The Path of Stardom by Susan

A while back I wrote a story “A Slice of Pizza with Ignazio on the Side!” I followed that with a story about Piero “The Mulberry Tree” and finally I wrote “And Then There Were Three” about Gianluca. These three stories bring our guys to The Path of Stardom.

In his story, Ignazio leaves his friends and his school in Bologna and starts all over again in Marsala. The journey he fought every step of the way would bring him to The Path of Stardom! All the “What if’s” come into play! “What if” the family didn’t return to Marsala? “What if” Caterina didn’t open the pizzeria? “What if” that customer didn’t hear Ignazio sing? “What if” Ignazio decided not to take singing lessons? These and so many more questions will be answered in this little story. Ignazio begins his story shortly after his arrival in Marsala.

In 2004 there was a great change, the economic stability that mom and dad were looking for had arrived. Mom had regained her health and then what do we do? We return to live in Marsala.
Ignazio’s parents always thought that sooner or later they would be back in Sicily, but Nina also had her part in the choice. Every time they went on holiday in Marsala, for Nina, it was a pain to go back to Bologna, given the beauty of Sicily and since she left a lot of friends and all the rest of her family there. However, in the end, on July 24, 2004, the family moved back to Marsala.

So, let’s see how Ignazio is adjusting to life in Sicily….
In the beginning I did not accept Sicilian life. It was difficult for me to set myself up at school because the programs were, very, different from the school where I had trained. The consequence? I was seen by everyone as “the polentone” of the situation, it was the Bolognese accent….”
(A “polentone” is a somewhat derogatory term that is given to the citizens of northern Italy.)         
In the beginning I did not take it very well. At a lunch at my paternal grandmother’s house, my mother was so hurt by my words that she started to cry: ‘I recommend you, if I die you must take me to Bologna.’

Fortunately, Ignazio met new friends close to his home and this changed his mind.
Ignazio continues….
My main project when I went to school was to get home and spend the afternoon playing football. It had been less so after I started taking singing lessons. I had less free time and then no free time and I realized that singing was more important than all the rest. But in general, soccer was really a big passion for me. From an early age I had a passion for football, also because my sister played football when we lived in Bologna and then she continued, even in Marsala. She played volleyball first, and I also inherited that passion, then she moved her passion to soccer.
At school I was bored, I was learning but I was bored. But I always enjoyed playing soccer. I came home, had my lunch and did my homework faster than light, because even homework bored me. As fast as I could, I went down to the playground to play football with my friends. It happened in Bologna, and it happened in Marsala, “nu puzzu” (refers to the well) it was there that I went after school, in time to eat something, and then everyone ran behind the house to the well.
If you combine the damage in Bologna, the notes at school and various red crosses and the punishments: ironing, washing dishes, cleaning the floors, in short, housework. You can now imagine the teasing that I had to hear from Vito, Vincenzo and Ivan, my new friends in Marsala, every time I did something wrong and mom made me do the housework. One day, I face my mother. ‘Dear mom, I tell her, the pleasure is over, I’m not going to have you make fun of me anymore.’
Here in Marsala, it was the same as in Bologna’s straight straight “‘nu puzzu” it was there that I went after school, in time to eat something, and then everyone ran behind the house to the well, that is a square in the center which had a closed water well.
Ignazio, Vito and Vincenzo, and sometimes Ivan, would meet every day at the well and decide what to do. They would build huts, play the game of the week, go for a bike ride, in short, everything and more, and this is also where they met to go to school football that was just two kilometers from their homes. And sometimes, in the middle of a challenge or under a hut, under construction, you could hear shouting “Ignazio!” and everything stopped….
We stopped breathing a second and descended silent. Mom wanted me to go home and do my homework. She wanted, but I did not always agree.
During the first year we were back in Marsala, mom had gone back and forth every day to the center of Marsala to be able to secure her great dream: to open a pizzeria of her own.
In order to open the pizzeria, mom had to do certain things. First thing: she went back and forth to the office for the permits and all the bureaucratic things that she needed to do. Second thing: she used the ovens of friends and made pizzas. I remember it very well. She went from one oven to another and tried so many types of flour, she tried the dough, she tried so many types of mozzarellas, so when she finally opened the pizzeria, she already knew how to prepare the right dough. It is different to make pizza in Bologna than making it in Marsala, take the word of a son and brother of a pizza maker: it is different because it depends on the humidity, the temperature and the type of flour. It’s not a simple matter to make a really good pizza.
So, mom did these two things alone, but to build the pizzeria physically the job was for a team and involved the whole family. My father with the savings accumulated over the years began the work. He was now working in a company that built wooden structures and being an experienced bricklayer, the dream could be realized, and it could be built in front of the house.
For a whole year, in every free moment, my father dedicated himself to building the pizzeria for my mother and I loved to help him, so much so that when there was a few days of school vacation I went to work with him.
You will think that I tell you about the pizzeria under construction, but I am not a pizza maker. Of course, but if there had not been the pizzeria, perhaps I would never have started singing seriously.
While the pizzeria grew, a passion grew within me. It was a passion for electronics and music.

