Tag Archives: Eurovision

BEHIND THE SCENES by Daniela

On Saturday 9 October, Il Volo was interviewed by Andrea Spinelli for Quotidiano Nazionale, in the beautiful Royal Palace of Monza, (near Milan), for the event  – “Born again: Behind the Scenes, The Arts Beyond the Emergency” –  dedicated to the difficulty of the total reopening after the Covid pandemic.

It’s a beautiful interview, very long with interesting questions and as many honest answers.

It will enrich you a lot to read what has been said.

Here is the video, and the translation.

 

SPINELLI = Good afternoon, welcome. Welcome to Il Volo, which we will now have here on stage.

With Il Volo we will talk about live music, the sector, at least economically, most damaged by this pandemic, and the one that, we never tire of saying, the first sector that closed, and probably the last that will reopen.

So I would invite Il Volo on stage. (applause)

PIERO = Hi

GIANLUCA = Good evening everyone.

PIERO = Andrea!

GIAN = That is, good afternoon.

SPINELLI = Welcome Piero, welcome Gianluca ….

GIAN = We’re not the only ones excited are we?

SPINELLI = No, no ….. Ignazio, welcome.

IGNAZIO = Thanks, hello.

IL VOLO walking onto the stage

PIERO = You must know that Andrea Spinelli, for us, is a particular journalist, because we are very fond of Andrea, and every time we do a press conference of a tour, of an album, we always ask for his presence, with the awareness that ……

IGNAZIO = He is the baddest.

PIERO = ….. with the most uncomfortable questions.
So today, for us, to accept this interview it’s really a big challenge, so Andrea, you have a lot of vent with us today!

SPINELLI = Thanks, but we will keep that for the presentation of the album on Morricone at the beginning of November.
Today we are talking about something related to concerts.

IGNAZIO = I can only ask one thing, if you can increase the audio in the microphone, on the stage, in the monitors, on the microphone of Andrea, because I don’t hear you.

SPINELLI = Can you hear me now?

IGNAZIO = Yes.

SPINELLI = Here.

IGNAZIO = Ok better, thanks.

IL VOLO sitting in chairs on stage with Spinelli

SPINELLI = So, let’s start with a decade, which was to be celebrated in 2020, then 2020 + 1, 2020 + 2. How did you live it?

IGNAZIO = We are reaching 15 years. 😁

SPINELLI = That is?

IGNAZIO = Soon we are celebrating 15 years!
Well, there were two difficult years for everyone, here, more or less, we were was struck by something new to everyone.

Speaking of our sector, we have been at a standstill since 2020, since March 2020, we are not working, and we are more than happy to restart next year from America, which fortunately has started to reopen with full capacities.

So we will start in March 2022, (hesitant to say the year), I have lost the count of the years.

SPINELLI = March 18, 2022, Radio City Music Hall.

IGNAZIO = Yes, March 2022, we will start with a two-month tour of America at full capacity.

It is a fortune, but it is also something that makes us reflect: why in America yes, and in Italy, still today we are unable to have the confirmation of a 100% opening?

PIERO = More than anything else, today we have a great responsibility, because we try to represent all the artists.

Because today we read in the newspapers “100% theaters will open”, theaters, cinemas, but there is a lot of vagueness, because not all artists perform concerts in theaters.

There are artists who do concerts in clubs, there are artists who do concerts in stadiums, so in stadiums, how much percentage of the public can enter ??

We must regain the trust of the public, and give them the certainty of what they are buying, because today, a person is not sure to buy a ticket, because he does not know what he is buying.

In the sports halls nothing is known about the capacity yet. Yes, the theaters ok, for those who perform concerts in theaters, 100% capacity is fine, but there is still too much vagueness.

SPINELLI = Yes.
What does it mean to go on stage?
What is the meaning of music for you, of live music?

PIERO = I have read the biography of a great artist: Beniamino Gigli, a journalist asks him “What is music for him?” and his answer was:
“For me music is the fulfillment of a need, and at the same time, the maximum expression of our deepest joy”.

Today, reopening, returning to the stage, is not only an economic necessity, because many people clearly lack work, but it is a need, a need for those who make music, because they go on stage and sing, but also for those who listen.

I miss concerts, not as an artist, not as a singer, but as a spectator, I miss, going to a concert with friends, and clearly behind us (to those who perform concerts), behind the scenes ….. we have to thank whoever organized, (he refers to who organized this interview to talk about the people behind the scenes), thank you very much indeed it is a very nice event what you are doing …. behind the scenes there is a lot people, many people who do not work for us, but work with us, because behind a concert there is a team of many, many people and in recent months, we have clearly tried to turn on the spotlight for these people who are not seen, but they are human beings, many working families, and what are they doing today?

We must not hide, it is clear that an artist can survive two years without a job, if he has behaved well (if he has saved the money), but there are many people who work concert, for concert, and can only live if they work week by week, so it is no longer possible today not to give certainties.

Piero answering a question with his hand up

SPINELLI = Well, I would like to ask you: “You give us an idea of how many people are following you on tour, who are working for you, on the square, because there is a world, behind you three.

IGNAZIO = It is difficult to count them.

For example, with us in March, from Italy, we will bring about ten people with us, even 15 people and in America there will be other people, so it is a group of people with a question mark. But I can tell you that behind a tour there are about 50 people, even 60 people, who work during the tour, before the tour, and in any case there are people who work even months before the tour, to prepare the production, the logistics. So the “behind the scenes” is a way of saying, because they move everything, and then allow us to go on stage on March 18th.

SPINELLI = Sure.
I put on my glasses because I would like to read some figures, because you reopened the road on June 5 with a great concert at the Verona Arena, and with live television with an amazing figure: 4 million 702 thousand spectators, with a very high share: 25 , 7%, and that means, to be clear, 1 million more than Amadeus did who won the next night (with another show), even better than the WIND (Seat Music Awards), so surely there was a lot of anticipation , for you, and perhaps also for this reopening.

What do you remember of the evening and what it meant in your year, to go back on stage and sing for a real audience, for an audience that was there in the stands.

GIAN = Yes Andrea, let’s say it was a breath of fresh air, we needed it, as Ignazio and Piero said before, as all of us who do concerts need it.

People were there in the Arena, happy to be able to return to the big events after a year and a half of practically silence.

Then on that occasion, we presented a very ambitious project, which is this tribute to the soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, which we will then take on tour from March.

It is clear that, after a year and a half, returning to the Verona Arena, live on RAI1, for us was a moment of great joy and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful concerts we have done, because it was really felt, there was the great thrill of looking the audience in the face, and finally being able to sing for all of them, after all this time.

This is the best thing for us.

