The most unlikely trio of the summer. Steps for Fedez and Achille Lauro, ma Orietta Berti she looks like she’s in the doorway with her backcombed hair amidst all those tattoos. Yet it is a success. Mille is at the top of the charts of the best-selling singles for two consecutive weeks; the video stands out among the most viewed in Italy on YouTube: “I would never have thought one day of being the most viewed on YouTube – laughs Orietta Berti -, but not even Fedez and Achille expected this song to have such a great impact on generations like this different. I told Fedez: they had taken a twenty year old to sing with them it was normal, but with me it has a completely different effect, it has another flavor. Even the trio, compared to the duet, was a more original choice. Once you saw physical records, now they are sold in another form, but oh … that’s okay ».
Ever thought about getting a tattoo?
«I don’t like them on me, the only exception is the tattooed eyebrows so when I put on makeup I don’t have to sit there and darken them. I save 10 minutes of make-up: usually in 25 minutes I get back to work, it is a good time saver ».
You wouldn’t think so, but you have the same designer in common with Achille Lauro …
«We have known each other for a long time, we have always met behind the scenes of TV broadcasts, him and his Roman irony. He dresses romantic, with puffed sleeves, high cuffs, bows at the neck. She also puts on transparent overalls, but I’m a lady and I never could. If Achille put on my clothes it would be truly original … ».
Well, it seems enough … In the song Coca Cola is mentioned and shown, did they pay you?
«I don’t know, Fedez did everything. But I know that there is a “red coca cola” lipstick that I had to wear but it didn’t fit on me, in the end I preferred fuchsia “.
«You solved a big problem and that’s okay / But then I have a thousand left». What were your “thousand problems”?
“When I was young I missed my father who was 18 in an accident, I, my mother and grandmother met, they were not golden times. I wanted to be a singer but there were no means of today. It’s not as easy as now when you put a song on the net and thousands of people listen to it. They were the problems of the economy, of the future, of the profession ».
What about today’s problems?
“Health. My husband and I have had Covid, we have been very sick. The thought is who goes away first: me or Osvaldo? This is the fixed thought that comes at a certain age ».
She is a believer.
«Having faith is the most beautiful gift, I have had people who left me as a young man: without God you fall into despair, with God you have a pillar you can lean on. If someone has faith he solves half of his problems ».
She was born 78 years ago in Cavriago (Reggio Emilia), in her village there is a bust of Lenin, her mother was an iron communist. His father, on the other hand, was very religious, devoted to San Giovanni.
«With my dad I went to all the processions. It was a missed tenor. He had been abandoned by his father and so he had to roll up his sleeves and get to work. And he poured out his desire on me, he wanted me to become a soprano, but I couldn’t do it because when he died I too had to help around the house “.
The turning point in your career?
«My greatest fortune has been to meet a record company like Giorgio Calabrese. As a provincial girl without financial and communication means (to make the phone calls I had to go to the village bar) she made me a popular singer. I owe my success to him. And to the public. It wasn’t easy. There was this thought that being a singer was neither a dignified nor a prestigious job, while now the situations have turned upside down, the profession is much more considered. Even if this job is a continuous examination, you never arrived, you always start over ”.
The singing teacher said that she, “Cavriago’s nightingale”, was out of tune …
“I was like my dad, so shy that my voice didn’t come out.”
Today everything is easier, there is also the autotune for those who are more dog than nightingale …
«Once there were many authors who were very good at writing, but not at singing and they couldn’t be songwriters. Now anyone can do it ».
Is it all fake?
“It’s like a woman who fixes her nose, cheekbones, takes off her double chin, adjusts her slightly heavy eyelid: it’s cosmetic surgery for her voice.”
How much do you train her?
«Always, every day, it is a muscle to always keep in motion. I put on headphones while I take care of my animals. I have nine cats in the house, two molossers and two fish. I don’t let the cats out, some have stolen them from me, others haven’t come back, they’re fine at home. They are the masters ».
Her voice trick?
«The chilli. I buy it in Vasto when it is the season, the very spicy ones are good for the voice. It’s like taking cortisone, but it makes me fat and it’s not good. Chilli, in addition to being a concentrate of vitamin C, cleans the vocal cords, the voice comes out crystal clear. I’ve always used it ».
What if she hadn’t been a singer?
“I would have liked to have been a kindergarten teacher. My mother, on the other hand, always told me that if things didn’t go well I could join the public weighbridge that she managed in Cavriago. Once all the goods passed by force from that scale, my mother always had a lot of work: she weighed animals, pigs, cows, fodder, wheat, a coming and going of trucks in the square. But I didn’t like going there from early morning to late at night. Now the weighbridge is still there, it has become an antiquity to go and see ».
Are you the portrait of the pious and calm person, the most transgressive thing you have done?
“The holidays in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, in the last four I have not been able to go there, but I have been there for 26 years: there I dress everything in a different way, I have all my colored wigs, I dress in blue with the blue wig, or pink with a pink wig. My friends there are all gay, every night we have a party, we are always dressed all weird … ».
“Save things. I have collected dolls, underwear, nightgowns, bags, heels that no longer fit me. And the holy water stoups are true works of art: there is a solid wall in the blue room in my house. However, after the earthquake my husband no longer wants to sleep there because he is afraid of being dry … Now, after the success of Mille, I’ll have to start collecting fans ».
“Playmen” and “Playboy” asked her to pose naked.
«They offered me mind-boggling figures: but who would have heard my mother and my mother-in-law later. When a magazine, in the 1970s, published a cartoon with a caricature of me on a boat next to a handsome lifeguard, my mother got angry with me. What do I have to do with it, if I don’t even know who designed it? ».
The criticism that hurt you the most?
“Being neglected or mistreated by the Italian press made me feel a bit like a ghost and saddened me, but as has often happened to me I preferred to turn my eyes and look elsewhere”.
In the farewell note Tenco said that he committed suicide as an “act of protest against an audience that sends me, you and the roses to the final”.
«It is an episode that has marked me personally and my career. There was a time when everyone in the world dodged me, the journalists didn’t want to interview me and think that it was they who hadn’t fished out Tenco’s song. But I’m convinced he didn’t write the note, there were two spelling mistakes he never would have made. For that story I was cornered. I’ve always been harassed, the newspapers didn’t write a line about me: yet I sold a lot of records, yet my songs were made in all languages, by famous bands all over Europe ».
“As long as the boat goes” is the song that identifies her, yet she didn’t like it …
«Let’s not say how many copies he sold that are always subject to extra taxes … I wanted a love song and I didn’t like that text. I did it reluctantly, but my record companies were right ».
He has never won Sanremo, do you mind?
“I’m sorry, yes!”
“A song by Pace and Panzeri, And he was fishing. I really didn’t like it, but I did it out of gratitude because they had made me sell millions and millions of records. It seemed right to do it for them ».
You have been married to your husband Osvaldo since 1967, what is the secret?
«We are lucky because we have two completely opposite characters: I am extroverted, I pull everything out, I can also offend and then I repent in a moment as if nothing had happened; he is capricorn, headstrong, touchy. We have merged. We had a lot of little fights, but when we are young it’s easy: a kiss and a caress and you become more friends than before. Now Osvaldo gets too tired following me, he has had so many eye operations, he suffers from the light and the noise. And in our environment there is only that: light and noise ».
Who do you vote for?
“A singer cannot be linked to a party, he must belong to everyone, like a rainbow”.