Il Volo fans are not like any other fans in the world. To them Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca are family! To the older fans, they are our children. They are very much a part of our lives. Family!
I started writing my articles back in March because I realized that these fans were truly concerned about these three young men. They worried about them going home to Italy where we were hearing horror stories about Covid and how it was killing Italians. So, everyone went into panic mode. It seemed their departure was so sudden. They turned off the lights and went home! They canceled their last three performances and the next thing we knew they were on their way home. But being true to form, what did they do? 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.
Over the next three months they went into quarantine but, they stayed with us and shared their lives with us. A day didn’t go by that one or more of them appeared on Instagram and Facebook to cheer us up. They shared conversations with their friends and, they shared their everyday lives with us. We joined Piero at 4:00 PM every afternoon for his singing lessons. Ignazio brought in singers and comedians to entertain us and let’s not forget he took the time to introduce us to Nico! As to Gianluca, we watched him play piano and sing beautiful songs to us! And then there were the special songs of prayer by each of the guys and who can forget Ignazio’s “Almeno tu nell’universo.” No, they never left us.
And what did we do? Over three and a half months we learned about them, their childhoods and their private lives by sharing, every Sunday, an episode (total 17 episodes) in one of their lives.
Then the quarantine was over and, they left their houses. But the messages continued, go out but wear a mask.
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.
Saturday night they showed us what was missing!
But let’s step back a minute! When the guys were entering the Arena on Friday, they were stopped and asked about the situation of Covid. Ignazio answered. “It’s time for us to leave our houses, start having fun again but with responsibility.”
Friday afternoon we watched them at sound check give a performance to those present at 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 got his attention.
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.
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 the 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 that by 2021 full concerts and full live.
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. 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 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 bythe 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.”
Italy is an emotion and in the center of that emotion is a passion and that passion is Naples. Naples is like no other place in Italy or, for that matter, no other place in the world. Neapolitans are the most diversified people in all of Italy. Naples is a feeling you can never shake but, above all, Naples is Music!
In the mid 1800’s Naples began to see a new movement in music. In 1835 a new song “Te voglio bene assaje” appeared. This song is considered to be the first modern Italian song.
The first “hit” may date back to 1835 but the golden age of song, in Naples, was from 1890 – 1910 when immigration to America began. Men left with the dream of a better life but what they found was even harder than what they left. They left their homes and families, and, in some cases, they never went home again. They found themselves alone with nothing but their music. Many Neapolitan songs were written about these times. Most of these immigrants lived in New York City in lower Manhattan in an area which became known as Little Italy. Small music companies would put on one act plays. Little vignettes. The stories were always the same, they were about home and family. They were about the mother they would never see again.
In 1903, Enrico Caruso made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Caruso’s debut on November 23, 1903 was in a new production of Rigoletto. Marcella Sembrich sang opposite him as Gilda. A few months later, he began his lifelong association with the Victor Talking Machine Company. He made his first American record on February 1, 1904, having signed a lucrative financial deal with Victor. Thereafter, his recording career ran in tandem with his Met career, both bolstering each other, until his death in 1921.
Caruso was the first International singer to come to America. He introduced America to Italian Music. Caruso loved to sing Neapolitan songs and they were so popular that when he performed at the MET at the end of the show he would come out and sing Neapolitan songs. Among these songs were O Sole Mio, Torna Sorrento and Santa Lucia. As a result, Neapolitan songs became a part of an opera singers’ repertoire and every opera singer after Caruso would sing opera and Neapolitan songs including Il Volo.
Neapolitan music as it was at the turn of the century, in Naples, really didn’t change much but with the arrival of US troops in World War II, Naples woke up to a new beat. The US troops introduced them to the buzz and rhythm of jazz and boogie, and the Neapolitans immediately liked it.
I would not do Neapolitan Music or Il Volo justice if I didn’t mention Pino Daniele.
Pino Daniele was an Italian singer-songwriter, and guitarist, whose influences covered a wide number of genres, including pop, blues, jazz, and Italian and Middle Eastern music.
Pino Daniele made his debut in the Italian music world in 1977. He defined his music with the term “tarumbò.” His lyrics, written and sung in intense Neapolitan, attracted praise, though critical at times, because of his strong and bitter accusations against the social injustices of the times. Authorities say Pino Daniele brought about the rebirth of Neapolitan song.