SPINELLI = By the way, you have also won the “tyranny of capacity and curfew”.
You submitted a 55-page health protocol, but in the end you won. (Because that very evening for the Arena, the capacity was increased from 3000 to 5000 people and the curfew, moved beyond midnight to give way to who was at the concert to go home)

IGNAZIO = It was a tug-of-war between Salzano …

SPINELLI = Producer (of the concert)

IGNAZIO = Yes, it was a great tug-of-war, but we succeeded.
We often have many meetings with Ferdinando (Salzano) and the main topic is to give confidence to the citizen, because they are the ones who come to concerts, just as we go to other concerts and therefore we must have faith, we must start from something, we cannot always stay with the doubt “will everyone abide by the rules?” . We have to trust.

GIAN = It is clear that people are afraid, they are scared, as we said before, they do not have the certainty of entering a place, both outdoors and indoors, with various gatherings, even if there is a green pass (certification of the double dose of vaccine), and even with all the certainties, let’s call them that, it is a very delicate moment, but we must start again.

Now we have seen that the situation seems to have improved, it’s not like last year, so … let’s be confident.

IGNAZIO = Otherwise the solution could be, instead of writing Il Volo concert, let’s have a political meeting , so there are no problems …. no come on it was just a subtle controversy!

PIero answering a question with Spinelli, Gianluca and Ignazio

SPINELLI = Another thing, you have done 3 concerts around Europe this summer, I would like to ask you how you found each other, and the difference you found compared to the very, very strict regime that existed in Italy.

GIAN = I don’t know if you can say, but maybe Covid didn’t exist there, I don’t know, maybe it didn’t exist in those countries.

PIERO = We can be honest ….. we did two concerts in Croatia, and one in Bulgaria, and at the beginning we asked for restrictions, and the distance, but maybe it was the bull’s eye that didn’t show me .. ….. but there was no distance. (in fact in Italy there was a full place and an empty one, but, from them, all the places were full).

IGNAZIO = But there is a truth behind it, in those countries, unfortunately, the government does not pass the vaccine to everyone and the vaccine costs a lot of money and not everyone can afford it. This is the great and sad truth of those countries.

GIAN = The amazing thing is that it was a 5000 seat outdoor arena and all of them were ….

PIERO = The gates were opened 5 hours before the concert started, they had to have a proof of a negative nasal swab for COVID, those who did not have it, had a nasal swab at the time, so they found a solution, that’s the key, you have to find a solution, we must not stay there waiting in the vagueness of what to do, we must find a solution and I repeat, the news 100% of the theaters is not enough, and I say this on behalf of those who perform concerts in stadiums.

Why if I were to ask you now: did stadiums reopen them at 60-65%, (for sports competitions) and stadium concerts? Who can answer this question? And the concerts in the sports hall? Who responds to this?

SPINELLI = Reopenings have been indicated, certainly reopening for sport, they are valid for concerts up to a certain point, because clearly the context is different.

PIERO = But even in the outdoor arenas, we for next year in June, it is clear that our Italian tour will be around the summer-autumn of next year, however many of our colleagues have dates in February, January, March , and therefore they must know something.

We will perform concerts at the Ancient Theater of Taormina (in June 2022) and today with Salzano, he did not know how to give us an answer for the people, for how many people can come.

IGNAZIO = I would like to say something to make it clear to those who come to our concerts.

Many think “okay, you will get a little less but do the concerts”, but it is not really like that, because it is all a chain.

The chain consists of: ok the capacity, the cost of the ticket which varies from concert to concert, is given by the sum of production costs and logistics costs. Unfortunately, after Covid, we are realizing now that we are closing the budget for the tour in America, the costs have doubled. The price of the porterage cost that was after the concerts has doubled, so the costs have become double. If we fail to have a full capacity, even in the stadiums, the costs of the stadiums are unimaginable …

SPINELLI = Very tall …

IGNAZIO = If you can’t already make 100% capacity, it means that I have to increase the ticket to cover the costs, right? The problem is that the citizen, the boy, the girl, who comes to a concert, has to pay a ticket 150 euros, 200 euros (it refers to the cost of tickets for a stadium), how does he do it?

So it’s all a chain and that’s why we have to be able, in one way or another, to find a solution to reopen at concerts and not to make an artist earn, but to ensure that art, art that one person does, you get to more people. To make sure that the normality we had will gradually return, even if it will be difficult because it is all a process of trust. But for me, going to 100% can be the beginning of a return to normalcy and trust above all.

Ignazio answering a question with Piero, Spinelli and Gianluca on stage.

SPINELLI = Well, I’m starting from this, because yesterday on this stage it was said “normality?”, But we don’t want to go back to normality as it was before.

PIERO = Better than before.

SPINELLI = A normality in which we ran, we ran, sometimes without paying too much attention to the direction we were taking. How do you see this thing, what do you think?

PIERO = Objectively, this stoppage that took place allowed us …. we tried to look on the bright side, it was difficult, but we succeeded. We went to the recording studio and made an album, time allowed us to dedicate a lot of time to this, to make a fairly studied selection, in this case for Morricone’s album, so we had more time to work on the details, while before we could not. Before, it was too many concerts and too much work and little time to work on a project.

So when we say: “let’s go back as before”, we can’t wait to go back, but we will be back better than before, because the work has been much more painstaking, so give us the opportunity, just this.

SPINELLI = …. and about running ….

IGNAZIO = I let Piero run, he trains in the morning …. every morning he runs 10 km, I prefer to run in my dreams in the long prairies!

SPINELLI = Running, understood as doing many things ….

GIAN = That, don’t run as a run ….

IGNAZIO = I understood, I was joking !!!😁

GIAN = Ah

SPINELLI = All of you have been running for 12 years …

IGNAZIO = Exactly, we are a group, we are guys who run and we never stopped …

GIAN = …. flying …😁

IGNAZIO = Yes, we are guys who fly. Although, sometimes it took a break, we never took it. Calculate that we did the first 8 years in a row, we never stopped a month, to say, ok, we stop for ourselves. For 8 years we have never stopped. Running is good, it helps you to be active, but I think it is also important to stop. It is a little like Maestro Morricone used to say: “Silences are not a missing part of a music, of a composition, but they are that part that helps you, silence is music”, so it can also be stopping in life of each one, it can be that moment that makes you reflect on what you want from life, on the steps you are going to take, and I can tell you that this year and a half, personally, I do not speak as a group, personally it has served me a lot, as personal growth, how to get to know my family more, to be together with my origins, also made me understand how grateful I am to music, how good music does me, how much company it has made me in these two years. So stopping every now and then is good. We must not get used to stopping, but stopping is good.

Closeup of Ignazio from the side

SPINELLI = You have also become a producer, therefore, in short, you have also approached music from another side.

IGNAZIO = Yes, I’ve always liked it. Do you think that we, within the group, have our tasks, because if we all three did the same thing, three different ideas ….

SPINELLI = In fact, you are like POOH (another Italian group), everyone has their own role within the group, then maybe you explain them to us.

IGNAZIO = I personally prefer to take care of the studio part. Which means talking to the producers, the work that takes place inside the studio.

Gianluca is very grasped on the choices of the songs, on the ratings, on the intuitions of the songs and Piero does public relations, he is a born PR. (Piero laughs) He breaks the boxes guys, though ….

