Gianluca’s life began in the small town of Montepagano where he lived a simple life but, when he emerged, he began a journey that would take him around the world and through his amazing voice he would leave his mark in every corner of that world.
I love when Gianluca describes where he grew up…
To be precise, I grew up, in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.
Gianluca makes us envision the magnificence of a crow in flight passing over the hill where his home rests and following the road that leads to the sea and landing on the seashore at the beautiful beach of Roseto degli Abruzzi ~ only two hundred meters away! It’s a flight in words that leads us to envision a crow soaring across an endless sky in search of a place to rests its feet. But Gianluca tells us in essence it is only a ten-minute flight! Remarkable! It’s a beautiful description!
This is how Gianluca describes his life from the beginning. From his very first words we can hear and feel the passion that he feels for Abruzzo!
The accents are beautiful, the dialects are beautiful, but I can say that what I prefer is the Abruzzese? I am, very, proud to be from Abruzzo. I love everything about this region. And I like to bring Abruzzo around the world and keep it high.
He describes Abruzzo in the same way as he describes the crow! He has us envision a place that is so beautiful, so magnificent that it needs to be held high!
I am right at the sea. I’m relaxing, I’m calm! There is a sea breeze and nothing else. It’s Thursday and I am practically alone on the beach. I’m fine, from God! I’m fine because I’m home.
And then he goes on to say he is at home he is fine because he is so calm and at peace here and that he is one with God! Gianluca should write poetry!
So, I start this story by making you realize, if you don’t already know it, Gianluca is all about passion! Passion for family, music, country and soccer! Not always in that order!
In many ways, Gianluca is very different from Piero and Ignazio. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. As is evident in how he describes his life as relaxed and calm. He didn’t have the challenges that Ignazio had or the intense classical education that Piero had. No, Gianluca lived a very simple life. Perhaps that explains why Gianluca is a romantic and why I call him, The Romantic Gianluca.
With him, everything is about passion! Like his passion for Abruzzo which he takes around the world. On tour he always speaks about Abruzzo. He loves his country and, he wants others to love it too! I agree with Gianluca, Abruzzo is an amazing place. My maternal grandparents were from Abruzzo!
When Gianluca goes home to Abruzzo, he feels like he is on vacation. Montepagano is a very beautiful town. It sits at the top of a hill facing the Adriatic Sea. It is like a picture-perfect postcard! It’s no wonder Gianluca is at peace here. Montepagano is Gianluca’s paradise.
If you ask Gianluca about this paradise and how he spent his childhood, there he will tell you…
My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.
And, so, we come to perhaps Gianluca’s greatest passion, Music! Or let’s say our greatest passion about Gianluca, his music!
As a child, Gianluca went to after school sessions with the nuns. One afternoon, while he was doing homework, he suddenly got up and started singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” The teacher, Gabriella, was speechless. “What a voice you have, what a wonderful voice,” she told Gianluca. “But do you know Andrea Bocelli?” She could not believe how it was possible for such a small child to have such a voice and to know a singer of that kind. “Of course, I know him, he’s my idol, my favorite singer,” Gianluca said with a certain pride. “Only I do not have his CD yet.” Gabriella promised Gianluca, “I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you.”
Gianluca recalls, “I was seven, maybe eight years old and thanks to Gabriella I was able to start listening to Andrea Bocelli as often as I wanted.”
Yes, this was Gianluca’s passion as a young boy to sing Bocelli songs. And he sang them all the time. But it was music itself that motived Gianluca. In an interview with the “Rosetana Star” Gianluca said: “Music for me is the oxygen of my life.”
And it wasn’t just Bocelli as Gianluca will tell you.
As I grew older, I became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all Frank Sinatra.
Now let’s turn to Gianluca’s voice. While Sinatra was known as the Voice, Gianluca is known as the Velvet Voice.
Gianluca is a lyrical baritone. He is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the baritone range. Most baritones are limited in range. Gianluca’s voice is huge. He has a very rich chest resonance which creates a feeling of depth and drama in his voice.
A baritone’s voice is very romantic, very pleasing to listen to and is always inviting. Most songs are written for baritones. Gianluca starts, almost, every song. Why? In order for a song to be received well you must draw your audience into it. Gianluca’s voice draws you in in a romantic way and you hang on to every note. He can mesmerize you with songs like “Mi Mancherai” where he reaches into the depth of his being and yours. His interpretation of “Surrender” is electrifying. But, when Gianluca sings, “She’s Always a Woman”, he takes your breath away. The highs, the lows, the emotion, the expression. His voice expands like nothing I ever heard before. He has total command of the song. You walk away with your senses lifted to another level.