I had started to be part of the elementary school choir and my dad, who was more passionate about electronics than me, had bought me a mixer, a microphone and two speakers, with which we started doing the easiest thing that could be done with those instruments: karaoke. I really enjoyed singing the songs of Andrea Bocelli and Giorgia.

Finally, in 2005 the pizzeria was completed and, mom opened the Pizzeria dei Desideri.
Within a few months mom already had regular customers and since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when I was singing at home, even the customers heard me. One day a gentleman said to my mother, ‘You know, my daughter is studying singing, why don’t you come with your son once? Even just to try.’
Like everything else, we talked it over within my family and everyone was enthusiastic about it. It was decided, I would go and see what this singing lesson was like.
I remember it as if it were yesterday, and instead ten years have passed! And now, I was eleven. I wore a yellow shirt with green stripes, fashion was never my strong point. Arianna, the daughter of the pizzeria customer, who had heard me sing, and her mother and I waited, in front of the school for more than twenty minutes for Liliana Andreanò, the singing teacher.
Lilliana Adreanò, arrived in a grey Opel Astra. She got out of the car and immediately entered the school.
I was worried, almost embarrassed. Hard to believe, right? Even as a child I’ve never been the type to be speechless.
Lilliana begins to talk about music, what kind of songs I like to sing. It was already a strange thing because usually I just sang, no one asked me why and how.
You know, Liliana I like to sing Giorgia’s songs. Lilliana said: “Strange for a kid to sing this kind of song.” She asked, “And which song of Giorgia would you like to make me listen to?” Gocce Di Memoria (Drops of Memory), I said. I didn’t even have a doubt. I start singing and Liliana was amazed by my extension but asks me to try a male song too.
I thought a little bit and then I said to her: sometimes I even sing Con Te Partiro’ by Andrea Bocelli. I started singing and, when I finished Liliana told me: “Ignazio, this is your musical direction”.

From that first lesson I began to study songs like Il Mare Calmo Della Sera, Un Amore Cosi’ Grande and all those that came to mind, and I liked it. It approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic. With Liliana I found myself, very, comfortable. We understood each other immediately because she is a sociable person, simple, as are all of us in my family.
After several lessons, Lilliana proposed that I take part in a bullfight (competition) organized in Paolini. I wasn’t completely convinced that I wanted to get on a stage. Until that moment I had only thought about singing, but I had never seriously thought that all that singing one day could bring me into the spotlight. In short, I was afraid. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not being able to face the stage, but just to gain mastery on stage, Liliana urged me to participate, and so in the end I decided to do it.
I was about to get on the bullfight stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I decided to participate with the song by Bocelli “Con te partirò” (Time to Say Goodbye), a song that I had studied and re-studied with Liliana, but as soon as the music started I had a terrible fear of forgetting the words. So, what did I do? I looked down all the time. So, the audience, the place, what happened around me while I was singing, it’s not that I do not remember anything, I just do not know because I only saw the tips of my feet.
Fortunately, however, I remembered all the words and it is not so obvious because sometimes it happens that I forget the words even today now that I have become professional, the emotion continues to take us despite everything and.… I came in third.
Once the ice was broken and the stage panic was over, that ended up being just the first of many competitions for Ignazio. In general Ignazio would go with Arianna to Lilliana and a beautiful friendship developed. On those occasions they always had a lot of fun and Arianna always came a step ahead of Ignazio. Ignazio third, Ariana second; Ignazio second, Ariana first.
They just had fun, without envy. That is until….
Ariana changed teachers and our streets become a bit divided. We still found ourselves in competitions together, but a rivalry was starting that was not healthy.
This is the same period in which I started taking piano lessons, with various teachers: I changed three in three years. In the end, let’s say, I can play something, but a little, just enough for me to compose. I am not prepared like Piero, who has a very classical education.