SPINELLI = I would like to ask another thing to the man of public relations, I would like to focus on your success which is an Italian success exported to the world. I am reminded of Madonna’s birthday (a couple of months ago) made in Salento (Puglia), and in the end they were all English, but she wanted AlBano (singer who presented the night of the Taranta), and AlBano told me that Madonna asked him to sing that Italian song “Caruso”, to understand what is the attachment that there is to our melody, also on the part of great international artists. Two days ago we were in connection from Berlin with the Maneskin (another italian group who won Eurovision this year) who said, obviously jokingly “our success is because we are beautiful, we are good and above all we are Italian”.

Here, how much is Italianness worth?

PIERO = We are aware that the results obtained, these long tours, are the result of patient work …. but our results are thanks to Italy, to the music we sing. We sing bel canto, the songs that are part of our culture.

When we go to America and sing the Nessun Dorma, O Sole Mio, but also Grande Amore, and we sing in Italian, people want to hear us sing in Italian, because already in America there are already those who do rock, rock was born in America, but bel canto was born in Italy, that’s why Italianness is the strength, it is our being, it is what we are, and when people hear Italy, but starting from music, fashion, food , Italy is the icing on the world, everyone dreams of coming to Italy, and we are aware that our strength is the music we sing, as it did in the past for maestro Luciano Pavarotti, as did Andrea Bocelli and continues to do, and we’re trying to follow that trail there.

GIAN = Then it is clear that it depends, we are talking about how Italianness is perceived abroad, because it is clear, if we talk about how Italians perceive Italianness, it is clear that it is different, because I who am, but all of us who are lovers of De Andrè, Guccini or Gaber (they are all Italian songwriters), surely, paradoxically AlBano is better known abroad than they who sing wonderful poems that have made the history of Italian music, is how we are perceived, at the certainly abroad. This is why Italianness is the melody, from this point of view, it is that, as Piero said, bel canto, this great strength that is appreciated by all.

Closeup of Gianluca answering a question

SPINELLI = And that’s why it doesn’t exist, only RCMH on March 18th, but there are 29 more dates …

PIERO = Where?

SPINELLI = In America ….

PIERO = Yes, there are 30 dates in the U.S.

SPINELLI = Well, I mean, there are not only Italians who come, there it means that you have “taken” the American public, and this is the big difference with many other artists, who perform concerts abroad, but do not have the possibility to organize, to plan long and articulated tours like yours.

In Japan, it seems to me that you have something like 20 dates in play ….

IGNAZIO = We have often talked about this, we have also talked about it this morning and you know my thoughts well.

For me the Italianness, this word, is on a razor’s edge, on the one hand you fall from the chic (elegant) ….. sorry kich (tacky) and on the other you are cool, the Italianness famous all over the world .

Unfortunately, this obstacle is put up by people. I try to give you an example: if Italy wins the Europeans (football), we are all cool we are all proud, if Italy is “out” from the World Cup qualifiers, we have something to say.

I think that Italianness is something you feel, and I can tell you the truth, I discovered it when we participated in Eurovision. I have learned to love our flag, there hasn’t been a moment where I was more proud of being Italian, and I tell you sincerely.

The experience of Eurovision is a competition, and you are there to give prestige to your country, because in the end you are talking about Italy, you are representing Italy, and this Italianness is often mistaken for “pizza and mandolin” and singers who they sing Italian brigades, and there is nothing wrong, in the end, because if I think of all the greatest Italian immigrants in America, I feel like saying Dean Martin, I feel like saying Frank Sinatra, I feel like saying Perry Como, and Tony Bennet, so so be it !!

We are very fond of Italy and we will always be proud to sing the Italian repertoire, we will do it, now anyway with Morricone, we are proud to be Italian, because Morricone is an Italian and he is the greatest, and everyone knows him, in cinema he is a crazy thing. We also had the opportunity to meet at the film festival (Venice), Antonio Banderas, Tom Hanks passed by and when you talk about Morricone … and also recently we have collaborated with the maestro Storaro ….. they are names that: how do you don’t be proud of being Italian?

SPINELLI = Even to make you proud, to be Italian, just think of Eurovision, I still remember, arrived at the airport, in the taxi, while I was coming to the State Hall (Vienna 2015, Il Volo was in the race), the driver tells me:
“You are italian? “,
Yes,
“are you coming for Eurovision?”,
Yes,
“this year you win” (ie Il Volo), because it was clear that in any case, that was the feeling.
You collided with the prejudice of the juries (they gave low marks to Il Volo), which happened a little this year too, a little less than you, in fact we saw the result (the Maneskin won).

I mean this, the prejudice, there has always been, because in any case the winner creates some stomach ache, we have seen it in sport, we have seen it in music … the Maneskin win and take drugs (he refers to the fact that on the evening of the Maneskin victory, the foreign newspapers said they were addicted, the usual negative press), Jacobs wins and gets doped (Italian athlete first in the 100 meters Olympics and the press wrote that he was doped, always bad press ).

This also happened with you, when you went to America for the first time, if I’m not mistaken, everyone said: “Yes ok, this is the record, but then they won’t be able to keep that level”, and then you, on the other hand, during the various television broadcasts, you kept it.

IGNAZIO = Just a little thing, the answers are given with time and with facts, and we, as a group, have always tried to keep quiet about provocations and demonstrate, and we did it from the first Sanremo up to …. .before, from the beginning, then Sanremo and until today.

This is a thought that all three of us have, and thank you that we have this common thought, the desire to work, head down, and prove with facts. And then, frankly, when one is fine, with what he does and is satisfied, but we never stop, but we are satisfied, proud of what we are able to do together, the criticisms, people talk, but they will always talk, of everything.

Ignazio answering a question on stage with Piero, Spinelli and Gianlua

PIERO = An artist, if he decides to do this profession, renounces his own “comfort zone” directly, so he puts himself on display and clearly, the others give an opinion.

Participation in Sanremo in 2015, we were a little doubtful, hesitant, and we have to thank Bruno Vespa, during a dinner he said: “Sorry guys, why do you have the doubt of participating in the Sanremo festival? You are not famous in Italy” … because we sang only abroad and in Italy everyone had forgotten our name …. “you have nothing to lose . If you finish last, you haven’t lost anything, you can only gain something. “ We are grateful to Bruno Vespa for his great advice.

SPINELLI = I would like to ask you something, if I can, if you like, could you give a hint to what you were doing in broadcasting in America, to show that in fact you were really harmonizers, people who knew what they were doing and those songs were truly made without artifice.

PIERO = Also because in America you can’t lip-sync, so you should know that in America, the “morning show” is fashionable, people wake up early in the morning, and the morning show is at 6 in the morning, the soundcheck at 5.30, you don’t wake up and go singing, you also have to warm up your voice. So my next door neighbor at 3.30am in New York, when I started vocalizing, 8 times out of 10, he would hit the wall saying “shut up, shut up” 😁😁😁 and I kept warming up my voice!

