This has been an amazing week. How often over the last year have we said we missed the guys. Well they sure made up for it this week. One spectacular event after another.
So let’s start in the beautiful region of Apulia, Italy.
“La Notte della Taranta”, is one of the largest Festivals in Italy and one of the most significant manifestations of popular culture in Europe. The final concert of La Notte della Taranta, has had as many as one hundred and fifty thousand spectators in the past. It takes place in Salento, in the municipality of Melpignano, at the esplanade of the former Augustinian Convent specifically for the rediscovery and the enhancement of traditional Salento music. It is not limited to traditional music. It also allows for rock, jazz and symphonic music. This year’s host was Albano.
Listen to the voices of our guys coming alive backstage! It’s a calling! “Who sells olives.”
Meanwhile Albano awaits their arrival on stage. He tells us about the song. It is from the region of Apulia, the region where he was born. He says, “It reminds me of the autumn song. It is the November song.”
November is the time of the olive harvest and a man would always pass with a cart of olives to sell to the people. Albano and Ignazio sing a phrase in the Apulian dialect (“Who has olives, I have to buy them.”) Albano said when Modugno sang in the Apulian dialect he was very proud of him. Ignazio said, “So let’s hope, with this next song we will sing, to make you even more proud of your land.”
Albano tells the guys, “You know that I am proud to have you here beside me…”
Gianluca responded, “and we are happy ….”
Albano (continues) “…simply because I baptized these two..”
Albano is referring to Ignazio and Piero who he performed with on Ti Lascio Una Canzone. I remember those performances and that Albano was in awe of both of them. Then Albano continues about Gianluca who he didn’t perform with at Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Albano says, “And to you, (Gianluca) you I baptize this evening.”
Gianluca responds, “One day, sooner or later, we will sing together. But it is nice, I can say, that these events make it possible to spread a musical culture like this of the Taranta, and it is right that young people are attached to the roots of these great events. We must not lose this desire to carry on traditions, we too, as young people, are proud to be here tonight.”
Ignazio elaborates on this thought in one of their interviews…
“It is certainly one of the most important cultural events in Italy, and welcome, because I always say that Italy is a nation full of different cultures and traditions and certainly these events give space to make known their own traditions and culture, and therefore we are honored to be part of it, alongside Albano, an Apulian DOC, who has never forgotten his origins and there is also Madame (she is a singer) who is a young woman, like us. Hence the importance of carrying the roots, ALWAYS, in any situation, in any place.”
When the music begins our guys sing the National Anthem of the region in Griko which is a mixture of Italian and Greek. Another language to add to their list!
Griko is unique to this region but there are other regions, in Italy, that speak languages other than Italian. In many Arberesh villages where the people are Italian, Albanian and Greek they have their own languages. My grandfathers’ town Vaccarizzo Albanese is an Aberesh town and they have retained the archaic features of both Gheg and Tosk dialects. Many of the words they spoke at the festival, I understood. It was a beautiful experience for me.
The guys performance was magnificent. From the first larilò larilò lallero to the last, the whole stage was alive with their voices and a rhythm and beat that I can’t get out of mind! You could see how much the guys were enjoying it. Their interpretation of this beautiful song was awesome! Festivals are at the heart of the Italian people. They love them! This song is so full of joy and happiness.
The dancers were wonderful! Through the dance, they told the story of the people, of their labors and, their joys. The hardship of life and the happiness of home and family! Their singing and the dancing was very uplifting. And the guys’ interaction with the dancers and musicians on stage brought the whole story together. They brought the audience into the song and together they presented the history and culture of the people. This was very unique and the guys helped us to see another culture within their Italian culture. A magnificent delivery of the beautiful Anthem of the Griko people! Truly an amazing event!
Next stop Venezia! Talk about an exciting event!
Where do I begin…
In the afternoon the guys attended the award presentations where they were presented as winners of the 78th Film Italy Movie Awards. Upon exiting the building, they were interviewed by an unknown man…
Man: This is not Sanremo, this is the cinema exhibition!
Piero: But it seems a little like Sanremo, we meet, all familiar faces.
Gianluca: We are preparing a very ambitious recording project which is a tribute to maestro Ennio Morricone. We had the opportunity to collaborate with Vittorio Storaro in a music video, so we are here in the company of a great master of cinema, Vittorio Storaro.
Ignazio: He chose our voices for a tribute of the video of “Your Love,” which is shot in the Frasassi Caves, and therefore it is beautiful, this is not the first time we come here. It is always a beautiful atmosphere. Venice is a place that is stupendous.
Later in the day, the guys appeared in their transport to Lido. What do we see here? We see three elegant young men who are on the brink of a new direction in their lives. Not leaving all that they are and all they always will be, we know they will never leave the concert stage, but taking the next step on their road to greatness!
What we’ve been watching these last few months, every time we see the video of the Frasassi Caves, is the guys embarkation on a new and wonderful experience in their lives. They are the stars of this Short Film. They are what makes this film possible. Vittorio Storaro’s genius and the presence and voice of Il Volo have made this movie an award winning production.
To help you understand this better let me tell you what Storaro had to say about this…
The idea actually comes from what we have been through all this last year, the disgrace that has happened to us from the pandemic, which has closed all the arts a little.
But then there was an idea which came from Pirandello, who said: One, Nobody, One Hundred Thousand (the title of a Pirandello novel), and in this case becomes a Once Upon a Time, as the project of Il Volo and the music of Ennio Morricone, start from Once Upon a Time in the West, directed by a great director, Sergio Leone, with the music of Morricone, the subject of Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, so there is a whole series of characters that carry some new message.
A message that also becomes a hope, not only in the present, but also in the future, because if before, once upon a time there was Nobody, where art enters, in this case Music and Singing, which is represented by Il Volo, the song with the music of Ennio Morricone “Your Love,” brings a new energy, energy that practically becomes: Once upon a time there was no one, and now Il Volo ~ over and over!
So we will see that Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio multiply.
When they descend from that blessed rope where the first boys went down here in the caves many years ago (50 years ago), it is a little like entering a seed into mother earth and thus forming a new generation, which is the generation of the future.
Il Volo, in this case becomes a symbol, as, not only does it enter the womb of the earth, it first regenerates the energy of life, but it can do it in all the squares, in all the theaters, in all the places of the world, and that, certainly is what music is, nevertheless it carries a great message of love.
Storaro was so right that carrying their music around the world will revive the music industry through this project. Through it the music will be alive again.
So that also sums up where our guys are headed! A part of their new direction. Presenting this movie throughout the world. It is our guys bringing a message to the world. A message of hope and love for all people and all nations!
So let’s rejoin the guys on the red carpet.
Along with the Storaro family we find Storaro’s newly adopted family Il Volo.
These guys certainly lit up the red carpet. Elegant in their Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos there was no lack of interest in their presence.
How did the guys feel in this moment? Perhaps the words of Ignazio in a Rappler interview sums it up. “It was amazing working with Maestro Vittorio Storaro, remembering all the most beautiful moments that he spent with the Maestro Morricone….It is our dream. The three of us will be on the red carpet with Vittorio Storaro.”
Of course Ignazio was referring to, Vittorio Storaro, their director, the veteran director who won three Oscars, including one for Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, which he and the director shot in the Philippines.
The new short, dedicated by Storaro to the master composer, Morricone, who passed away in 2020. A clip of the movie was premiered at the fourth edition of Filming Italy Best Movie Award on the occasion of the 78th Venice Film Festival. And as you know Storaro won a Best Italian Film award and so did our guys for their starring role and their song “Your Love.”
Next the cocktail party…
Did you notice where all the women flocked to? Our guys! Who could resist these gorgeous guys. They grace the room with their presence. When they enter a room it lights up.
Italy what have you to say about your guys now. You have got to be so proud of them. Look at how they shine in the world! But there was never a problem in recognition. We in America have always been proud of them and called them our own. I hope this project will allow them to spend more time in the US! Maybe at the Academy Awards. Although we will only see the film for the first time on September 25th at the premier at the Frasassi Caves we already know how important this project is and how beautiful this film is.