He wrote and sang his own music and this music was known in America.
I started this piece by saying Italy is an emotion and Naples a passion. If Naples is a passion that passion was Pino Daniele. Songs likeNapule è, Quando and Quanno Chiove are just a few example of his songs. Examples I chose because I know Il Volo fans know these songs.
(Pino Daniele live in Napoli 2013 – Quanno chiove)
They are very deep passionate songs. Many artists have sung Daniele’s songs but in order to do justice to a Pino Daniele song you have to bring passion, emotion and Neapolitan dialect to the song. Enter Ignazio Boschetto! Ignazio’s tribute to Daniele is amazing and emotional. You can feel the depth of the song because of the presentation of the song and, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it’s as if Daniele wrote his songs for Ignazio.
(Ignazio Boschetto live in Arena 2015 – medley of: Napule è – Quando – Quanno Chiove)
Let’s look back a moment to see how Il Volo fit into the picture I presented here. Well we know they sing opera and we know they sing Neapolitan songs. Why? Remember what I said about Enrico Caruso. Every opera singer after Caruso would sing opera and Neapolitan songs. As a result, Neapolitan songs became a part of an opera singers’ repertoire and that includes Il Volo.
But do we see any other similarities here?
20th Century the year is 1903 – Enrico Caruso comes to America at the turn of the century. He brings with him a new kind of music. The music changes Americas way of viewing Italian music. To Americans, Italian music was opera. But now, they have Caruso singing Neapolitan songs at the MET. A few months later, he begins his lifelong association with the Victor Talking Machine Company. He made his first American record on 1 February 1904, having signed a deal with Victor Talking Machine company. Thereafter, his recording career ran in tandem with his Met career, both bolstering each other, until his death in 1921.
(Enrico Caruso – O Sole mio)
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Fast forward 100 years to the 21st century – the year is 2009, Il Volo signs a major contract with Universal Music. They come to America where their music immediately catches on and causes a revolution in the music industry. Over the next ten years they sell out every American Concert. All their albums and concerts are a tremendous success. And their success is from singing Opera and Neapolitan songs. Thereafter, their recording career runs in tandem with their Concert career, both bolstering each other.
Did I read that right? Did Caruso and Il Volo do exactly the same thing in two different centuries? Did history repeat itself?
Like Caruso in 1904, Il Volo in 2009 revolutionized the music industry. These three teenage boys were the first Italian artists in history to sign a contract with a major American music label even before they arrived in America. They presented Operatic pop or popera to America. What is this new movement? It’s singing Opera in a more modern style. While opera is very strict and regimented, popera is more ethereal it has a lighter feeling and it moves freely. It takes away the hard edges of opera and replaces it with a more ethereal feel while still presenting the drama and the high notes of the opera. This along with the classical Neapolitan songs become a big draw.
Continuing on this amazing journey, their music evolves and, they crossover. In 2018 they released one of the most exciting Latin albums to come out in years. I would go so far as to say Amame is the most exciting Latin album that was ever produced. It’s opera, it’s rock, it’s classical, it’s pop and it never stops giving. The rhythm in songs like Noche Sin Dia is amazing. You have to move with the music. You can’t sit still. Songs like Maldito Amor is a phenomenal experience for your ear. The delivery is smooth and beautiful. It’s one of those songs that stays with you forever. This album is so Exciting! Exciting! Exciting! I sat and thought about this album the other day and how I would write about it. These three amazing guys absolutely floored me. The beat is so intense and, they are spot on. I think the guys knocked it out of the box with Noche Sin Dia. With Latin music you don’t just sing it, you feel it, and if you don’t feel it, you don’t cut it. This album cuts it! Good move!
(Il Volo – Amame)
As if that wasn’t enough, they follow up with Musica! This is the album that proved that great can get greater. This album is representative of where these young men are now. It’s beautiful, it’s sensitive, it’s romantic. It’s about love. It’s about them being ready for love. It comes from deep within them. All the sweetness and humility of these guys is in this album. It moves your senses. What I am saying is they have evolved and, their voices have evolved. They’ve grown into their voices. Their voices are mature and have expanded in such an amazing way. There’s an intriguing balance in their voices. To experience this amazing evolution in voice and song you need go no further than Be My Love. Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before. Ignazio makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes which lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero fills all your sense and brings you to such heights that you have to stop and breathe. Musica che resta!