But in the morning shows, if you want to go back to your request, what do you want …..

IGNAZIO = What are you asking us? Sing or …..

SPINELLI = A harmony.

PIERO = Usually there are three of us. What is harmony? They may be wondering what harmony is ?? ….

GIAN = Everyone knows!

PIERO = Not everyone knows … (to the audience) do you know what harmony is?

IGNAZIO = When we are well together there is harmony.

PIERO = That’s right, that’s the one there. We have three voices, two tenors and a baritone. One makes the melodic line, the one everyone knows, the other makes the upper harmony and the other the lower one.

(turning to Ignazio and Gian) Can I make the melody ?? OK !

(Ignazio begins to sing the refrain of Il Mondo)  (applause)

IGNAZIO = This isn’t just what we did on TV shows. I have memories, crazy images at the beginning, in the vans, which took us from the hotel to the television stations, in Germany, rather than in Holland. Do you remember? (he turns to Piero and Gian) we were doing the harmonies on Christmas songs, we were little ones and we were arguing “No, you have to do that, I have to do this” (he laughs), they are good memories.

PIERO = In 12 years, it’s amazing how our relationship has strengthened, day after day, you know, usually in groups, there are those who want to be the leader, those who want to be the first woman, in our group, this thing doesn’t exists.

As with any team, there is always a commander. We must say that our greatest fortune in life, the most beautiful, greatest thing my parents taught me, is to be grateful. We are grateful to a person who follows us from the first day we met, until a minute ago, at lunch, is our greatest advisor, our backbone. We often say this in interviews, but we will never stop thanking him, because he is the fourth member of Il Volo, he is the fourth artist and he is Michele Torpedine. (applause)

(Piero turns to Michele) I wanted to thank you in public, ….. we wanted, in the name of all three, to thank you in public.

IGNAZIO = Well, only he thanks you, not us, that is, let’s be clear …. (but then Piero corrected himself).

GIAN = I apologize if I speak little, but I have a headache that is breaking out. I apologize that maybe, I seem unpleasant, but I wanted to say it …..

IGNAZIO = It’s not like you look … we know … (he jokes)

GIAN = ….. I wanted to say this, because I don’t want to seem what I am not.

SPINELLI = No, Gianluca!

IGNAZIO = In fact, he first got out of tune, I don’t know if you noticed. (laughs)

SPINELLI = Another thing, in 10 years, thanks to this success, American success, you have met many people, here, I would like to ask you what were your encounters with extraordinary men that you have found along the way, famous and less famous. I would like a memory each.

IGNAZIO = I have an indelible memory, perhaps the greatest birthday present, I’ve ever had, and it was the first sound rehearsals with Barbra Streisand, when we toured with her. I want to tell you something, I don’t know if it can be told, but I always make a fool of myself, so I tell it.

When we were contacted to tour with her, we signed a contract, where we couldn’t look her in the eye, get too close, all these things here, these safety things.

In the end we didn’t respect anything, but not because we didn’t respect it, but it was she who didn’t respect it, she was the one who came up on stage and said: “Guys I cut my hair, you should too, cut a little here “, then we were talking about bra straps, do you understand? We talked about a lot of things, it’s incredible how, we so young, we knew by name Barbra Streisand, but in that period we documented ourselves on everything she did, as an actress, as a singer, as a director, we informed ourselves, we “discovered” her.

Touring with her, knowing who she was, who she is, and who she will be, because she will remain in history, you look at her differently on stage, and it is something that will always remain in our hearts, in our minds, all performances, all the time spent together, the rehearsals, the concerts, her saying “shut your mouth”, when maybe we were doing a high pitch, (he refers to their phrase during the tour), are things that I personally will not forget.

Closeup of Ignazio answering a question

GIAN = But then we were little, and then we went through the most delicate period which is adolescence, the period of youth bewilderment, of kids who may not know what role they will play in life or what they will do. We recognized this vocation, which is the passion for singing that made us feel good. The support of our parents, who have always encouraged us to pursue this goal, which then came naturally, that of singing, because it made us feel good.
And then the luck of having met on a television program, in the same year, in the same edition, and then a series of lucky events, which then led us to reach these goals, with a great team, as Piero said, and therefore we are also privileged because we take nothing for granted, and this great privilege, as I said, is this of bringing this great musical cultural heritage that is bel canto, following in the footsteps of great idols like Andrea Bocelli, like Mario Lanza, that it all began at the time of del Monaco, it is a music that can certainly be said, an eternal music, and now we demonstrate, with this project with the music of Morricone, that we may pass from O Sole Mio, to the first sung version of  The Ecstasy of Gold, with the music of The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, so this is also an artistic upgrade, which we try to have every time, project after project. And so we work hard for that too.

IGNAZIO = Beautiful …… but the question was: “Who is left to you ……”😁

GIAN = Yes, I wanted to get there ….

SPINELLI = (answering to Ignazio) I would have done it again later (the question)

GIAN = …… I also wanted to connect to your speech, which is also nice that we have this great relationship, and we have this passion in common …..

IGNAZIO = This was the preface ….😁

GIAN = One of my best experiences, I can say that is the one where I celebrated my 16th birthday with Paul Anka and we sang together “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” in Los Angeles, you realize, with the great Paul Anka, we were there in a restaurant in Los Angeles, who was friends with Michele and the whole team from the first album, so we were sixteen, we were little, actually I didn’t even know who he was, (Paul Anka), then oh well, they explained to me …. (laughter) …. but today I can tell you it was Paul Anka!

SPINELLI = Damn!

GIAN = And then, a memorable thing, when we were all three, we were singing in Panama, I get up, because at a certain point we were having lunch with the Pope: “Can we take a selfie like young people do?”, And the Pope : “Sure, yes yes, with pleasure, let’s take a selfie” (Gian imitates the voice of Pope Francis). So we can say that we also took a selfie with the Pope two years ago. 

IL VOLO selfie with Pope Francis

IGNAZIO = But I did the worst one, actually I should be ashamed, I called Woody Allen a saxophonist (laughter).

GIAN = This happens, you understand (addressed to the audience), when you pick up three children from school desks and put them on the other side of the world, rightly, from Marsala you ask yourself: “Who is Woody Allen?”

IGNAZIO = But wait, a sensational gaffe, but I didn’t tell him, I asked: “Is that the saxophonist?”, but no, but he plays the clarinet very well …

GIAN = No, the sax, so you got confused …

IGNAZIO = So I wasn’t very wrong.

SPINELLI = Now I ask the question to him (to Piero), but first about gaffe (he turns to Gianluca), “kid don’t worry …..”

GIAN = Ah, yes, that’s nice, because in 2011, we were working on the first record, and there was also a Morricone medley, made by Once Upon a Time in America and Malena, the medley is called “E più ti penso”.

