Laura Pausini
Latin

Laura Pausini on Giving Voice to 'Icon' Sophia Loren & Winning the Golden Globe

Laura Pausini is one of Italy’s biggest music stars, and a global sensation who also performs and records in Spanish -- where she enjoys equal success as a Latin superstar -- and in English.

But around March of last year, she was in a funk. The pandemic had hit Italy particularly hard, affecting everyone around her, and Pausini’s plans to record a new album were suddenly in limbo.

“I was feeling scared and down, like I’m sure most of us felt,” Pausini told Billboard. Then, she got a call from film director Edoardo Ponti and songwriter Diane Warren, who had written the theme song for Ponti’s film The Life Ahead, starring his mother, Sophia Loren.

“I heard the song in English [titled 'Seen'] and immediately felt a very strong connection,” says Pausini, who is fluent in English. Pausini got together with Niccolò Agliardi and wrote the Italian translation of the song, “Io Si,” for the film.

On Sunday, Warren, along with Pausini and Agliardi, won the Golden Globe for best original song for "Io Sì (Seen)," adding to a lineup of hardware that also includes four Latin Grammys.

Which begins to explain why Pausini wasn't content with only recording this song in Italian.

“I decided to also do it in four other languages, because I wanted everyone to understand the meaning behind 'Io Si.' It was very important to me,” she says. She translated the lyrics to Portuguese and Spanish, and also recorded those versions, in addition to a version in French.

“I felt I came back to life. It felt right to do it because the message behind the song was so uplifting and necessary,” says Pausini of the track, whose opening line says: “When you feel like you’re invisible and no one sees you at all, I want you to know that you’re seen.”

Also key in her decision to record “Io Si” was the fact that it would be the original song for an Italian film starring Sophia Loren.

“Everything I do, it’s for my country,” says Pausini. And Loren “is an icon, a true inspiration. She’s and example of how to be, how to use our voice for good,” says Pausini of the 86-year-old star. “She’s a hard worker -- I mean, she's still doing movies! Her work ethic is impeccable and she is an amazing human being. I not only admire her, I love her. All my life I saw her as the biggest star and to have been able to give voice to her character in the movie and for her to appear in my music video is one of the highlights of my life.”

Picking up an award as a songwriter is also a further feather in Pausini’s cap, although she has long written her own material.

“I don’t know why, but us women need to really fight hard to be where we deserve to be,” Pausini  says wryly, when asked why there are still so few female songwriters in many genres, including Latin. “I see a bit of change; But we need to continue working hard, there is no other way. I mean, who knew I would be nominated and much less win it? I’m honored and proud to be an Italian girl that is still going places after 28 years.”