As Italy is one of the "Big Five", which provide the most financial funding into the contest, she was automatically allocated in the final and performed 10th. She finished in 9th place scoring 101 points. She grew up in Gossolengo, nine kilometers southwest of Piacenza. After moving to Ireland, she started performing live and, at the age of thirteen, she started studying opera singing at the conservatory. In 1997 she founded her first band, The Jerks.
After completing high school at the Liceo Scientifico Respighi in Piacenza, she spent two years in the United States, living in Chicago and New York. Between 2000 and 2001 she co-presented Red Ronnie's TV show Roxy Bar, broadcast in Italy by TMC2. In 2001 she also debuted as a VJ for MTV Italy. In the meanwile, she obtained a recording contract with her new band, Chiara e gli Scuri, founded in 2000. In 2001 the band released the single "Tutti al mare".
They also started working on an album, but it was never released, due to some disagreements with the recording label. In 2009, she chose the stage name Nina Zilli, combining her mother's surname with Nina Simone's first name. Zilli released her debut single, "50mila", on 28 July 2009. The song, featuring vocals by Giuliano Palma, was later included in the soundtrack of Ferzan Özpetek's film Loose Cannons. Nina Zilli's self-titled debut Extended Play was released by Universal Music on 11 September 2011. The EP peaked at number 54 on the Italian Albums Chart, and it also spawned the singles "L'inferno", released in September 2009, and "L'amore verrà", an Italian-language cover of The Supremes "You Can't Hurry Love". On 12 January 2010, it was announced that Nina Zilli was one of the winners of the contest Sanremo New Generation, allowing her to participate in the newcomers section of the 60th Sanremo Music Festival.
Zilli's entry, "L'uomo che amava le donne", was performed for the first time on 18 February 2010, and it was admitted to the final, later won by Tony Maiello's "Il linguaggio della resa". During the competition, Zilli received the Critics' Award "Mia Martini" and the Press, Radio & TV Award. The single was certified gold by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry and it was included in Zilli's debut album, Sempre lontano, released on 19 February 2010. A special edition of the album was released on 30 November 2010, together with the single "Bacio d'a(d)dio".
On 18 February 2011, the album was certified platinum in Italy, for domestic sales exceeding 60,000 copies. In February 2011, she received two nominations at the 2011 TRL Awards in the categories Best Look and Italians Do It Better. Zilli was also the presenter of the night, broadcast by MTV Italy on 20 April 2011. In March 2011, Sempre lontano was also released in Spain. In January 2012, Zilli was chosen as one of the participants in the Big Artists section of the 62nd Sanremo Music Festival, performing the song "Per sempre". During the competition, Zilli also performed a cover of Mina's "Grande grande grande", in a duet with Birtish singer Skye Edwards.
On the final of the show, she was chosen by a specific jury as the Italian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. Though Per Sempre was the first choice, RAI later stated that Zilli would perform a new bilingual version of her song L'Amore È Femmina now titled L'Amore È Femmina (Out Of Love). Zilli's second studio album, L'amore è femmina, was released on 15 February 2012. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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