ONE STEP FROM STARDOM by Susan De Bartoli

Ignazio & Nico’s Story

If Ignazio did nothing more than sing the rest of his life, he would be remembered as a singer who captured an audience at a very young age and continues to intrigue them with every passing day.  From the first time he stepped on the stage, he was a star. I remember watching him on PBS and thinking if he’s this good now, what will he be like 10 years from now. Along with Gianluca and Piero these three men have achieved in 10 years (in reality 5 years) what men can only hope to achieve in a lifetime! He is the voice that never ends! The voice that intrigues! The voice that takes your breath away! The voice that leads you to ecstasy!

But it doesn’t end there. No, there is so much more to be said about Ignazio and the best place to start is in his performances. He is the ultimate entertainer. He is the production. His presence is there in every aspect of the production. He is a prolific entertainer! He sees music! He feels music! He breathes music! Follow him around the stage. The little gestures aren’t just for our entertainment they are real movements within each song. Let me describe it as I have described it for you in the past:

Ignazio is known as the funny one and that he is! But, is it really about the joke? Or is it more about the production. Let’s turn to the production. 

The stage is simple. One sign that says it all – Il Volo. There’s the orchestra. Guitars, drum, piano, violins and whatever other instruments are needed for the performance. I want you to stop and think about the performance. We know these guys have amazing voices but, what if they got on the stage and for two hours, they did nothing but sing. I don’t think it would work. A performance needs the ability to move on. There’s no change of scenery and no intermission so how do you move the performance along? Ignazio! The joking he brings into the performance provides the levity to relive the seriousness of the performance. He brings a certain ease and suspense to the performance. The audience is always wondering, what will he do next.

But is it always about joking? I want you to think about what I’m saying. Ignazio is constantly moving around the stage. He’s dancing and keeping the rhythm. He’s swinging the microphone around and constantly nodding towards the orchestra, Gianluca and Piero. Is that the lead up to a joke? I don’t think so. Let me tell you what you are looking at. Ignazio is following every note that is sung or played on that stage. His mind is in motion. He is sensitive and passionate with music. He has the ability to see the music as it is happening. He knows where every instrument should come in and out. That’s why you notice little things like him smiling, nodding, pointing towards the musicians, Gianluca or Piero. He also grabs the baton from the conductor, sometimes to joke but more often to conduct. Think about him conducting the Asti Symphony Orchestra while Marcello Rota sang his tenor part. He wasn’t joking, he was conducting. And, that’s why everyone was watching in amazement. And when it was over, they were speechless. Look at Michele Torpedine go across the stage to embrace him. He is in awe of this young man. You call him funny I call him brilliant! I am going to make a prediction here! Remember you heard it here first. Ignazio will compose a great opera one day.

That’s what I’ve said in the past and now I have to add to this by recognizing Ignazio’s production company, Floki Productions. At 25 he has his own production company. Does this surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. It makes a lot sense to me.

On February 2, 2014, Ignazio collaborated with singer Roberto Amadè in a project that resulted in a wonderful concert, the Amadè-Boschetto concert which was organized through the Cultural and Artistic Center “Ignazio Boschetto,” with the support of The Town Hall of Marsala. The Teatro Impero archipelago hall has long applauded this initiative which brought together several artists from Marsala.

Ignazio has helped many young people in their careers. In February 2014, Katya Pantaleo, a young singer from Marsala, won the Premio della Critica at Sanremo with the song “Come in paradiso” music, lyrics and arrangement by Ignazio.  

“Come in paradiso” video – Click Here

On August 30, 2014, Chiara Cusumano and Giorgia Vassalo, The Duo Sisters, reached the finals of the Festival di Castrocaro, performing a song composed by Ignazio: “Paura d’Amare”.  

And let’s not forget the beautiful song he wrote “Hablando de ti” that he has performed in concert.  

In an article by Ilvolovers Romania they commented: Ignazio, for what he looks like and also for everything he sometimes hides, is an imposing, brave and authentic young man. Sensitive and passionate, his performance creates a hurricane of feelings for anyone who looks at him and listens to him. For him, the phrase “singing with the heart” is not a metaphor, it is a reality expressed in every gesture and makes us wonder what his eyes see when he sings…

Floki Productions I’m sure is Ignazio’s dream. So, where does the dream begin. Enter Nico Arezzo!

Let’s start where Nico started in Ragusa, Sicily. 

