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The Story of “Leave a Tip”, The Transfixing Song from Vivi e Lascia Vivere

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

Rarely in the history of the world have so many us shared the same daily situations as during the Covid pandemic. While the bravest stayed on the job, the rest of us were restricted to staying in our homes. This created a scenario in which most of us lived vicariously through the characters of television shows and films that were available. In Italy, a new TV program known as Vivi e Lascia Vivere (translated as “Live and let live”) captured the attention of a large portion of the population who needed a diversion; becoming an instant hit. A strong and attractive female lead character with more than a few mysteries in her life, Laura became the unlikely champion that so many rallied behind in the imagining of manifesting a better life for themselves. A key element of director Pappi Corsicato’s emotional delivery of the story’s message was powerful music. Two of the most memorable scenes in this series featured an enchanting song, Nevelskiy & Masha March’s “Leave a Tip.” Already a Deep House hit, the exposure of “Leave a Tip” on Italian television channel RAI 1 drove the song to national fame. Not since The Sopranos and the patriarchal Tony Soprano has an anti-hero and a song been so associated and beloved by a television audience.

Golden Globes Italy Award Winning Actress Elena Sofia Ricci stars as Laura Ruggero in Vivi e Lascia Vivere. A woman in her early fifties with teenage and adult children, Laura’s husband of two decades dies under somewhat mysterious circumstances. This is the catalyst which sets Laura on a path of reinvention which rebukes the male control which has steered all of her life up to this moment. The story is a modern tale of female awakening and empowerment but one which does not ignore the complications and negative accoutrements which accompany it. The tone of this production gives evidence that a director who is willing to take risks to arrive at an extraordinary destination is at the helm. The music of Vivi e Lascia Vivere is an essential component in achieving this. Director Pappi Corsicato (Golden Globes Italy Winner for Libera – Best Feature Film) declares, “I love the song ‘Leave a Tip!’ I used it in two very important scenes but additionally, I would play it on set every day. Konstantin was very generous to let us use this song as he knew how much I cared about it and how important it was for me to use this exact song in our production. He is a great music producer; so original! I sincerely hope to work with him again.” The two pivotal scenes which feature “Leave a Tip” are when Laure is in a casting call at a dance club and when a man falls deeply in love with her. Both of these moments propel the idea that Laura is changing and evolving into a vibrant woman who is coming into her own power.

The appearance of “Leave a Tip” on this hit Italian show is unintuitive as it was not commissioned for the program and not even created by Italian musicians. Russian born Nevelskiy and famed singer Maria Marchenko (creative pseudonym Masha March) had collaborated on the tune simply as a creative exercise long before Pappi Corsicato ever reached out to Konstantin on a social media DM to espouse his affinity for “Leave a Tip.” Konstantin recalls, “Masha and I were happy with the song and released it in May of 2018. It was included on various Deep House Music compilations. I guess it became well known enough for Pappi to hear it and fall in love with it and I’m so grateful for his interest in our work. The song started with poems Masha had written which meant a great deal to her and when she started singing a few things, I picked up on it and the melody came about very naturally. I think the passion communicated in the song is what Pappi wanted for his scenes and what the audience really connected with. It’s exciting to see that come about because of something Masha and I did so naturally together in the studio.”

All Photos by Catherine Boro

Writer: Arlen Gann

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