The difference between Caruso and Il Volo is Caruso came to America towards the end of his career while Il Volo came at the beginning of their career.
Lucky for us!😉
(Il Volo pays homage to Caruso with the song CARUSO by Lucio Dalla)
We have come to the end of our journey. Over the last three and a half months I have been sharing with you An Extraordinary Adventure as Seen through My Eyes. I hope you enjoyed the stories as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you.
I took the original book which consisted of mostly dialogues and short stories between the boys and changed it to a narrative so you could truly appreciate their stories.
And what extraordinary stories they were. I acted as the narrator and lead you from one story to another always allowing the boys to tell the story in their own words. After a while, the boys took over and carried me along on their journey. A very exciting adventure!
What did I find out about the boys in this book? I found out that Piero is an excellent storyteller. When he tells you a story, he includes every little detail so when the story is over you know everything there is to know about that story. I found out that Ignazio is an excellent writer. He is the only one who wrote his story. Ignazio is very articulate. His words just flow off the page. Because of this, his story was the easiest to edit. As to Gianluca I was surprised to find out he was such a romantic. Everything that is important to him is a passion. He invests himself in what he loves and believes in: Family, Music, Country and Soccer!
I have read the book about 10 times over the last three months. Going back and forth from Italian to English to be sure that the facts were correct. I have edited other books but this one was truly an adventure. Maybe because the characters meant something to me.
Before I go any further there are some people who I would like to thank for giving me the opportunity to share this story. First and foremost, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca. They were aware that I was telling their story yet, never once did they ask me to stop telling it. It’s their story and they could have stopped me at any time. Next, I would like to thank Michele Torpedine for also giving me a free hand to share it!
As to the book Il Volo Un’avventura Straordinaria, La nostra storia, (An Extraordinary Adventure, our story)let me say it is a wonderful book and anyone who can read Italian should read it.
Many people have asked me why I don’t translate the book. It’s not my book to translate. All I can say is I would love to translate and edit the book for the English version.
Before I hand you over for the last time, let me leave you with this thought. This story truly was an extraordinary story about three young boys, child prodigies, who travelled the same path but started in different places: Naro, Bologna and Montepagano. I often think and I have just recently said in one of the stories, how is it possible that three amazing boys, with three extraordinary voices, that complement one another, wound up in the same place, at the same time, in history. My only answer is divine intervention. God had a plan and what a plan it was! He gave us three voices that would stay with us for a long time and certainly for me till the end of my days.
So, before we bid the boys farewell, I’ll let them tell their final story which is about the one disappointment they had. Or as Ignazio put it, “Eurovision… one of those things that I do not like to talk about, but we’re telling the truth, so let’s tell it all.” So, for the last time let’s join Piero as he tells us about what happened at Eurovision….
Piero: Vienna, the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, was a rather strange experience because we came as favorites. So, we were loaded, convinced! From February 14th to May 17th , the day we arrived in Vienna, we sang “Grande Amore” so many times that we convinced ourselves even more that we would make it. I mean, Gianluca and I, convinced ourselves while Ignazio was pessimistic as usual. However, Gian, your presentiment this time is really wrong.
Gianluca:But do you know what happened to Eurovision? Unlike Sanremo, the vote of the public was not as important as the Festival: fifty percent vote from home and fifty percent vote of the jury of journalists. And this put us at a disadvantage. But the public had voted for us, we arrived first for the people at home.
I cried when it was over. Why did I cry? I knew we had lost not because people did not love us, but for other reasons. Mom, I cried….
Ignazio: Do we really have to talk about it? I’m not so happy to talk about Eurovision because I do not have a great memory.
Piero: What a blow that night …
Gianluca: I started crying, then I looked at Piero, he too cried …
Piero: Gianluca in the end had convinced me to say: “We win, we win.” We had taken it in Sanremo, it could be that we would take it in Vienna, right?
Gianluca: Look, I guessed, because we won the televoting, I repeat it.
Ignazio: And I always am the pessimistic one, with my feet on the ground, saying, “No, guys, it’s hard. It does not say that we succeed.” Even though I had believed it myself a bit.
But it happened that we got third, behind the Russian Polina Gagarina, second with A Million Voices, and the Swedish Mans Zelmerlow who won with Heroes.