After two and a half years, three that I was studying with Liliana, one day she tells me that for the genre that I was going to sing another teacher was better suited to give lyrical singing lessons. So, I was convinced and started to follow another singing teacher, Roberta Caly.
So now it becomes complicated. I went to Lilliana for singing lessons and interpretation. I went to Roberta for lyric singing. And I took a diction course from Lilliana and Roberta. I also went to a diction course with Lilliana and a diction course with Roberta but taught by other teachers in the school. And I also attended a jazz workshop.
The study of singing was used to learn the technique and interpretation to understand what I said when I sang, so that I could express my emotions with the words of the songs. However, I must say that despite the studying, I have remained a more pop voice than, for example, Piero who is a pure tenor and even today he studies and dreams one day of singing in an opera.
Ignazio went to class every day except Sunday when he went to see Nina’s football matches. Nina was now playing in Serie B.
Between the school, the singing lessons, the piano lessons and diction Ignazio was always busy, so much so that he was forced to leave the school of football….
I could not do everything, also because of the not fantastic economic conditions in which my family was. But I did not really want to miss anything and so I immediately found another thing to do: an extracurricular musical laboratory.
Although Ignazio was so busy, he did not want to give up that workshop, it was about setting up musicals, one of the most beautiful experiences of his life. Ignazio continues….
In 2007, I stopped studying with Roberta. I met Giovanna Collica, a very good soprano, who gave lessons in Siracusa. A gentleman who organized fashion shows in summer around Sicily, had called me to open the fashion shows. The show was in Palazzolo Acreide in Siracusa and that is where I met Giovanna.
Geographically speaking, Siracusa is on the east coast of Sicily and Marsala on the west coast. No matter the distance, studying with Giovanna was too important to pass up. She was a, very, good soprano she had even dueled with Luciano Pavarotti.
Her lessons were a great opportunity, so once a week what did I do? I took the bus with Nina, or I would leave with my parents in the car, and we would go to Siracusa. Every time I entered Giovanna’s house, I asked her ‘How is the cat?’ because she had a very plump white cat that threw himself from the balcony at least once a week.
It took a lot of money to cover the travel expenses, the lessons and in the meantime also the registration for competitions that in many cases were not free. So, it was at a certain point, mom and dad found themselves not having enough money to send me forward. They were more hurt than me. Having always worked and being accustomed to face sacrifices for the family, they did not want to surrender to this obstacle but at the same time they did not know what to do.
In the end, it was necessary to make a decision. The decision was to ask a person dear to us, a loan that, as soon as mom and dad had settled a little, would be returned.
This person has helped us with great generosity, so as, to allow me to continue to pursue this dream.
Now Ignazio is ready to realize his dream but first, let’s hear what path Piero took….
As you know, whenever I write a story about one of the boys there is usually something in that story that I can relate to. There are two things I relate to in this story. One thing is, I can relate to Piero’s family because he was raised as I was. Every word I read brings a smile to my face because it could be my family he is writing about. The second thing you’ll have to wait until the end of story for me to tell you about that. So, let me continue with excerpts from “The Mulberry Tree.”

Let me start by saying, Piero has a very sharp memory. I believe he is very detail oriented. When he does an interview or in stories I’ve read, he remembers every little detail. When an interview is over or he finishes his story, you know the event as it happened and there is nothing more for you to know. He’s told it all. He is very sensitive and very emotional when he speaks about his childhood and his family. So, without further ado, let me tell you about the first time Piero sang “Un Amore Cosi Grande.”
In the garden of Piero’s grandparents’ house there is a Mulberry Tree and hanging on that tree was an old-fashioned swing.

As was his custom, Piero’s grandfather Pietro, would come out on the terrace every morning and find a cool place to sit. Pietro always had a recorder with him. He had been blind for many years, and he uses the recorder to record music, recite poetry and compose songs. Piero says “When I think back to the, first, images I have of him, he is sitting on the terrace in the country, with a stereo in his hands…”
On this morning Piero is on the swing and, on the terrace, Pietro is preparing to record a song. It’s just a little song. The song is only two lines and it is pure Sicilian. Pietro begins to sing. E lu suli talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta petra luci ci duna, that is and, the sun, look, look, look, to this stone gives the light.
Piero recalls, “I was swinging on the swing, I was about four or five years old, I was really, very, small. I listened to him a little and at a certain point, when he stopped singing, I started: E lu suli, talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta pedra luci ci duna. What can I tell you? It just came out like that.”

