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Famous Italian Singers: Andrea Bocelli

Many Italian musicians are famous abroad. Just think of Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti for example. Yet, Andrea Bocelli’s tremendous popularity stands out. After all, he is not a pop star, but an opera singer! The famous tenor who lost his eyesight as a child has had a fascinating success story. Let’s have a look at how he managed to defy the odds and become one of the most famous Italian names in the world.

Difficult Beginnings

Andrea Bocelli was born in September 1958 in Lajatico, a tiny town with just above a thousand inhabitants in Tuscany. While the picturesque surroundings saw Bocelli losing his eyesight slowly to a disease (glaucoma), it was something else that made him lose his vision entirely. A blow in the face by a soccer ball during a game with friends! As a result, he had to leave his family at an early age to go to a college further away where he could learn how to read Braille.

studying lawBocelli had always been academically driven. He graduated in law and even obtained a degree honoris causa in philosophy. During his studies he never forgot about his true calling though. He kept practicing his voice. In fact, he worked part-time to be able to afford private lessons with famous teachers like Luciano Bettarini and Franco Corelli. It was during this busy period that he also found love. He met his first wife Enrica and married her in 1989. Together they have two children. He blames their divorce on his fame. Years later he met his second wife Veronica Berti and together they have one daughter.

Musical Career

Andrea Bocelli won his first prize competing in a music competition at just 12 years old! He sang the famous Song “O sole mio” and captured the hearts of the audience. He re-recorded it later in career and you can listen to a re-mastered version here: O sole mio.

His musical career really took off in 1992. The famous Italian singer Zucchero was looking for someone to perform the song “Miserere” on tour with him. Zucchero originally thought of the equally famous Luciano Pavarotti for it. But sometimes life takes a different way. Pavarotti listened to a version of the song recorded by Andrea Bocelli and said: “Thank you for a marvelous song. Leave it for Andrea to sing it, though. No one is more suitable (for it) than him.”. The song was still recorded by Pavarotti but it was Bocelli who joined the Miserere Tour. Andrea Bocelli later performed the song during the Sanremo Music Festival and won in the Newcomers section. Another Italian singer made famous by Sanremo!

 A year later, in 1994, Bocelli repeated the Sanremo success in the Big Artists category with the song Il mare calmo della sera (song). His first album had the same name as the hit song and obtained platinum status within weeks (album: Il mare calmo della sera). When his second album was ready, he returned to Sanremo once again. He performed the song Con te partirò which was included on the second album of his titled simply “Bocelli”. This album made him famous abroad. It was especially popular in France and Belgium. In 1996, Bocelli’s next album Romanza gained even more recognition and cemented his international fame. It achieved platinum status in almost all of the countries where it was released.

The Bocelli Phenomenon

Andrea Bocelli has continued to release more and more popular albums and songs and does so to this day. The Bocelli phenomenon is truly uncommon. After all, he is a traditional opera singer. And yet, he moved the hearts of millions of non-opera listeners around the world. He has performed in front of the Pope, during the closing ceremony of the XXth Winter Olympic Games in Turin and during Luciano Pavarotti’s funeral. Celine Dion commented on his voice saying that “If God had a voice, it would be very similar to that of Bocelli’s”. He has continued to perform in operas and record and publish popular albums as well. Truly incredible.

Biggest Hits

  • Most successful albums: My Christmas (2009), Cinema (2015), Concerto – One Night in Central Park (2011), The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere (2007)


  • Most successful singles: Con te partirò (1995), Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (2009), Le Nom de Cette Belle Enfant? (2013), Time to Say Goodbye / Con te partirò – with Sarah Brightman (1995)


Fun Facts

  • Andrea Bocelli has been married twice and has three children.
  • He performed the theme song in the movie Gladiator, Nelle Tue Mani (Now We Are Free).
  • He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • The movie “La musica del silenzio” (The music of silence) is inspired by his autobiography The Music of Silence: A Memoir.


  • Andrea Bocelli has collaborated with many, many famous artists. These duets are some of his most popular work. Here are just a few:
    • Sarah Brightman (song: Time to Say Goodbye / Con te partirò)
    • Celine Dion (song: The Prayer)
    • Ariana Grande (song: E Più Ti Penso)
    • Josh Groban (song: We Will Meet Once Again)
    • Ed Sheeran (song: Perfect Symphony) – one of my favorites

Want more news about Italian music? You could read more about other famous Italian singers. Or you could read about the 2018 summer hits in the Italian charts!

Sources:

  • https://www.pianetadonna.it/notizie/tempo-libero/andrea-bocelli-film-malattia-pallonata-moglie-eta-figli-biografia.html
  • https://it.blastingnews.com/tv-gossip/2016/12/andrea-bocelli-spiega-come-e-diventato-cieco-001323577.html
  • http://www.lisdhanews.it/di-cosa-parliamo/arte-e-musica/376
  • https://biografieonline.it/biografia-andrea-bocelli
  • https://www.stardust.it/articolo/10-curiosita-andrea-bocelli

This post was brought to you in collaboration with regular guest author Magdalena Osiejewicz. Magdalena was born in Poland and lives in South Africa. She has a great passion for learning languages – apart from her native language and English she speaks Italian and French fluently. Italian is Magdalena’s favorite language and she loves the Italian food and people. She has lived in Palermo and in Bologna.

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