Gianluca took it very badly, he cried. Piero as well. Everyone took it very bad. What could I say?: “Come on, guys, we got third, not everyone does that, the last one was Modugno.”
Piero:In the end, however, Gianluca and I looked at each other, a look as if to say: “Now what do we do?”, and a moment before we cried and the next moment we laughed. We had lost, what could we do? By now, it had happened.
Gianluca:We could not cry forever. And then, the public’s heart was ours.
Ignazio: Instead, the undersigned, after having done a little shoulder to others, the next morning I felt very bad, but very bad. For two or three days I was very bad, I threw it all out, later.
Piero: In life you cannot always win, that’s what we learned.
Where’s the beauty? Not all women can say yes to you. After that, how do you try to seduce one, if you already know that she will tell you yes?
So, when we came back from Vienna, many people in Italy asked: “Are you sad about the third place?”
Absolutely not, indeed we are very satisfied, but maybe even too satisfied, because our goal of Eurovision was to show us to two hundred and twenty million people. Even in Australia they saw us. But think how many are two hundred and twenty million people? A sea, is, a sea!
And can I tell you something? I have never loved the tricolor flag so much in my life.
Knowing we were there at the Wiener Stadthalle with the roar of sixteen thousand people to hear us sing live and another two hundred million to see us at home, to know that we at that moment represented Italy for all of Europe is a great responsibility, however it is also a great stimulus to do it in the best possible way.
We represent it around the world with singing, with belcanto, and we believe we have done it better in Vienna. We put it all, we worked hard, we really gave our heart for this occasion.
It was a completely different experience from the others because it was not a competition between artists, it was a competition between Countries, it was a competition between origins, and we were there to defend our nation.
It was really very strong!
It would be nice to come back there, but first we should win another Sanremo Festival!
Goodbye for Now
In which the true and only secret of the success of our three lives is told.
When they asked us to write this book, our first thought was, “Finally,” finally we can tell the truth.” In a three-minute interview you cannot tell a life, but in a book yes. And that’s what we tried to do in these pages: tell our true story.
Which is a normal story, of three guys like many who had a great passion and were lucky enough to be able to transform that passion into what today makes them live and makes them famous.
Being successful is beautiful, it would be stupid to say no after we have so dreamed and desired, but you need to quickly understand something, and that is, that it is not only our merit.
The people who follow us have a large part of that merit.
And knowing it is what gratifies us the most.
It is wonderful to know that we have shared our emotions with those who listen to us.
That’s why we work, and that’s why we try to give everything when we sing, we live in a concert or recording studio. And that’s why we do our work always with the maximum of passion, so that we can create what for us is magic, the magic of emotion that passes from our voices to people.
Fans are the reason, the only real explanation of what happened to us from 2009 till today, the records, the tours around the world, the victory at Sanremo, what we are finally living in Italy.
During a concert we would like to embrace all the people before us, one by one, we would like to be able to say: “Thank you!” with our voices to all. And we want to thank them if we are in the studio to record, if we fill the halls in concerts, if we are in the charts, if we go around the world.
Our “fans” are everything!
We do not know what we will decide to do after the new album and the winter tour. We do not know if we will return to Sanremo, if we will take a vacation, if we will immediately start thinking about another album, new songs to fill your emotions and our emotions.
But for sure, for all we have done so far, let’s say thanks to those who have followed us. And we will continue our great adventure together! Goodbye for now!
Let me say, Gianluca was the one who inspired me to write this article. Gianluca said, “I thought there were three hundred thousand boys singing like me, and instead that night I discovered that there are only two: Ignazio and Piero.” Of course, Gianluca was referring to the night they sang together for the first time on Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
What Gianluca realized in that moment was the uniqueness of the group. So, let’s begin where it all began….
It is the fourth episode of Ti Lascio Una Canzone and the boys are given the music for “O Sole Mio” but in three parts. They thought it was strange because until then they were singing alone or doing duets.
They walked out on the stage, sang “O Sole Mio” and it was like they had been performing together for years. Flawless!
We often talk about Ti Lascio Una Canzone where the boys first came together but, we never talked about some of their performances or what was going on behind the scenes without them knowing it.
Let’s talk about some of the people they performed with on the show. Really great names in the Italian music industry. Massimo Ranieri, Fausto Leali, Al Bano, Adamo, Piero Mazzoccheti.
