Everything in Life Happens for a Reason by Susan

Last week my story included a video made by Ignazio that tells how grateful he was for being one of the three. He thanks Piero and Gianluca, Michele, Barbara and their families. Ignazio also tells us something that his grandfather told him when he was young, “Nothing happens for no reason.” You or I would say, “Everything in Life Happens for a Reason.” Different words same meaning. 
What was going on here. If we listen further, we hear Ignazio talk about how the three came together on the stage of Ti Lasccio una Canzone.

I’ve written about this many times and what I say is what Ignazio is saying. Faith, divine intervention brought them together.
For me, I see the day they sang together for the first time as the day their destiny was fulfilled. La Forza del destino (the force of destiny). I’ll call it as I see it! This was God’s plan! His hand was always guiding each of these boys. How else would you explain how they happened to be in the same place at the same time? We’re not just talking about three teenage boys with nice voices, we’re talking about three teenage boys with phenomenal voices. Very unique voices! Truly one-of-a-kind voices! Their voices are like no other voices in the world. Am I saying they are the greatest singers in the world? Yes! They are touched by the hand of God!
It wasn’t just that the voices were extraordinary, no, it was that they complemented one another. It was natural and it was apparent from the very first note that these voices worked well together and that their voices are in tune with one another. The first time they walked out on the stage, their fate was sealed.
So how is this possible? For me there is only one way to explain it!  Before the Lord sent these three amazing men to earth, He said what this world needs are three voices that can bring joy to my people. So, He chose three loving couples and sent each one a son who would bring joy to the world through his voice!
Alone each voice is phenomenal. Together they are a symphony! Listen to their voices when they sing. Their voices are coming from every direction like a symphony orchestra that is forming the music around you!
I talked about their individual discoveries many times. Usually when you talk about someone being discovered it goes something like, “I was standing on a street corner singing when….” No that isn’t what happened here. The reason they are so unique is because they were discovered as children. Very small children! Three, four years old. They really had those intense unmistakable voices very early on.  A voice that makes you stop in your tracks and say, “Am I really hearing that voice coming from that child?”  They were born with those voices.

Before we explore how these voices grew and became the phenomenal voices they are today, I want the guys to tell you about their childhood. In other words, let’s start all over again!

As the weeks go by, the guys will tell you what happened after they were discovered and how they worked with their voices. How their musical education helped them to arrive at Ti Lascio una Canzone, at least in the case of Piero and Ignazio. Of course, Gianluca was different, but we’ll get to that later. 
Let’s get the guys to tell you a little bit about their childhood before music became their whole life.

Let’s start with Piero remembering his time in the countryside with his family….
What an effort, you will think, to remember when we were little. In practice, we were young the day before yesterday. The feeling that all three of us have, and I do not say it because I am the oldest and the one who is accused of being the fussiest, no, it is that time has gone by too fast, yesterday we were children and, in a moment, we found ourselves grown up with a great job to carry on. It’s the most beautiful job in the world, what we dreamed and desired but, the truth is that none of us really imagined what would happen because each one of us was on his own and was busy doing different things. We did not know where it would bring us.
From age one to fourteen, I can tell you in detail the different things I did. I can tell you how many euros of gasoline I put in the motorbike. That would be 10. And, I remember, how much I consumed each day.
Then I remember that in the morning, when I went to work in the workshop during the summer with my uncle Angelo (my mother’s brother) I was impatient for it to be half past ten so I could go to the supermarket to buy a sandwich of ham and provolone.
For a couple of months, when I was nine years old, I worked with my father in the body shop, but being allergic to the powders and paints, I had to stop because I had asthma.
Then I went to the workshop of my uncle and there I had no problem because mechanics had oil and fat, but nothing that made me asthmatic.
And then at half past ten, on time, my uncle gave me two euros and I went to buy my sandwich. But how good was that sandwich?
These are things that have remained in my head and will not go away.
And there are also sad things that have remained in my head and will not go away, like that morning of 2001 when, at eight o’clock as I was getting ready to go to school, there was a phone call, my grandfather Francesco, my paternal grandfather, had died. I was small, but the pain was great, because I had a wonderful relationship with my paternal grandparents.

