Tag Archives: American Idol

THIRTEEN AMAZING YEARS BY SUSAN

Looking back over the last thirteen years, I see many changes along the way but never a departure from their style. They may sing different songs, but they never depart from their operatic pop. They introduce new music, but they never depart from where they started. They present the old with the new.
Their music is Operatic pop or popera. What is this movement? It’s singing Opera in a more classical 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 became a big draw. Why did it work? One reason, three amazing voices! If the voices weren’t there, it wasn’t going to sell.

So, let’s begin this Musical Journey….
I’ve been writing about the lives of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca from the day they were born to the present day. 
As I wrote each story, there were certain highlights in some stories that I thought should be put aside and revisited in another article. These were, what I consider, moments to remember.

Of course, before I begin, I have to mention the fourth episode of Ti Lascio Una Canzone and the boys singing, “O Sole Mio.” They walked out on the stage, sang “O Sole Mio” and walked off stars!  
The rest is history!
Their musical journey begins in Los Angeles….

February 12, 2010 “We Are the World for Haiti”
I’m sure many of you have never seen the official video of We Are the World 25 For Haiti. It’s amazing! Look at our guys singing with some great American singers! Legends! Just the beginning of their journey but the guys would become legends in their own right!
In 2010 shortly after arriving in America, the guys were invited by Quincy Jones to join “We Are the World for Haiti,” together with 80 international artists such as Celine Dion, Bono, Lady Gaga, Carlos Santana, Barbra Streisand, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Natalie Cole to name a few. Il Volo were the only Italian artists to be invited. The three voices from the background caused such a sensation. “Who was that?” Everyone present couldn’t believe what they were hearing but, “Who were they?” Soon they would find out!

May 2011, Il Volo, American Idol 
By far the performance that set them on the road to success! There was no turning back after this! They stole the heart of America!

October 25, 2011, the recording of “Tous le visages de l’ amour”
For me, this is one of those moments that you don’t forget. Look at these amazing teenagers. They are singing in French perhaps for the first time. Look at how professional they are. This is only two years after they met! Each one is developing his part and by the end of the recording they bring their three amazing voices together.

2012 “Back to Brooklyn Tour” with Barbara Streisand

In 2012 Barbra Streisand invited the guys to be an integral part of her “Back to Brooklyn” tour. They performed with her in America and Canada. They were not an opening act, no, they shared the stage with Barbara. To the guys this was a dream come true!

2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards 

In 2013, “Más Que Amor” was certified “Gold” in Mexico and Argentina. And this catapulted the guys into the Latin market. From that day on they took the Latin market by storm. 
In February 2014, at the Latin Billboard Music Awards they receive two nominations “Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group” and “Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group.” At the awards show they were awarded as “Best Group of the Year in the Latin Pop Album” category and they also won the “El Pulso Social Award,” as the artist who dominated interactions on social networking sites during the Billboard Awards. This is unheard of! Three Italian kids taking over the Latin market! What a win!

December 21, 2014, The Christmas Concert at the Italian Senate
Ignazio wrote in their book: “We want to talk about the thrill of singing in front of the highest offices of state! What twenty-year-old boy has something like that happen? It happened to us, and it seems to me a beautiful result, an honor. You cannot imagine the emotional feeling to be called “guests of honor” inside the Senate. We were accompanied by the, fantastic, Filarmonia Orchestra Veneta conducted by Diego Basso. Half the beauty of the song is in the orchestra.
The most exciting moments? Everyone! But the hymn of Mameli was the heart-pounding one, the first song, singing in that place, with everyone singing along with us, including Giorgio Napolitano, (President) and Pietro Grasso (President of the Senate). It is one thing that I cannot explain.
And then, of course, the pleasure of shaking hands with the President of the Republic and of feeling that he knows Marsala, he has been there.
I have to say that when the guys sang ‘O Sole Mio with the children signing in the background, I got very choked up. It was very emotional for me! And the whole Senate seemed to be emotional too! An absolutely beautiful moment!

2015 Sanremo Music Festival
On February 14, 2015, the guys participated in and won the Sanremo Music Festival with “Grande Amore.” This is the top award in the Music Industry in Italy. With this win the guys really came home. They were finally recognized by the Italian people. This win also gave them the opportunity to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. 

2015 Eurovision
As Italy is a member of the Big Five, Il Volo went straight into the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Vienna on May 23, 2015. Grande Amore came in 3rd with 292 points but, they won the televote with 366 points and won the Marcel Bezencon Press Award, as best song according to the collective voting of the accredited press.
The extended play Sanremo Grande Amore was released in Italy on February 20, 2015, and it was certified triple platinum by FIMI. The people speak!

July 1, 2016 “Notte Magica” Piazza Santa Croce in Florence

2016-2017 were the years dedicated to the “Notte Magica” project, the tribute to the 1990 event where the Three Tenors, Josè Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, enchanted the whole world from the stage of the Baths of Caracalla.
On July 1st in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence Il Volo presented on stage “Notte Magica – A Tribute to the Three Tenors,” which was broadcast in prime time on Canale 5.  The guys were joined by Placido Domingo who conducted the orchestra. This marked the beginning of the world tour of “Notte Magica – A Tribute to The Three Tenors” which debuted on March 4, 2017 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. The show was sold out. After 15 stops in the United States, all sold out, the tour is extended to Europe from May 5, 2017, for 29 performances and from September it extended to Latin America. The concert “Notte Magica – Tribute to the Three Tenors” was filmed and broadcast in the United States by the national television network PBS, and in Italy by Canale 5 and, starting in June, it was broadcast in over 500 cinemas in Italy and around the world.