His grandfather turned off the recorder and called his wife. Rina came out on the terrace and he asked her, “Unni è Piero?” (Where is Piero?)
She replied, “In Altalena” (He is on the swing)
Pietro asked, “Ma cu cantava? Iddru?” (But who was singing? He?)
She replied, “Eh, si.” (yes)
He told Rina to call him.
So, Piero got up and went to his grandfather. Pietro lifted him up and put him on the table next to the recorder and told him to “sing the song again.” Piero sang the song exactly as his grandfather sang it. He listened to Piero sing the song and then he made the decision to go to his friend Antonio’s house to record it.
Antonio was a friend of Pietro, and he shared a passion for music with him. Antonio had in his home what was called at that time a “recording studio”. It was not very big but, it did have a bigger stereo and a microphone. So, that afternoon they recorded Piero singing his grandfathers’ song in Sicilian. But it didn’t stop there!
The next day they went to the countryside to the Riolo’s house. Piero’s grandparents had a country house and the Riolo’s were their neighbors. Pietro had a good relationship with Mr. Riolo, because he had worked for him in the past and they were family friends. So, Pietro and Piero went to visit Mimmo Riolo. They all sat together under a carob tree because the air was always fresh under that tree. While the men talked, Piero ate prickly pears.

Pietro said to his old friend, “You know, Mimmo, yesterday I discovered that my grandson has a nice voice.” Mimmo thought about it for a moment and came up with an idea. “I want Piero to listen to one of my favorite singers”. And, Piero recalls, “And this is how I listened for the first time to ‘Un Amore Cosi’ Grande by Mario del Monaco. And I learned it right away, but right away. (Piero has a photographic memory when it comes to songs. He only has to hear a song once or twice and he has it.) My grandfather was very proud. And something told me the next day we would go to record ‘Un Amore Cosi’ Grande at Antonio’s house.”
The day after they visited Mr. Riolo, they went to Anotonio’s house to record Un Amore Cosi Grande.
Piero often thinks about summers in the countryside. He recalls how in the winter the entire family gather on a Sunday for wonderful dinners and everyone was presents from his great grandmother down to all the aunts, uncles and cousins, who were like sisters and brothers to him. And he says another beautiful thing that happened in the countryside was that in the summer the entire family met for dinner every evening. Piero has said about his time in the countryside, “I swear, they were perhaps the most beautiful days of my life, and I will never forget them.”
This evening would be bring Piero to The Path of Stardom.
As always everyone ate dinner together and after dinner all the kid’s played soccer while the adults went outside to chat and enjoy the cool of the evening on the terrace. But this evening would be a little different.
When they finished dinner, Pietro called his wife. “Rina, get the recorder.” Rina brought in the recorder and placed it in front of Pietro. The recorder was already prepared with the cassette. Pietro turns to Piero’s dad and says, “Listen to this voice, Gaetano.” He pushes play and starts the recording of “Un Amore Così Grande.” Gaetano is amazed, like he has just heard a good thing, and he says, “It’s beautiful, who is it Daddy?” (he calls his father-in-law Daddy.) Pietro says, “Piero.” Silence. Gaetano has a questioning looking on his face “How did Piero?” Pietro says, “So?
On that night Piero’s life changed! His father did everything he could think of to start him on a musical journey. He wanted Piero to start the festivals but, he was too young. He needed to “put in a base”, because the voice alone was not enough. Gaetano asked himself: “What must Piero start to do?” And the answer was: “Piero must start playing the piano”.
His father wanted him to start taking piano lessons, but he didn’t start until he was eight or nine. In those four years between the time he first sang “Un Amore Cosi Grande” and the first time he sat at the keyboard of a piano, Piero says, “who took care of my musical education, my grandfather.”
Piero’s grandfather had a great passion for music. He composed songs in dialect and, he is a singer of popular music in the country. In Naro there are many folk groups because it is the capital of the Almond Blossom Festival, the Primavera Narese. Keeping this traditional festival alive means keeping alive the musical tradition of the folk groups. Piero says, “so many guys are singing in these groups, and I was singing too. That’s how I started to learn the songs of Sicilian folklore.”