My grandmother Graziella has always been proud of what my father has done in life and today she is proud of what her grandchildren do.
And today, in moments of happiness, the thought always goes to my grandfather Ciccio. How many times have I thought of him and how many times have I heard my father say, ‘What a disappointment that his grandfather did not get to enjoy all the beautiful things that have happened?’

Because when you love a person, that good remains inside you, you cannot forget it anymore.
Instead, what I’ve done in the last five or six years, I tend to forget. Not because I am not happy to have done it, on the contrary, I am very happy. I do not like to say banality, but the life I live is a dream that has come true: living with music was all I wanted.
But in a short time so many things have happened, but just so many, that you cannot remember them all.
On the contrary, I remember, perfectly, and I can tell you about the time my father stood me on the hood of a car in his body shop. My father’s workshop is big and always full of cars and there are the noises of the coachbuilder’s. It certainly is not an ideal place to sing, but it was actually one of my first stages. Can you imagine my father lifted me up on the car with the jack and put me on top of the car? I was no more than four years old, and I started to sing? At that point, all the people in front of the workshop looked out, slowly spilling out one after the other. I remember them, they stood there listening to me, their heads popping out of the door, and I sang and, it was the most natural thing in the world for me.

Mine is a real Sicilian family, one of those that on Sundays unites at the grand house of my grandparents and I tell you that we have lunch, from the first to the sweet, things so good that you cannot even imagine and, as soon as summer arrives, we move to the countryside.
I have spent every summer from when I was one to thirteen with my grandparents and my great-grandmother Lina (my grandmother’s mother). I swear, they were perhaps the most beautiful days of my life, and I will never forget them.
In the country I could not wait for it to be Saturday morning, when we lit the wood-burning oven: I went to collect wood around the ground, I helped to light the fire, and I helped to take out the pizza. In addition to pizza, we did “u pani impurnatu”, bread baked in the oven. How good it was! It kept that good taste all week, then on the following Saturday we did it again, beautiful, warm and fragrant.
We also made the “impanate”, which are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area. In short, I ate a lot of good things, and it was visible (I was really fat).
I’ve always had a passion for motorcycles and cars, when I was six or seven, my father gave me a minicross. In practice, a cross-country minimoto, but without the gears.
Why did I tell you that I spent the best time of my life in the country because there, with my mimicross, I lived the most beautiful adventures in the garden of the Riolo family? The Riolo’s were the owners of the villa that is right next to our countryside. They were the richest family in the country, and they lived in Agrigento. And since the Riolo’s only came to the villa once a month, the marvelous orchard that surrounded it was practically abandoned.
What was I doing then? I took the minicross, my grandmother would sit back, and we would get into what we called “a stradella pi ‘Riola”, the road of the Riolo, two hundred meters of dirt road to be done with the motorbike. And those trees full of fruits were very beautiful. The Riolo’s knew of our raids, my grandmother Rina told them we went to collect the fruit and they gave us permission to do so. My grandfather had worked many years for them and now they were family friends. But for me, what we were doing was going to “steal”, it was a secret. In fact, around the garden there were no fences, so you could enter from anywhere, but the fact that we entered through a gate on the saddle of the minicross gave me the feeling of really doing something dangerous and secret.
“Grandma, where are we going?” I said, even before finishing the road.
“Lemon tree,” she answered.
“Here we go!”
And off to fill the bag of lemons.
“Grandma, where are we going now?”
“Pear trees.”
And off to fill the pear bag.
And then the peaches, the plums, there was fruit for all tastes.
One day, I remember, the Riolo’s came to the countryside with us, and they carried a bag of small, round, burgundy fruits.
I said to Mr. Riolo: “And what are these things?”
I did not know them. I had never seen them before. They tasted very good, very soft, very sweet. They were jujubes.
“Where did you get them?” I ask him.
“Ci n’è’ na macchia chi un finisci chiù”, that is “There are many of these trees in the garden.”
And while Mr. Mimmo explained it to me, I already saw myself under the tree picking up the jujube with the minicross, my grandmother and small bags.