What did I witness during their performances? I saw great performers in awe of three teenagers who were singing their songs and they were amazed at the performances. It was written all over their faces. They could not believe what they were hearing.
What was going on behind the scenes? Well we certainly know that the idea to put the three together was the genius of Roberto Cenci the artistic director and director of the program. But there was so much more happening!
Alone in his apartment, Michele Torpedine was sitting on his sofa with the volume off on his TV. The show he was watching was Ti Lascio Una Canzone. He keeps looking at the screen and he suddenly thinks, Ignazio reminds him of Luciano Pavaroti, Gianluca seemed similar to Jose Carreras and Piero is similar to Placido Domingo. He still had not heard them sing. Out of curiosity, he raised the volume and Michele says, “Here I am aware of another element, that is even more important than the first. The three casually put together to sing a song of the program possess an incredible vocality for their age.”
At this point Michele’s head is spinning. He’s thinking these guys are good and again repeats it to himself, they’re good! He thinks, “What if I try to put them together seriously? A trio he tells himself. Here’s what I could do…. “
Michele says, “The next day I am a volcano. I want to talk to everyone: producers, managers, families.”
After confronting Tony Renis, Michele called Roberto Cenci and he got the contact details of the three boys.
Michele says, “Another great story started, a new story at a time when it seemed to me that there was no future for me, for my profession: a breath of oxygen in my environment.”
After years of disappointment, loss of trust and gratitude, missing or denied, with Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca, Michele rediscovers the values of gratitude. Michele says, “the boys allowed me to really go back to my job.”
So where to begin? Michele says, “Let’s start with trust because they trust me first of all; the administration of an entire world tour, with important figures to move on which I could take what I want if I were dishonest. But they trusted me and so did their parents, to whom, moreover, I have committed myself to teaching everything, the mechanisms, the things that move, the figures, the relationships. All.”
As I mentioned, Michele called Tony Renis. The first time Tony Renis heard the guys sing he said “I could not believe that these three young kids could sing like men of 45 years old. Their voices were huge! I realized they had great potential.” Renis called his producer friend Humberto Gatica and said “…if you are available, I would like to collaborate with you to produce these kids.” When Gatica heard them sing, he couldn’t believe their voices either, he thought it was a fake, “they can’t possibly be teenagers.” Renis said, “After this these kids started to fly, so we called them Il Volo.” Renis believed these kids would appeal to kids, mothers, fathers, everybody. He was right!
They were the first Italian artists in history to sign a contract with a major American music label. Universal Music signed them immediately. Michele said, “it is important to give due recognition to the man who made all this possible, the great record manager Peter Lopez. Peter immediately sensed the enormous potential of our artistic project. To him we owe an incredible international contract signed simply trusting that the boys would have audiences all over the world.”
But what did they bring to the table to win over the kids, the parents, and the grandparents? They had an idea and it worked.
Their music was Operatic pop or Pop-Opera. What was this new movement? It’s singing Opera in a more modern style. While opera is very strict and regimented, Pop-Opera is more ethereal it has a lighter feeling and it moves freely. It takes away the hard edges of opera and replaces it with a more ethereal feel while still presenting the drama and the high notes of the opera.
This along with the classical Neapolitan songs became a big draw. Why did it work? One reason is three amazing voices! If the voice wasn’t there, the song wasn’t going to sell.
When I’m writing these pieces, I do a lot of research and I watch a lot of videos. And this is what I found. I looked at videos of the promos the boys did, for their albums. They were 16 – 17 years old and I found many teenagers at these promos. I saw teenage girls and boys singing opera and Italian songs. They liked it because the music is easy and catchy and, they picked it up very easily. And I might add, the guys are very attractive and likeable. The young girls love them not because they are very handsome but because they can relate to them. They were 16 – 17 years old and they were telling these young kids we love this music and you can too. And they did and still do! Once the kids were sold the parents followed.
Who wouldn’t want their kids singing this music? In turn the parents found it just as pleasing. As to the grandmothers they were the ones who were fainting over these attractive young men.
But it wasn’t all as easy as that. There were some rough edges, some adjustments that needed to be made. The voices were certainly there but bringing it all together was another matter.