Piero began to study piano at the age of eight but, economically the family could not afford the costs of the lessons. So, Piero’s grandfather paid for everything, and not just from the material point of view. Stefano Tesè was Piero’s first piano teacher. The mother of Piero’s teacher lived on the floor below in his grandfather’s house and the master came to see his mother every Monday. Pietro made an agreement with Mr. Tesè to give Piero lessons every Monday at six o’clock.
Piero explains….the road was very short to my grandfather’s house, I could even go there alone, but here was a second problem, to get there I had to face a dog that was going around in that neighborhood, that dog would approach and bark furiously. And I have a fear of dogs. Squeezed under my grandfather’s arm, he who being blind needed to be guided, I felt protected as behind a shield: when the dog approached, he shouted: ‘Passa arrassu!’ (fast pass), go away, and the dog went away.
Piero confesses there is a third problem, ….every Monday six in the afternoon was a nightmare for me, because I did not like going to the piano lesson. Or rather, I liked it only when the lessons were good, when I could play, but at the beginning I was bored a lot with the hammers, solfeggio’s and all the things that you rightly have to learn to play the piano. Maestro Tesè was a tough guy, and I was always worried that he would scold me. After a while I started to understand how the piano worked and the lessons started to please me.

And so it was that Piero started his classical musical education.
One last thing, I did promise you that at the end of Piero’s story I would tell you what the other thing is that I relate to in this story. Around the time of this event in the garden when Piero was swinging on the swing that hung from the Mulberry tree, I was busy writing a screenplay, the name screenplay was The Mulberry Tree!
So, finally, we come to Gianluca’s story “And Then There Were Three.”
Gianluca’s story is different from Ignazio’s or Piero’s story. The end result was the same but, the beginnings were different.

This is the story of the discovery of Gianluca which he told in 2015 and in other interviews over the years!
Gianluca begins, Yes, we were lucky all three to have the families we had. Ignazio and Piero were able to study music thanks to the sacrifices, big sacrifices, of their families. I’ve never studied it, if I have to tell the truth, but the music at home has always been there.
Dad, Ercole and mom, Eleanora realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years. They tell me, when I was three years old, I sang O Sole Mio in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who were sitting around in the square.
This was Gianluca’s first audience but, of course he doesn’t remember it.
His grandfather, Ernesto wanted him to study music, he always told him: “Gianluca, study the piano, study an instrument.” “Unfortunately,” Gianluca said, “I’ve never done it. It would be a dream to sit down on the piano and start playing and singing. Let’s say it’s one of my next goals: learning to play the piano.”
Around the age of eight or ten, Gianluca began to listen to classical music, opera, especially Luciano Pavarotti, and some genre of music from the Fifties and Sixties. He said, “I took the tape recorder and put the cassettes in, my parents told me, it seemed like I was immersing myself in those notes.”
Gianluca’s grandfather was the first to think of bringing him closer to music. He had a classic taste, more “popular” but he is also an opera lover. His grandfather has been a musician since he was a boy. He played the contralto flugelhorn in the town band, and he toured all of Abruzzo doing performances with the band. Gianluca tells us….
While my grandfather made me listen to classical music, Pavarotti and music from the Fifties and Sixties, my father made me feel Fabrizio De Andrè, Francesco De Gregori, Giorgio Gaber, Antonello Venditti and I became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all Frank Sinatra. So, let’s say that as a child I had a beautiful musical culture.

Because Gianluca’s mother worked, 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.