Let them lose on the red carpet again! Our red carpet in America!!!
From this project we can see so many more projects like this on the horizon.
We are so proud of the award they won at the 78th Venice Film Festival, but that was only the beginning!
Next stop Verona…
Do you ever feel when they’re in Verona, they are home? I certainly do. To me they own the Verona Arena. Every performance there is phenomenal!
They returned to the Seat Music Awards to sing their beautiful song, “Your Love” and to pick up their second award for the week!
While writing this I remembered a year ago when they were at the SMA. It was to restart the music industry.
I’m going to go back to the story I wrote about the event last year. “Turn on the Lights”
I know we will never forget the night before the performance when the guys went to the Arena to check out the lights. It was beautiful and funny at the same time. Let’s pop in to listen to the guys conversation:
Ignazio to Piero: What are you doing?
Piero: What are you looking at?
Ignazio: 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. When they turned off the lights at their last performance in the US and went home to a country in pain from a pandemic!
When the guys arrived on stage, they had a message for the world and all 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 statement. 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.”
Isn’t it ironic that one year later they win an award for the short film Frasassi Caves for which they are represented as regenerating the energy of life? Music is their energy!
They so deserve this award.
So let’s get back to this weeks’ performance at the Arena.
Prior to the guys performance, the stage was set up with multi color lights but when the guys arrived on stage, I think they were even surprised. The stage was lit as it was for last years performance. Very simple, very plain but what was going on in the audience was a totally different story. All phones were lit up. It was magic.
They stepped on stage in their beautiful but informal all black attire. Elegant in its simplicity!
As they come face to face with the audience, I could see the emotion in their faces.
Look at how these people love them and how they love their fans!
And then it begins. …
This song is slowly becoming a signature song! A song that reminds us of sadness but brings us to a new and exciting time in the lives of our guys! It’s as if Vito left them a final gift, a new and exciting adventure in their lives. It is the song that will lead the way in their new tour around the world. Always before them will be this song and the movie which has already and continues to make its mark in history!
At the end of the song, Vanessa Incontrada and Carlo Conti spoke with the guys about the Tribute to Ennio Morricone at the Verona Arena.
Gianluca greets everyone, “Good evening!”
Carlo: “Il Volo, to start these SEAT Music Awards in the best way.”
Vanessa: “And what an atmosphere theycreated for you (the audience), with all the mobile phones on, great emotion I saw in your faces.”
Gianluca: “We are happy to see you again.”
Vanessa: “Us too.”
Carlo: Us too, us too.
Gianluca: Finally in the Arena.
Vanessa: Finally, but it has now become your home.
Carlo: In short, I mean, you did an extraordinary event on RAI1 just dedicated as a tribute to Maestro Morricone.
Piero: We had the honor of paying homage to Maestro Morricone here at the Arena of Verona, for us, the audience, for an artist, for a singer, it is oxygen. It was an evening full of guests, but for us, the biggest guest was the audience. After a year and a half, to see them again, sing for them!
Vanessa: We understand these words well, but will you take this event to the world? I guess so.
Ignazio: Yes, we start in March 2022, we finally start with the world tour and we finish in September – October, from America, we end up in Japan and then New Zealand, so beautiful.
Vanessa: You have many things to do, let’s say.
Ignazio: Yes, but it is wonderful, after almost two years, to start singing again. I remember that a year ago, in this same program, we said …. let’s hope it starts again, the music can’t stop and meet again after a year and see that the music has never stopped, it’s beautiful!
Vanessa: Seeing them (the audience), as you said, involved with you, is nice.
Carlo: A beautiful concert, a beautiful television event, but there is a tribute album to Ennio Morricone, when will this album be released?
Gianluca: Let’s say that it is a very ambitious project, that with great responsibility, right on tiptoe and a lot of humility, we decided to undertake this path which is a musical project that is a tribute to all the most beautiful soundtracks of the maestro Morricone.
Piero: And tonight we announce the date.
Gianluca: Yes, because this record will be released on November 5th, from Cinema Paradiso, to Once Upon a Time in the West, to the Good, the Ugly, the Bad.
Vanessa: His greatest songs, let’s say.
Gianluca: And we can’t wait to start the tour.
Carlo: Well a great album and therefore it will be released on November 5th.
Then Carlo presented the guys with their DIVA award…
Carlo: I seriously read the inscription: Arena di Verona Award for Il Volo, for the tribute project to Ennio Morricone, represented with great success right here at the Verona Arena, live on RAI1, and for the over 10 years of career, which led them to be known and appreciated representatives of Italian music in the world.
And so we come to the end of the events of the last week. But….
We’ve gone from Melpignano to Verona but what about Beyond. I said the end of the events, not the end of the story. So we follow the guys no matter where they go from Melpignano to Verona and Beyond but, where beyond?
Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about their future….
“Our dream is to see The Ecstasy of Gold performed at the Academy Awards.”
That works for me! Onward to the Academy Awards! Hope to see you there!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Of the three, Piero is the only one who said, “…. if there is one thing I want to do in life, it is singing, living for and with music.” That pretty much sums up Piero. He sings with such feeling and devotion. He studies endlessly! Opera is his dream! He’s studied among other opera’s Cavalieria Rusticana. I await the day when he will sing in his first opera. No matter where it is in the world, I will be there to see him fulfill his dream!
It might seem strange to you that he dreams of being an opera singer. He is a superstar. He has achieved in 12 years what most men can only, hope, to achieve in a lifetime. But, when you have dream, you have a dream!
Let’s go back and see what I’ve said, in the past, about Piero’s Golden Voice!
Piero is a spinto (meaning pushed) tenor. A spinto tenor has the brightness and height of a lyric tenor, but with a heavier vocal weight enabling the voice to be “pushed” to dramatic climaxes with less strain than his lighter-voice counterparts. His voice is warm, graceful, bright, and can be heard over an orchestra. Piero has a powerful voice that easily reaches the higher notes. Every note that comes out of his mouth reaches us with such intensity and remains with us for a long time. It’s the voice that reaches out to you and demands your attention. Think of him singing “E Lucevan le Stele” from Tosca (his favorite opera). Or singing the beautiful Spanish aria “No Puede Ser” from A Tabernera del Puerto. From the first note Piero pierces our souls! His passion comes through in his music. Arias are very dramatic and, Piero brings all the drama of the aria into his performance. Always a showstopper!
So let’s move on to Piero’s classical education!
We know that Piero was discovered by his grandfather when he was about 4 years old. You will recall he was swinging on a swing that hung from a mulberry tree in his grandfather’s garden. And as a result, he began his classical education by taking piano lessons.
But how do you get from that swing to stardom. You do what all three guys did! You start by joining a choir. Let’s listen to what Piero had to say about this first meeting with the choir…
The first thing I find myself in front of these guys who are in a semicircle. I enter, I hear them singing and immediately I see in the center of this semicircle a lady and a gentleman sitting at the piano. I had just made the acquaintance of the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. The association was founded in 1983 and has two choirs, one for white voices and one for adults. Until 2008 they also collaborated with the “Sistina” Music Chapel of Rome, which led the choir to perform before the Pope during the Jubilee and which was opened to the best singers with the possibility of doing an internship in Rome.
The master accompanist was Alfonso Lo Presti and the director of the chorus of white voices was the maestro, Marisa Bonfiglio.
I will owe everything in my life to this lady.
Marisa was right in the middle and waiting for me. My father had warned Marisa that we would go to see the evidence to understand how it worked and if she could like me. I arrive, I was ten years old and, I was pretty chubby and, I find myself in the midst of all females and just two boys, Davide and Arturo.
After the greetings, Marisa asks Piero to introduce himself.
