MICHELE TORPEDINE by Daniela

About a year ago, Michele Torpedine published his beautiful book, RICOMINCIO DAI TRE (Pendragon edition).

In that book there is so much news about the life of Michele Torpedine, that, as happened to me when I read it, I discovered a part of Torpedine’s life, really sad, that I never expected.

Catching sentences, here and there from the book, I try to give you a summary of what happened to Torpedine, you will be amazed at so many things.

In my story, you will find pieces of true stories of artists, such as Andrea Bocelli, IL VOLO, or rather, among their stories, you will find mine, that of an Apulian child emigrated to Bologna, of that boy who from a studio apartment in a small white house (the Apulian houses are often white), it went to the oval room of the White House.

I loved the music, I still love it, the world of music, less.

I was born on 12 May 1952 in a small town in northern Puglia. I don’t remember anything about this place, because I moved to Bologna when I was 5 months old.

My father was called Salvatore, he was a tailor, he was severe, hard.

My mother’s name was Titina, I lost her when I was 27 years old. I carried her down in my arms, wrapped in a sheet, to the mortuary chamber.

She was 51 years old. Hunger, misery and cancer, this was her life, she struggled like a beast, then from one day to the other she fell ill and flew away in less than a year, I still haven’t managed to forgive her for leaving me so early.

In Bologna, we come in search of work and survival, we are poor, but really poor. We lived five in one room.

My parents found a job in tailoring, so the money to eat is insured.

At the age of 8, I started to work, from a shoemaker, straightening the nails that were extracted from the soles.

At 12 I started working as a bartender, then as a waiter and bellhop.

My brother Nino, at the age of 17, assembles his first battery of drums (drum set), I, who was five years younger than him, begin to follow him and learn.

By day I work and in the evening I go to the places where you can play.

At the age of 14 I entered a local orchestra.

At 16, my first dream comes true, a friend of mine called me on a Sunday afternoon and tells me that he was given the task of hiring six bands to open the Jimi Hendrix concert and ask me if I want take part. I accept immediately, I am excited.

Our band is the last one, before Hendrix entered. Bad fate because people couldn’t wait any longer and filled us with booze and popcorn.

Things improve, they call me more and more often.

A group of African musicians, lose the drummer, call me to replace him, play a month with them.

One evening, all together, we go to see a concert of musicians playing with Ray Charles, the place is packed, that evening he is there too, Ray Charles, at a certain point they tell me they don’t have a drummer and they ask me to play. My legs are shaking, I am paralyzed with fear, but then I calm down and play.

Torpedine says that the battery (of drums) is his life, not women, nothing for him is as reliable as a drum set.

Everything goes well, time passes, I was good, but not a genius, I understand that it is better to change.

They propose me to be a road manager, that is the one who takes contact with the local promoters, pays the musicians, takes the money, checks that everything goes well.

I plan a series of concerts for artists like Paoli-Vanoni, a great success, things are getting better and better, from one day to the next I became a millionaire, looked for by everyone.

I start a partnership with Zucchero Fornaciari, he is good with soul singing, nobody in Italy sings like that.

Time passes and Zucchero is very successful, one day he comes to me with a beautiful and sad song: “Miserere”, and he says “this song should be sung with a tenor … let’s try to ask Pavarotti?”

Pavarotti is in America, I have to bring him a demo of the song to make him listen. Contact all the tenors, nobody wants to do a demo with Zucchero, join the lyric, with the pop was not contemplated by the classical tenors.

By pure chance, a friend tells me that in Tuscany, in a club, in the evening, there is a blind boy who plays the piano and is very good, he also sings tenor songs, his name is Andrea Bocelli.

It was the first time I met Bocelli. No one believed in him, not even himself.

He agrees to do the demo, with a lot of fear, because he will be heard by Pavarotti. He is very good and likeable, he sings the demo in a special way. I tell him to persist with music and he replies that he has won a receptionist competition and that the music will remain his passion.

I fly to Philadelphia to give Pavarotti the demo, who immediately tells me that he will never sing a song of light music. I ask him at least to listen to the demo, he accepts. I explained to him that the boy who sings is not a tenor but a simple boy who plays for passion and Pavarotti tells me if I’m kidding him, because for years he hasn’t heard such a beautiful voice.

I go home and call Bocelli and to him incredulously, I propose a contract. Bocelli doesn’t believe it’s all true.

At first it was difficult, nobody wanted Andrea. Too risky.

There were always so many slashes on American newspapers, but people loved him, that’s the only thing he has always counted on.

The live reaction of the people was a show in the show.

Andrea was a great interpreter of emotions, he knew how to take on the feelings of ordinary people. This was its added value: to be a common mortal with a divine voice.

WOMEN, I love them, but I’m afraid of them.