Are you wondering why I suddenly sang Time to Say Goodbye? The answer is simple: because it made me feel good. Usually, I would sing at home or in situations where I felt protected as if I were at home. I did not care to make myself heard by others. It also happened that at school the teacher knew my particular voice and she would make me sing in the classroom. ‘Gianluca, let us hear your voice, guys, let’s listen to Gianluca sing.’ Do you know how I reacted? I sang, of course, because it was the teacher who asked, but first I went to hide behind the blackboard and put myself face to the wall. I was ashamed to die. I still remember that feeling of being hidden, while I sang, without seeing anyone. Also, because I was already singing with this voice that tended to the baritone, it was really special. I understood that it was a beautiful thing, which everyone liked, but I was still ashamed. Dad says I also did it at home to turn my face to the wall while I was singing. What could I do? I was very shy and a little insecure.
But now, the shyness is over. Gianluca considered this a defect when he was a child but now, he has overcome the shyness. What hasn’t changed is the constant need for confirmation. On social networks, you see his selfies and people think he is vain, but in reality, he needs constant fan approval. He needs to know that they support him. Gianluca has been this way since he was a child. He always needed reassurances. If he only knew how much his fans love him, he would need no reassurances! Gianluca continues….
How was I in adolescence? Very shy and a little insecure but also a little immature and too instinctive. I am very critical of myself in my adolescence, because I realize that now I have really changed, even with the boys. In quarrels, for example, maybe it happened that I also answered in an annoying way because I was the one, I felt at that time. Once I threw a slice of pizza at Ignazio in front of the Universal Canadian official in a restaurant in Montreal. The shrimp flew off the pizza and hit the official of Universal, I mean really. But I was small and very, very impulsive.
As to his singing, Gianluca says, 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 listen to the music, and it transmits everything I know. And, for this, I especially thank the Little Choir of Roses.
When Gianluca was about eight or nine, all those who knew him gave him 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 situation, was Gianluca’s dad. 

Gianluca continues….
The choir 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 performed 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.
If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio at Ti Lascio Una Canzone, it seems to me like yesterday.
Ignazio’s story shows that things come and, you do not have to force them to arrive. It is not different from mine. Maybe, a little bit different because, apart from the Little Choir of Roses and those modest performances with my father’s theater company, I’ve never done anything else, no competitions, no festivals. I did not want to do them, I never thought about it.
Gianluca participated in the Festival of the Adriatic, in 2006, and he won it. In 2007 he participated in Ascoli Piceno, for young talents. He sang at weddings, that’s it. He recalls, I sang Schubert’s Ave Maria, and they paid me. My first money earned with music. And for fun, in 2007 I recorded a CD in a studio in Roseto degli Abruzzi, it was called ‘Start from Here.’ It was a study by Vincenzo Irelli, a very good musician.
Verilli heard Gianluca sing, probably in one of the Little Rose Choir’s performances, and he said to Mr. Ginoble, “He’s good take him to me.” Gianluca chose songs by Andrea Bocelli and Alex Baroni, the singer who died in 2002 and famous for songs like “Change” and “Write Something for Me.”

Gianluca said, we spent a couple of weeks recording the CD and then we gave it to all the relatives. If I think about it today, it makes me smile. But never, never would I have thought that it would not be the only one, that I could make music my life. I told you: ‘I only sang because it made me feel good,’ I was happy.
Then what happened? …it was 2008 when my father received a call from Licia Giunco.
Who is Licia Giunco. She’s an incredible woman, known throughout Italy for being the creator of an annual event called Sport for life, a great international ice-skating gala. For the gala, skating champions come from all over Europe to participate.
The reason for Mrs. Giunco’s phone call was Gianluca’s performances with the choir.We have a great talent here in Roseto” Mrs. Guinco told Mr. Ginoble. “I would like to bring him to RAI (Italian TV Station).” Gianluca says, “my father had never thought about it. My parents had never even imagined that I would participate in competitions, let alone send me for an audition for television.”
Gianluca continues….’Let’s try,’ My father replied. ‘it would be a great opportunity.’ Dad thought it was just a different experience something that could make me have fun. Mrs. Giunco made available her contacts, we talked to Franco Fasano, whom Licia knew, and he would take us to audition with Roberto Cenci for the broadcast of RAI. Maybe this is what I liked, the idea that it was only a life experience to do, an experience that would allow me to sing for a while. My parents, as they had always been until then, did not force me in the least. They left the decision to me. I had not the slightest idea of what awaited me, but I decided instinctively, with my belly, that yes, that audition I really wanted to do it.
And so Gianluca took the step that would bring him to The Path of Stardom.

So now we know how each man came to The Path of Stardom. There’s only one more step to take….
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure! Next week we find our guys on the road to Ti Lascio Una Canzone.

If you would like to share a story with me, please email:
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at

What I have written here are excerpts from the book the guys wrote about their lives. “Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia.” (An Extraordinary Adventure, Our Story) This is just a small piece of each mans’ story. The book is written in Italian. If you can read Italian, I would highly recommend that you read it. It’s wonderful! If not, I can only hope that someday it will be translated into English. Or you can use Google Translate to translate it.
I also recommend you read their second book “IL Volo: Quello Che Porto Nel Cuore” (What I Carry in My Heart).
And let’s not forget the new album. Available on Spotify,  Amazon, and other music media!