Jul 5, 2017, Ignazio Conducts the Asti Symphony Orchestra 
During the rehearsals of the last date of the Notte Magica Tour in Naples, Ignazio stepped  in as conductor of the Symphonic Orchestra of Asti while Maestro Marcello Rota sang Ignazio’s tenor part! They sang “Libiam ne lieti calici.” Ignazio had everyone in awe of his performance as a conductor. The guys enjoyed singing with Marcello who usually conducts for their Concerts. Gianluca enjoyed it so much that he hugged Marcella in the middle of the song! All good sports! They all had lots of fun! A unique performance!

Jan 27, 2019  World Youth Day 
If you ask the guys after winning Sanremo, which truly brought them home, “What was your greatest performance,” they would probably answer, singing for the Holy Father at World Youth Day. I know for Piero it was one of the most amazing events in his life!

June 5, 2021, The Tribute to Ennio Morricone
When I wrote about this event I said, “I’m going to use the word phenomenal a lot in this article.” Let’s relieve the opening of this fantastic concert!
I can write at least five pages just on the opening of the concert. If I wrote what I felt, saw, experienced in this concert, I would have to write a book!

Let’s set the scene!
The first note and we immediately know it’s “The Ecstasy of Gold.” The whistle of the wind!
The setting is gold! Then white! Then gold! Look at the gold flecks that come in and out! The orchestra vibrates! Each note intensifies our senses. We’re drawn to the back of the stage. To a tunnel where we know our guys will appear! The focus is always rear center stage! The lights change to intense red and now we are looking at the stage from the back of the arena. We are coming forward. The shadow of Il Volo turns into a force that is coming towards us! The theme of the concert is set!
Listen to the intensity of their voices! What force! Watch their motions. Look at Gianluca! Watch his body react to the music! The fist that comes at you saying this is the punch, just the beginning.  Listen to how Ignazio rides the note that guides us into the story! Now we’re sailing on the wind! Piero intensifies the moment with his powerful voice that says the journey has begun! Follow us!
The scenery is in motion again. In the background, the movie comes into view and blends with the voices! Everything on the stage comes to life! We’re now inside the film. Even the guys are taken by the movement around them. They look around and they are feeling the moment! Andrea Morricone steps up the music and we step back and look, in amazement at what is before us!
What exactly is before us? A work of art! A Titian painting. In Venice there is a very magnificent painting by Titian called the Assumption. It is a painting in motion! Believe me, when I tell you what you are looking at on that stage is a Titian painting. Titian was known for his movement in painting! Titian was 24 years old when he painted the Assumption. Our guys are in their mid-twenties and they have painted the scene before you. If you don’t know the renaissance artist Titian, Google him! You’ll understand what is going on here!
Now let me explain what is before you. Movement. Lots of movement.
Take a look at the stage! You the audience are the spectators! You’re being drawn to the stage. You watch the guys’ approach and, you are in awe of their presence. You feel the intensity of the music, you and the guys are pulled into the movie. The music is all around you!  Their voices are a force in your head. You look up in amazement! You are a part of the scenery! You are a part of the orchestra! You are a part of the movie! You are a part of ~ Il Volo!  You have arrived and you are ready to follow the guys no matter where this journey leads you! It’s only the beginning! Fasten your seat belts. Phenomenal! 

You will note this is out of order. Let’s backtrack…. I want to show you what has happened with these guys over the years. As I said in the beginning, they were with all these legends in the music industry. Now they have become legends! But what I want you to see is in the beginning they worked with many people to start on this amazing road. Now they have moved to another place. A place where they present themselves. A place where they bring all the magic together! We see this in The Tribute to Morricone, but this started long before then. Let’s go to Luna Park October 2019.  Here you will see a magical moment!
October 30, 2019, Il Volo at Luna Park Buenos Aires Por Una Cabeza
I will end by going back to the beginning. This last moment tells me how far the guys have come and how the strangers became brothers.
When these three young men started out, they were 15 and 16 years old. Think of being 15 or 16 years old and you have a dream, and someone tells you that that dream, needs to be shared. To fulfill that dream you have to leave your family, your friends, your home, you have to go to another country, and you have to share this journey with two people who you really know nothing about except that they had the same dream you did. You have to trust that the decision that was made by you and your family, was the right decision. If not, it’s back to square one! You’re going to be lonely, and you have to learn to survive without the people you love. So, you learn to lean on one another. That dependence turns into a friendship and that friendship into a brotherhood. It enabled them to trust enough to collaborate and perfect something truly amazing. Something that revolutionized the music industry. Let me go further by showing you a collaboration by these three amazing, very, very talented, young men that is so unreal that it boggles your mind. This is a collaboration of love. You will notice that the whole Orchestra is in awe and Giampiero Grani can’t stop smiling. Stop and listen to this performance of “Por Una Cabeza”.

Look at how they smile at one another during the performance. A smile that says yes that’s it! Their faces are ablaze! Their expressions let one another know that it works. And, finally, when it’s over, they are so excited they can hardly contain themselves. Look at their faces lit up in joy and their embrace says it all! They are brothers who love one another! This is truly a moment to remember!
It’s ironic that when I started this story, I was randomly choosing moments in their lives that were very memorable. There are so many memorable moments, but I had to limit how many I could use.  I had no idea when I started this musical journey that I would end up with thirteen events. How appropriate! One for every one of the Thirteen Amazing Years they’ve been together!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
Credit to owners of all photos and videos

 

The Ride of Their Lives by Susan

Ti Lascio una Canzone is over and they all won! I’m not talking about first, second or third, no, they all won the greatest prize of all ~ Il Volo! Of course, that wasn’t their name in the beginning but, that’s a story for another day!
So, where do we begin? Let me start by saying in Part One ~ Prima di prendere Il Volo (Before taking Flight) of Un’avventura Straordinaria, La nostra Storia(An Extraordinary Adventure, Our History) we listen to each guy’s story about their beginnings, but now, it all changes. In Part Two Insieme (Together) the book is no longer individual stories about each guy. It is now a dialogue between the guys. And this is where it gets exciting!
In their many interviews, they talked about the book and their lives in the beginning of their career, and we begin to see how they interact with one another to form a powerful team. From a very young age they were very intelligent and, they were always courteous. They always had the right answer at the right time! This is a big achievement for such young boys who were thrown together into an adults’ world without any way of knowing what to expect. This says a lot about their integrity.
The video below is truly the beginning of Il Volo. I think Michele Torpedine explains who they are better than anyone else! He says, “They are just in a different dimension!” I totally agree!