Nico (Domenico) Arezzo was born in Ragusa, Sicily on October 2, 1998. You might say he was born and raised on a stage, initially with drumsticks in his hand … but soon the need to put one note after another brought him to the guitar. Both of his parents are entertainers, his mother Emanuela Curcio is dancer and a dance teacher and his father Peppe Arezzo is a pianist and an Orchestra Conductor.

In an interview during the Sanremo Giovani 2019 Nico said “… I study, write, sing and interpret and in my spare time I run away … my guitar has accompanied me everywhere since 2016 … In the last two years I have been very focused on my music, on my writing, on my way of seeing what is around me? Now I realize that I have an overstuffed suitcase in my hands … I’m just waiting to make the world inside me known to all those who, with a suitcase in hand, will leave with me….” 

“There are too many places I’ve never seen, too many people to meet. I kept telling myself this … did I have to go out … out of the house? How to tell my parents? Thus, was born my song ‘Volo’ (Flight). Flight is an air ticket, flight is blank pages, flight is a house key. (Is it destiny that his song was Volo)” Nico says, “In ‘Volo,’ I sing my escape, the desire to try, to try something else. Escape in secret trying to get out of the world of those you love and those who love you without hurting or suffering.” 

Nico wrote and set to music his song “Volo” which he sang at the Sanremo Festival Giovani in 2019. In the song there is the desire of the singer to live 360 degrees, with joys, pains, emotions and also a lot of love. But that’s not all, what struck everyone about his performance was his ability to play the guitar, an element that has conquered the public, the judges and the critics. 

Nico was not new to the television stage he had already appeared in Xfactor in October 2017. He was presented as the Prince of that edition. The song he sang was Prince’s “Kiss.” He also participated in Amici di Maria De Filippi.

Nico first came to my attention in 2017 when he won the Festival Show in Verona with the song Se Vuoi (If You Want). Nico said he was drawn to the song because, “It’s a song that forces the body to move even without wanting. It’s a fresh song that turns on everything that can be turned on … the same freshness that I want to convey now that the music has taken my whole life.” The song is exciting and lively, like Nico! I remember that his voice captured me. He has lots of rhythm and expression. He immediately captured the audience. And, I’m sure he captured the attention of at least one of the judges there that night, Michele Torpedine.

In many ways Nico reminds me of Ignazio. He knows what he wants and, he goes after it.  

This past January, Nico was the first artist to sign a contract with Ignazio under Floki Productions. This is some of what Nico wrote in a post after signing with Floki.

I never write long posts but, I have to tell you things that are too important:

• I signed… I will be the first artist of the “Floki Production” of the big man @ignazioboschetto with the eye always watchful of the big boss @mtorped… we are talking about the top of the top, we are talking about people who even looking at you make you feel smarter smarter

• It’s been (since the) beginning of January that, every day, I sing I write I eat register I take them I sleep dirty scream I clean them back I laugh I live in a place where people are not well… meaning that maybe they are not even people at the bottom… They first look at you, then they play… and play… and how they sound you’ll hear it. At @takeaway_studios REGISTING my first ALBUM and what’s selling outside is something impressive… to me, something awesome… and thinking I have my first album on my hands, thinking about delivering my first album is something awesome…

__________________________________________________________________________

Ignazio said, “A Great project boils in the pot! As soon as this pandemic permits us, we’ll be hanging out with @nico_arezzo’s new album.”

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The way I see it with these two Sicilian kids it has to be great!

Nico you’re One Step from Stardom. Hitch your wagon to a star and follow Ignazio, he knows the road!

All coming very soon!

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

37 thoughts on “ONE STEP FROM STARDOM by Susan De Bartoli”

  1. Hi Susan
    Thank you so much for the very interesting post. Even though I have been following Il Volo since their first PBS show many years ago, I did not know that Ignazio composed songs that other people had sung in contests and won. I,like you, would not be at all surprised to hear about a great opera he has composed( maybe an opera that Piero could star in).
    After I read your post I checked to see what was on PBS, it was a re-run of the Il Volo special from Matera!
    It was so great to see them performing again, but I will say that on those special’s they have to behave a little more than they do on tour. Ignazio was having a hard time keeping still during O sol o mio.
    I have seen him conducting the orchestra before, but never like in the photo you showed us, that was so funny.
    He is a very talented, kind, funny, and loving man, who shares his god given gifts with others.