We had to sing in Piazza del Popolo (Rome), with the Sinfonietta, the great orchestra of Maestro Morricone, there were rehearsals the day before and we arrive at this hotel, in this giant room, there were all the orchestra elements , with maestro Morricone who welcomes us.

You, imagine, we sixteen, fifteen, we arrive, with short legs, which then remained so ….

IGNAZIO = I’ve never had short legs! 😁

GIAN = ….. mine, I talk about me, not about you (laughs) at some point we arrive, the song starts with a note mmmmm, the double basses, and I was supposed to start “and the more I think of you .. . “and I don’t start, so the teacher does this, he gives the attack to the orchestra and I don’t start. I look at it and say “Ah, but you give me the attack?” (laughs). The first violin like this (imitates the surprised face). He (Morricone) turns and says: “Don’t worry kid, I’ll take care of it, I’ll give you the attack”.

This will remain in the annals …..

Closeup of Gianluca answering a question

PIERO = If this is the effect that his headache has on him ….. I hope you have a headache every day.

GIAN = I have recovered, I have recovered, just take a look.

PIERO = I have two memories.

IGNAZIO = The first is Barbara D’Urso !! (Italian presenter)

PIERO = No, the first memory is in 2010 We Are The Word for Haiti, after 25 years they remake Michael Jackson’s We Are The Word, produced by Quincy Jones and Lionel Ritchie.
They chose many artists, including Barbra Streisand, Celin Dion, there were all, and as Italians, only us in the midst of the choir.

It was nice that day, because we found ourselves with many artists, you consider that we started from three small towns, two Sicilians and one from Abruzzo, catapulted in front of Quincy Jones ….. we had Barbara Vitali, where is (and points to her in the room) she is, I don’t know, who you are to us ….

IGNAZIO = Shadow.

PIERO = … has been with us for 12 years ….

GIAN = She is our shadow.

PIERO = She is with us every day.
Have you seen “The Devil Wears Prada” (film), when the manager walks alongside and points, this does what … she (Barbara Vitali) does this to us, she did this, because today, perhaps, we learned a little bit. However that day she pointed out to us: “That’s Barbra Streisand, that’s Quincy Jones, that Lionel Ritchie,” … and so on.

The second memory, the experience, for me, was the collaboration with Maestro Placido Domingo, in 2016.

SPINELLI = In Florence.

PIERO = (nods) The fact that he agreed to direct the orchestra on stage, and duet with us, was a great gesture, a gesture of trust on the part of Maestro Plácido Domingo and the beautiful relationship that was born with all his family.

And I, that project, I link it to a great meeting, which I had in my life, meeting with a great person that we will all carry (he puts his hand on his heart), who has a comfortable place in our heart. (applause).

Closeup of Piero answering a question

SPINELLI = Question: How do you see yourself in 10 years.

IGNAZIO = Gianluca certainly hopes to see himself taller. I thinner…

GIAN = No, oh well !!
However, as we said before, we are three simple guys, from this point of view, we also try to give an example of responsible people, who have a certain lifestyle, who love what they do, are 100% dedicated to work, that have goals.

It is clear that today the “bad boys” has more effect, it comes more immediately, let’s say.

Many young people, even our age, get lost, because they do not give priority to study and many other things, but they give priority to easy things, which do not require sacrifices.

IGNAZIO = Or they are satisfied with the “citizenship income”, unfortunately.

GIAN = We want to give this example of guys who, thanks to perseverance and great ambition, we were able to obtain ….. also thanks to our team and especially to the family, to have the support of a large family, we are happy with education that they have given us, since we were little, and we always try to give this great example, of responsibility, of humility, we hope to be, and even in 10 years, we want to try to remain what we are, what we were also from children, and to always reach the goals and to always carry the name of our music, through our voices, our culture.

SPINELLI = We are in the pipeline, I would like to ask you another question: “Would you have sung in Sanremo without an audience, like the one celebrated in March?”

PIERO = This year, the fact that we were hosted in Sanremo was particular, unpublished to all of us, but I want to say one important thing, this year we sang in Sanremo without an audience….

SPINELLI = Singing yes, but being in the race is another thing ….

PIERO = But it’s the same thing ….

GIAN = There is the awareness of millions of home viewers …..

View of the stage from the back of the room

PIERO = In the events, it is clear that the public makes the difference, it gives you more energy, there is more adrenaline, but it was not lacking, and this year I must tell you that, it was a Sanremo without an audience, but it made us understand how strong Ignazio is, because this year was a special year for him, and he stayed on stage with us singing, despite the great loss…

GIAN = The audience was there, there was a special person who was there with us that evening.

PIERO = And this does us, does you (looks at Ignazio), great honor. (appaluse) 

SPINELLI = This is professionalism, this is a reason to be on stage to honor it, in any situation, even the most difficult.

IGNAZIO = If I can afford to say one thing. Often … we think about the people we no longer have, and unfortunately one thing, when it happens, you cannot control it, but I have learned in recent months that it is better not to have a person physically and feel them, than to have them and not feel them. Sure it will always be missing, but I feel it every day, it is with me every day and so, that’s okay. ❤

PIERO = To conclude, we thank you for having turned on the spotlight again for those who work in the field of entertainment, on behalf of all our colleagues.

We hope that everything will be resolved soon. Thanks.

SPINELLI = Thanks to Il Volo, thanks. (applause)

Spinelli and IL VOLO on stage posing for photographers

And finally, Il Volo has released this little video-clip from IL GIORNO.

And here is the translation:

PIERO = We read in the news, 100% open.

It seems that the world is back to the way it was before and instead it is not, because not everyone sings in theaters. We are here today to represent our colleagues, all the artists who perform concerts in stadiums, in sports halls, in clubs.

So we seek and demand a clearer answer.

IGNAZIO = We can’t wait to try again that emotion that only some spaces can give, and to finally return to being able to have fun, to be able to spend a carefree evening, without problems, without work.

GIAN = But we are confident optimists by nature.
Clear that the situation is improving and we are realizing it.

IGNAZIO = But, I’m a bit more controversial. We hope to have some answers as soon as possible, not only for us, but also on behalf of all the people who work alongside us and behind us.

PIERO = And also for the people who buy tickets, because we have to regain people’s trust, give certainty to what they are buying.

Left to right: Closeup of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca

After such a long but articulated interview, where very beautiful things and very profound concepts were expressed, what can I say ….. I have the impression that journalists have understood that, when they want to have interesting interlocutors, never banal , deep and sincere, if they call Il Volo, they know they will get all this.

Gianluca, Ignazio, Piero, I am deeply proud to be a fan of yours, not only from an artistic point of view, but also from a human one.

Thank you for being who you are!

Daniela

And now, to finish, this beautiful video. ❤️

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

Here’s to You!

