Sorry my story is late this week! Blame it on jet lag and going to the concert at Radio City Music Hall last night! And what an amazing concert it was! But that is a story for another day! All this within 28 hours of stepping on a plane in Rome. Guys how do you do those tours?
Anyway, let’s get to Gianluca’s story!
Gianluca is very different from Piero and Ignazio. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. 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. 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!
Because he never had the challenges of Ignazio or the intense musical education Piero had, we can honestly say he is The Calm & Peaceful One!
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 would leave his mark in every corner of that world.
Let’s listen to how Gianluca describes the town he grew up in:
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.
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.
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.
In Gianluca’s description of his town, we can 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 and we can see the peaceful calm that surrounded him from childhood.
In Abruzzo they have an expression. Molto gentile (very gentle). What they are saying is there are people who are kind peaceful people. Who are always calm. Are they like this because they live simple lives?. They spend time walking in the mountains and immersing themselves in the beauty around them. There certainly is a lot of beauty around these people from the grandeur of the Gran Sasso to the beautiful beaches along the Adriatic, all that you can see, touch or feel has a beauty and calmness to it!
I understand these people and how they live because they’re my people too so, it seems for Gianluca, from his very early years there was no pressure, no concern for anything other than living a calm and peaceful life.
I believe this allowed Gianluca to spend all his days singing and listening to the music he loved. This beautiful peaceful life would explain why, when Gianluca goes home, 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 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.”
Within this peaceful environment, Gianluca developed his great passion for music. And from this came our great passion, which is the embodiment of Gianluca, his music!
As you know, Gianluca’s mother worked, so, he went to after-school session with the nuns. He had a teacher named Gabriella. One afternoon, while Gianluca was doing homework, he suddenly got up and started singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” The teacher 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,” Gianluca said, “he’s my idol, my favorite singer,” Gianluca said this with a certain pride. “Only I do not have his CD yet.” “I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you” was the teacher’s answer. “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.”
So, let’s turn to Sinatra ~ the Voice. But I think Sinatra would be in awe of Gianluca. Love you Frank but Gianluca’s got this one!
Gianluca is known as the Velvet Voice!
I don’t who coined the phrase but, that is right on. Let’s use our senses to understand what that means. Take a piece of velvet and hold it in your hand. Now take your other hand and gently pass your hand across the velvet. What do you feel? You feel a smooth even surface that is crisp with no breaks in it. The sensation is so good that you automatically go back and do it again. And every time it’s the same. It’s pleasing!
Now take Gianluca’s voice, let the notes pass into your ears, what do you hear? A crisp, smooth, even voice with no breaks in it. The note barely passes into your ear and, you are going back for the next note. It’s always pleasing!
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.
So, how did Gianluca get to where he is today!
We know Gianluca never took a singing lesson or entered a competition before Ti Lascio Una Canzone but he was a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses. And if it wasn’t for this choir, Gianluca may not have been discovered.
Piccolo Choir of Roses is one of the local branches of the Zecchino d’oro. The Mago Zurlì, who was the presenter of the event when Gianluca was in the Choir, was Gianluca’s father, Ercole Ginoble.
But, let me let Gianluca tell you how this all came to be….
When I sing, I don’t forget instinct. What does that mean? As I said, 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 knew 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 ear 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.
Of course, we know, the greatest and proudest achievement for Gianluca and the guys was winning Sanremo! We know that it was Gianluca who convinced the guys to go to Sanremo! Or rather Gianluca convinced Piero who convinced Ignazio. And, in the end, 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 have won because people were on our side and it was a dream, I repeat even if I have already said. 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 has a heart of gold! It’s always about helping others whether through his generosity or his love of his country! That’s just how Gianluca is. He has his hand in everything and reaches it out to those who need it!
I would like to add here part of an article written by Maura (Nonna) Pucci for Flight Crew in June 2020. Maura wrote about Gianluca, and this is some of what she had to say….
…. Gianluca sings with all of himself, with his eyes, with his facial expression, with his hand movements, even with his body posture. He sings a song, he does not perform part of his work, but “brings out” the passion for music that he has in himself, to transfer it to those who listen to him: he is fulfilling a mission…. because he “feels” the music, to the maximum degree.
Maura recalls: I saw Gianluca with an entranced expression, listening with closed eyes, to the splendid voice of Piero, who sang beside him, “O Holy Night.” These are things that move me and are not forgotten.
Gianluca brings to the stage all the behavioral and character characteristics that distinguish him in his private life.
Always in search of perfection, he is PROFESSIONAL to the maximum degree, GENTLEMANLY attitudes, CHEERFUL and SMILING, sometimes even LIVELY, but never too EXUBERANT. WITTY, but with measure; RESERVED, but no longer shy as in the past; ROMANTIC, TENDER, helpful, full of affection for fans, just as he is towards family members, friends, children, the disabled.
I want to add a quality, which with the presence on stage, perhaps not involved, is also sincerely MODEST and not “arrogant” as many insinuate.
Some time ago, he said something that struck me, and now I try to summarize. I still find it hard to realize that I, who have had idols since I was a child and still have them today, may in turn have become an idol for many people.
Maura concludes: This is “my” Gianluca, as I see him, and, according to my personal tastes, I have found in him all the qualities that make him a son, a brother, an ideal nephew.
In fact, I consider him a virtual “grandchild” ……….
We are at the conclusion and until now, I never said, that he is also beautiful! Yes, because I wonder how much it costs for a show artist to be BEAUTIFUL too.
It depends. Being beautiful counts a lot for a movie star, how many beautiful actors have been successful without being able to act!
But a singer is asked …… a beautiful voice, that he knows how to use and that enchants those who listen to him.
Like Gianluca’s voice, a healthy bearer of strong and contagious emotions.
If then, the lucky singer is also pleasant in appearance, that is just a plus that does not hurt.
Well Maura, I think you summed this up for us! All those beautiful traits come from the man who can certainly be called The Calm & Peaceful One!
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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