I can’t trust the exclusive relationship with a woman.

I saw mothers trying to get into bed, just to get a TV pass for their daughter.

I’m afraid of falling in love, going to New York for work, calling home and being told that she loves me, and then finding out that she’s in bed with another, the fear that it might happen, would make me live badly.

I am not so naive as not to understand that beautiful women are with me even for what I do, I am wealthy, I ride with beautiful cars and I have some power.

I never married, but I was almost doing it. How it ended makes me feel bad today.

I was 30, she was from Bologna, beautiful and intelligent. We decide to get married.

For work, I leave for Lake Garda, we agreed that she would join me on Sunday.

On Friday, I do a “bachelor party”, two Norwegian sisters, they ask me to go to bed with them and I take them to my room.

In the morning, I hear a knock on the door, and convinced that it was one of the musicians, I go to open, and instead there was my girlfriend who made me a surprise by arriving earlier than expected.

I understand that it is useless to lie. It ends like this.

MY MOTHER, whom I loved very much, left me early, too early, without giving me a way to show her all my love for her. My mother could not share with me that little bit of success, of well-being, that I wanted to give her after so many hardships. I had everything from her, and she, she had no way to say with pride “That is my son”. I feel guilty about this.

But there is another woman who has always been important in my life, and it is my sister Liliana, a little friend, a little mother, and always with me even at work, especially in the most important moments.

I must admit that other female figures have been very important in my career. At the beginning, Cristina Gelsi, who followed me in the 16 years with Bocelli.

Now Barbara Vitali, omnipresent in all my activities, almost my alter ego, she lives traveling the world to assist IL VOLO.

Last, Eliana Monti, who follows the production of IL VOLO concerts.

The easiest way to reach me is to call these two women.

Many disappointments, mainly human and partly, even professional.

At some point, I found myself feeling more disappointed than ever with music, with the environment I mean.

There was never gratitude around me.

I found myself tired, eager for simplicity, for pure things.

The horizon seems closed to me.

One night I was at home, sitting on the couch, three boys, fourteen, fifteen, appear on TV.

Of course they are good, and if I tried to really put them together? A trio, here’s what I could do: IL VOLO.

I think those three determined boys saved me from depression and from the desire to leave everything. Three teenagers, yes, but already great, in all respects. Already great since I first saw them: Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca.

I hope I have given you a summary of the personality of Michele Torpedine. I was amazed reading these pages, I discovered a very sensitive man, in some respects, I did not expect.

A person for whom family affections are in first place, but then he is afraid to create his own family.

A determined man, but also very fragile.

A man with a particular flair for talent.

Thanks Michele for recognizing and supporting three worthy guys.

Daniela

Credit to owners of all photos.

44 thoughts on “MICHELE TORPEDINE by Daniela”

  1. Daniela, thank you so much for the translation of this segment of Michele’s book. It was very insightful.

  2. Daniela, it is easy to assume that we know a famous person simply because he or she is in the public eye. Your translation of part of this amazing book has touched my heart. Bravo Michele for being vulnerable and open. Thank you, dear Daniela.

    1. Believe me, Judy, I was also very surprised when I read this book, I discovered an unpublished Torpedine.
      Thank you for your compliments.

  3. I loved reading about Michelles history , feelings & life & I applause him for not giving in, Thank you Michelle for seeing the talent in the Il Volo boys & taking them under your wings. I am exstatic that they are in your honest & talented hands. God Bless you & keep you safe to continue to steer & protect our precious il volo sweethearts. You are in my prayers along with the boys always.

  4. Also thank you Daniela for translating what Michelle wrote. I have lways wanted to speak to him but I dont know Italian. But maybe someday I can make him understand a thank you.

    1. Loretta, Michele certainly has a great flair for talent, our three boys could not go unnoticed.
      They are in very good hands.
      Thank you for your compliments.
      As soon as we hear about US concerts, you will be informed.

  5. Daniela, thank you for sharing with us. What a story of Michele. Inspiring in so many ways. I understand that all he experienced up to the time of “taking on the 3 young teen-agers” just gave him understanding how to work with them. ALso, his experience gave him understanding of the families of the boys. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Connie, long ago, about a year, still here on the blog, I had translated the part of the book that speaks only of the guys of IL VOLO, if you haven’t read it, look for it, Michele had very nice words for the boys and their families.

  6. Thank you Daniela for giving us more of an insight into the life of Michele. I so wish the book would be published in English some day. I admire him for all he has done and continues to do for our boys.

    1. Honestly Jane, I too, after reading Torpedine’s book, appreciated and understood his person more.
      I’m glad he’s the manager of our boys.