Do you feel that? The excitement in the air! It’s been going on since last week but, it intensified on the morning of June 5th with Ignazio’s message. “Finally, June 5th! You don’t know how long we waited for this day! How many days to think, to study, to develop ideas! How many days to hope it would come! Today is an important day for the entire music industry. We start singing in front of an audience!”
You can hear the excitement in his voice! His words sent chills up and down my spine. His words say it’s over! We made it! Live is back!
Let’s go to the stage!
Did you notice the interesting scenery? So different from what we are used to in an Il Volo concert. Spectacular scenery! And the videos that go along with each song. Such precision! Just amazing! Everything so well thought out. Down to the last detail!

The guys kept the set list a secret. They wanted to surprise all of us. Piero said, “As for the set list we like to keep it a secret. We will try to satisfy every need of our audience by always keeping the master at the center.” And that they did!
Remembering Morricone’s music and having our guys sing it is by far one of the most incredible things that can happen for us. An event that will never be repeated by anyone! Spectacular!
Piero went on to say, “The Concert will anticipate the album that will be released later.” We anxiously await the release!
While they were dealing with the pandemic, they were being very productive. Gianluca said, “We dealt with the pandemic productively, we tried not to give upYoung people must not give up the strength to believe in their dreams and pursue their goals.” He also went on to thank the Morricone family for allowing them to sing an unreleased song, written by Andrea Morricone, “I Colori dell’amore.” A very beautiful song!
Piero was excited to say that: “This is the first time we have performed live TV.” Well guys you did an amazing job!”
We really appreciate the tribute to Ennio Morricone because as Ignazio reminded us “it is the only (concert) date scheduled in 2021.”
I must say, the Morricone project kept them very busy.  They had to select and study songs from the master’s repertoire. That was no easy task.

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on stage talking and waving

So how do you go about selecting the songs and fitting them to your voice. It’s very difficult! Let me remind you about something Ignazio said about recording a song. Ignazio explains, “….a take is the recording of the single phrase that each of us sings when we record a song. We continue to redo it until we get the best version.”
Can you imagine going through all of Morricone’s songs and deciding which ones to choose? Remember a song that may be good for a baritone may not be good for a tenor. So, what do you do? You redo the arrangements to fit your voice. How? You take the song apart and then decide which part is able to accommodate a tenor or baritone. Not an easy task! Think about some of the concerts where the guys have sung a song as a group (the three) and then decided it should be a duet. Why? Because it is more suitable to two voices perhaps baritone and tenor or tenor and spinto tenor. You need to see how it fits your voice and how it relates. In the end it’s all about the delivery. Once you’ve taken the song apart, you must put it back together again. Shall I say it again, not an easy task! It takes months to rearrange this many songs and believe me these guys worked very hard for long hours and long periods of time, many, many months, to get these songs where they needed to be. Great songs, arranged to great voices!
Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero in tuxedos singing on stage
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. These are the words to the song “Se Telefonando.” It is a song that was performed by a famous Italian singer, Mina. It was released in May 1966. I want you to listen to Mina sing the song and then listen to Il Volo sing it. You will note that the words did not change. Just the arrangement changed to fit the voices of our guys.

Lo stupore della notte
Spalancata sul mar
Ci sorprese che eravamo sconosciuti
Io e te.
Poi nel buio le tue mani
D’improvviso sulle mie,
È cresciuto troppo in fretta
Questo nostro amor.
Se telefonando
Io potessi dirti addio
Ti chiamerei.
Se io rivedendoti
Fossi certa che non soffri
Ti rivedrei.
Se guardandoti negli occhi
Sapessi dirti basta
Ti guarderei.
Ma non so spiegarti
Che il nostro amore appena nato
È già finito.
Se telefonando
Io volessi dirti addio
Ti chiamerei.
Se io rivedendoti
Fossi certa che non soffri
Ti rivedrei.
Se guardandoti negli occhi
Sapessi dirti basta
Ti guarderei.
Ma non so spiegarti
Che il nostro amore appena nato
È già finito
So now you can understand what I mean by taking a song and arranging it to fit another voice. Without changing the words look at how the song has changed. The delivery is spectacular! Just magnificent!
The studio work is done. The songs are in the bag and everything in place. It’s time for the guys to restart the live concerts! In essence, symbolically, restart the entire sector.

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero standing on the front, circular part of the stage

As to Rai 1, Claudio Fasulo explained, “For our flagship network it is an honor to host this date. Rai 1 wants to remember Morricone who has done so much for our culture through the many arts. I wanted three young people to do it that I admire so much. They were born into a talent, but they also teach us that talent is sometimes meritocratic.”
“Il Volo has the artistic and behavioral characteristics of Rai 1. It is no coincidence that in our schedules of great music, the trio is always present. Dedicating an evening to Ennio Morricone was a duty for us.”
Gianluca says: “For us it is a great journey, a wonderful adventure. A year after his death we want to remember the master in the best way. We were born as child prodigies and after 12 years of career we can say that this project makes us proud and makes us feel more mature”.
Piero says, “At last, we sing. It’s been a tough year and there’s a desire to get on stage and bring all the workers in the show with us. I want to point out that it will not be the orchestra that will accompany us, but we will sing together.” Alluding to the long-awaited return to live, Ignazio said, “Let’s go back to singing in one of the largest outdoor theaters in the world, finally safe. The ancient sayings are always the truest, hope is the last to die.”
In an interview given to the magazine Mio, Piero, allowed himself to go to a painful confession about the very hard period from which we come and, which now seems, fortunately, to give us a moment of respite. “Finally, we sing, after a year and a half we could not take it anymore! Ours is a dream job. We are incurable dreamers. Every wish is finally coming to fruition. On June 5th we will give a message of hope, there is a great desire to get on that stage.”
And that is exactly what they did!
So, let’s turn to the master!

IL VOLO standing on stage in front of a photo of Ennio Morricone

You can ask anyone if they know who Ennio Morricone is, many people will say no. But, if you ask them if they know the theme song from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” They’ll say of course I know it. Everyone knows Morricone’s music! They may not know his name but, they certainly know his music.
So where did our guys begin the concert? They began with the most famous of Morricone’s songs from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – “The Ecstasy of Gold.” Smart! This song set the mood for the concert. What they did with this song and, the other songs, is amazing!
Let’s talk about some of the music. Let’s start by asking the question, “What made Morricone’s music different? Why was it so popular? Why was he the most sought after composer in the last 40 years? The answer is his arrangements and his style. Unlike anyone else in his time Morricone composed and wrote songs that reflected nature and reflected everyday life! In his music we hear the wind and the rain, the howls and the silence!  Again, I will go back to songs like “Se Telefonando,” where we hear three notes in this song that represent the siren of a police car. He wrote about reality. How he heard it, is how he wrote. He didn’t describe the event he used the event! When you write a theme song or compose a score for a film, it has to draw you in. It has to tell the story before you witness it.
Now I’m going to step out of the concert for a moment but stick with Morricone because I need to pay a compliment to Ignazio.