Hi, guys, I’m Piero, Piero Barone, I was born in 1993 and I like to sing. In a chorus what else should I say? If I was there, I had to like music, right? I thought it was the first thing to clarify. At that point the master Bonfiglio made me sit on the left, next to Davide and Arturo, while all the rest of the chorus – all females – were on the right. Three males in a world of females:
The number three would be my destiny, right?
We begin to sing, Easter songs, Christmas carols, church choir songs. With Davide and Arturo, I established a very strong relationship, which continues today: we are still friends. We phone each other when I am far from Naro and, when I come back, we go out together as often as we can.
At the time of the choir, we were always attached to each other, we looked at the girls but, we were three losers of nine to ten years, losers! Marisa never scolded anyone, but if we were disruptive, she looked a little like that and said “Guys,” and we were immediately serious again.
This is the point where Piero’s voice is beginning to change and so adjustments have to be made to accommodate this change. Let’s hear what Piero had to say about that….
Even my passion for red is in some way linked to the chorus of the little singers. I dressed in red, all red from head to toe. They make my presentation I start to sing. I could still sing but I was at the limit and I start the Ave Maria. Until then other tenors have arrived at the end of the piece all red in the face for the effort. Because singing, in reality, requires a much greater physical effort than one imagines. In short, I finish the song, the teacher looks at me, looks at Marisa Bonfiglio, looks at my father, looks at all the others: “Do you see this guy? He has everything red, except his face: he sang with incredible ease”. And to my father’s question, ‘What could I do with my son?’ The master replied: ‘Mr. Barone, now your son is having a change of voice, your son in his throat has a diamond. What would I do in his place? I would take this diamond, put it in a safe and hide the keys. Between two years we reopen this safe.’ And, so, we did!
What about those red glasses?
But it must be said, my ‘fixation’ for red glasses was not born here but was born in 2010 in Los Angeles. I was at my first photo shoot and I went to the studio, it was the first real photo shoot. In short, I had glasses, as always, but one of the photographers who follows us looks at me a little and tells me: ‘You have to keep your glasses, but they must be red.’ And how could I do a pair of red eyeglasses in Los Angeles in one day? I think and think again, in the end the idea came: I called my optician of confidence in Naro, Giuseppe Minio, and I asked him to do it for me. Would you ever believe it? In twenty-four hours, I received the envelope in Los Angeles with my red glasses, and inside I also found rose petals and little hearts, pure affection directly from Naro, which is always good.
But I’m getting ahead of myself I still had to face the change of voice. That moment of change is something excruciating because you cannot sing, so no longer being a white voice, I had to leave the chorus. But Marisa Bonfiglio did not let me go like this, ‘Piero, see you soon,’ she cared about me and then helped me again: she took me to Palermo to a conservatory professor, a tenor. That master’s verdict was again: ‘Let’s wait.’ But in the wait, I could not remain completely silent. In reality, the wait for the change of voice lasted less than I thought, because towards the fourteen and a half years my voice had already matured.
So the change happened and Piero moved on in his life. He did participate in many singing competitions and won most.
But there was also his school work to consider. Piero said, “Had it been for me I would have studied only singing and music.” But in fact, Piero studied accounting. Piero tells us “And I excelled in Math, in fact, I am so good, that I am the one of the three that runs with a bag full of all of our accounts.”
Let me pause a moment to tell you about the archives at Il Volo Flight Crew. Everyone should take the time to visit them. They are the history of Il Volo from 2009 to the present. Anything you want to know, any past event and any future event can be found in the archives.
When I write these stories I like to go into the archives and see if there is something that would work with my story. I remembered an interview that Piero did when he was 19 years old. The interviewer was Marcella Lattuca who was a friend who Piero knew from the chorus. I think this interview gives us some great insight into who Piero was at the beginning of his career and his hopes and aspirations for his future and the future of Il Volo.
So let’s go right to the interview with Marcella Lattuca from Agrigentini Bella Gente.
Marcella:This episode is very special because I have the privilege to talk with a real star of international music, he is only 19 years. Piero Barone, whom I thank for the interview, has reached goals that perhaps, artists cannot reach, over a whole career. Thanks Piero, for being our guest.
Piero: It’s a pleasure. We did the chorus together and today we are here to do this fantastic interview.
Marcella: It’s true, you and I started in parallel, with a fairly considerable age gap, alas.
You start from Naro, you were born in Naro, you have a family from Agrigento, and you start with the Little Cantori di Santa Cecilia. Tell us how you approached music.
Piero:I have always pursued this dream of music, I grew up in the middle of music with my grandfather, Pietro and thanks also to my father, because you know, sometimes there are moments, when you’re little, you play piano and you want to give up everything, but thanks to the constancy of my father, I always pursued this dream, first with the chorus of Santa Cecilia, studying with private teachers, and now fortunately, I’m here.
Marcella: Your career was born a few years ago, when you were really a child. What was actually the turning point, which made you feel you wanted to do something more?
Piero: In fact there was not, because I always wanted to sing, but there was luck, thanks to my father, always, thanks to my father, to do a summer festival in Cosenza.
My father called me and told me “Do you want to do this festival? Let’s go and come back in 24 hours (by car), let’s go and come back”.
I replied, “Dad, are you crazy?” and he “Come on, let’s try, I drive and you sleep in the car.”
For that selection they did not take me, but they gave my name to the editorial office of Ti Lascio Una Canzone, Antonella Clerici’s program.
One day I was returning from piano school and I found my father on the phone with a lady Isabella Abiuso, and from there it all started, in fact my father asked me if I wanted to do that program and I replied “Why not, let’s try.”
Marcella:You started as a soloist at Ti Lascio Una Canzone, and then maybe fate played a special role.
Piero: Oh yes, we started this program as three singers, and now I, Ignazio and Gianluca are the group Il Volo, on the fourth episode, the producer Roberto Cenci, had the idea to join our voices, and from there started … the three tenors …. the Tryo, we changed name, but in the end we decided to call ourselves Il Volo. They wanted a short Italian name. Il Volo was a metaphorical name, Il Volo, to fly. Immediately after the program, we signed a program with Universal Music in Los Angeles.
Marcella:What I understood from you is, the one that followed you the most, was your dad, also because, being a minor, you could not go around alone.
Piero: My father and my grandfather – my grandfather discovered my voice, my father helped me. He is great and he has been a great support.
Marcella: So immediately after Ti Lascio Una Canzone, you signed this contract with Universal, and you started your flight.
Piero: Yes, we signed a contract with Universal, with our producer Tony Renis and Umberto Gattica and our manager Michele Torpedine, and from there, the first TV, the first album, with the first album we sold 1 million copies. And now the new album We Are Love has been released, where there is also a duet with Eros Ramazzotti and with Placido Domingo.
Marcella: But when you say these things, do you realize where you’ve come from and all the way you’ve come in such a short time?
Piero:This is nothing, we made this new album, but behind this album we have done lots of experiences, like, a tour with Barbra Streisand, 12 dates with her. She was a great teacher for us and we learned so many things from her, like from many other great artists.
Marcella:I can mention some reviews I read on the internet.
“El Paso Times: Electrifying: the name of the group means the flight in Italian, perfect name for a trio of young tenors who conquers ever higher peaks”, just to name one, another: “Beautiful and intense voices accompanied by beautiful harmonies that enchant the public by giving strong emotions “, this is the enthusiastic comment of the “New York Journal. You are a trio, so you are dealing with two other guys who are the same age.
Piero: Ignazio and Gianluca
Marcella: Perfect. What is the relationship between you three? Is it really difficult to keep united, even if you go in one direction only?
Piero: This project was born as three friends, you know, living every day together, we have established a great relationship, we are like three brothers, because we share everything ….. not everything. There is a great relationship, a great agreement.
Marcella: But you also perform individually?
Piero:No, no, our concert is the concert of Il Volo. We have just finished a tour of 48 dates in America, this is the fourth tour. We have done an American tour, a South American, a European and another American just finished and now in 2013 we will do another South American, American and European.
Marcella:But for a boy of your age, you have spent most of your adolescence ….