As we begin to listen to their interviews and read through their stories, we can see how the boys begin to bond with one another. We all have our good days and our bad days but, at the end of the day they have what’s most important, “each other.”

What we also see in their story is how they begin to bond with the American people. From their first performance on TV on American Idol, they took America by storm. Every TV Show wanted them as guests. After the show they hit the top 10 on the “Billboard” charts. They were on The Ride of Their Lives* and, they didn’t even know it!
So, let’s join Piero now as he tells us what it was like for him after six years with the guys….
But can you think about how far we’ve come? We did not even know each other and now we have been working together for six years, we toast together, we cry together. By now Gianluca and Ignazio, but let’s not let them know, they are a part of me, I do not know how I could do without them.
I’ll make you understand one thing: when I’m on stage singing my solo, as soon as I finish, I cannot wait for the other two to come because I feel their moral, psychological and even physical support. If I feel bad, I know that there are two of them that can help me, we can help each other, and this is fundamental for me, to feel that we support each other, that we are always together.

Ignazio picks up the story…
It was the beginning of 2010, our first time overseas. Destination Miami! What charm America! Everything was so different from Italy: the cars were different, the streets, the houses. I felt like I was in another world.
Immediately after Miami we went to Los Angeles. My first word? ‘Wow!’ Which was also what I said when I entered my room in one of the best hotels in the city, the InterContinental of Century City.

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. We especially enjoyed ourselves when we tried to make ourselves understood by people, since we spoke few words of English.
But what were we doing in Los Angeles? We stayed there a week during which we were lucky enough to be part of the ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti’ with eighty of the most famous music stars in the world including Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Santana and many others. After 25 years we all gathered together for ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti’ to collect funds for the earthquake victims of January 12th, 2010.

It was the first week of February 2010, Quincy Jones had invited us, the myth Quincy Jones, the one who worked with Ray Charles, one of the artists who made history through international music. In short, that was our first truly, great, exciting experience: who could ever imagine that one day I could find myself among those people in such a context.
After the week and back to Italy. The difference between Italy and the United States we saw immediately: they were more advanced, more ahead!
Piero recalls their meeting with Quincy Jones…
I remember meeting with Quincy Jones when he came to ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti:’ An eighty-year-old crazy character in Converse.
That time we just showed up, but three years later he came to one of our concerts and we had the chance to talk. Okay, you imagine being with Quincy Jones, the Quincy Jones who worked with Count Basie, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Michael Jackson. Here, what are you talking about? Music?
We were fifteen to sixteen when we found ourselves in this American dream. We had signed a contract with a record company that includes famous artists like Beyoncé and many others. We were invited by the record company to the party. We turned and saw, again, Quincy Jones; we turn around and we saw Rihanna; we turned and shook hands with Lady Gaga. We talked with them, some singers who were idols for us and for our peers.

I never forget the meeting with Puff Daddy, he shook my hand and told me: ‘Guys, welcome to our family.’ You see, now that I’m telling you, I’m shivering because I never said it, but Puff Daddy says ‘Guys, welcome to our family.’ Then I sent a message to my friends in Naro, ‘Today I was with Beyoncé, today I met Puff Daddy.’ And they did not even believe it. They only believed a little bit if we sent the photos. But they did not really understand what was happening in our lives.
In fact, we only began to understand that something was changing when our first record came out.
So, the guys have met all the big names and performed with them in We Are the World, but reality has not yet set in.

Let’s hear what Ignazio has to say about this….

It was already 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, unlike today. The first major television show we appeared in, in America, was American Idol, the world’s most famous music talent show. There, yes that….…
Piero interrupts….
American Idol? I remember the first fitting we did with the clothes, the dress rehearsal, in short. We found ourselves in the dressing rooms with all these clothes, we did not know where to look, glasses, bracelets, we touched everything, the stylists all around you. We still have those clothes. I personally will never throw them away.
Gianluca interrupts Piero….
Then they say I am the vain one! Yes, I remember the clothes, the stylists, it was the first time, a crazy feeling. But most of all I remember the face of Jennifer Lopez when Steven Tyler gave five to Ignazio, live with thirty million viewers. Oh not, Igna?
Ignazio recalls that crazy moment….
I had a crazy fright in front of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson and millions of Americans watching us from home. We sang ‘O Sole Mio,’ live and, while singing, I do not know how it came to me: I casually approached and gave five to Steven Tyler in the studio and took a delirium, all standing!
And a few days later we realized that people at home were ecstatic: The week after the broadcast we were listed in the top 10 of “Billboard” the most important internationally recognized music reviewer. A goal that only a few Italian artists have achieved. Not bad for boys of only sixteen. After that great success, all the American television networks wanted us on their show. And slowly also in many other countries in the world.
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. So much so that the rest of my family were upset. Sometimes I traveled with my mother, sometimes with my father, and I never saw my sister. The first discussions had begun for those who were to accompany me, not because they wanted to travel the world, but because my mother did not want to stay away from her son, who until a few months before had an almost normal life, apart from the thousand daily whims.

