kerrang. From a professional standpoint, the group also learned how to put on an epic rock show while staying true to themselves. The lead singer said this meant forgoing flashy production effects like pyrotechnics. "The main thing for us is interacting with the audience," he said.

Inside Måneskin's biggest song

Early in Måneskin's career, the group looked outside rock and roll for inspiration. "We were 16 at the time and we had no original songs, and we had to choose songs to cover," lead singer Damiano David told PopCrush. Måneskin particularly liked the song "Beggin'" by Madcon, which was a cover of the original by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. So, Måneskin began experimenting with their own version. "We all basically jammed on it, and what felt more natural and what we liked the most, we put in the song. It was very natural and childish," David explained. "[W]e think it's way more challenging and fun to make covers of very different songs," Victoria De Angelis told CNN. Though it took a few years to become a global success, Måneskin knew it had a special song when the group performed it on the Italian "X Factor" in 2017. "It was our first standing ovation," David told Billboard.

The song took off and stayed at the number one spot on Billboard's Alternative Airplay chart for 11 weeks. As of the summer of 2022, "Beggin'" surpassed more than a billion streams on Spotify, according to Vogue. Similar to how Måneskin made a unique spin on "Beggin'," the group hopes other performers will cover its songs. As David said in NME, "I think we will always do covers. It's one of the coolest things you can do."

Måneskin really is all about rock and roll

In the group's 2021 Eurovision acceptance speech, lead singer Damiano David said to the audience, "rock and roll never dies." The outfit is often referred to as glam rock, a style popular in the '80s. "I grew up on metal and glam rock," bassist Victoria De Angelis told the Los Angeles Times. Måneskin went against big odds because the sound of guitars isn't exactly common in their home country. "Italy has never had an idyllic relationship with rock music, it never became mainstream," Italian journalist Andrea Andrei said in The New York Times. Of the group's victory at the Sanremo Festival of Italian Song, Andrei noted, "Måneskin's win was unexpected, because they are a real rock band."

They are a real rock band that draws from those who paved the way before them while finding their own sound. As David once said (via Vogue), "Our band is a translation of music from the past into modernity." And though some curmudgeonly rock critics may opine that the genre is on life support, Måneskin feels this concern is for nought. "Nobody is 'keeping rock'n'roll alive,'" he told NME. "It's just impossible to kill." According to him, other musical artists like Machine Gun Kelly, Yungblud, and Willow are part of the wave of new musicians helping to shape the genre's latest chapter. "Music is just developing. Everything is colliding and mixing in a good way," he said. 

TikTok has been good to Måneskin

Most TikTok users will recognize Måneskin's version of "Beggin'" as the background music for many viral videos during 2021. The group was perhaps the most surprised about the song's success. "It's not even our fault because we didn't even promote it. It's TikTok's fault," Damiano David told CNN. "When we saw it growing, we were like, what is happening, and then we found out it was viral on TikTok." Victoria De Angelis told PopCrush that she was impressed by the way the app boosted the song, a la the radio once upon a time. The big difference, she noted, is that a TikTok hit can be more organic. "It's not the owner of the radio's decision. It's the people's decision," she said. "It's just cool and very democratic," David added about the social media app. De Angelis added that TikTok was a way for younger generations to discover older songs. For example, she cited the popularity of "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, which soundtracked Doggface's viral skateboarding TikTok.

Lisa Worde, an executive at iHeartMedia, was surprised at Måneskin's appeal to such a huge number of listeners on social media and then streaming services. "It's so unusual to have a rock band with streams of that magnitude. To have a song like 'Beggin' that gets launched on pop and rises in alt and rock, it's been a while since we've had that across formats," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Måneskin has a bold sense of fashion

More than making catchy songs, Måneskin has built a reputation for its bold fashion choices whether performing or attending events. For example, as Insider recapped, all the members wore matching mesh catsuits at the Sanremo Music Festival in 2021. After the group appeared on "The X Factor," Italian fashion brand Etro approached Måneskin and began to provide clothing for its music videos. When it came time to win the Eurovision finale, Måneskin wore tight, burgundy leather outfits from Etro, as noted by The New York Times. Måneskin also attracted even bigger names in fashion, particularly, Gucci. The group's debut as the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live," each member wore a Gucci outfit, Nylon reported. Sheer, silk, and leather clothing then became a common theme for the rockers. "We always loved to dress up while we were playing cause we always thought that your image is a way to spread your message too," Thomas Raggi told Forbes.

Perhaps the most shocking fashion statement to date? Måneskin's 2022 MTV Video Music Awards performance. After the award show, MTV released a clip of the band playing "Supermodel" and wrote, "Blessed to share @maneskinofficial's #VMAs performance in all their glory – the way we couldn't on TV." The video featured David shirtless in a revealing pair of leather chaps and one of Victoria De Angelis' breasts blurred out while the band rocked on stage.

Måneskin understands the power of the platform

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Måneskin took a stand and used their platform for good. Damiano David told NME, "What was happening in Europe really scared us. We have many Ukrainian friends and felt privileged to not be there and have to face that situation, but also we knew that we had a voice to give people the opportunity to think about things." The group participated in the Stand Up For Ukraine campaign along with other big artists like Bruce Springsteen by posting a video on social media. In the clip, they urged people to support Ukrainian refugees and to donate to the campaign. While some stars may shy away from speaking out about current world issues out of fear of alienating even one person, that is not Måneskin's style. As David told PopCrush, "Being unbiased is too old-fashioned." The invasion inspired the song to write the politically-charged song "Gasoline," a track that features lyrics like, "How are you sleeping at night? / How do you close both your eyes?/ Living with all of those lives / On your hands?"

While they may not consider themselves a political band, they're definitely a band that gets political. As Victoria De Angelis told CNN, "I think it comes naturally, so when we think we know enough about a topic, and we think our opinion can, like, make the difference or something we don't feel it like as a pressure or something." Rock on.