Credit to owners of Photos and videos 

19 thoughts on “The Path of Stardom by Susan”

  1. 👏👏👏🎼🎤! Thank you for an enjoyable moment this morning, such a wonderful way to start my day, not just listening to our guys but reading about them! I never get tired of hearing their voices through your writings! Bravo Susan!
    Hope your trip through S. America was enjoyable…. I think you’re back?! As always I’m looking forward to your next one and Daniella one before yours. I can’t thank all of you enough for all these stories about IL VOLO, they always make my day special! Love, Peace and Blessings, Carol ❤️🙏🤗☮️

    1. Thank you, Carol! I got back on Sunday! I’m busy writing! The book was so successful it sold out in its first edition. They asked me to write another book! Can’t wait to see you again! Enjoy your Easter!

      1. Good for you, well deserved! Can’t wait to see your next one! Hoping for another performance in the states, in Fl or NY or Taormina! I’ll be in Ct. mid July through Sept. let me know when you’re at the Padra Pio Foundation and I’ll take a ride up for lunch or dinner! I’d like to see you too, I’m back on FB and Instagram, send me a friend request and I’ll respond….ok? So glad your trip was successful!☮️🙏 Carol

    2. I’ll be in Portugal end of July and the beginning of August. After that I will be in CT. Look forward to seeing you!

      1. Portugal??? One of my most favourite vacation places! Been there four times, along with 23 other countries over the last forty years. Of course, Italy and Sicily are right up there near the top, too!

      2. I’ll be in Ct. mid July until the beginning of Oct., my daughter is getting remarried on the last weeken in September, very excited for them! Hopefully I’ll see you too!

  2. Such wonderful stories that never grow old! There is something new to be found each time. Thank you, Susan.

    I take it from your reply to Carol that you’ve been on a tour for your book and congrats on it selling so well. What is the name of it so I can look for it at my local library (in LARGE print, of course).

    I enjoy hearing Ignazio and Piero singing and was enthralled with Gianluca’s rendition of Anema a core way back in 2014. Such control of his voice and so emotional even then. What glorious voices to listen to. Thanks, again. Hugs, Dol

    1. Dol, Gian’s singing ANEMA E CORE is an old favorite of mine and I love how he sung it….wish they would include it and MI MANCHERI on an album as well ,such beautiful and emotional songs especially the way he sings them!
      Hugs, Carol☮️🙏❤️

      1. If only they would make individual albums, too, but that’s a lot to ask for. I would run out and buy that album as soon as it was available, even though my “running days” are over! We seem to have some very similar tastes in music and young singers, though.

  3. Susan. What can I say? Thank you for the story behind each of the guys. I never get tired of reading about them and you certainly bring each IlVolo fan closer to them. I’m 79 years old and have seen them in concert, which was a dream come true. Lord willing I will see them again when they come back to the USA. I check them out “daily” on Facebook and I watch several of their concert videos that are on utube as well. Your taking the time to write and share these stories with those of us who don’t read or speak Italian is deeply appreciated. I always look forward to reading your stories. God Bless You and again “Thank You”.

  4. Dear Susan
    Again this story was amazing and their pictures were great I love to hear them sing and it was great reading the stories of each of them thank you

  5. Hi, thank you Susan, I have been telling friends that the guys need a new album, Il Volo sings duets and solos. Lots of those songs have not gotten to a CD.

  6. Welcome home, Susan. I enjoyed seeing the posts and photos of your South American adventures. It looked like a wonderful tour.

    That you for today’s article, “The Path To Stardom”. I never tire of reading about lL Volo. Actually, as I was reading this article, I envisioned each of our guys telling his story. They touch my heart.

    Congratulations on the success of your book. I look forward to your next one. Needless to say, I also look forward to next week’s article.

  7. Thank you Susan for educating me on the Boys’ background – they are indeed very special lads – very creative & artistic – they come from great parenting – this is why they are so respectful – I love the way you write about them – you – like the rest of us love them very much – I am grateful for all your time effort & hard work you put into sharing your stories with us – much love.

  8. Thank you Susan for another look into the life of the boys ,Ignazio had it hard but his family didnt give up ,Piero was lucky he had his grandfather who heard his voice and helped him to get his singing lessons ,his grandfather would be so proud to see him now [i wish he will go for his dream to sing in La Scala ] imust say all three parents must be so proud of thier sons ,regards

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