The release of the album, the pre-sales of the American, Latin American and European tour, were good but not Italy because the Italian promoters were not very enthusiastic about our work. We were very sorry but, we conspired with the fact that Michele, our manager, had lived the exact same thing with Andrea Bocelli and said: ‘Wait, boys, one day they will notice.’
So, the concerts are approaching around the world, but who had ever done one? I had only an experience on June 24th, 2009, on returning home from Ti Lascio Una Canzone I had a concert in Marsala, fifteen thousand people were waiting for me in the square, I will not tell you the fear I had, so much that I sang the wrong words to the first song! But now I was not alone for a single evening but, there were many concerts to divide spaces, remember movements and various choreographies. Luckily there was Luca Tommasini, a dancer and choreographer who was part of Madonna’s dance group, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. Prince, Whitney Houston, just to name a few. He was a great help and we had fun around the Americas and Europe.
The concerts were fine, many were sold out. We started on that first tour in 2010 in spaces from one thousand five hundred to two thousand seats to the maximum until arriving in 2013 from five thousand to ten thousand places. The girls shouting at all the concerts, the hotels, the airports always full of fans, we walked with bodyguards.
The record was going well, and many people in the show were noticing us. One day Michele calls us: ‘Barbra Streisand’s manager called me.’

Piero, who was in charge of recording all the dates and events and signing contracts, recalls…
We were in Atlantic City, in my suite, and who comes in our American partner, Michael’s right-hand man, with a contract.
What is that? I ask him.
‘The contract to sign with Barbara.’
I knew that there was a project with her, but being on tour, I could not keep in touch every day with Torpedine, so I did not know that the thing had come to past. And it was a really big thing: Barbra Streisand wanted us on tour with her, not as an opening, but as an integral part of the show.
The tour, which was called Back to Brooklyn, was the first that Streisand made between the United States and Canada since 1994. It opened on, October 4th, 2012, in Philadelphia and closed on November 11th in Los Angeles, passing through New York, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, La Vegas, Chicago. Can you imagine what it meant? And we sing with her!

So, I signed the contract, but the most anticipated thing was the meeting with her. Because Barbra is a diva, all speak of Barbra with so much desire. And to find yourself face to face with a person who has made history of international music, known all over the world, who is seventy years old and still has twenty thousand people every single evening, is incredible!
And the meeting was surreal because it is absurd to find yourself talking to her about your hair, where you go to cut your hair and trivial things, it does not seem possible!
The fact is, however, that I am not one who dreams so much, I do not live above the clouds. I may not seem modest, but yes, I did a duet with Barbra Streisand, but when I finished the show, I called Torpedine and I said, ‘What are we doing tomorrow?’

Ignazio continues….
How much do you run, Piero! I’m still at Michele’s first call and you’ve already finished the tour?
When our manager gave us confirmation of our participation in the tour after a few days of negotiation, we did not know what to say or what to do. Personally, I knew of Barbara Streisand, but I wanted to know more, so I watched Funny Girl, the first film she shot and with which she won the Oscar for the best actress in 1969. After watching that musical-film I was fascinated and excited a thousand times more to be part of the tour of the artist who had made me dream only through a screen. I did not even want to imagine what it would feel like the day I would find myself on the same stage as her.
The first concert with her was in Philadelphia on October 4th, 2012, the day of my birthday, so you can imagine what a birthday I would have. It was nice and exciting to hear her singing close to me.

When I arrived at the sound check, before the concert, I do not know what happened but, I started thinking about everything we had done in the years before, how much gratitude the boys and I had for Michele who had never left us since the first day. We were sharing the stage with one of the greatest living legends.
They are difficult emotions to explain!
Gianluca throughout the book and his interviews is led by his passions and emotions, much as he is in his everyday life where family, music, country and soccer, are his greatest passions. 
Here Gianluca picks up on Ignazio’s emotions and continues the story….
In my case, if possible, it is even more difficult because the thrill of singing with Barbra Streisand has added to the excitement of singing in front of my grandfather. Imagine the Barclays Center in New York, a huge sports arena full, bursting of people. The capacity is around fifteen thousand places, but that evening was so full of people it seemed to me to be twenty-five thousand. The darkness all around and then the lights suddenly, the audience roar, the music, the concert.
And what did I see in all this? I saw only my grandfather in the middle of the Barclays Center who greeted me by hand. It was the best image of that tour, for me, a kind of film, yes, in a film it would have been really good!
I did not believe it, the more I looked at him and the less I believed it. It was weird, my grandfather at one of my concerts with Barbra Streisand in New York. I have always seen him in the square in the village, it seemed a mirage to see him there.
He made me like this with his hand (a wave) and he was crying. And I was just looking at him, singing ‘Smile’ and watching only him.
Worse was when I just moved my gaze and I saw my father sitting next to him. And he cried too.
That time on stage I could not let myself go, but then I ‘recovered’ during our first European tour, the year after.
My grandfather worked in Switzerland for many years, in fact my father was born there in the sixties, so he could not wait to go back to northern Europe. So, what did he do? He came to Frankfurt with my mother on the plane.
We land, we go out of the baggage area, I turn the corner and open a door. There is a video that is made of me, I have a face. Behind that door was my grandfather waiting for me. Yes, I started crying. And so, for me, the grandfather is the grandfather, woe to those who touch him. And it is love, not affection.

However, of the tour with Streisand, I also recollect the amazement that took us every night after the concert. Why? Because she received crazy visits in the dressing room! In Los Angeles, just to give you an idea, they came to greet her – and we met them! – Sting and Tom Hanks.
What a fantastic tour it was!”