As you know, Gianluca never studied music so, how did Gianluca get to be the phenomenal singer that he is?
Gianluca was a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses which is one of the local branches of this choir. The Mago Zurlì, who was the presenter of the event when Gianluca was in the Choir, was his father, Ercole Ginoble.
Let me let Gianluca tell you how this all came to be….
When I sing, I don’t forget instinct. What does that mean? I have never studied singing. I learned to ‘use’ my voice only thanks to my musical ear. I listened to the music and, it transmits everything I know. And I especially thank the Little Choir of Roses.
When I was about eight or nine, all those who heard my voice gave me the same advice: go sing in a choir. In Roseto there was the Piccolo Choir of Roses directed by the master Susy Paola Rizzo. They sang the songs of the “Zecchino d’oro” or other famous songs with arrangements in that style, with music for children. The Mago Zurlì, that was the presenter of the event, was my father. He had been for a couple of seasons.
This is where I started. It was nice because we studied the songs throughout the winter season, not the technique of singing, the songs. It was different, because we did not study the notes and how to do them, rather we studied instinctively, following what the teacher said and what our ears heard.
Then, in the summer, we demonstrated our work in the Municipality of Roseto. We sang in the squares during the local festivals, in the lidos, in the bathing establishments, around the whole of Abruzzo, all these tiny villages.
During the performances with the choir, besides the repertoire of the Zecchino d’oro, we sang the songs of Bocelli: Misere, Il Mare Calmo Della Sera, La Voce Del SilenzIo.
As you know Gianluca was discovered while singing with the Piccolo Choir of Roses. He went to audition for Ti Lascio una Canzone and was accepted. And as we know he won!
And then there was IL Volo!
Each guy has his own way of contributing to the group. For Gianluca it’s constantly listening to music and selecting pieces that he thinks will work within the group. Each guy has his own way of presenting his music. For Gianluca, a song has to be presented in a romantic way. This is how most baritones deliver a song but, for Gianluca this is what he feels in his soul. Any piece he sings has a certain romance to it. Beyond the voice there is the body movements. A singer always has to get into and be in character. For Gianluca it’s just so natural.
Think of Gianluca singing the Ecstasy of Gold. I remember him singing the song for the first time at the Tribute for Morricone. This song which was already known to us took on a new meaning when the guys sang it. But when Gianluca started the song, he gave it the right punch. The perfect presentation and perfect delivery. He brought the song to life within seconds. There is power in the way he introduces the song. His body language says as much and his voice. It’s a complete package. Perhaps it’s the actor in him but, I think it’s more about his feeling the music in his soul. You can’t properly present a song if you can’t feel it! Gianluca can feel it!
And talking about feeling it, let’s turn to the guy’s greatest achievement winning guy’s! Who felt it from the beginning ~ Gianluca! We know that it was Gianluca who convinced the guys to go to Sanremo! Or rather Gianluca convinced Piero who convinced Ignazio.
Gianluca sums up Sanremo and the events that follow in this way….
The truth is that I was right from the beginning and, no one has ever listened to me, ever. I believed it so much that, if you notice, maybe I’m the one with the least surprised look when Carlo Conti announces the winner. Then, of those moments, one remembers little, there is great confusion, emotion. It was a dream to be able to shout, “Thank you, Italy!” from that stage. I looked at Sanremo as a child, when there was Pippo Baudo, and I was there and I have won because people were on our side and it was a dream, I repeat even if I have already said it. The emotion was only when my grandfather told me almost in tears: ‘Who would have told me that in my life I would see Modugno win at the festival and then I see you win.’
On Sunday evening, when I returned to Montepagano, I found the whole village in a party, not just my grandfather: my countrymen were waiting for me from the morning to celebrate. There really was everyone, including the mayor. And then, the journalists, the local TV and a crowd of people who we could not count.
In short, Sanremo was just a dream that brought us many different emotions.
Gianluca Ginoble with Luca Maggitti.
This photo is published on Luca Maggitti’s Facebook page with this dedication:
If I can express a wish to friends, for 2019, it is to have the humility of Gianluca: an international star who – since I have known him … and I have known him since he was 12 years old and he was nobody – has never been haughty.
On the other hand, I know people who are haughty and don’t even have a shred of talent.
(In the lower right corner of the photo is Gianluca’s first public performance, on May 25, 2007 at the Oratorio Piamarta.)
