Who Is Andrea Bocelli?
As a child, Andrea Bocelli learned to play the piano, flute and saxophone. Visually impaired from birth, Bocelli became blind at the age of 12 following a soccer injury. His big break came when a demo tape landed in the hands of Luciano Pavarotti. His 1995 album Bocelli sold well in Europe and 1999's Sogno became an international hit. He remains one of the world's most popular singers today.
Born on September 22, 1958, in Lajatico, Italy, Andrea Bocelli became interested in music at an early age. He was only six years old when he began studying the piano. He later learned the flute and saxophone, and was often asked to sing at family gatherings and at school. Visually impaired from birth, he became blind at the age of 12 following a soccer injury.
According to his website, Bocelli had his first taste of success in a singing competition in 1970. He continued to hone his talent, studying voice with Luciano Bettarini. Heeding his parents' wishes that he pursue a legal career, Bocelli studied law at the University of Pisa and became a court-appointed lawyer after graduation. The gifted singer did not abandon his music, however, as he studied with Franco Corelli and took up playing piano in bars to pay for his lessons.
Famed Italian Tenor
One of Bocelli's first lucky breaks came in 1992 when he recorded a demo tape of "Miserere" for Zucchero Fornaciari, the song co-written by U2's Bono. That recording was heard by famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti, for whom the track was originally written. Pavarotti then encouraged Fornaciari to use Bocelli for the song. In the end, Bocelli and Pavarotti performed "Miserere" together, which became a smash hit in Europe.
A singer on the rise, Bocelli competed in the Sanremo Festival in 1994 and won top honors in the newcomers' category. That same year, Bocelli released his first album in Italy, Il Mare Calmo Della Sera. He scored a major hit in Europe a short time later with Bocelli (1995), which featured "Con te Partiro." The song later became a popular duet with Sarah Brightman as "Time to Say Goodbye," which appeared on his 1997 album, Romanza.
With Sogno (1999), Bocelli cemented his status as an international singing sensation. The hit record included a duet with Celine Dion on the song "The Prayer." More popular albums soon followed, including 2001's Cieli di Toscana and 2006's Amore. He also earned Grammy nods in 1999 — for Best New Artist — and in 2000 — for "Sogno" (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance) and "The Prayer" (Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals).
Albums and Collaborations
Bocelli has released numerous studio and live albums through his career including Viaggio Italiano (1995), Aria: The Opera Album (1998), Sacred Arias (1999), Verdi (2000), Cieli di Toscana (2001), Sentimento (2002), Andrea (2004), Amore (2006), Under the Desert Sky (2006), Incanto (2008), Vivere Live in Tuscany (2008), My Christmas (2009) and Concerto: One Night in Central Park (2011).
In 2013, Bocelli collaborated with Jennifer Lopez and Nelly Furtado on his album Passione. He also joined forces with Placido Domingo and Ana Maria Martinez on 2014's Manon Lescaut.
In 2015, Bocelli released Cinema, his 15th studio album. The tenor had longed to create an album of his favorite movie songs originally performed by singers such as Frank Sinatra and Mario Lanza. The album features his renditions of classic soundtrack favorites such as “Maria” from West Side Story, “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “No Llores Por Mi Argentina, from Evita, and “Por uno cabeza” from Scent of a Woman. The album also features duets with Ariana Grande and Nicole Scherzinger.
That same year, he sang “The Lord’s Prayer” before Pope Francis in Philadelphia during the pontiff's historic visit to the United States. Speaking about the performance with Time magazine, Bocelli reflected: "Having the chance to sing again in front of the Holy Father, for whom I have deep and sincere devotion, offering my humble contribution as a fervent Catholic, is a great honor for me. St. Augustine notoriously reminds us that singing is an extraordinary form of prayer. And this is my goal, my purpose and my joy: to pray together."
Continuing with his collaborations, Bocelli teamed with Ed Sheeran in late 2017 to record "Perfect Symphony," a version of Sheeran's ubiquitous hit "Perfect." The English pop singer also co-wrote the track "Amo soltanto te" for Bocelli's October 2018 studio release, Sì.
Bocelli sang at the royal wedding for Britain's Princess Eugenie around that time, and the following March he delivered another personal performance during a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On Easter Sunday 2020, with the world still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, the famed singer live-streamed his Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope concert from the Duomo cathedral of Milan, Italy. Accompanied by organist Emanuele Vianelli, Bocelli sang traditional favorites like "Ave Maria" and "Sancta Maria" inside the empty cathedral, before heading outside to close his mini-concert with "Amazing Grace."
Wife and Sons
Bocelli married his first wife, Enrica, in 1992. The couple had two sons, Amos and Matteo, before separating in 2002.
That same year, Bocelli met Veronica Berti, who would become his manager. The couple welcomed a daughter, Virginia, in 2012. They married in March 2014, in a ceremony in Livorno, Italy.
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