Can you imagine these three young guys living this adventure? I get chills listening to them talk about it. They are so innocent they don’t even know how to react at times.
Piero is so humbled by coming face to face with a person who has made history in international music.
Ignazio is speechless he can’t even express his emotions!
And Gianluca is so astonished by the event at the Barclay Center he can only focus on what is closest to his heart, his family, and the fact that he is sharing this experience with them.
You know what I love most about this story? The fact that they are so in awe of the entertainers around them. Kind of like we are in awe when we are in their company! That is emotional for me! What these people did to them, the emotions they felt, is so like our emotions for them, our feeling that we walk with great people. Our wonderful guys!
In the story they speak like they want to reach out and touch the people around them but, they can’t even wrap their heads around what’s going on! Who could imagine that these three young boys who stepped off the stage of Ti Lascio una Canzone would travel around the world, join renowned singers and, immediately become a part of an industry which, in reality, is so hard to break into? Yes, it was La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) that led them to America.
They were in the first steps of their career and, they were on The Ride of Their Lives and they didn’t even know it!

I got very emotional writing this story. This video added to my emotions. It was from their concert that took place in Miami on October 6, 2011. What a great find! I hope you all enjoy it!

Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
Credit to the owners of all photos and videos

Conquering America

Six years after the guys were put together on Ti Lascio una Canzone, they wrote a book, Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinaria, La nostra Storia, (An Extraordinary Adventure, Our History) and what an extraordinary adventure it was.
In their many interviews, they talked about the book and their lives in the beginning of their career and we begin to see how they interact with one another to form a powerful team. From a very young age they were very intelligent and, they were always courteous. They always had the right answer at the right time! This is a big achievement for such young boys who were thrown together into an adults’ world without any way of knowing what to expect. This says a lot about their integrity. In this story we meet three amazing young men who achieved in their teenage years what most adults could not achieve in a lifetime!
Reading through the stories, I can see how the boys begin to bond with one another. We all have our good days and our bad days but, at the end of the day they have what’s most important, “each other.”

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero singing on stage

What we also see in their story is how they begin to bond with the American people. From their first performance on TV on American Idol, they took America by storm. Every TV Show wanted them as guests. After the show they hit the top 10 on the “Billboard” charts. They were on the ride of their lives and, they didn’t even know it! So, let’s join Piero now as he tells us what it was like for him after six years with the guys.
Piero begins…
“But can you think about how far we’ve come? We did not even know each other and now we have been working together for six years, we toast together, we cry together. By now Gianluca and Ignazio, but let’s not let them know, they are a part of me, I do not know how I could do without them.
I’ll make you understand one thing: when I’m on stage singing my solo, as soon as I finish, I cannot wait for the other two to come because I feel their moral, psychological and even physical support. If I feel bad, I know that there are two of them that can help me, we can help each other, and this is fundamental for me, to feel that we support each other, that we are always together.”
Ignazio picks up the story…
“It was the beginning of 2010, our first time overseas. Destination Miami! What charm America! Everything was so different from Italy: the cars were different, the streets, the houses. I felt like I was in another world.
Immediately after Miami we went to Los Angeles. My first word? ‘Wow!’ Which was also what I said when I entered my room in one of the best hotels in the city, the InterContinental of Century City.

Left to right: A young Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca

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. We especially enjoyed ourselves when we tried to make ourselves understood by people, since we spoke few words of English.
But what were we doing in Los Angeles? We stayed there a week during which we were lucky enough to be part of the ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti’ with eighty of the most famous music stars in the world including Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Santana and many others. After 25 years we all gathered together for ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti’ to collect funds for the earthquake victims of January 12th, 2010.

Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero in front of the We Are The World

It was the first week of February 2010, Quincy Jones had invited us, the myth Quincy Jones, the one who worked with Ray Charles, one of the artists who made history through international music. In short, that was our first truly, great, exciting experience: who could ever imagine that one day I could find myself among those people in such a context.
After the week and back to Italy. The difference between Italy and the United States we saw immediately: they were more advanced, more ahead!”
Piero recalls their meeting with Quincy Jones…
“I remember meeting with Quincy Jones when he came to ‘We Are the World 25 for Haiti:’ an eighty-year-old crazy character in Converse.
That time we just showed up, but three years later he came to one of our concerts and we had the chance to talk. Okay, you imagine being with Quincy Jones, the Quincy Jones who worked with Count Basie, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Michael Jackson. Here, what are you talking about? Music?
We were fifteen to sixteen when we found ourselves in this American dream. We had signed a contract with a record company that includes famous artists like Beyoncé and many others. We were invited by the record company to the party. We turned and saw, again, Quincy Jones; we turn around and we saw Rihanna; we turned and shook hands with Lady Gaga. We talked with them, some singers who were idols for us and for our peers.
I never forget the meeting with Puff Daddy, he shook my hand and told me: ‘Guys, welcome to our family.’ You see, now that I’m telling you, I’m shivering because I never said it, but Puff Daddy says ‘Guys, welcome to our family.’ Then I sent a message to my friends in Naro, ‘Today I was with Beyoncé, today I met Puff Daddy.’ And they did not even believe it. They only believed a little bit if we sent the photos. But they did not really understand what was happening in our lives.