Piero: On the plane
Marcella: In fact, and what effect does it make, having left your friends, your country, was it tough? Then you had to approach even with a language that was not yours, you had to learn English.
Piero: English is fundamental and we also had to learn Spanish.
Marcella:You have learned Spanish because now, however, you will start a tour, if I’m not mistaken in South America.
Piero: The second tour, and now there are great future projects, but I’ll tell you what we did in the last two months. We started at Rockefeller Center in New York, with the lighting of the Christmas tree, the Christmas season opens all over the world. We were there with Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Tony Bennett, everyone was there.
Immediately after we sang for the Nobel Prize presentation in Oslo. We represented Italy, because the Nobel Prize was given to the European Union. There were Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gerald Butler, Sial, it was a great experience.
Marcella: I see on the internet, I read that you have also become a style icon, because your fans have adopted this red eyewear look, is your brand?
Piero: If you come to our concerts, you will see all the girls with red glasses, it’s really nice!
Marcella: And then you also have some very important fans, like for example …. say you …
Piero: We were in Panama and a friend called us and told us “Guys, read the interview about “La Repubblica” we go on the internet and we read that they asked Placido Domingo what music he is listening at the moment, and he replied: “I listen to Il Volo they are three jewels that the whole world should know.” And the nephew of Pacido Domingo, is a wild fan, crazy about us, he wears red glasses, the vest, the tie ……. and from there was born the duet with Palcido Domingo.
Marcella: In fact, because in the last album, in addition to the duet with Ramazzotti, you also have one with Placido Domingo, which is one of the three historical tenors.
Piero: Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti. We dedicated the song we sang together with Placido Domingo, Il Canto, to Pavarotti.
Marcella:It’s an extraordinary thing, you said that you met so many famous people and I would like to know if any of these gave you advice, if they made you a “mentor” in addition to your grandfather and your dad.
Piero: The advice, be yourself, because the key to success is only one, talent and humility, because all the great artists are great people.
Marcella:The real ones.
Piero: Real ones, like Barbra Streisand, 70, and every night she entertains 25,000 people in America’s biggest arenas.
Piero: American Idol, as jurors were: Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson. Steven Tyler is the singer of Aerosmith and in our new album we sang “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”, but we did it in a classic Italian “Questo Amore Splendido.” (Piero sings a few words)
Marcella: Nice to even hear it live.
Piero: We did Jay Leno, three times. Jay Leno is America’s most watched Tonight Show, Jay Leno and Larry King are the most famous, we sang “Beautiful Day” two weeks ago, which is the cover of U2.
People ask us, but your kind of music, what is it? We did two duets, one with Ramazzotti which is the top of pop and Placido Domingo, which is the top of classical music.
Marcella: So you are versatile, you have shown your versatility and even those who gave you a kind of emulation of the Trio of Tenors, like a bad copy of the trio, in the end it was denied.
Piero: This problem is only in Italy, but you know, Italy is a very, very difficult country, but …. let’s do everything in the time. The thing that makes us angry, and I have to say this, we participated in the Nobel Prize, we have represented Italy, the whole world talks about it, who does not talk about us: Italy.
Marcella: It seems we are a little xenophilous.
Piero: But we love our country, so we love it as it is.
Marcella: You said you spent most of your teenage years on a plane, but how did you stay in touch with your friends and study?
Piero: I always say that what we do is what we like to do, so if you love what you do, everything becomes easy.
Marcella: But how did you study?
Piero: I study again, because I lost a year with my work. But this year I graduate, study in hotels, on airplanes. I took the license. I did the theory in August and the guide in November.
Marcella:Even if in America? It’s not like you travel by car there.
Piero: Yes, I do. I drive my producer’s car. Sometimes I hire a Ferrari, or a Porsche, I like driving.
Marcella:And can you orient yourself? You are now a citizen of the world.
Piero: But the beautiful thing … “beautiful”, so to speak, because sometimes you lack freedom, especially in South America we have five bodyguards at the baggage claim because at the exit of the airport there are a thousand girls.
Marcella:They recognize you on the street, it is shocking!
Piero: We travel with cars darkened and armored because unfortunately South America is a dangerous country but we love it and they love us, the girls chase us with taxis…. and shout, it’s nice!
Marcella: Are you afraid of this thing?
Piero: No, no fear, it fills you with pride and satisfaction because you understand that what you are transmitting reaches people.
Marcella: But this life is so stressful, how do you recharge? What is your secret to recharging?
Piero: It’s my family. Many people tell me “you have traveled the world.” Everyone asks me “What is your favorite city? ? Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, Paris” my favorite city is Naro, Naro is my world.
Marcella: What’s your relationship with Naro?? After singing in faraway places, with immense crowds, when you arrive at Naro, do you have to re-program again?
Piero: No, Naro is my homeland, so every time it’s always a party.
Marcella: What is your relationship with Naro’s inhabitants?
Piero: Fantastic, I love them!
Marcella: Welcome you?
Piero: Yes, I go to buy fruit, I go to the hairdresser … it’s very nice!
Marcella: Perhaps paradoxically your country is the only place where you can roam freely.
Piero: With my little car, now I go around with my friends, I greet everyone, I am a very open type.
Marcella: It is a practice of our program, to ask what advice would you give to a person who has become a public figure, like you, to the Agrigentini boys who want to approach the art of singing.
Piero: My advice is always to follow your dream, never give up, there will be people who will say, “But come on, change jobs, change profession.” Never believe in them, believe in yourself, but when you arrive, stay where you are. Returning to the previous speech, I learned this from Barbra Streisand, and from all the great artists.
For example, we were on tour with Barbra Streisand, we were in the dressing room and we hear a knock, I go to open and there is Sting, or Michael Buble, David Beckham, Tom Hanks, all these great artists who knock on our dressing room, to have a photo, to greet us.
Marcella:This proves the fact that these great artists that have such long careers, it means that they remained what they were, it means that goodness of mind pays, beyond talent.
Piero: And then the humility even if it is really difficult to stay what you are, if you do not have great people behind, like a big family, I am doubly lucky because I am a person that could follow his dream and get there. Yet we have not arrived, but we are working, we study a lot, and my second fortune is my family – a moral support, a daily support, my father travels with me only when there are concerts, because the tour is very stressful. But for promotions, I travel alone, and you know, in the morning, when I call home, they give me the charge to start the day.
Marcella:As a good Sicilian you have left the roots here, however you continually feed from your family.
Piero: When someone tell me “You know, when you speak, we hear the Sicilian accent, the Italian accent”….. let it be heard!
Marcella: On the other hand your pride, it is this and, I can say, you are also our pride and I believe I also interpret the thought of all the inhabitants of Agrigento who followed you.
Last question, what do you dream of doing “when you grow up?”
Piero: I’m studying lyric now, because that’s my dream, that world, it’s my dream, the lyric is another dimension, but you have to study … too much … and now I’m studying, thanks to my possibilities, I am studying in Bologna, with my teacher Sergio Bertocchi, a great teacher, and he is a great person. I’m studying an opera setting, however, always with Il Volo. Il Volo is always …. the group Il Volo…. IS IL VOLO. And so my dream is that one day maybe, to do the Premiere to La Scala or in some theater.
And so we come back to the Dream…Piero’s Dream!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
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! I agree with Gianluca, Abruzzo is an amazing place. My maternal grandparents were from Abruzzo!
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.
When Gianluca goes home to Abruzzo, he feels like he is on vacation. Montepagano is a very beautiful town. It sits at the top of a hill facing the Adriatic Sea. It is like a picture-perfect postcard! It’s no wonder Gianluca is at peace here. Montepagano is Gianluca’s paradise.
If you ask Gianluca about this paradise and how he spent his childhood there he will tell you, “My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.”
And, so, we come to perhaps Gianluca’s greatest passion, Music! Or let’s say our greatest passion about Gianluca, his music!