Let’s look back a moment at some of the people I just spoke about. Michele Torpedine, Roberto Cenci, Tony Renis, Humberto Gatica and Peter Lopez. These are the top of the top. Under normal circumstances these boys wouldn’t be able to get in the front door, no less to meet these people. What would you call it? I call it La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny). They certainly were in the right place at the right time. I often wonder how it is possible that these three boys, with three unique voices, all appear at the same time and in the same place in history. WOW! What a plan God had! It can be nothing less!
So, what happened next? So, let’s let the boys tell you….
Piero said, On June 9 th, 2009, nine days after the end of Ti Lascio Una Canzone, my parents left for Rome. They were a bit mysterious about it. When I asked them what they were going to do in Rome, they only replied that they had to meet a person and, I tell the truth, I did not even insist on knowing who…. The next day they come home and then, yes, I wanted to know something more. “Dad, what have you done in Rome?”
“Nothing,” he answers, “we met a certain Torpedine.”
Yes, On June 9th, 2009 all the parents met with Michele to discuss the future of the boys.
Piero said, “After a month, my parents made another trip to Rome to meet the legendary Torpedine …. The day after, Mom and Dad came back to Naro with a check. It was the advance of the contract.”
Ignazio said,“Immediately after the end of the program my parents, like those of Piero and Gianluca received a call from the office of Bibi Ballandi.”
Who is Bibi Ballandi? …. He is the producer with a capital P. Some examples? The shows on Rai Uno de Fiorello and Celentano, Dancing with the Stars and also Ti Lascio una Canzone.
From Ballandi’s office, they wanted the parents of the three boys to go to Rome to discuss their children’s future…. On their return from Rome, as usual, Mom and Dad sat down with me and my sister around the table to talk about what had happened in Rome. Michele Torpedine …. was interested in us. What did I think? What could I think, one who in the last five years had done nothing but sing from morning to night? After several meetings we signed our first managerial contract.”
Gianluca said, “That is a period that I really cannot remember in general. I was just a child who dreamed. While the other guys who had participated in the Ti Lascio Una Canzone returned home … the three of us walked towards a professional artistic career.
…. I did not even know what the contracts were like, I did not care. Once I told my father something like this: ‘But why, to be a singer, it takes a contract?’ I only remember that at a certain point we went to lunch in Rome, at Rome Cavalieri with Tony Renis to talk about music and recording songs. The contract had already been signed. I was there with my father, Piero, Ignazio and their parents.
What I do remember is, we were three funny and awkward children: Ignazio fat, Piero roly-poly too, I was small and plump and with pimples. So, at the first meeting, I look at Torpedine and ask him: “But what came into your mind?”
In 2009 they recorded their first album.
Ron Fair, chairman of Geffens Records had this to say about their debut album, “Their debut album went Platinum, in Italy, without a single release, solely based on their performances in three TV Shows. This has never happened before.”
Today, Michele sums it up like this. “These three guys have very clear ideas and I have never seen them impressed in front of audiences that many would shake their legs. I never heard a wrong attack, and if some inconsistency arose that made something happen professionally, they knew how to handle the problem at the origin. They are always extraordinary, their voices grow with them, they mature in body and soul. There is no other team or artistic team so complete.”
What I liked about Nico from the first time I saw him was his energy! The way he draws in his audience. He says, “he chooses songs that make him move.” I say, he makes the songs move. Nico first came to my attention when he won the 2017 Festival Show in Verona. Afterwards I started to follow him never knowing that his path would cross with Ignazio’s. Ignazio what did you see in this young man? Probably what I saw. A fresh approach. A freedom of expression that goes deep and is apparent in the songs he writes. Nico writes much of his own music and what he writes is really about who he is.
In a recent interview with Nico Donvito, an Italian Music Blogger, I saw another side of Nico. This is the side, in my opinion, that resembles Ignazio. We hear this young man talk about his music. His place in the music industry. How he got there and all the people who are responsible for his journey.
I heard a, very, intelligent and, responsible young man who has worked hard to get to where he is. He talks about, who he is, where he came from and how he sees his future.
Right out the gate, Nico impressed me with his insight. Nico sees Gorilla as a means of escape from where we are in our world today and an expression of where he finds himself in the world. Nico says, “Gorilla has a fresh taste, because in the last few months we have been a bit obliged to heavy thoughts, to stop and reflect on important things, to close ourselves in ourselves. At a certain point the moment comes when you need a beer on the beach with your friends, ‘Gorilla’ is just that, something not at all thick which and, in certain situations, can be essential.”