IL VOLO with stars during the "We Are the World" event

In fact, we only began to understand that something was changing when our first record came out.”
So, the guys have met all the big names and performed with them in We Are the World, but reality has not yet set in. Let’s hear what Ignazio has to say about this….
“It was already 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, unlike today. The first major television show we appeared in, in America, was American Idol, the world’s most famous music talent show. There, yes that….…”
Piero interrupts….
“American Idol? I remember the first fitting we did with the clothes, the dress rehearsal, in short. We found ourselves in the dressing rooms with all these clothes, we did not know where to look, glasses, bracelets, we touched everything, the stylists all around you. We still have those clothes. I personally will never throw them away.”
Gianluca interrupts Piero….
“Then they say I am the vain one! Yes, I remember the clothes, the stylists, it was the first time, a crazy feeling. But most of all I remember the face of Jennifer Lopez when Steven Tyler gave five to Ignazio, live with thirty million viewers. Oh not, Igna?”
Ignazio recalls that crazy moment….
“I had a crazy fright in front of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson and millions of Americans watching us from home. We sang ‘O Sole Mio,’ live and, while singing, I do not know how it came to me: I casually approached and gave five to Steven Tyler in the studio and took a delirium, all standing!

And a few days later we realized that people at home were ecstatic: The week after the broadcast we were listed in the top 10 of “Billboard” the most important internationally recognized music reviewer. A goal that only a few Italian artists have achieved. Not bad for boys of only sixteen. After that great success, all the American television networks wanted us on their show. And slowly also in many other countries in the world.
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. So much so that the rest of my family were upset. Sometimes I traveled with my mother, sometimes with my father, and I never saw my sister. The first discussions had begun for those who were to accompany me, not because they wanted to travel the world, but because my mother did not want to stay away from her son, who until a few months before had an almost normal life, apart from the thousand daily whims.

Left to right: A young Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca

The release of the album, the pre-sales of the American, Latin American and European tour, were good but not Italy because the Italian promoters were not very enthusiastic about our work. We were very sorry but, we conspired with the fact that Michele, our manager, had lived the exact same thing with Andrea Bocelli and said: ‘Wait, boys, one day they will notice.’
So, the concerts are approaching around the world, but who had ever done one? I had only an experience on June 24th, 2009, on returning home from Ti Lascio Una Canzone I had a concert in Marsala, fifteen thousand people were waiting for me in the square, I will not tell you the fear I had, so much that I sang the wrong words to the first song! But now I was not alone for a single evening but, there were many concerts to divide spaces, remember movements and various choreographies. Luckily there was Luca Tommasini, a dancer and choreographer who was part of Madonna’s dance group, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross. Prince, Whitney Houston, just to name a few. He was a great help and we had fun around the Americas and Europe.
The concerts were fine, many were sold out. We started on that first tour in 2010 in spaces from one thousand five hundred to two thousand seats to the maximum until arriving in 2013 from five thousand to ten thousand places. The girls shouting at all the concerts, the hotels, the airports always full of fans, we walked with bodyguards.
The record was going well, and many people in the show were noticing us. One day Michele calls us: ‘Barbra Streisand’s manager called me.’”
Piero, who was in charge of recording all the dates and events and signing contracts, recalls…
“We were in Atlantic City, in my suite, and who comes in our American partner, Michael’s right-hand man, with a contract.
‘What is that?’ I ask him.
‘The contract to sign with Barbara.’
I knew that there was a project with her, but being on tour, I could not keep in touch every day with Torpedine, so I did not know that the thing had come to past. And it was a really big thing: Barbra Streisand wanted us on tour with her, not as an opening, but as an integral part of the show.
The tour, which was called Back to Brooklyn, was the first that Streisand made between the United States and Canada since 1994. It opened on, October 4th, 2012, in Philadelphia and closed on November 11th in Los Angeles, passing through New York, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, La Vegas, Chicago. Can you imagine what it meant? And we sing with her!

IL VOLO singing with Barbara Streisand

So, I signed the contract, but the most anticipated thing was the meeting with her. Because Barbra is a diva, all speak of Barbra with so much desire. And to find yourself face to face with a person who has made history of international music, known all over the world, who is seventy years old and still has twenty thousand people every single evening, is incredible!
And the meeting was surreal because it is absurd to find yourself talking to her about your hair, where you go to cut your hair and trivial things, it does not seem possible!
The fact is, however, that I am not one who dreams so much, I do not live above the clouds. I may not seem modest, but yes, I did a duet with Barbra Streisand, but when I finished the show, I called Torpedine and I said, ‘What are we doing tomorrow?’ ”
Ignazio continues….
“How much do you run, Piero! I’m still at Michele’s first call and you’ve already finished the tour?
When our manager gave us confirmation of our participation in the tour after a few days of negotiation, we did not know what to say or what to do. Personally, I knew of Barbara Streisand, but I wanted to know more, so I watched Funny Girl, the first film she shot and with which she won the Oscar for the best actress in 1969. After watching that musical-film I was fascinated and excited a thousand times more to be part of the tour of the artist who had made me dream only through a screen. I did not even want to imagine what it would feel like the day I would find myself on the same stage as her.
The first concert with her was in Philadelphia on October 4th, 2012, the day of my birthday, so you can imagine what a birthday I would have. It was nice and exciting to hear her singing close to me.

Left to right: Gianluca, Barbara Streisand, Piero and Ignazio

When I arrived at the sound check, before the concert, I do not know what happened but, I started thinking about everything we had done in the years before, how much gratitude the boys and I had for Michele who had never left us since the first day. We were sharing the stage with one of the greatest living legends.
They are difficult emotions to explain!”
Gianluca throughout the book and his interviews is led by his passions and emotions, much as he is in his everyday life where family, music, country and soccer, are his greatest passions.  Here Gianluca picks up on Ignazio’s emotions and continues the story….
“In my case, if possible, it is even more difficult because the thrill of singing with Barbra Streisand has added to the excitement of singing in front of my grandfather. Imagine the Barclays Center in New York, a huge sports arena full, bursting of people. The capacity is around fifteen thousand places, but that evening was so full of people it seemed to me to be twenty-five thousand. The darkness all around and then the lights suddenly, the audience roar, the music, the concert.
And what did I see in all this? I saw only my grandfather in the middle of the Barclays Center who greeted me by hand. It was the best image of that tour, for me, a kind of film, yes, in a film it would have been really good!
I did not believe it, the more I looked at it and the less I believed it. It was weird, my grandfather at one of my concerts with Barbra Streisand in New York. I have always seen him in the square in the village, it seemed a mirage to see him there.
He made me like this with his hand (a wave) and he was crying. And I was just looking at him, singing ‘Smile’ and watching only him.