As 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 the Voice! Sinatra was known as 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, let’s turn to how Gianluca got to where he is today! To do this I need to introduce you to the Zecchino d’oro .
Why the Zecchino d’oro or perhaps you’re saying what is the Zecchino d’oro?
I was first introduced to the Zecchino d’orolast November when an article came out saying the Zecchino d’oro will be postponed due to Covid 19. The presenters of the year would be Mara Venier and Carlo Conti.
When I read this article, I immediately thought of Gianluca. So, what is the Zecchino d’oro and what does it have to do with Gianluca?
The Zecchino d’oro is an Italian tradition. It is an event for kids, and it is dedicated to them and to all the adults who still feel like kids.
This show is presented every year between late November and the beginning of December.
In Italy there are magical days, when it starts to get cold, and children stay in their warm homes. It’s not Christmas, but the period that precedes it when the famous Zecchino d’oro TV show is broadcast. It has been broadcast every year, for decades. It was established in 1959 by Cino Tortorella who was the good presenter who introduced the children on stage, disguised as Mago Zurlì. He was so loved by all children.
The Zecchino d’oro is the festival of the little ones. In fact, if the Sanremo Festival is aimed at adult audiences and the songs are interpreted by adults, the Zecchino d’oro is made for children, with songs tailored for children.
The songs may seem like simple songs but, they are actually much more. Special attention is given to the songs’ texts. The themes are about tolerance and peace. And this is confirmed by the expression of the event: “In this contest, the winner is not the child who sings, but the song that is sung!”
Father Berardo Rossi, one of the founders, discovered by chance, a girl who used to teach the children of his parish and organize events. Mariele Ventre, who was 22 years old, had just graduated from the Verdi Conservatory in Milan and was on her way to a promising concert career. She said yes to Fr. Rossi’s proposal and the adventure began.
Mariele liked the name Zecchino because it refers to the gold coin in the field of miracles of Collodi’s Pinocchio and thus it was called Zecchino d’oro. She founded the Piccolo Coro two years later, an institution that she would direct passionately for thirty years, until the last day before she died on December 16, 1995. Upon her death the Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano, was renamed Piccolo Coro for Mariele.
Zecchino d’oro, however, is not only music and entertainment, but it has also been carrying out voluntary initiatives by raising funds to build schools, hospitals, orphanages, with projects all over the world, to help the less fortunate live better lives.
In 2008, the Zecchino d’oro received an amazing recognition from UNESCO, becoming a world heritage for a culture of peace: the first TV show in the world to receive such a prestigious award.
This year the images were to be reassuring to Italy. The country had the strength to bet on good feelings and a strong idea of safeguarding children.
Though you may not know this show in America, we can relate to one of the characters, Topo Gigio, the puppet created by Maria Perego. Topo Gigio landed in America many years ago on the legendary Ed Sullivan Show. For those of you who are not old enough to remember Topo Gigio, let me say we waited every week for his appearance on the show. For us kids and the adults he became a household name. Seems hard to believe that this little mouse stole the hearts of the American people.
So where does Gianluca fit into all of this? If it wasn’t for the Piccolo Choir of Roses which was inspired by the Zecchino d’oro, Gianluca may not have been discovered.
Gianluca was a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses which is one of the local branches of this choir. The Mago Zurlì, who was the presenter of the event when Gianluca was in the Choir, was 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, the greatest 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 th 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.
Another of the beautiful things that came after San Remo was the chance to meet the children of the Agbe, the Association of Parents of the Emopatic Children, of Pescara.
It is a reality born in 2000 from the idea of a group of parents, in fact, with children from the hemopaths treated at the Santo Spirito hospital in the city. The purpose of the association is to give support in every way to the children and families during and after the period of treatment. An initiative that, for those like me and very sensitive to the problems of health of children, and really beautiful.
The thing that honors me a lot and that, inspired by my story with Ti Lascio Una Canzone, they thought to have the children dedicate to singing, so they organize a Christmas show every year that keeps them very busy and also a lot of fun. But at Agbe they would never have thought we would meet.
Instead, after the Festival I went to see them, all young patients from 4 to 15 years, and I invited them to our concert of Il Volo Live 2015 in Chieti because I knew that Piero and Ignazio would have been happy to meet them. And, so, it was: they came, they had fun and we spent time together taking pictures and signing autographs.
But Gianluca is about emotions too! And many things that happened after Sanremo were emotional for Gianluca! Like Gianluca receiving a prize for bringing Abruzzo around the world. Let’s listen to Gianluca talk about the emotion of winning this prize.
When I talk about emotions that arrived after Sanremo, I cannot forget what it meant to receive a prize like Abruzzese that gives prestige to its region in the world.
Every year on August 5th is celebrated the Day of Abruzzesi in the world, a day set up with a regional law to remember all the emigrants. On that day five ambassadors of Abruzzo are appointed in the world, that is, Abruzzesi who have come out of the regional boundaries for different reasons and give prestige to their region.
For example, they awarded a university lecturer, a cardiologist, the founder of a cultural association, an entrepreneur and a successful executive. The ceremony, which has a different location every year, was held in the Fortress of Civitalla del Tronto, a village that is a jewel of the province of Teramo, right on the border with the Marches.
I, however, am still in Abruzzo and therefore I cannot be appointed ambassador according to regional regulations, I was awarded with a beautiful statuette that replicates the warrior Capestrano, for having brought the name of my land around the world.
I cannot tell you what a feeling it is to receive from the regional Presidency the cultural symbol of my region. The original of the warrior stands in the National Archaeological Museum, more than two meters tall, of limestone, with a large disk helmet that looks like a hat. You see it for sure. And it is one of the things I’m most proud of.
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!
But it seems I digressed!
So now, let me go back and sum up Gianluca’s musical career! Although Gianluca never studied music he did develop a musical ear and instinct and as a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses and his performances around Abruzzo, he was discovered by Licia Giunco who brought Gianluca to Rome to audition for Ti Lascio Una Canzone. The rest of the story is history!
And as a result of this, Gianluca Shares His Amazing Voice with people all over the world!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If this story sounds familiar to you it’s because I had to write a similar story last year about our, Ignazio.
When I go on Instagram or Facebook and I see stories that hurt the guys, it upsets me. These are three of the nicest guys you’re ever going to meet in your life. It’s not just a career for them, it’s their life, their whole life. It’s what they’ve dedicated themselves to since they were teenagers. Everything they do they do for us the Fans. We as you know, aren’t just fans to them, we are family. They grew up with us and they know how important we are and, they do things every day to try to please us. Sometimes it’s a picture, sometimes a song or sometimes just their joking around. Then there are days, not too often, when they are quiet, they just hide themselves in their own lives. Lives that you and, I take for granted every day, they only get to enjoy occasionally. No, they can’t be out there for us 24/7 but they try their best to make themselves visible and available.
Even though we are like family to them, they do have families of their own. Families that they have spent so little time with over the last twelve years. The pandemic has been very hard on all of us. It was also hard for the guys because they had to leave us their fan family. If anything, there was some good that came out of this, the guys got to stay at home with their families. Since they were teenagers, they never had the opportunity to stay at home with their families for a whole year. And I think Ignazio expressed it best in an interview when he said, “if it wasn’t for the pandemic, I wouldn’t have spent those last (precious months) months with my dad.”
I chose to write about Ignazio this week because of some sad things that have been said about him on Instagram. I’ve had to do this on other occasions for Piero and Gianluca. This is a very important time for Ignazio. It’s a time when he needs to be near family and, among other things, to deal with the loss of his father. The purpose of this piece is to show you, those who don’t already know it, how, really, nice Ignazio is and has always been since he was a child!
Let me start by telling you about what Ignazio does for us with his music and what he contributes to the music industry.
If Ignazio did nothing more than sing for the rest of his life, he would be remembered as a singer who captured an audience at a very young age and continues to intrigue them with every passing day.