Ignazio in tuxedo singing

As you recall, the first time we heard the song “Makari” which Ignazio composed and wrote, was during Sanremo 2021. When I heard the song, I felt like there was something very familiar about it. Last night after I wrote about three quarters of this article, I was tired so I went to bed. And, as it often happens with me, I wake up in the middle of the night and think about something I want to say in my story. This is what came to me. I finally figured out what was so familiar about “Makari.” Ignazio wrote in the style of Morricone. Think about it. What is Ignazio doing for us in this theme song? He is painting a picture for us! Remember I said, it has to draw you in. It has to tell the story before you witness it.
Ignazio’s song invites us to take a better look at this other land in the south (Sicily). It speaks of  “a land of sages and a land of fools, made from devils and saints.”  It invites you to live a new reality through his eyes. This is exactly what Morricone does in his songs.
In a Morricone song you hear life! In Ignazio’s song you hear the sounds of Sicily. It is the “silence” of the land that screams for you to open your eyes and look around at the wonder of the landscape, of Makari, and the traditions of the land that go deep into your soul?
There is something very mysterious in the song, Makari. Very much like Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Ignazio’s song sings about approaching Makari and, the colors of the island come to life. The houses, the people, it’s all there. It comes to life before you approach the shore! It’s written very much like a Morricone song. And that’s what I was feeling when I heard the song!
Ignazio, I said you are a great composer and, some day you will compose a great opera. This is the proof. You learned from the master! Imitation is the greatest compliment you can give anyone. You are your own master but, we have to begin somewhere and where you began was at the front door! Amazing!
Now, let’s get back to the concert!
I’m not going to write in any detail about the songs. There are a few other articles which will be written for Flight Crew this week which will discuss the songs individually. I am merely going to name the new songs and where necessary, give you some details on how they came about.
“Your Love” from Once Upon a Time in the West, is a song we all are familiar with. It is the song that the guys sang at Sanremo 2021. As Il Volo fans, this song will be with us forever. There are tender moments attached to it.  It is an absolutely magnificent song. No one else could sing it like our guys. I know it touches my heart not just because of the circumstances but because of the emotion and passion the guys have when they sing this song. It will always be a signature song for them and for us!
Piero in tuxedo singing
So, what did they need in this production, a good pop song, set to music by Morricone, “Se Telefonando.” As I already mentioned, “Se Telefonando” is a song that was performed by a famous Italian singer, Mina. The music was composed, orchestrated and conducted by Ennio Morricone to Italian lyrics by Ghigo De Chiara and Maurizio Costanzo. The song was written for an episode of the Aria condizionata a Sunday morning television program. The main theme of the song was composed around just three notes, taken from the siren of a police car in Marseilles.
At this point, the guys did their solos. Where do I begin to talk about the solos?
As I said, I am not writing about the individual songs, but I will say that each of the guys’ solos were phenomenal. Gianluca’s “Your Song,” Ignazio’s “Listen” and Piero’s “No Puede Ser” were exceptional experiences in a sea of amazing voices.

Gianluca speaking to the audience

What I will comment on is little Julian. Many critics praised him and so do I! See guys, this is how you were at 8 years old. Blowing everyone’s mind. Ignazio, if you didn’t already sign him, you need to do it before he gets away!

Julian Iorio playing saxophone with Ignazio singing next to him

Riccardo Cocciante the guest of Il Volo sang “Quando finisce un amore,” an Ennio Morricone song which he first recorded in his Riccardo SOUL 1974 album.
We go back to the theme song of “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” from the film of the same name. At the end of the song there is a small exchange between our guys and Salvatore Cascio, the child, now adult, of Nuovo Cinema Paradiso.
Raphael Gualazzi on the piano and Nina Zilli, together with Il Volo perform the beautiful theme song from the film of the same name, “Metti, una Sera a Cena.”
Raphael Gualazzi on the piano and Nina Zilli perform with IL VOLO
Next came “Here’s to You”, the theme from Sacco and Vanzetti. This was preceded by a reading of the story of the two unfortunate Italian immigrants, read by Giallini. For those of you who don’t know the story of Sacco and Vanzetti here is a brief summary:
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants, anarchists, who were controversially convicted of murdering a guard and a paymaster during the April 15, 1920, armed robbery of the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree, Massachusetts.
A series of appeals followed, funded largely by the private Sacco and Vanzetti Defense Committee.  As details of the trial and the men’s suspected innocence became known, Sacco and Vanzetti became the center of one of the largest causes célèbres in modern history.
Responding to a massive influx of telegrams urging their pardon, Massachusetts governor Alvan T. Fuller appointed a three-man commission to investigate the case. After weeks of secret deliberation, the commission upheld the verdict. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in the electric chair just after midnight on August 23, 1927.

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio talking between songs

And so, we come to the end of the concert and the dedication of “Conradiana” to Vito Boschetto, Ignazio’s dad. “Conradiana” is a beautiful song written by Andrea Bocelli and Ennio Morricone. Very touching, very emotional and it certainly touched the heart of Ignazio and his brothers Piero and Gianluca, and I know it also touched our hearts.
We were so busy waiting for this Tribute that it seems we have missed an important event. Italy won Eurovision. What does that mean for us? It means next year Italy will host Eurovision. Rai, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job but, I think I know three very handsome, very talented young men who would absolutely be the best possible hosts for the program. Are You listening? Great events should have great people hosting them.
In closing today let me say that the guys showed us their talent and their love in this concert. And they really dedicated it to us. When they were singing their song, to Sacco and Vanzetti, they were saying to us, their fans, “Here’s to You.”
But what I really need to say is “Here’s to You” for a phenomenal, unforgettable, Concert!
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
Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero standing together on the Arena stage

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

To Go or Not to Go ~ That is the Question!

After performing at the Senate, the guys woke up one day and decided perhaps we should go to Sanremo!

Il Volo performing for the Italian senate

This to me is one of the most challenging decisions they had to make in their lives. We all take chances in life but, this was a little different. If you go to Sanremo and you win then it was worth it. But, if you lose, it’s not just losing the competition, it’s losing your country, your people! No recognition! This is what was at stake. How do you decide with so much at stake? It’s tough!
The one thing that was difficult for the guys from the very beginning was the fact that they were not recognized in their own country.
Ignazio would say, A “prophet is not recognized in his own land.” Perhaps, but that doesn’t change things. It doesn’t change the feeling that you get when you are asked the big question. “You are loved even in Italy, right?” and as Piero said, “You have to answer no.”
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I’m going to take a moment here and vent because there is much more to that answer than “no.”
I have followed the career of these young men from day one and I am so proud of their accomplishments as I know many of you are. I see how they have grown and how much they are loved by their fans, all 5 million of them (and those are just the ones we know about).
Nothing bothers me more than how these men are treated by some of the Italian press, not just now but, from the beginning. It’s not about the Italian people. I know the Italian people love them but, many in the Italian press do everything in their power to mock them and mistreat them. It is disgraceful!
What was it that fifteen-sixteen year old boys could have done to cause the press to be so unkind, so mean and so vicious? If you don’t like a performance, you don’t have to give them a good review but, you have to respect what they do.
In March at Sanremo 2021, one reporter wrote “When they came on, I turned off my TV.” This is what I have to say to that reporter. Shame on you! These three men came to Sanremo with broken hearts, especially Ignazio and, this is how you treat them. They showed such professionalism just by being there and this is all you can say! They showed such love and respect for their country and the Italian people just by showing up. Where is your respect for your country, for your people, for your profession?
Everyone was so sad for these men and all you can think of reporting is that you “turned off your TV.” Perhaps, it’s time you turned off your career because you need to learn something about respect. The ink from your pen can tell a truth or a lie but it can’t talk about the integrity of the person who’s using the pen!  But, of course, integrity is something you know nothing about!
Having said that, let me say, over the last few years, so many Italian journalists have changed their opinion of Il Volo. I think this is because they finally stopped and listened to them and they recognize the value of what they do.  Not to mention all the good work the guys do in and for Italy! And we know they bring Italy around the world! They are good Ambassadors for Italy and the press is finally recognizing it! So happy you got on board!
That’s all I have to say on the matter!