Worse was when I just moved my gaze and I saw my father sitting next to him. And he cried too.
That time on stage I could not let myself go, but then I ‘recovered’ during our first European tour, the year after.
My grandfather worked in Switzerland for many years, in fact my father was born there in the sixties, so he could not wait to go back to northern Europe. So, what did he do? He came to Frankfurt with my mother on the plane.
We land, we go out of the baggage area, I turn the corner and open a door. There is a video that is made of me, I have a face. Behind that door was my grandfather waiting for me. Yes, I started crying. And so, for me, the grandfather is the grandfather, woe to those who touch him. And it is love, not affection.
However, of the tour with Streisand, I also recollect the amazement that took us every night after the concert. Why? Because she received crazy visits in the dressing room! In Los Angeles, just to give you an idea, they came to greet her – and we met them! – Sting and Tom Hanks.
What a fantastic tour it was!”
Can you imagine these three young guys living this adventure? I get chills listening to them talk about it. They are so innocent they don’t even know how to react at times.
Piero is so humbled by coming face to face with a person who has made history in international music.
Ignazio is speechless he can’t even express his emotions!
And Gianluca is so astonished by the event at the Barclay theater he can only focus on what is closest to his heart, his family, and the fact that he is sharing this experience with them.
You know what I love most about this story? The fact that they are so in awe of the entertainers around them. Kind of like we are in awe when we are in their company! That is emotional for me! What these people did to them, the emotions they felt, is so like our emotions for them, our feeling that we walk with great people. Our wonderful guys!
In the story they speak like they want to reach out and touch the people around them but, they can’t even wrap their heads around what’s going on! Who could imagine that these three young boys who stepped off the stage of Ti Lascio una Canzone would travel around the world, join renowned singers and, immediately become a part of an industry which, in reality, is so hard to break into? Yes, it was La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) that led them to America.

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio singing on stage   Left to right: Closeup of Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca singing on stage   Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio singing on stage

Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio sings on stage  Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero singing on stage  

They were in the first steps of their career and, they were already Conquering America! What an amazing achievement!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*Quotes are excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia, various TV interviews and news media.
The photos from the 2013 RCMH concert were courtesy of Judy Thurman’s personal collection.

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

 

Through The Fields of My Mind….

The Whirlwind!

How do you begin to tell a story, more like a fairy tale, about three teenage boys who conquered the music industry?
They came from Italy from very different regions, very different families, very different backgrounds but, they had one thing in common, the ability to capture audiences with their amazingly, beautiful, voices.
Thinking back over the years, I realize they have put so much energy into such a short period of time. Twelve years of a lifetime but, in reality, they did it in five years! How is it possible that these three men could do, in such a short period of time, what most men cannot do in a lifetime? The secret is in the voices!
Going back to the beginning, I remember what 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.  So, let’s begin there!
When they came together as contestants on Ti Lasacio una Canzone, they never dreamt that they would walk off the stage as stars! Individually, they sang with some very famous Italian singers, Al Bano, Massimo Ranieri, Fausto Leali, Adamo, Piero Mazzoccheti and, they were singing their songs and these men were in absolute awe of these teenagers.

From the first note that came out of their mouths, everyone recognized how unique their voices were. Roberto Cenci the artistic director and director of Ti Lascio una Canzone recognized the importance of these three voices. He recognized that the voices were different but alike in their uniqueness. Cenci understood if you put the voices together, they will blend beautifully and, they will be very appealing.  How right he was! An experiment that turned into stardom.

Left to right: A young Piero, Ignazio, Gianluca and Michele Torpedine

And how did Michele Torpedine put it? “The three casually put together to sing a song of the program possess an incredible vocality for their age.” Watching them on TV Michele is 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?” Michele and everyone else felt they were incredible!
But it needed much more than just a feeling and it went beyond incredible. It needed something to come to life. It needed a new idea. It needed to be different because they were different. So how do you make it different? Bel Canto!
Bel canto is Italian for “beautiful singing.” From the mid-18th century through the early 19th century, Italian opera developed what is now known as a bel canto style. Composers began to write long, sustained vocal lines intended to show off the beauty of the voice.
Well, that works! They certainly have beautiful voices!
If you start with the premise that bel canto can make the difference, then you need to find the best way to present it! First, have them sing all the Italian classics. If you look at the music industry at the time you have to say “it won’t work” but, it did. Why? It worked because their voices were unique, the presenters were teenagers, and the world was waiting for something different. The difference was they needed to go back to what was and present in a different light. A unique  idea. A little risky for sure but, a lot of very talented people in the industry felt it could work. And it did!
Bel canto for sure! But those voices that embody bel canto needed to go beyond and so where do you go? In their concerts they sing beautiful arias because they have beautiful operatic voices but, they will tell you, they do not sing opera. So, they reinvented the idea of opera. Just as bel canto reinvented opera, so did they reinvent it with their Operatic Pop. Always light, free flowing, ethereal!  They took away the rigidness and left the beauty of the words which they present in their special ways with their special voices!
A few days after I finished this article, Michele Torpedine appeared on the Marzia Roncacci show. During the interview Marzia surprised everyone with an appearance by Piero. She asked one very important question, that is the question I just presented. So, I would like you to hear it in Piero’s own words.
Marzia: Listen, Piero, and also Michele, how do you explain this great success of yours, of three young people, because you are now very well established, even abroad, it is not so easy, there are only a few who are known and, they can be counted on your fingertips.
Piero: Our success is the echo! It is the resonance of the music we sing. As Pavarotti did in the past, bel canto is the winning weapon. Bel canto is the most popular Italian music in the world, and it is nice to hear in any theater or arena in the world, even in Japan, when the public hear these melodies, written right here in Italy, they go into ecstasy. Our voices also contribute, it is clear, and to hear young people with these voices …. but it is clear that if we didn’t sing this kind of music, it would be much more difficult.
Piero is very modest! Their voices are very important. They brought bel canto back to life in a unique way! Bravo!
So, let’s move on! Where do you begin?