That’s pretty deep and right on. It was almost as if he was saying I wrote this song two years ago, but this was its’ moment. Its’ when it was needed. To say that the Gorilla is that moment in time when you need to kick back or as Nico put it when you need a beer on the beach with your friends, yes, that’s exactly what Gorilla is. Its’ light and intriguing and it brought us away from all the madness that preceded it. Perhaps, that’s what Ignazio was saying the day Gorilla was released. Let’s take the weight of the world and toss it aside. You had your way and now, we’re going to have ours!
Nico said he had Gorilla “in the drawer for a few years, in some ways it had become something unheard of for me, even if I understood the potential of the recording. So , I decided to rewrite the verses, to work again on the musical aspect, to represent in some way my growth. In addition, the team that work ed with me has changed . The head of everything Ignazio and the great boss Michele are two people that I will never stop thanking for they believed in something, then took that something from nothing to something so beautiful. Something wonderful to invest in, something that is not yet, is not for everyone, they took it and had the courage to go with it. This is the way we have known since November. We are side by side where we breathe when the boys are just a bomb and you can fell joy.”
When asked how he perceived Gorilla Nico said, “when they ask me what genre, the only word I can come up with is ‘Groove’ because it represents a constant in my music. ‘Ignorance’ because I consider it the most appropriate term, even if the most elegant one could be light-heartedness, but if we want to bring it among people to the language of children, we can speak of good and healthy ignorance. ‘Mustard,’ finally, because it is not clear if you like it or not, if it is spicy or not, if you go to analyze a few sentences of the piece there is also a pinch of political criticism, deliberately proposed in a subtle and veiled way”.
Gorilla is indeed a statement. Nico sees all the worth of it. He realizes where it needs to go and who it needs to touch. In reworking the song, he has opened a door to who he is. He is the groove, the spice and the mustard all rolled into one. The good and healthy ignorance is the selling point of the song. It appeals to children because they understand the language of the Gorilla and they look for him.
Nico was asked if he has achieved a specific artistic identity or, is he simply looking for it?
Nico explains, “it is certainly better than before and it will always be like this, a crescendo. Initially I had difficulties, because you need to find your own pen, otherwise you will remain an interpreter basing everything on your stamp. Today I think I have reached a good textual point, I can still improve on a musical and melodic level, some nuances can be added to make it even more personal. ”Gorilla” is a piece written more than two years ago, a mix between what has been and what is now, the next songs will be part of the next phase, I hope people will notice this growth, because originality is the most important element for an artist.”
What an amazing insight. Listen to how Ignazio summed up Nico in an article from Quotiano.net. “This is the moment Nico has been waiting for, for two and a half years. We could have anticipated the times, but I think we did the right thing to wait. Nico needed to grow calmly in writing. And he’s doing it very well.”
When asked about going to Sanremo again, Nico gives us a look into the future. ”I am working on many new things, little is known about me, there has been ‘Volo’ and ‘Gorilla’ but I have even more personal songs in store. The thing that fascinates me most about the pieces I’ve written, in these years, is that they highlight my character, they tell me in detail. A strange place is certainly to be expected, where there are, particular thoughts, all accompanied by the ‘groove’ that characterizes me. Regarding Sanremo Giovani, I confess that I have a song that I like so much, but that I don’t yet consider perfect. Surely in the future there will be a third test, I can’t tell you if it will be this year, next year or the other, but it is an experience that I would like to repeat with the right piece.”
In a recent article I wrote, I stated, “Nico has a lot of passion when he writes. His songs go deep and, they leave you with a lasting impression! You can feel the depth of who Nico is. So young and so wise. It’s no wonder that Ignazio noticed him. He’s all feeling. He can be crazy, calm and tenacious all at the same time! He can be so funny and so serious in a split second!”
One of the songs Nico has in store for us is “Passanti.” On the night Gorilla was released, Nico gave us a preview of some of his upcoming songs. Listen to my words about the night Gorilla was released.” I hope you noticed that little gem that was slipped in there, Passanti.” Coming soon!
How does Nico see his future? “It seems trivial,” Nico says, “but I would like my music to reach everyone. I don’t care who listens to it, the important thing is that anyone who wants to do it will take care of it, enter my head and don’t make too much mess.”
And that sums it and Nico up!
Credit to owners of all photos and video.
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