But how did we carry the bags? When they were beautifully full, they were heavy. We put a broomstick on the handlebar of my minicross and we hung the bags on both sides and, we walked.
We also took walnuts and prickly pears. And with prickly pears it was another story. We picked them up, and then with my great-grandmother we peeled them, she cleaned them without even putting on her gloves and, at the end she scraped away the thorns from the hands with the knife  and rinsed herself with the water.
The other beautiful period in the countryside was that of almonds, but this time it did not have to do with the Riolo countryside. My aunt Lucia, my grandmother’s sister, had them on her land, and in the second half of August she had a “cugliuta di mennule” (almond harvest). There were always two, three huge bags to be shared for the whole family. Who peeled those almonds? The great-grandmother. Stone, fingers, tac, tac, tac. And after who divided the almonds from the skins?  I. So, grandma tac, tac, tac, and I divided. An assembly line!
This was what happened to us in the countryside. They are images that I will never forget.

Ignazio lived in a city and his experience is different from Piero. Let’s listen to Ignazio tell us about his family leaving Marsala and how he entered this world…
It’s not that I’m crazy or strange, it’s right that my story would never have existed without my parents.
Therefore, their memories are mine too.

Mamma Caterina and my dad Vito left Marsala in 1990, when my sister was four years old, and they moved to Buonconvento, in the province of Siena.
Obviously, I cannot tell you anything about that city, because I did not exist yet. The only thing I know is that they had chosen that city because there was a great friend of my maternal grandfather who was a building contractor, it was he who offered my father a job.
In Marsala things were not going well, it was difficult to make the family live, and so my parents decided to try to move.
I imagine them leaving with many hopes but also many fears and having in mind only the thought of how many things they will do to make a good feeling for the family they have just begun to create. Of sacrifices they have made many and big for me and for my sister.
I do not spend days when I do not think about how proud I am of them.
Mom has done many jobs, and also dad: they have always tried to learn any trade, just to earn some extra money.

Besides the fact that I think this is a beautiful song, I think this is a wonderful video. It tells a beautiful story about our guys!
In Buonconvento, dad Vito started immediately as a mason with that friend of his grandfather and, mom Caterina has changed a bit of work but has never been with hands in hand (empty hands).
But already in 1992, they realized that they did not earn enough to keep going.
And that’s why I was born in Bologna: because they decided to leave Buonconvento and moved to San Martino in Argine, a fraction of the Municipality of Molinella, just near Bologna.
Even in this case, the move was linked to a knowledge of my parents, an old friend of my father who he met by chance, during a visit to my grandmother’s cousin.
Even at San Martino in Argine my father, being a mason, immediately found a good job.
Mom, who has always been a determined person with a great desire to get busy, has improvised herself as a cook – she’s very good at cooking, I do not know if you understand – and she started working as a chef in a restaurant not far from home.
Nina grew up and the two of them made sacrifices, but within a few years they managed to achieve a certain economic stability and decided to move into a house, finally all for them, in the hamlet of Guarda di Molinella.

A fraction that, to exaggerate, had just over three hundred and fifty inhabitants.
The house was very small, but it was still my first home, the one in which I was born.
I was the most pampered of the family. I’ve always been a lively child. I laughed all the time (I have not stopped yet). I learned very quickly to talk and walk. I was never silent, I was firm and impossible, but I was also an awake baby and I started early. I was three or four years old when I started to play the piano that my parents had given Nina.
Mom Caterina, in fact, says that the very first time I played with the pianola, I was younger, I was a year old, and my sister had taught me to play ‘Happy Birthday’ with just one finger.
I was a happy child, even though mum often tells me ‘you’ve never been a child,’ in the sense that I’ve always been quite serious and responsible. Would you ever say that?
Anyway, I was a happy child and even my family was starting to get better, the situation was not yet roses and flowers, but in four years it had changed a lot.