America!

Left to right: A young Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio singing

Their first stop was Miami. It was like stepping into a dream for them. Everything in America was different from Italy. The streets, the houses, the cars, everything was different. But above all, they really could not comprehend all that was happening to them. After Miami they went to Los Angeles.

Left to right: Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero in front of a We Are The World sign

In Los Angeles, they were invited to participant in the charity event “We Are the World 25 for Haiti”.
They took Los Angeles by storm. This is truly the beginning of IL VOLO!

By now, they were in a whirlwind!

Piero recalls, “We were fifteen and sixteen when we found ourselves in this American dream. We had signed a contract with a record company that includes famous artists like Beyonce and many others. We were invited by the record company to a party. We turned and saw, Quincy Jones; we turn around and we saw Rihanna; we turned and shook hands with Lady Gaga. We talked with them, some singers who were idols for us and for our peers.”
In fact, the guys only began to understand that something was changing when their first record came out. The boys had met all the big names and performed with them in We Are the World, but reality had not yet set in. Let’s hear what Ignazio had to say about this….
“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 we appeared in, in America, was American Idol, the world’s most famous music talent show.”

And what a performance that was. They sang “ ‘O Sole Mio” and in that moment, they captured the hearts of thirty million people. Not to mention Ignazio giving five to Steven Tyler. But that’s another story!
During the last three episodes of American Idol’s tenth season, they performed and promoted their first album, Il Volo. The international edition of the album was released on April 12, 2011.
In its first week, the album reached the tenth spot of Billboard 200 and topped the Classical Albums chart. The album also entered the top ten in other countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and it peaked at number one on the Austria Albums Chart. It would later be certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.
Back in Italy, in their hometowns, the people were ecstatic. These three teenagers had achieved what only a few Italian artists had achieved, success in America!
By now, every program in America wanted them. The phone was ringing off the hook! They appeared on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Early ShowThere was no stopping them. The people of America had spoken and what they were calling for was, Il Volo. And slowly, the rest of the world also recognized their achievements.
The chatter began about these three teenagers with voices like “angels!” But what’s most important is what happened to the boys! These boys who came to America thinking, “who will know us there,” were now becoming a household name. And how did that happen, a little thing called PBS…

IL VOLO album cover for IL VOLO Takes Flight

Next week we follow the guys to Detroit where they stepped on the stage at the Detroit Opera House and sealed their fate!
We continue to follow their footsteps Through the Fields of My Mind….
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
NOTE: I would like to thank Daniela for the wonderful translation of the interview with Michele and Piero. If you haven’t read it yet, go to www.ilvoloflightcrw.com to read it!

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

EDIT: Il Volo Professional ~~ April10, 2014

Hey, Everyone!

Want to go to the Greek Theater on June 7?

You may be in luck!  Latin Pop radio station, K-Love 107.5, is featuring a contest in which the prize is free tickets to the show!  klovelogoThe contest was announced on their website,

here —> http://iloveklove.univision.com/blogs/article/2014-04-08/gana-boletos-por-il-volo

Translated according to Bing, the announcement reads:

“Win tickets to Il Volo in concert! Saturday, June 7 at The Greek Theatre in Griffith Park!Sign up here…”

Thanks to All About Il Volo for the link, and Good Luck!

 

Edit: Hey Miami Fans!

miami2

 

Il Volo Mundial provided this information for you guys.  It appears that Il Volo will be appearing on the Sabado Gigante Television show at some point.  It’s unclear to us if they will be appearing live for all of the listed dates, or not.

The full Facebook Post is translated by Bing to say: Special announcement of Sábado Gigante on Twitter! This month in Sabado Gigante: GLORIA TREVI, RICARDO MONTANER, LARRY HERNANDEZ, JESSE and JOY, IL VOLO and many more! The dates of recording of SABADO GIGANTE in April will be: 16, 17, 22, 23 and 26. Make your reservation 305-471-8262. Free tickets! Thanks to @solepicero and our correspondent   Giulia Giana report…

To find out more about the show, check out their Wikipedia page

here —> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantic_Saturday , and if you would like to see the guys, call that number and find out the deets!

Throwback Thursday

The Guys have been tweeting about working more in the last few days.  Piero tweeted that they are recording in Bologna; Gianluca mentioned that he is working hard for us (well, he actually used the word, “y’all”, which cracked me straight up!  Speaking my language; I love it! 😀 ); and it looks like they were all in Milan (what could they be up to?).

outline question

With the US and Canadian tour coming up (not soon enough for most of us), seeing them perform with another great musician, striking out and talking about original music and their fame growing throughout the world, I think it is an exciting time to be an Il Volo fan.  So, on this Trowback Thursday, I’d like to go back to when they took North America by storm–just to remember how it all began.  Enjoy!

From imryanmac

From snpacia

From umusicNZ

 

And for more viewing pleasure at your finger tips, please check out additional videos on our “Becoming Il Volo ~~ Audiovisual Style”  page under Biographies on the left side of your screen.  🙂

 

~~ Kelly