  2. I have not read it all yet, I am stuck at the song Paura d’amare. When I went to look for the lyrics it appeared the song was written by Marco Masini. I searched further and found Ignazio’s version. Same song title but different lyrics. How strange. Anyway off to read the rest thank you.

  3. Thank you again, Susan. Always eager to learn more about the boys. And as for Ignazio, you’ve said it all!

  4. Ignazio is just the very best by far.I hope he succeeds with his production company, such a venture for such a talented person. Good luck Ignazio and to all the forthcoming stars that will be giving us so much pleasure under the Floki label.

    1. Although I have been following ll Volo for almost 11 years, I just discovered lilvoloflightcrew.com today. I am really impressed. I look forward and am excited to learning more about “the boys”, now “the men”.

      1. Welcome to the Flight Crew, Mary Jane! Glad you found us! There are many posts here to read and learn all about our guys! If you have any IL VOLO experiences you’d like to write about and share just drop us a line at ilvoloflightcrew@gmail.com. We’d be happy to hear from you! Thanks so much! 😄❤️

  5. It is so very true about Ignazio that he sings from his heart and I know when he kids around on stage he makes it a nice diversion. I congratulate Ignazio for forming his own production company–Floki Productions–with his first artist who signed up-Nico Arezzo. Two great Sicilian guys!

    I predict that Ignazio will write an Opera in a year or two, and Piero will
    be singing the tenor’s leading role in the Opera.

    I wish good luck to Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero, and also to Nico.

    Love from a faithful Il Volo fan,

    Elisa from New York

  6. Hi Susan, I really like what you write about the guys of IL VOLO. You have a way with words and describe things the way they are! Thank you so much! 😀❤️

  7. Susan, I certainly hope your prediction that Ignazio will sooner or later write an opera. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone else say that and if Piero sings it, it will be double the joy. It will be, for sure, a passionate endeavor on the part of both. Thanks for the insightful portrait of Ignazio. I now feel completely devoid of any innate talent.

    1. I told Piero when he sings in his first opera, I will be there no matter where in the world it is!

  8. Your words are full of the excitement of the venture of Floki Productions and all of the new adventures in the future. I loved Nico’s words, “We are talking about the people even looking at you make you feel smarter smarter.” I’m very excited for Ignazio, Nico and Michele and for the future of this work.
    Someday Piero will find his place in opera and Gianluca will come into his own direction also, but they will always be Il Volo.
    Thank you Susan for this article.

  9. I certainly admire Igna, his voice , his mannerisms, his persona, I would like to know how the name FLOKI came about……..also, I guess I just don’t get “Nico”s type of singing yet. Will continue to listen. Didn’t feel it was that strong. perhaps I live , sleep & eat Il Volo. lol

    1. Actually, we haven’t heard what his music direction will be yet! we will know soon when his first song gets released. As to Floki, it has to do with the Vikings!

  10. I love this story Susan so much! I am grateful that someone with a talent for writing like yourself, talks about Ignazio and puts in to light what amazing, special, talented person he is, because I think many people for a long time didn’t see beyond his funny side.. I also think that Nico is a wonderful and very talented artist with a bright future. Can’t wait to hear the album. Love his voice. Please keep on writing. 💞

    1. Thank you Anna! It’s fun to write when you have something special to write about! And, Ignazio is certainly special with his endless talent!

  11. Susan I think you are a talented and insightful writer. I enjoyed this piece of writing and you have captured Ignazio perfectly. I too wish him all the luck with his production company. I know Floki is the name of a character in the Prime Video series The Vikings. Floki is a Viking who is a builder ,and Igna has said this name for his company signifies building careers.

    1. Thank you Janet! Ariana wanted to know why Floki. I told her for the Vikings but you explained it better! He certainly will be building many careers!

  12. I would love to see Ignazio conduct a full classical orchestral program or an opera. Fondly I recall Leonard Bernstein singing along and dancing to the music he was conducting. Not that I would want Ignazio to stop singing! I just think in a different situation he’d be one of the best conductors of all time.

  13. Great article. Igna is very, very talented. I wished him success in Feb. with his new Co. Thank you.

  14. I attended one of the U.S. concert sound checks this year. I noticed at the time, it was Ignazio who was most involved with the musicians and totally engrossed with the music. He really does live the music and makes the concert fresh each time.