From the first time he stepped on the stage, he was a star. I remember watching him on PBS and thinking if he’s this good now, what will he be like ten years from now. Along with Gianluca and Piero these three, amazing, men have achieved in ten years what most men could only dream of achieving in a lifetime!
He is the voice that never ends! The voice that intrigues! The voice that takes your breath away! The voice that leads you to ecstasy!
But it doesn’t end there. No, there is so much more to be said about Ignazio and the best place to start is in his performances. He is the ultimate entertainer. He is the production. His presence is there in every aspect of the production. He is a prolific entertainer! He sees music! He feels music! He breathes music! Follow him around the stage. The little gestures aren’t just for our entertainment they are real movements within each song. Let me describe it as I have described it for you in the past:
Ignazio is known as the funny one and that he is! But is it really about the joke? Or is it more about the production.
I want you to think about the performance. We know these guys have amazing voices but, what if they got on the stage and for two hours, they did nothing but sing. I don’t think it would work. A performance needs the ability to move on. There’s no change of scenery and no intermission so how do you move the performance along? Ignazio! The joking he brings into the performance provides the levity to relive the seriousness of the performance. He brings a certain ease and suspense to the performance. The audience is always wondering, what will he do next.
But is it always about joking? I want you to think about what I’m saying. Ignazio is constantly moving around the stage. He’s dancing and keeping the rhythm. He’s swinging the microphone around and constantly nodding towards the orchestra, Gianluca and Piero. Is that the lead up to a joke? I don’t think so. Let me tell you what you are looking at. Ignazio is following every note that is sung or played on that stage. His mind is in motion. He is sensitive and passionate with music. He has the ability to see the music as it is happening. He knows where every instrument should come in and out. That’s why you notice little things like him smiling, nodding, pointing towards the musicians, Gianluca or Piero. He also grabs the baton from the conductor, sometimes to joke but more often to conduct. Think about him conducting the Asti Symphony Orchestra while Marcello Rota sang his tenor part. He wasn’t joking, he was conducting. And that’s why everyone was watching in amazement. And when it was over, they were speechless. Look at Michele Torpedine go across the stage to embrace him. He is in awe of this young man. You call him funny I call him brilliant! I am going to make a prediction here! Remember you heard it here first. Ignazio will compose a great operatic pop opera one day.
In an article by Ilvolovers Romania they commented: “Ignazio, for what he looks like and also for everything he sometimes hides, is an imposing, brave and authentic young man. Sensitive and passionate, his performance creates a hurricane of feelings for anyone who looks at him and listens to him. For him, the phrase “singing with the heart” is not a metaphor, it is a reality expressed in every gesture and makes us wonder what his eyes see when he sings.”
Let’s look at how Ignazio has helped aspiring young artist.
On February 2, 2014, Ignazio collaborated with singer Roberto Amadè in a project that resulted in a wonderful concert, the Amadè-Boschetto concert which was organized through the Cultural and Artistic Center “Ignazio Boschetto,” with the support of The Town Hall of Marsala. The Teatro Impero archipelago hall has long applauded this initiative which brought together several artists from Marsala.
Ignazio has helped many young people in their careers. In February 2014, Katya Pantaleo, a young singer from Marsala, won the Premio della Critica at Sanremo with the song “Come in paradiso” music, lyrics and arrangement by Ignazio.
On August 30, 2014, Chiara Cusumano and Giorgia Vassalo, The Duo Sisters, reached the finals of the Festival di Castrocaro, performing a song composed by Ignazio: “Paura d’Amare”.
And let’s not forget the beautiful song he wrote “Hablando de ti” that he has performed in concert.
And what about the theme song for the Rai Series Makari.
Let me add to this by recognizing Ignazio’s production company, Floki Productions. At 25 he started his own production company. Does this surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. It makes a lot of sense to me.
Floki Productions I’m sure is Ignazio’s dream. So, where does the dream begin. Nico Arezzo!
In many ways Nico reminds me of Ignazio. He knows what he wants and, he goes after it. Nico was the first artist to sign a contract with Ignazio under Floki Productions.
You will remember that Ignazio released Nico’s song Gorilla on June 30, 2020 (in the middle of the pandemic) in a “Live on Instagram.” Let’s listen to what Ignazio had to say about that:
“On Thursday night we were the first to do a high-quality sound live on Instagram.”
People wouldn’t dream of doing what Ignazio did. What a spectacular show!
While the music world was trying to restart, Ignazio, at age 25, made his debut as a producer. And what a phenomenal production it was!
Ignazio said, “Production has always been my dream. It started with an idea to give a chance to those who deserve a break,” Ignazio reminds us “as it happened 11 years ago to myself, Gianluca and Piero.”
Some of you may remember the interview I did last October with Ignazio’s teacher Ermelinda De Bartoli. (you can read the full interview “Watching Ignazio Take Flight” on www.ilvoloflightcrw.com) Now I want to go back to that interview and pull out some of the questions and answers which will give you some insight as to who Ignazio really is:
Excerpts from the Interview of October 2020….
Susan: Ignazio’s mother said Ignazio was always very serious and responsible! How would you describe him as a teenager?
Ermelinda: I met him when he was only 14 years old. He was at the beginning of adolescence and, he was always joking. He was very attached to his family. He grew up in Bologna because the family moved there for work and, at the age of ten he moved to Marsala when the family decided to return. In Marsala he attended middle school and two years of high school. At school he was playful and sociable, with a very open and modest character. He often told us about his passion for singing which he studied with a teacher. His life as a teenager was not hard, because, as soon as he started his career at the age of 15, his life changed due to the numerous commitments linked to his success and the new path taken with Il Volo.
Susan: Ignazio is very kind and compassionate. Was this something you noticed about him as a teenager?
Ermelinda: He was very generous and affable to everyone. In particular, he was very compassionate towards some pupils with disabilities, with whom he often conversed, holding them in high regard and showing empathy.
I remember an episode one evening after he won Ti Lascio Una Canzone, the whole class with me and another colleague went to the pizzeria. Ignazio was just fifteen and, when it was time to pay the bill, he came to me and said: “Professor, you are my guest.” I understood that in him there was so much kindness in his manner and in his soul, in this case, a kind gesture towards a woman.
Susan: When Ignazio was your student, he was already studying with Lilliana Adreanò. Ignazio said he had a great passion for soccer and, he loved to play every afternoon but, it had been less so after he started taking singing lessons. He said, “I had less free time and then no free time and I realized that singing was more important than all the rest.” How do you think Ignazio saw his future at that time?
Ermelinda: It is true to study singing he began to leave other hobbies. After Ti Lascio Una Canzone despite having been praised by these great Italian singers, who sang with him, I remember that he told all this with great modesty and simplicity and despite the fact that he had won he never spoke of great expectations nor did he delude himself, at least, until the moment in which Michele Torpedine and Tony Renis hired them after a short time, to form Il Volo. I heard the comments on him by experts such as Claudio Cecchetto and Al Bano who, when he told him that he had recently taken singing lessons, were amazed.
Another detail that I noticed is that while he sang, he always kept his eyes closed and he told me that he was doing it because having recently lost his grandfather, who he adored and, it was he who Ignazio thought of while he sang and, he sang with his heart.
Susan: Ignazio went from your classroom to Ti Lascio Una Canzone and immediately became a star. You told me after the Italian program, he just took off. You said you saw him take off! What was it like watching all of this happen before your eyes? Did it seem like it was all happening very fast?
Ermelinda: Of course, having seen him “take flight” in a short time and, see him pass by the school desks, and then on a stage was for me, as for all his companions, a great emotion and a source of great pride.
Susan: Did you see a change in Ignazio during this time?
Ermelinda: Ignazio was still at school, after his first success, and with all of us, he always remained himself … with a modesty and genuineness that still distinguishes him today.
Susan: During the performances Ignazio sang with some really great singers. Massimo Ranieri, Albano, Fausto Leali to name a few. These singers were in awe of him. Do you think that Ignazio understood what was happening to him?