The journalist Luca Maggitti interviewed Gianluca on the occasion of the ABBA Immobiliare event. During the interview, started to drizzle. This was an excellent
Luca: On stage with me is the winner of Sanremo 2015 with Il Volo: Gianluca Ginoble.
Gianluca: Good evening
Luca: These drops (drizzle), remind me of a passage from a book that says that Mexican nobles love to sleep outdoors with the drops of water that wet their sheets in the summer.
Gianluca: The perfect soundtrack. The sound of nature.
Luca: Singing in the rain.
Gianluca: Singing in the rain. Wet evening, lucky evening (it’s an old Italian saying).
Luca: You are truly an international artist. You have been on exceptional stages. A memory … when I saw you taking a selfie with Pope Francis in Panama, reminds me how many there were, how many you were.
Gianluca: Maybe it was one of the best experiences ….. but you know that I don’t like to always talk about myself. This is a special evening and first of all I want to greet everyone, even ABBA Immobiliare and all of you, I am really happy and honored to be here, and thanks for the affection you have shown me also in these last week’s where we have had the opportunity to be together.
Luca: But they want to hear about you.
Gianluca: Yes, of course, let’s say that during my artistic career, it is now 11 years that I “fly” with my colleagues.
Luca: You have been on a world tour for 11 years without stopping, COVID has stopped you, otherwise you would be doing the eleventh year of touring.
Gianluca: Unfortunately, Covid has stopped everyone, there is no alternative and in any case health is the most important thing.
Surely one of the most beautiful experiences was to sing for the Pope, one meter from Pope Francis, an Ave Maria Mater Misericordiae written especially for us. There were thousands of young people, it was World Youth Day.
Luca: Eight hundred thousand young people?
Gianluca: You added three hundred thousand more …..
Luca: But do you realize how many young people ….. and then you go there and say “Francis, let’s take a selfie?”
Gianluca: It was nice, because the Pope is always very helpful, we had the opportunity to meet him also during the private audience, and that day we said ‘Can we take a selfie like young people do?’ And he said ‘Sure.’
Luca: Then I have an Argentine national volleyball guest and I keep you here, as you also speak Spanish, and I don’t.
Luca: You also sang for two Presidents of the Italian Republic, in the Senate there was Napolitano and in Trieste, for the unification of Italy there was Mattarella. Even in those cases, I imagine, a great satisfaction.
Gianluca: Especially in the Senate I was very excited, I was 18/19 and it was something surreal, like the beginning of our career, from school desks, to travels around the world.
It was an honor for us, Napolitano, Grasso (President and Prime Minister), he was very prestigious, one of the things I will never forget.
Luca: Another thing I remember, at least it struck me a lot and maybe it is something passed over in silence, when you went to do a sort of “Band Aid”, years later for Haiti, if I’m not mistaken, and you were invited by Quincy Jones himself. Quincy Jones isn’t recognized by many, but he produced Michael Jackson, he produced Thriller.
You were very young, and you had this man who, from the videos, hugged you …..
Gianluca:There are great things very appreciated abroad, of our country, and they are good food and this type of music, which has its own light and illuminates the world for decades, also brought by Pavarotti and Bocelli. Thanks to this, we have attracted the attention of the great boss of international music like Quincy Jones, because we do nothing but bring, with our voices, the name of our music, of our country.
Luca: It struck me a lot, even the fact that the former Roseto basketball coach, Neven Spahija, when he was in Atlanta, called me and said, “Is that boy really from Roseto?”. And then he came to greet you at meet & greet and he wrote me, “This is the music that everyone loves in the world,” and he is a Croatian.
The beautiful thing about Il Volo, I have always said, as a simple journalist, you are Il Volo in Japan, Il Volo in America …… that is … Vasco Rossi (a very famous pop singer in Italy) it is Vasco Rossi in Italy, but in France (France taken as an example of a neighboring country), no offense, he is nobody ….. you are Il Volo in the world, and this is an incredible thing.
When you go to South America, they give the news on the national news. For you, who are always kind it seems normal, but sharing this with you, let me say to all: let’s do another round of applause!
There is also another succulent anecdote, when you went with Bruno Vespa in New York and you met Woody Allen and you explain to him that you live in Montepagano, taking the wine route. Tell us.
Gianluca: I sometimes think about it and it makes me laugh.
Luca: Your spontaneity makes you do everything.
Gianluca: Sicily is certainly much better known than Abruzzo, this is the reality. We were having dinner with Woody Allen, and he asked us where we come from. The other two replied from Sicily and he said he had seen it several times, then I say from Abruzzo, he did not know where it was, then I add, near Rome, and then I say, “Do you know Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine?” and he said, “Yes, great wine, I like it very much”. You understand, I had to go around through the wine to explain where Abruzzo is, because unfortunately he didn’t know it, but through the wine he understood.