    A funny side story about that sound check: those attending filled the second row which was continuous. When we arrived, the sound check was in progress but only Piero and Gianluca were on stage, no Ignazio in sight. The audience lights were low and we all watched the rehearsal mesmerized. I was the third person in on the row. The lady to my left (a stranger) dropped her phone and bent over to grope for it on the floor. All of a sudden, Ignazio strides down the aisle behind us, wheels around and puts out his hand for a handshake with the first lady on the row. We were all so shocked by his surprise arrival! After greeting the lady on the end, he turned to greet the next lady, but she had her head between her knees still looking for her phone; she had no idea who was standing right in front of her! I didn’t know her name, so I just started tapping on her back, saying, “It’s Ignazio!” Ignazio just stood there patiently with his hands folded, waiting for as long as it took. When she finally surfaced, with phone in hand and realized who was waiting for her, she was thrilled. Her greeted her politely and warmly and then moved on (to me). Most performers would not have been so patient and kind, thinking their time was too valuable for wasting before a performance. Not Ignazio! I was so impressed! He greeted the entire row before joining the others on stage. Later, Piero and Gianluca did the same. I love these guys!

  15. Susan, as usual so nicely put together. I enjoyed it very much. Now we have another artist to follow on the side. I thought Nico’s video, the one where he was at the beach gave a good look at his talent. We have heard him sing several types of music now, including the blues. I agree with you that we will have to wait for the CD to know his direction. We do know that Mr Torpedine knows what he is doing in bringing talent forward and Ignazio has been watching him for years. I don’t know if we will be able to get one here in the USA. I will buy it when it is available. When you hear Gianluca sing La Danza at the Notte Magica concert you realize that he could also sing in Ignazios opera. Thank you again for your writing talent.

    1. Gianluca could sing opera he just prefers not to. I think he would be a magnificent opera singer

    2. As to the CD being available here, you can always order it from Amazon.it which is the Italian Amazon. If you have an account on any amazon (amazon.com, amazon.ca etc.) your account and password will work on the Italian website. I have ordered the Il Volo discs that were for Italian audiences from Amazon.it so I know it works. Just make sure you have an Italian dictionary handy so you don’t push any wrong buttons!

  16. Beautifully written and I thank you for sharing these insights. I have printed it and will carry it with me. Ignazio has always been a wonderful mystery, sometimes funny and playful, sometimes deeply passionate completely in his music and the words. You have presented to me new information about this wonderful boy/man and after watching him for 10 years, i learn so much more. I admire, appreciate and I am fascinated by our very special Ignazio. I will be with him through his journeys and feel blessed. Thank you again so very much.
    Judith with love!

  17. Hi Susan. I was out of town, so am late to respond. I loved it–thanks so much! I was trained in theater, did a lot of dance and musical comedy and am now a big band vocalist, so I thought perhaps others wouldn’t notice all those things about Ignazio on stage. But you certainly did and expressed it better than I could have! He moves so well that I think he could be a dancer with training, and his stage presence, charisma and timing are wonderful. And then there’s the voice!!! I feel he may be headed more for pop than opera, but I would love to see him do musicals or operettas. And yes, I fell for him during the first PBS show, and finally saw him in person Feb. 24 in Tampa (5th row!). I think Nico is extremely talented as well, and enjoyed the home videos they did during quarantine. Looking forward to seeing and/or hearing the results of this collaboration.

  18. Hi Susan, I just found another of your beautiful messages, this one about Ignazio. It was lost in my email. But find it I did and I’m so glad! I was not trained in music or theater and truth be known I gave little interest to music until Il Volo. Your articles teach me every time. I’m not a newbie having followed the boys since 2011 both in the US and Italy but giving one’s heart away and understanding the nuances of the intricacies of music or a performer are two different things. While I love all three, Ignazio was first to take my breath away. His voice was the first one I could identify on a cd. I must say that I have always known that Ignazio was special. I usually speak out in groups when he is referred to as a “clown”, a “court jester” or other name that diminishes him or simplifies him as a performer. To tell the truth I have to read and reread in order to understand some of the terms and technical words you discuss. Thank you so much for that. You are opening the more complex world of music and most specifically helping me to understand the pure talent … and work they have invested in their careers.. mostly for the love of it. So thank you! I have rambled on and on but I just want you to understand that a new world is open to me. And I appreciate so much!

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