But the moves were not finished yet.
My parents have tried every time to move where they thought they could be better from the working point of view, but above all to make Nina and me feel better.
For this reason, the moves were not lacking either before, nor after my birth. Indeed, when it seemed that we were fine, it was always time to leave.
I do not remember the details of the houses where I lived, of those I saw and of those they told me about, but there is a particular address that remained in my mind: Via Marconi 94 in Molinella, because it was the address of the new, bigger and more beautiful house, in which we moved just when I was about to start elementary school.
I cannot remember exactly the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed.
If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put me in the middle of the class to sing, forget it.
I was passionate about music, that’s for sure, but I was more passionate about pranks.
I told you: since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation.
In the official classification of the class, I was the second most mischievous. Nicolas was in the first place. But ours was an open challenge, a race at the last red cross. Now the question arises: what are the red crosses? Here, the teachers had invented this billboard on which they had written all the names in alphabetical order and where, according to the behavior in the classroom and the academic performance, went to mark two types of crosses: the blue if you took a good mark in the task in class or if you behaved well, you did not run, do not shout, do not disturb during lessons and a whole series of “NOT”; the red, however, if you had taken an insufficiency or if you behaved badly, and evil was everywhere. Nicolas and I were the most popular! Our billboard line was a red fire specimen.

With the passage of time, I found something good at school too, that is, I mean an activity that was able to interest me enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I had joined the school choir.
I did not do the phenomenon, but I enjoyed it, I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music.
And more and more passionately I began to understand how to better use Nina’s famous pianola. I had learned how to start the musical bases and flipping through them I had rediscovered that of La Donna È Mobile.

In short, I had begun to like it so much that I sang with that base, inventing words.
Now the exact words that I invented do not remember, but for sure my song was about Luciano Pavarotti. Because? Because as a child I always saw him on television and every time he had a huge handkerchief in his hand, so I invented a text with Pavarotti and his handkerchief.
I sang on the air of La Donna È Mobile, but I did not know yet that a movement would affect me again: on the horizon was another move, but unfortunately it was not the only thing we had to deal with in those years.
Now I would not want you to make a wrong idea of me as a child. A saint I was not, mind you, but thinking about it now if I was mischievous at school, maybe there was a reason.
More or less since 1998, when I was four years old and I had just started kindergarten, there was not a nice climate in my family: mom Caterina had been diagnosed with facial cancer.
With all the ingenuous that a child of that age can have, I did not understand what was really happening, but I realized that things were not going well, when I began to see less and less mother at home.
After a few months back and forth from the hospital without finding a solution, Mum did something she always did for me for as long as I can remember: she explained the situation to me, speaking openly.
This is a great merit that I must acknowledge to the whole family, but perhaps a little more to mom, because the fact of speaking clearly with us children and telling us the truth about things that affected our family and life in general, taught to me to face early adult speeches.
With mum we always talked about sex, about society, a little bit of everything that life had in store for me since childhood.
I do not even have to tell you that since my mother Caterina’s speech, my life has changed.
I was small, but I could not afford to think like the other children of my age.
And for my sister the situation was even more complicated because since 1998, the year of our mother’s first hospitalization, and 2003, the year when all that bad story is over, my mother has become Nina.
For the first two years of elementary, those dotted with red crosses, I have not often seen mom, a little because I went to school, a little because she had to return frequently to the hospital and stay there for long periods.
Dad Vito worked and my sister, despite her twelve years, had to be a housewife. She has become my biggest reference point.

We had to grow both of us very quickly, without thinking about toys and different entertainment, and not so to speak, but really.
The truth is that we were not interested in anything that usually affects two children of that age, because the only thing we wanted was to have mom at home.
It is difficult to say what was the worst moment, because her absence was always felt.
For sure, however, I was particularly impressed by a quarrel with my sister.
I was four and she was twelve and I was playing with a toy, she was fed up because I was making noise, she took it from me and we had a fight.  After responding badly to her, I immediately repented. For me Nina was very important, really like a mother. In the end I did not sleep for a week. But I never told him, at least until now.
After five surgeries and one hundred and fifty points in the face, mum Caterina has returned home. Too bad they did not leave me much time to enjoy it. I wanted her sitting on the sofa and I wanted kisses, hugs and everything I haven’t had in those years. Mum is mine and woe to those who touch her! And instead, a few years earlier, mom Caterina had started working in a pizzeria and, not even the time to leave the hospital, she rightly started working again. What could I do?
There were days when I watched her go to work and I stayed with Sabrina, my nanny, as well as girlfriend of the pizza maker who worked with mom. But there were days when she allowed me, and I followed her to work. And since I never wanted to miss it again, I stood by the fridge of drinks and from there I had the perfect vision on her cash desk.
Because mom at that time, she did not work in the kitchen, but ran the place, so most of the time she was at the cash desk or answering the phone, and I never took my eyes off her, I did not miss a movement, we could talk, in addition to the fact that I was busy selling many drinks to customers who entered the pizzeria.
So, let’s take a look at the situation: mom Caterina has returned home, the pizzeria has become my second home, I was a great seller of drinks and everything seemed finally to get better.
At school, then, as I told you, I was part of the choir, and I was even more passionate about music.
In short, finally, a little of tranquility. How long did it last? Four years, more or less….

As I mentioned, Gianluca was different in how he was raised and how he progressed in his singing. But let’s start with his early years in Montepagano….
No, I’m not like Ignazio, I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.
I had a radio with a knob that turns to find the radio station, and I always looked for someone who would broadcast the songs of Andrea Bocelli, my absolute idol, or Domenico Modugno, or others of this kind.
In the summer, then, I would take the radio when I went with my friends in what we call ‘la pinetina’ (the small pine forest), that is a park equipped with wooden games and tables and with lots of green space.
When I was between eleven and thirteen, I used to go play soccer, make long games with Pokemon cards and listen to music.
With my radio, I was looking for songs that made me dream, even though I knew that my friends, on the other hand, liked the Eiffel 65 (we were in the early 2000s). For a while they agreed to listen to what I chose, but at a certain point they protests started: ‘Come on, change … What balls! What’s this?’
Even I liked those more modern genres, I always listened to everything, but what I really loved was something else.
In November 2000 my brother Ernesto was born, when I was five and a half years old. I was just starting to hum.
A year later I started to get interested in Bocelli and Modugno.
And Ernesto in the cradle, listened to these melodies with me.
But the most beautiful thing I remember – and it is a memory of those that I have just printed in the head, is that when he was big enough to come in the small pine forest too, I made him listen to these songs that my friends did not appreciate, always with my radio with the knob.
We sat close together on the ground, and I kept the radio on the legs, or we sat on the swings with the radio resting on the ground and, while listening to the music so strange for our age, I told him my dreams.

He has never studied music, he has never studied singing, but he always knows how to give me the right advice, the right vision. It’s like when we sing together: I play the melody and he immediately makes harmony. At his age, I did not do it.
I think the radio did well to him.
 The Roots of Music are Endless.
In which it is said that the great passions, when they are really great, can conquer your heart at any time and in any place you live.
Yes, we were lucky all three to have the families we had. Ignazio and Piero were able to study music thanks to the sacrifices, and even big ones, of their families.
I’ve never studied it, if I have to tell the truth, but the music at home has always been there.
My grandfather Ernesto, as my father says, has been a musician since he was a boy: he played the contralto flugelhorn in the band of the town, he toured all around Abruzzo doing performances with the band, and has always been a lover of the opera.
My father Ercole, instead studied music, played drums and sometimes he still does it. Let’s say he’s more rock than grandfather!

Dad and mom Leonora realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing the initials of cartoons, at three or four years. But, as it has always been, they let things take their way without ever forcing me….

These were the beginnings for Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca.
What did we learn today? They were just three ordinary boys growing up in Naro, Bologna and Montepagano. Or were they? I started by saying Everything in Life Happens for a Reason, we have heard about some of those reasons, but we have to continue to explore their lives to learn more about how they approached their music and how all the pieces feel in place.
Just one final note. This morning I learned that Anna Vitale, who many of you know, had suddenly and unexpectly passed away. Anna was a big Il Volo fan who followed everything the guys did and commented on everything. Every night Anna would bid everyone a good night before going off for the evening.  Dear Anna, I wish you a good night in the arms of the Lord! We will all miss you!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*Excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia.

20 thoughts on “Everything in Life Happens for a Reason by Susan”

  1. The story about each boy starting with their early childhood was so interesting to read. They came from simple and humble beginnings and certainly has helped make and shape them into the beautiful young men they are today. I have heard Piero say “our families mean everything to us.” It’s sad to say that many children today are being raised so differently. I’m 78 years old, 100% Italian and raised my two sons the old fashioned way.

  2. Thank you, Susan, for all the great effort you put into the sharing the interesting stories about Gianluca, Piero, Ignazio. I do so enjoy your presentations and commentaries. Keep them coming! God bless.

  3. Great article again Susan! I believe in What you say about Holy Providence , things really do have a reason for being, for happening. It’s my belief that God has his hand on everything ( which is why war and ugliness are so hard to explain, other than “free will”,). Learning more about the guys young lives explains a lot about each of them….for the most part aren’t we all the product of our upbringing ? When you’re brought so loved and cherished how could you be anything but a beautiful spirit!
    I loved all the videos and in particular Gian singing “Night and Day”, he really did a beautiful tribute to Sinatra…..but that said, I think Frank’s mouth would have a gape to hear this spectacular rendition of one of his most famous songs ( and feeling a little relieved he’s now only 27!). All though I remember a tv show where he praised Vic Damone for BEING the best young singer with the MOST PERFECT VOICE! (Back in the early 60’s!)
    Thanks always for all the wonderful words about Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio❤️❤️❤️🎼🎤
    Blessings to you and your family, Carol

  4. Maybe “Night and Day” could be in another concert, I’ll bet it would be well received….and on an album! With Gian signing it of course….Mr. GInoble or young Mr. Sinatra!!!

  5. Thank you, Susan, for this insight into the singers’ childhoods. How such different childhoods , but a unifying talent and passion for music has brought us this divine group! Thanks, again.

  6. Thanks as always, Susan, for this, and especially for the “Night and Day” video. I’m an Igna girl, but that’s a great song, a beautiful arrangement, and Gianluca did a magnificent job on it. I wish it had been on a cd–maybe someday.

  7. THANKYOU. I have just come back to New Zealand having travelled to Sydney Australia for Il Volo’s last concert before they head home.
    It was phenomenal, out of this world. And the three of them seemed so happy and performed brilliantly. I am so lucky.

  8. Thank you once again, Susan🥰 always love to read, hear and discover new things about the guys- they are truly a gift from God with those voices! Their passion for music, family, life and their fans are just amazing! How can you not love them!❤️ Looking forward to the next article.🤗🤗

  9. Wonderful stories of the boys growing up, but my heart goes out to Ignazio. When my youngest was 5 years old, her dad got very ill, and many times my older daughter at 15 years old had to look after her while I was at the hospital with him. So I understand the difficult family situation. For Ignazio, I think the Air Force motto “Per Ardua ad Astra” meaning ‘through difficulty to the stars’ fits him perfectly.

  10. It is a privilege to read your indepth write-up about these boys Susan – written with passion & a stunning insight into their backgrounds – their stories fill our hearts with joy – the boys are a gift to this World – how we love them – thank you Susan for this immense undertaking – much love.

  11. Thank you Susan for giving another insight in to the start of their career ,Ignazio must have missed his mum so much when she was in hospital ,the boys parents have been behind them from the start ,God give these three fantastic singers the voices to make so many people happy ,hope they go on for ever .

  12. I haven’t read all the comments yet, Susan, but getting the gist of some of them, I thank you, too, for your amazing work. Will listen to the other videos but have seen “Night and Day” by Gianluca and agree that he SHOULD sing it on a CD, or even a single CD, along with Mia Mancherai (for me). Dol.

    Still not getting the email alerts about postings. Thanks to Roz in England, she tells me about them but would still like to be notified by the Flight Crew.

      1. On the site that you read this on…The Flight Crew there is a place to the right to check a box and enter your email, that’s how I did it. Good luck fellow fan! Carol

  13. Carol, thanks for your input but I’ve been a member for nearly two years now and up until a couple of months ago, received notice of new postings. However, I did get the notice this morning about your reply to my comment, so something might be working again!!! Here’s hoping. Dol.

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