Last week I was speaking with a friend about the new European Tour and the first thing that struck me was six concerts in Milan! WOW! Who would have thought back in the beginning that the guys would do a tour in Italy, no less six concerts in Milan. Their lives changed in 2015 but they changed even more after the pandemic. Italy finally opened its eyes and gave these three amazing guys the recognition they truly deserve.
Of course, there are those who are always going to be blind towards them because they are also deaf and dumb. Mostly dumb! When I think about where the guys are today, I have to say they’ve all worked so hard to get here. I think after the pandemic they took a new direction, one that opened new doors. It’s like they started all over. I remember Ignazio saying, “We started all over on a stage in Italy.” Yes, that’s what happened. The joy they got standing on that stage in Verona, restarting the music industry, was their new beginning The Second Time Around! They were starting again but this time it was in Italy.
The above words were part of a message that I sent to a friend. After I wrote those words I said to him, “I’m writing this and I’m thinking this is what I should be writing in my column. It’s the story of how these guys reached stardom not once but twice.” Thanks to my friend, I was suddenly very inspired! I came to life! I said, “This will be next week’s column!” Thanks, my dear friend, for the inspiration!
In 2020, like most of us, the one thing the guys wanted more than anything was to get back to work. Well they did have the commitment with Dolce & Gabbana which gave us a spectacular Sunday event. And there was the concert in Monte Carlo but, something was missing.
One Saturday night in September 2020 they showed us what was missing!
But before they got to that Saturday, they took an unusual journey.
Some stories just write themselves and the author stands by with pen in hand, looks down at the paper and says yes, yes that’s exactly what I wanted to say! And you can’t even remember writing it but it’s there and it’s so spot on!
Life writes its own stories! Certainly, life wrote this one about three teenage boys. Teenagers! Think of your kid outside playing basketball or soccer. Could you imagine that he would walk off the court and into the limelight? I think your fondest hope would be that he would clean up his room.
How do you explain three amazing voices coming together on the same stage, at the same time? I have only one explanation. La Forza del Destino! It was fate! It was a plan! It was God’s plan!
Watching the guys on the stage in Milan for the beginning of their European Tour brought back fond memories of their beginnings. Before Ti Lascio una Canzone, before Sanremo, before they turned the music back on! In the real beginning….
In the beginning there were three guys named Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca. They were ordinary guys!
Piero loved his motorbike! “When I arrived at the roundabout in the center of the city, voom, I did a wheelie with the motorbike.”
Ignazio loved to play soccer. “My main project when I went to school was to get home and spend the afternoon playing football.”
Gianluca, also, loved to play soccer! “How did I play soccer? I was good, come on, I did not like losing, I wanted to score goals by force, I never passed the ball, and when I had the ball, I scored.”
So, yes, they were ordinary kids but, they all had something special. They had a special gift from God. Their voice!
What was it that made them different? What was it about this baritone and two tenors that was different from other tenors or baritones? First and foremost, the delivery of these three voices was equal. The crispness and clarity in each voice was defined. They were alike but they were different. They were balanced! Roberto Cenci recognized these exceptional qualities and understood that they could blend into one beautiful voice, so he decided to put the three voices together. The result was they were an immediate sensation and they caused important people in the industry to stop and listen!
Each one separately was captivating, together, they were a gift that God gave to humanity!
Where did it all begin?
We have to keep in mind that in the beginning the guys were underage so any negotiations and plans for their future was handled by their parents. It was only after the parents first meeting with among others, Michele Torpedine, that the guys were informed that plans were being made for them. After this meeting the parents met again a month later and signed a contract for the guys to record with Universal.
I think Piero put it best when he said, “The day before, I went to my uncle’s workshop and the next day I signed a millionaire contract with an American label.”
Yes that’s how it happened. They stepped on the stage at Ti Lascio una Canzone sang one song together and their fate was sealed. Immediate stardom! But a stardom that would not take them around Italy, no! It was a stardom that took them around the world! They were an immediate success in America. They appeared on every morning and night show. Every station you turned on spoke of three Italian teenagers who were stealing the hearts of the American people! They certainly stole my heart!
But what about Italy. Let’s listen to what Ginauca had to say about that….
Before Sanremo, we lived two lives, two completely different lives. Abroad we were stars and, we came to Italy to rest. I took refuge in Montepagano, Piero in Naro, Ignazio in Marsala. It was nice to come back to a ‘normal’ life. But… we felt that something was missing, that it was bad to be so successful outside of our country and not be able to have it in Italy.
This was what they suffered in the early years. More than anything they wanted to be recognized in Italy! They never even hoped for the success they had in other countries, they just wanted to be recognized.
So now I will flash forward eight years and tell you about The Night the Lion Roared….
We know 2014 started out as a bad year for the guys but suddenly things were happening. They signed a new recording contract. They were invited to sing at the Italian Senate. This was an event of immense importance for them. It said Italy was finally noticing them so, it only made sense that it was time to take a giant step!
Time to go to Sanremo!
But this story doesn’t start with Sanremo, nor does it end there! Sanremo was the door opener!
The Decision to go to Sanremo was a difficult one!
So where do you begin to make the decision. Well, you have to start with….
Who’s in and who’s out!
From day one, Gianluca wanted to go. He was so convinced that they would win that he never backed down from it. He had no doubt in his mind that they would win.
Always the pessimist, Ignazio. He said “No, we can’t win. It’s too hard.”
So that leaves Piero! Piero at first was not on board but Gianluca persuaded him. Gianluca said, “No one trusted, no one believed it. It was I who persuaded Piero to persuade Ignazio to go to Sanremo. Because I told them: ‘Guys, if we go, we’ll win it, I’m sure, I’m sure’”.
Piero said, “We said to ourselves: ‘Guys, make it or break it, in the end, we were not anyone here in Italy, at most we would not be anyone even afterwards.’”
Decision made! It’s official the guys go to Sanremo!
Then there’s the second problem, the song! After much searching, its Grande Amore!
Ignazio:In short, the final evening arrives, February 14th. I realize from my shirt that in a week we have eaten more than we sang. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m a boy who does not say cat if I do not have it in the bag, then until Carlo Conti said…. ‘The winner of the Sanremo Festival 2015 is … Il Volo!’
So what did the win at Sanremo do for them with the press? As I said before they are “deaf, dumb and blind!” Mostly dumb!
But this win set the guys on a new path. They began to do concerts and tour around Italy. They began to feel like they were finally home. The Italian people loved them. They always loved them.
And then, One Saturday night in September 2020 the guys showed us what was missing!
It’s 2020 what was going on in the world? Literally in the World!
We started hearing about a pandemic. And it seemed the worst of it was in Italy. The guys began to worry. And then, no it was time to leave. Leave now or get stuck in America! It was time! They turned off the lights and went home!
The first message from the guys on the Covid situation was sent when they were still on tour in America.
The last three concerts would be cancelled, and Il Volo will go home!
They canceled their last three performances and the next thing we knew they were on their way home. But being true to form, like good children, they checked in with us as soon as they got home and told us they were safe and they needed to be with their families now.
As you know the guys went into quarantine and stayed there for three and a half months.
Then the quarantine was over and, they left their houses. And something amazing started to happen!
The one thing they wanted more than anything was to get back to work. Well, they did have the commitment with Dolce & Gabbana which gave us a spectacular Sunday event. And there was the concert in Monte Carlo but, something was missing.
At Verona, they showed us what was missing!
Let’s start with September 11th 2020, the Friday afternoon before the performance, we watched the guys at sound check give a performance to the people who were scattered around the Verona Arena that would rival most concerts. And then later in the evening they returned to the Arena for light check.
Ignazio and Gianluca were making videos with their phones, while Piero was wandering around.
Ignazio get’s Piero’s attention.
Ignazio: What are you doing?
Piero shakes his head and asks. What are you looking at?
Ignazio (points): The light that is there.
Gianluca: It’s Beautiful.
Ignazio: The gorgeous light. Gorgeous! Gorgeous!
Of course, Piero pulled out his phone and started to video.
But what was it about the lights that got Ignazio’s attention? Well, they were as Ignazio said, “La Luce Stupenda!” “The lights were gorgeous,” but I think he was thinking about the last lights that he saw on stage.
That Saturday night when the guys were entering the Arena before the show they were stopped and asked this question by a woman reporter:
Reporter: You are International entertainers therefore you know how much the live dimension is missing. But above all you have defined the stage as your natural element. So, how is it for you to return to a live performance tonight?
Ignazio: It’s like giving candy to a baby. We are happy because we missed it. We missed it to die for but not only for our personal thing but because this is to me the music slowly restarting with safety measures. But we are restarting it all with Italian music. It’s like I am starting again to grow up on stage and hope that it can be a message of hope for the groups, in the cities, in the emerging local areas who want to start making music. We have to continue making music and we hope for full concerts and full live by 2021.
It was an absolutely beautiful statement that said it all! What I liked best about this statement was Ignazio saying “It’s like I am restarting it all with Italian music. I’m starting again to grow up on stage…” What did he mean? This time he is starting in Italy not America. It was their rebirth! He finally feels like he is at home! Bravo Ignazio! You are home.
When the guys arrived on stage, they had a message for the world and all the people in the industry:
Ignazio: 2020 will be remembered as the year where the world would be constrained to be turned off.
Gianluca: For the music employees the verb “turn off” means the end of the show, when the curtains close and it is the waiting moment for the next show, but this time the waiting lasted more than expected, the silence was unavoidable.
Piero: Now, the world is getting ready to start again! Now the moment has arrived to raise the curtain! Now, we will turn on the music!
This beautiful statement was followed by the performance of the evening. Their choice of “Nessun Dorma” sent an even stronger message. It’s says we may have to perform under these new world conditions, but we don’t have to change who we are or why we’re here. In this ancient Arena we look to the past while following the path to the future.
From their first note the whole arena lit up. Their voices were clean and crisp. Their presence was illuminating. Their notes rose above the Arena into the night sky to let the world know music is back! The final note of their song sent the final message. All three voices rose in unison and their voices sent forth a note that took our breaths away! It said We Have Returned! “Turn on the Lights!”
What is so amazing about this is, over the months since they had left quarantine, they had almost single handedly brought back the music industry in Italy. All the work they’ve did after they left quarantine had been to move things forward in Italy. This includes their most important project the concert in Tribute to Ennio Morricone and the recording of their album by the same name.
Listening to them sing “Your Love,” at Sanremo, even under trying circumstances, gave us hope for the future. This preview gave us a look into the new album which we are all anxiously awaiting. But above all, the guys Hit the Restart Button! They played a major part in the restart of the music industry In Italy!
Now they are on a new journey! A new direction which led them to the stage in Milan where six concerts would be performed buy three amazing guys who only a few short years ago thought that Italy was only a place to rest their heads after a long tour abroad.
TheSecond Time Around in Verona led to a new adventure which included a new direction with their music. They came back this last season and introduced us to the new Il Volo. The three teenagers who stole our hearts in 2009 have now become three young men who are showing us their hearts in their music. They are opening up their hearts and showing us their emotions. Individually and together, they are the greatest singers in the world!
For your listening pleasure.
Concert in Verona 2015
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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