Rudy Zerbi: the dream of an ice-cream parlour after music and writing

maionchi-zerbi Mara Maionchi e Rudy Zerbi

Interviewing the author of  “Se non sbagli non sai che ti perdi” (If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t know what you miss), written together with Mara Maionchi, about how to have and maintain success.

Rudy Zerbi has been actively working in all communication sectors: first radio and TV, and now he also wrote a book together with Mara Maionchi, entitled “Se non sbagli non sai che ti perdi” , which was just published by Longanesi.

Rudy used to work at the Sony record company for several years, where he was artistic director among other things. However, it was thanks to the crucial encounter with Maria de Filippi that he became protagonist of two very popular TV shows, Amici and Tu si que vales.

Moreover, he used to be a judge at Italia’s got talent. Who better than him to tell how to achieve success and then maintain it? Of all people, he’s the best to tell how success can be reached and also maintained.


In a world getting faster and faster, how can you teach a boy (tip 3: you need time) that in order to get results you need to wait and be patient?

It’s not easy. Social media and TV make young people illusorily believe that everything can be achieved very quickly. However, unfortunately results are only temporary and often of little value. You need to explain that success and the satisfaction deriving from it are simple stages of a lifetime journey. Even when you are successful, you still have a lot of work ahead of you, so your commitment has to be constant and fruitful, while paying attention to the necessary changes and inevitable arrests. Life is made of many goals, there is not just one in our entire professional career.

We also have to keep in mind that that not everyone achieves the pinnacle, many continue climbing. What keeps you from never giving up?

Having a new dream to fulfil. You always have to have something that motivates from an intellectual viewpoint. Setting oneself different goals is essential. All of us keep on dreaming, even if we feel fulfilled. Secret wishes allow us to move on. My secret dream, for example – I’ll never be tired of saying it – is to open an ice-cream parlour. This desire motivates me enormously. I read up on the subject a lot, I read and check everything about ice-cream. A passion as big as music.

Is it true that you suggested Mara Maionchi to become a jury member of X Factor?
Yes, indeed. And I also did the same with Morgan.

You’re a talent scout! Speaking of it: if you still were artistic director of Sony, which artist would you like to contract?
Calcutta and Thomas Paradise of Thegiornalisti, the Roman part of contemporary music. The city is going through a difficult period, but inspiration and creativity actually arise from affliction.

Both Mara and you often point out in the book that you need to meet the right people. Whom did you meet?
​I met more than one, but the two most significant people are Gianni Morandi, who made me realize that you never stop “working hard”, and Maria De Filippi. She brought me to Amiciand explained how important it is to listen to and respect the audience, which teaches you things every day.

You achieve the pinnacle, but how do you manage the maintain the position?
There are plenty of examples of great artists who have not managed to deal with fame, such as Robin Williams, Avicii or Chris Cornell of the Soundgarden. On the day of his birthday, Ghali used social media to write that he doesn’t wish anybody to become famous. You always have to remember how you got to that point, who you were before, and always keep in mind that every day “is a moment that can pass in a moment’s breath”. You have to enjoy the situation and always have both feet on the ground. Moreover, you have to have respect for money by making the right investments that will help when things go wrong.

You suffer from the “dirty ashtray” syndrome, which you inherited from the time you worked at your parents’ hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure.
Everywhere I go! My neighbour in Milan leaves her ashtray always full of cigarette butts. Theoretically, it’s in her part of the yard, but I clean it every time I go by. I can’t help it!

So, you would like to become an ice cream vendor. Which flavour would you choose to go with coffee?

Hazelnuts of the Langhe. With coffee it’s the best match ever!