Ermelinda: Yes, these singers were more than in awe of what they heard, they were astonished, something that Ignazio confirmed when we asked him. And, to think that he was still a kid, and had not yet completed the development of the vocal cords.
Yes, Ignazio from the point of view of his singing ability had already understood in comparison with these famous singers that he had what it takes to become even greater.
Susan: How did your other students feel about what was going on in Ignazio’s life?
Ermelinda: His classmates were very happy and excited. Every Saturday night none of us left the house. We all waited to see Ignazio on TV … and on Monday when he returned to school, for the class, it was a riot and bursting questions, and also a source of pride to kids as they were, to have him as a companion … the little big star, their friend.
Susan: Did you every stop to think about how this all happened? How did a young man from a very simple family suddenly become a superstar?
Ermelinda: It often occurred to me that what was happening to Ignazio was a fairy tale … of those things that you think can only happen in fairy tales. He is a boy with a great talent hitherto unknown, from a very modest family but very united and with healthy values, he was able to tread the scenes of half the world … from his cottage in the countryside to a duet with Barbra Streisand and much more that we know.
The way in which all this happened is told by the facts that there was a first revelation of his talent and Ti Lasco Una Canzone, as we know, could remain there as it happens to many without getting anything else; then as he also said he had the luck of an intuition of the director who suggested to the managers Michele Torpedine and Tony Renis to form the trio.
Susan: How did you feel when Il Volo won Sanremo?
Ermelinda: When Il Volo won in Sanremo, that evening, in addition to the great emotion, I retraced the periods of when Ignazio was still young, always talking with humility about his first successes and I also thought that from the beginning I told myself that he was a phenomenon, so seeing him on that stage, the most important in Italy, was for me just as it was for all Marsala people.
Susan: Finally, what would you like to add about Ignazio that we haven’t already covered?
Ermelinda: I think I have said everything about him of what I know and what I have had the opportunity to perceive. When I talk about Ignazio, with others, I always say that he is very humble, modest and always very affectionate with the people who meet him. I still say:Ignazio, is a beautiful soul.
For Ignazio family is important. They are everything to him. So, please understand that he needs to be with his family right now. You like being with your family. How about posting some nice pictures of the Ignazio we love? Soon he will be in the limelight again. Until then, let’s remember, Ignazio is a Beautiful Soul!Respect that soul!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Today, we need to understand what it was like for the guys to come together, become Il Volo and start to understand the reality of stardom! But before we begin, let’s take a look at how the guys came to be called Il Volo.
In the beginning the idea of being one in three was something that the guys needed to learn about. They had to learn how to sing together. It was no longer this is your song, learn it and sing it. No, now it was, this is your part, your take, your phrase, learn it and sing it. They began to understand how music and recording actually worked. They were starting to learn about being three in the form of one. Sharing! And, if that wasn’t enough, they had to learn something even harder, how to get along with one another.
I’ve told you, in some of my stories, about the problems, the disagreements. These may seem unusual but in reality, they were not. You show me three teenage boys who can be thrown together and just immediately like one another and totally agree with one another. No, that won’t happen.
Ignazio said: “We were only three kids accompanied by our parents. We still did not know each other well. At the beginning I immediately started to connect with Piero. Perhaps because he is Sicilian like me and maybe because we always found the opportunity to make jokes and have fun.”
Gianluca said; “I was very shy and a little insecure but also a little immature and too instinctive
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, and I could not wait until then. Piero, for example, took some good kicks from me. I threw a 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.”
These were some of the obstacles. Some would easily be resolved and, some would take a long time and a lot of trust to overcome.
In 2009 – 2010 during the recording of their first album, the guys still did not have a “real” name. After Ti Lascio una Canzone, they were given the name Tre Tenorini, because they resembled Luciano Pavarotti (Ignazio, for the waistline). Jose Carreras (Gianluca, for the elegance, says Torpedine) and Plácido Domingo (Piero, for the tenor voice).
Tre Tenorini, no, that was never going to work. First off, they aren’t three tenors. As you know they are a baritone, a lyrical tenor and a spinto tenor. So, a new name would have to be found. Easy, no not at all. Let’s listen to what guys had to say about choosing a name.
Piero begins: “Sometimes finding a name is much more complicated than it may seem. We did not even believe that we would continue to sing, imagine if we thought we needed a name. Do you know that at one point they wanted to call us La Scala?”
Ignazio continues: “At that time when we were looking for a name and we couldn’t find one, we were recording We Are the World 25 for Haiti. It was the beginning of February 2010, and we called ourselves The Tryo, which we then used as guests at the second evening of the Sanremo Festival. A week later, we sang in front of Queen Rania of Jordan, and that is when we translated it to, Il Trio.
Gianluca said: “The problem of the name? It was one of those impossible marketing missions: it had to be short and easy to pronounce in practically all the world. For example, there is a group called Il Divo, and they also sing a genre similar to ours, and Il Divo was just the kind of name we wanted: short, easy to pronounce and also very international, because it has a clear meaning to everyone.
And that’s why the name La Scala came out. Elettra Morini, the wife of Tony Renis, had proposed it. Elettra, who was a dancer there, told her husband: ‘Why do you not call them La Scala? Surely everyone in the world knows La Scala.’
Ignazio interrupts: “And then, there was the question that they called us the Lyric, La Scala, La Scala. We chewed on it a little but, it did not convince us.”
Piero tells us that everyone was involved in this project….
“But who was looking for the name? All of us: the three of us, Michele, our parents, whoever belonged to our family or, our working group said a name, two or three, and it was written on a list. That list had become worse than a telephone list: we got to more than five hundred proposals.
This thing of the name was becoming a joke. We were going to record the album, make a meeting, or engage in anything else and, we ended up talking about this name, but we never got the right idea. In the end, one day out of the blue, a gentleman working from Michele, Stefano, says: ‘Il Volo.’”
Ignazio says, “IL VOLO? What about IL VOLO? IL VOLO? It began to turn in the air (ha ha) and so the birth of Il Volo.”
And just when it seemed the decision was made to choose Il Volo, another problem arose.
“But then we discovered that there had already been a group by this name in 1974, composed of Mario Lavezzi, Vince Tempera, Alberto Radius, Bob Callero, Gabriele Lorenzi and Gianni Dall’Aglio. It was a collaboration that lasted a year and a half and had gathered all of the best musicians. But now we liked the name, so we decided to keep it. Also, because it immediately seemed to us a good omen to fly, to take flight, get up in the air.
But we risked a little.
Think if this project did not start, if we were not really able to ‘take off,’ do you imagine how they would have made fun of us? ‘The Flight takes off? No, Il Volo has crashed!’ At that point, we had the CD, the name also and we left for the States.”
After a week in the States visiting Miami and Los Angeles, they returned to Italy. By May 2010, things began to change.
Piero recalls: “We too began to understand that something was only changing when our first record came out.”
Ignazio remembers: “It was already in May 2010 and the Il Volo album was about to come out all over the world. Maybe I was too small and naive, but I did not feel the anxiety of the job, like today.”
The first major television show in which the guys appeared in America was American Idol, the world’s most famous music talent show.
The guys certainly took America by storm and slowly also many other countries in the world.
Ignazio begins to explain the reality of it…
“In a few months I found myself having traveled the world, from Europe to the Americas, from Asia to Oceania. From 2010 to 2013 we traveled like crazy, without ever stopping. In three years, I have not been home for five months.
In 2013 at the end of the American tour the guys found themselves at the door of Latin America and their South American Tour.
First stop Guadalajara, Mexico. And what better way to begin than on October 4, 2013, Ignazio’s 19th birthday!
Here Come the Fans
Gianluca recalls how the South American Tour began…
“In five years, we have done a lot of concerts, we have been in a lot of places and, I absolutely agree with Piero when he says that it is difficult to remember everything, that things have followed so quickly that they seem confused, sometimes I almost forget. However, if I stop and think about it there are flashes that come to mind, for example the 2013 tour in South America.