Luca: Yes, for many foreign people, Abruzzo is close to Rome, even if in fact it is not that close for us, indeed it is far from Rome, but to explain it is easier this way.
Gianluca: In addition, the places of the Abruzzo mountains are more famous than those of the sea. But we have beautiful beaches here and there are people like you (Abba Immobiliare) who are investing in the territory of Roseto degli Abruzzi, which is a jewel and has nothing to envy from other beaches.
Luca: Last thing I want to tell you, something that happened to me and your dad, Ercole. One day I was here at the Liberty having a coffee and I see four women who speak English. They were four of Gianluca admirers from Connecticut, Texas, Florida, and I would say Louisiana or Georgia, who had come here, had hired a driver, an interpreter, and wanted to see the places where Gianluca had grown up. If I hadn’t witnessed this, I wouldn’t have believed it. They asked me, “Do you really know Gianluca?” And I called Ercole and told him that I had seen women who were almost crying for Gianluca.
Gianluca: Do you realize?
Luca: The Texan woman, (Deborah Georgini Beaupre) showed me the photo of the car with the personalized IL VOLO license plate, because there, paying for it is possible (in Italy it is not possible) and told me, ‘I am cured of depression, after the death of my husband, listening to the music of Il Volo’ and hugged you and never left you. They came from America to see your house, then, luckily you were there, but for them, it was enough to see Gianluca’s house in Montepagano. What do you think of this?
Gianluca: Sometimes I can hardly believe it, how life can radically change, however I was a child who dreamed of singing, but I never imagined that my life could change like this and get to the other side of the world and excite and also to heal people ….. the power of music, and it’s something that still excites me.
Luca: In 2009, Massimo Ranieri (famous Italian singer) comes here to sing and the mayor tells me, I bring Gianluca to Ranieri and introduce him to him. You know him, and you tell him, ‘You will see that I will become a good singer.’
Gianluca: But…… I can’t have said that.
Luca: Then you also took the photo with your cell phone.
Gianluca: It was 2007 and then in 2015 we sang together on RAI1 “Qunado L’Amore Diventa Poesia” and he showed that old photo on TV.
Luca: What effect did it have on you?
Gianluca: This shows that over the years anything can happen, as a child I came to see a singer in concert and a few years later, I sing on TV with him.
Luca, but you know that I don’t like to talk only about me.
Luca: But you are the star. In 2007, the first memory I have of you, at the age of 12, you go to sing two songs for a poetry award at the Pia Marta oratory school and you sing “Il Mare Calmo Della Sera,” a very difficult piece.
Gianluca: I remember, I was a little anomalous, a 12-year-old boy singing Bocelli, my friends listened to something else. I also listened to other groups, but also classical music, so the children of my age saw me as a “different” child.
Luca: And I remember, that this 12 year old is doing this very difficult song and in the end we all stood up.
Gianluca: Then I still had the young voice, so it was easier to get to the high notes.
Luca: It was an exceptional ride and it is still at the beginning because you are very young.
Gianluca: I hope so, I’ve always enjoyed living with music.
Luca: Last thing, you were international stars, but you missed Italy, first time in Sanremo and immediately victory, what effect did it have on you?
Gianluca: In fact we were more known and appreciated in other countries than at home, it was a sort of revenge, to show that we had a great desire to do and to be recognized in our country after years abroad, and for us to win Sanremo it was the most important thing, it gave us the real fame in Italy, that of being recognized on the street. But I must say that I am really happy, and I hope to continue flying with my colleagues for many more years.
Luca: The hope is also that you will always remain so available, ladies and gentlemen: GIANLUCA GINOBLE.
I want to add one final note before I close. When Gianluca found out that he would be singing for the Pope for the World Meeting of Families and that his family was invited as guests to meet the Pope, his first thought was my grandpa will shake hands with the Pope. Grandpa, the head of the family.
So now, let me go back and sum up Gianluca’s musical career! Although Gianluca never studied music he did develop a musical ear and instinct and as a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses and his performances around Abruzzo, he was discovered by Licia Giunco who brought Gianluca to Rome to audition for Ti Lascio Una Canzone. The rest of the story is history!
Gianluca shares his amazing voicewith people all over the world! People who have come to know and love The Romantic Gianluca and all agree that he is the one who will lead you into the journey that is known as Il Volo.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
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*Excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia.