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Reading the Popular Music Star as Intermedium: The Case of Mina, Italian Popular Music Diva

Reading the Popular Music Star as Intermedium: The Case of Mina, Italian Popular Music Diva - Dr Rachel Haworth

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Mina (Anna Maria Mazzini, born Lombardy, 1940) is an Italian popular music icon who throughout her sixty-year-long career has come to represent a range of diverse meanings. She is one of the best-loved popular music stars in Italy and abroad, with a large fan base across Europe, Asia, and South America. Her career began in the late 1950s and reached its peak in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite having retired from public appearances at the end of the 1970s, Mina remains popular and successful today, and continues to release new albums that consistently debut in the number one spot of the Italian charts. But she is exemplary of the way in which stardom is constructed by and through different media. This is because whilst Mina is first and foremost a popular music star, she has also been a film star and a television personality during different phases of her career. She has advertised successful Italian brands on television, and she has been a magazine writer and agony aunt. Her star persona, then, is the product of the intersections and interactions of the different ‘mediums’ with which she has been involved. In this paper, we will examine how we can read popular music stars like Mina as intermediums, with the idea of intermediality suggesting a creative space in which new meanings of the star image are generated precisely at the intersection of media forms.

Dr Rachel Haworth is a researcher of Italian popular music and culture of the twentieth century. She is interested in particular in questions of gender, performance, stardom, legitimation and value in the Italian pop music context. She has published books and articles on Italian singer-songwriters of the 1960s, celebrity scandals, and Italian variety television. Her current research focuses on ‘the many meanings of Mina’ and she is writing a book on this popstar, which will be published with Intellect in 2021.