One of the first things I remember is Ignazio’s birthday in Messio, on the evening of the first concert of the tour.
We arrived at the hotel that was a bit in the middle of nowhere, in Guadalajara. Here we met for the first time our drummer, Salvatore Corazza. There was a huge garden and we started playing soccer.
The most special thing about Ignazio’s birthday was that we celebrated with fans. And speaking of fans, there I lost my password for Instagram and, I started to go crazy because it is very important to keep in touch with the Volovers.
“At the beginning, in South America, we realized we were really famous only when we arrived and, the fans were in front of the hotel waiting for us. But it happened slowly, slowly. Slowly, relatively slowly, month after month. Because two months before we were in Argentina and there were twenty fans, the next one there were a hundred, the one after there were three hundred, and then a thousand, two thousand. Now the situation is unbelievable if you have not experienced it, you will not believe it because we are with bodyguards twenty-four hours a day. It’s another world.
I remember in Peru, in Lima, we land, we get off the plane and there were already bodyguards at the baggage claim. Usually, they are waiting for us after the baggage claim, two of them come to the entrance and two of them come to the exit to escort us.
Here seven, eight bodyguards arrive directly at the baggage claim. I did not understand. Why, for us? I thought of the fans, but it was the first time we went to Peru, it was really impossible that it was. Now imagine a glazed sliding door, at the airport and you cannot see the other side. Imagine that you have just picked up your baggage, you approach the door, the bodyguard puts you next to the door and the door opens and … you find yourself in front of a wall, a wall of girls, all one above the other screaming, a single scream, something that stuns.
We were in our cars and, they followed us with taxis. The taxi drivers overcame us like crazy, with the girls hanging out of the windows that sounded trumpets, waving flags. We spent three months of our year this way.”
“And, instead, do you remember Cuernavaca? It was 2013, I remember that we went in the room of Jerry di Pirro, who was our tour manager, to listen to Sade’s music. I remember the white curtains and a terrible heat, in the evening, the pool …”
“… the insects! In that hotel I remember that I entered the room, we were in the middle of the forest and the white ceiling was completely covered with insects. My father and I spent half the evening crushing mosquitoes and other little animals with slippers.
Then I remember my father talking to the Mexicans while he cooked me pasta. Because before singing, three hours before, I always eat a hundred grams of tomato and basil spaghetti. I love that moment.
He comes in the dressing room, brings me the spaghetti made by him (we bring the packages from home). And that year he started explaining to the Mexicans how spaghetti tomato and basil was cooked.
It was a tour de force, from one day to the other air travel throughout South America, but dad was always with me. One morning I woke up in Guatemala, I look at my dad and say: ‘Dad, what should we do today?’
‘We have to leave for another city.’
‘When is the concert? Tomorrow?’
‘No, tonight! And go! Let’s start.’
That is the real passion: come without force but go forward. Only passion kept me standing.”
“Now I do not know, maybe we would not do it this way anymore.”
“However, Gianlu’ this year in July we have gone thirty hours on flights for appearances on TV in the United States. I went back to Detroit with that heat and the album to finish and the tour to do.”
Ignazio recalls opening his mouth and, nothing comes out…
“I tried to sing and, my voice does not come out, there is nothing to do, it does not come out.
I only know that when I finished that tour in South America I was nicknamed ‘Ignazio the tank’ by myself: I had done twenty concerts with bronchitis.
The worst was in Caracas, Venezuela, six thousand five hundred people, at seven in the evening: soundcheck.
Let’s start with the first song. I try to sing and, my voice does not come out, there is nothing to do, it does not come out. And here comes the most total panic, we stopped the soundcheck, the production calls a doctor and, I was punctured with Bentelan.
In short, for a month and half I sang only thanks to the cortisone and breathing technique that our teacher Sergio Bertocchi taught us.”
“Our because he is also my teacher.
But maybe only say master. Sergio Bertocchi is the person who helped me most in singing, the one that solves my doubts and my problems. If I enter a lesson with a doubt, I go out and I am another Piero, happy and relaxed.
And he never leaves me alone: even outside of Italy, we do lessons on Skype, we solve doubts and problems on the phone.
When I thought that in the Grande Amore tour, I would have liked to sing an air of an opera, Bertocchi told me: ‘You can do it very well, but you have to study a lot.’ And so, I did. For me, the study is fundamental, commitment and study.
Between May and June 2015, every time we were in Bologna to record ‘L’amore Si Mouve,’ I went to my teacher from 8 to 10 am (then at 10:30 am I went into the recording studio) and studied with him ‘E Lucevan le Stelle,’ the aria of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca that I sang during the tour.
It was tiring, but there’s nothing like seriously engaging in something to feel at peace with oneself. Or at least for me.
And you do not know how important it is to have an experienced a person like Sergio Bertocchi to guide you.”
“I know for sure, that without his breathing exercises I do not know how I would have sung. Without a voice I was completely out of it.”
Piero jokes with Ignazio….
“Eh, Igna’, but the voice, you had in that interview!
It was March 2013 we were in Argentina at the famous Los 5 edicion broadcast of QMusica TV. In practice the program works like this. The guest says something about himself and, between a piece and the other part of his story, presents a video of a song he likes, for a total of five videos.
What was the problem? In the meantime, we spoke Spanish and sometimes we were wrong, so we stopped the recording and got it back. So, Ignazio was already a bit tired out, let’s say.
But the worst thing is that in Argentina they do not have the Volo V, they have the B, they say ‘Il Bolo.’
And one, and two, and three, always ‘Il Bolo.’ At that point, Ignazio begins to correct the guy who was in the studio and repeating to us the things to say, and once, and twice, and three: ‘Il Volo, it is said Il Volo, V!’
Until the guy in the studio runs off of new ‘Il Bolo’ and Ignazio starts with a string of bad words in precise Sicilian that are still today immortalized in the off-wave.”
“Eh, however, guys, we are serious people, now. And, I have made a commitment to write.
Where were we? Oh yes. The end of the Latin American tour.
Christmas 2013 was approaching and, the record company wanted to come out with a record of Christmas songs. So Universal decided to complete the EP that came out two years ago with just five Christmas songs.
So, after the Latin American tour we started promoting the Christmas album.
My house began to fail me. Being four months away, changing cities, hotels and planes almost every day is not easy. From the age of sixteen, finding yourself catapulted into a world that was completely different from the one I was used to, was not a simple thing to manage. At first no, actually the first two years I thought ‘What a beautiful life!’ Then I realized that all that glitters is not gold.
To get satisfaction and achieve the goals you have set for yourself, you have to give up many things and, work hard. Stay focused on your work. It’s not easy.
Many people ask: ‘But these guys never get tired?’ Well, yes, we get tired too, sometimes. Personally, there was a time when I thought only of friends. I wanted to go out, I never answered the phone, the emails, the messages, I was out of this world.
It was thanks to my family, to the boys and to Michele that I realized that I was neglecting what was always important for me: the music.”
Gianluca agreeing with Ignazio continues….
“True, Ignazio is right. It was not easy then and, neither is it now.
In those years, in 2012 and 2013, no one knew us in Italy, we were just the three children who had come from Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
But in America, in South America, in Europe we were very well known. And not only there! After the release of our first CD, we went on tour even in places that none of us could have imagined we would go to: Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and New Zealand. In Singapore we also had a gold record with that first CD.
In 2012 we arrived in Norway, one of the few European countries that we had not yet touched. We participated in the concert dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize – that year went to the European Union – in Oslo. A fantastic evening that allowed us to meet Gerard Butler and Sarah Jessica Parker, who were the presenters, and an artist like Kylie Minogue.
And then, in 2014 we were in Moscow twice, once guests in a concert by Toto Cugno and once with a concert of our own, and at the beginning of 2015 we were in Beijing, guests of a TV program for the Chinese New Year.
So, 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.
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.”
So, they learned very early on to understand what it meant to live two lives. And to experience The Reality of Stardom.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!