      1. A really intense life Michele, right?
        Great job, as always Pat. 🙂

  7. Thank You Daniela for sharing with us a part of Michele’s story, it’s so interesting. We owe him so much, especially IL VOLO of course, but also Andrea Bocelli, a wonderfull singer too. Thanks again Daniela for your incredible work for us 😍🌷

    1. Thanks for the compliments, Jolanta.
      As I have already said, Torpedine has a flair for talent and Bocelli and IL VOLO, very talented, have so much of it.

  8. Dear Daniela, you know I am translating Michele’s book into English, just for myself. His life in the music business started a very long time ago. Way before our boys were born. Every page has a surprise. I had never heard of him, but he really got around. Thank goodness he was sitting on his couch that fateful day when our boys appeared on TV, and that he had the foresight to bring them together. So, thank you so very much Michele.

    1. Of course, RoseMarie, I remembered your translation. In the end I thought that many would have liked to know Michele’s “dark side”. I just hope he doesn’t get angry, I know he saw it and for now, I’m quiet.

    1. Thanks Joan, it’s really a very special story, but with a nice ending. I also really like the new cd.

    1. Connie, remember, I warned you that there was already a small translation of the book, I see you liked it!

  9. Thanks Daniela, for the main idea of the book. I would love to be able to read the entire thing. I am happy and sad for him at the same time. Nothing is coincidence. It all happens for a reason. He has been a great mentor and leader for IlVolo. Thanks Michele for leading them in their extraordinary adventure. Best Wishes always….Donna

    1. Thanks to you, Donna for the compliments. I believe that this book will hardly be translated into English, because it speaks of so many Italian artists but I don’t think they are known abroad.
      The part relating to IL VOLO is short but very beautiful, I had already translated it a year ago, but I think I will propose it again for those who haven’t read it.

  10. Thank you Daniela for translating I always wondered about Michele now I know part of his life story thanks to you and the book he wrote Great job as usual

  11. Well Daniela you did it again I am always so exstatic reading your posts they are always so informative about our sweethearts & now Michelle Torpedine’s & certainly not forgetting Barbara. And I am also ecstatic that God took them under his wings by keeping them safe & steering them in the right direction.
    I am still champing at the bit waiting impatiently to see them in the States which I would be taking the first flight & wishing I could contact their promoter to beg them to come to Toronto. I am constantly asking God everyday.to keep our sweethearts safe along with you & everyone on this site.
    Pat I am not forgetting your knowledgable contribute to the site. I wish I could find information on our precious singers. I am champing at the bit to see & hear them again in person. Ok I’ll shut up I talk too much

    1. Loretta, thank you for your nice words.
      I am very pleased that you like the posts.
      The boys in a few days will leave for Japan and then time flies fast and they will also come to you.
      You will all be very happy to have them there.

      1. Daniela its a pleasure to see your posts about our precious sweethearts of seeing & hearing & reading about them. I would work for Barbara free if I could be hired to help her & be around the Il Volo boys who are about the same ages as my sons who are now in relationships of their own. THEN I would be on cloud 9.

      2. Loretta, we would all very willingly work for free, if we could stay close to Barbara, but I don’t think it’s possible 🙂
        Grazie mille what do you like my posts <3

  12. Daniella, thank you so much! This translation is so interesting and insightful! I also founding very moving. No wonder the boys love him so much. I do not post very often, but really appreciate the translations and information you share with us!

    1. Thanks Barb, even if you don’t publish often, I’m glad to know that you like what I write.
      I too was amazed at Torpedine’s life, I would never have thought, if I had not read that she had such a sad past. I thought that you too, not reading, could not understand, for this reason, I translated.

  13. Daniella, every person has a story and thank you so much for
    sharing about Michelle. I am fascinated that he had such a
    life to start out but he found the right way to gift the world.
    He is special for his work with IL VOLO and Andrea Bocelli.
    I hope life now brings him much happiness.

    1. Gale, Michele certainly had a difficult life at the beginning.
      Personally, I found his attachment to his mother touching.
      I believe that affection for boys is sincere and reciprocated.

  14. What a wonderful translation! Thank you Daniela for this glimpse of MIchele that we would have never seen. I hope I can find the translation you did before of the boys part of the book but I am afraid that it will be hard to find. I will try though.

  15. Daniela are the ticket on sale yet what I have seen is other tickets for other countries. Can you steer me towards the right place to buy tickets in whatever city they are performing or is it in Miami again which I missed the last concert there a few months there. Any help is appreciated with all my heart.

  16. Hi Penina I am sorry if I have caught you at a bad time. Have you heard or seen the Il Volo tickets on sale yet in the States? I have been trying to find out what theatre they are performing If you can steer me on the right path is appreciated.
    ?

    1. Loretta, there are still no announcements of tickets for sale for Canada and Us, it is still too early.

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