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Let’s move on to the great things that happened!
When I read Un’avventura Straordinaria, the story that I loved the most was the story of Sanremo. The decision by the guys to take on the Sanremo Festival. This story brought out their personalities, their differences and how they are so bound to one another that they could make the decision of a lifetime together even if it meant they could lose what was so important to them, their country and their people!

Left to rightLeft to right: Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca in front of the Ariston doors

The Decision

So where do you begin to make the decision. Well, you have to start with the decision itself.

Who’s in and who’s out!

Who’s in? From day one, Gianluca wanted to go. He was so convinced that they would win that he never backed down from it. He had no doubt in his mind that they would win.
Who’s out? Always the pessimist, Ignazio. He said “No, we can’t win. It’s too hard.”
So that leaves Piero! Piero at first was not on board but Gianluca persuaded him. Gianluca said, “No one trusted, no one believed it. It was I who persuaded Piero to persuade Ignazio to go to Sanremo. Because I told them: ‘Guys, if we go, we’ll win it, I’m sure, I’m sure’”.
Piero said, “We said to ourselves: ‘Guys, make it or break it, in the end, we were not anyone here in Italy, at most we would not be anyone even afterwards.’”

Decision made! It’s official the guys go to Sanremo!

Then there’s the second problem, the song!
At Sanremo you must perform an unpublished song. How do you begin to find such a song?
Now this is the part of the story that’s really interesting and sometimes funny! Oddly enough, the one who wanted this the most was the one who did not agree to the song. I so enjoyed listening to this dialogue between the guys. This is where we begin to hear the guys make important decisions together. They’re really good. When they begin, they’re not agreeing but as time goes by…. Well, why don’t I let them tell you how they finally got to Sanremo?
IL VOLO outside the Ariston Theater with confetti flying

The Song

Gianluca: I did not agree to go with that piece. If I think about it now, I’ll say that the next time I have to reflect better before judging, try to sing a song and then judge because our voices change the songs. We arrange them by cutting them on our voice, and I did not take this fact into consideration. The song when we first listened to it was not very ugly!
Ignazio: It’s not that we’ve heard only that, no. Do you think it is easy to choose a piece for Sanremo? We started to do a search and a selection of unpublished tracks. Our policy was: either we go with something strong, or we do not go, right?
One day this song comes to us through Michele: Grande Amore by Francesco Boccia and Ciro Esposito, two Neapolitan authors. As usual, I am pessimistic. I listen to it and it does not make me crazy. Not even Gianluca was convinced. The only enthusiast was Pie …

Il Volo with Francesco Boccia and Grande Amore song writersCiro Esposito

Piero interrupts: I loved “Grande Amore”! I did not believe that we would have won, but I was the one who pushed, I and Michele pushed for “Grande Amore” because the audition that we heard was not beautiful, but we imagined it if it was made by Celso Valli and I must say that we had guessed right.
Ignazio interrupts: And I said it too if you let me talk.  I was saying, in fact, that “Grande Amore” was not as we hear it today. It was always called “Grande Amore”, but it was totally different. So, we start to think: who can produce the piece? And Michele calls the great Celso Valli. After several weeks of work in the studio, we manage to churn out a song that could leave its mark at the Sanremo Festival.
Gianluca interrupts: That’s why when we left for Sanremo I was very convinced: we had the piece, the right project.
Piero: He wanted to influence us, but we are superstitious ….
Gianluca: Every day at lunch and dinner with Michele and the president of Sony, I said: ‘Guys, we will win Sanremo.’
Piero interrupts: Do you know what a week like this means?
Ignazio: Piero and I were all day touching iron and the low parts. Gianluca was convinced that the little lion (the Sanremo award is represented by a lion) would be ours? And the two of us tried to keep the situation under control.
Gianluca interrupts: What should I tell you? I am an optimist. They took it something like ‘he makes fun of us,’ but I felt it inside. I do not know why.
So many interruptions! Ignazio, before he was interrupted, was about to tell us about the first night they sang.
Ignazio: The 65th edition of the Festival begins on Tuesday, February 10th. We sing the second night, Wednesday the 11th. The strange thing is that normally my legs tremble before the performance, but mine trembled even after the performance! Perhaps too much adrenaline, it never happened before.

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

Piero interrupts: Or maybe it was because we came back to the Ariston stage after going around the world. It was like coming home, because we experienced the beginning of our career here with Ti Lascio una Canzone. One thing that cannot be described: in Sanremo, in Italy, to sing and receive the applause of the Italian public. It cannot be explained.

The Wardrobe!

Gianluca: Can you imagine for me this was also my birthday: I turned twenty on Ariston’s stage? Of course, I was moved in the end, and it was too much emotion to my sensibility to play bad jokes at times.
And then, we felt the pressure in the air. Even though I was optimistic, the tension was there.
Although we had taken care of the smallest details of the song, we had tried and tried again, and we had taken care of even the smallest details of the clothing. First evening look more rock: total black with leather jacket.
Because when we do our work the image matters, too.
Piero interrupts: Count, of course that counts. But do you remember how we were dressed before? I remember that time at Una Notte per Caruso, in July 2009, it was the second time we saw Torpedine. Michele arrives with another white Range Rover, not that of Jesolo, and as soon as he arrives, we do not even say hello and we go to see the car. Let’s run, let’s open the car. Ignazio immediately goes up to the car. We went crazy for cars, one like that, we did not see every day. The day after we go for a ride in downtown Sorrento, a shopping trip, and we enter into Gucci. Michele spent almost two thousand euros and we with that written number at the counter, we exclaimed: “Mizziga! (Damn!) Two thousand euro!” with wide eyes. And we still have those clothes, at least I personally still have them.
He had bought us a jacket, but above all the need for us to dress all in white and blue. I had the blue jacket and the white shirt, Gianluca had blue trousers and white shirt, Ignazio the blue shoes and everything else white, Michele the blue jacket. And we took a picture in front of the hotel.

Left to right: Ignazio, Gianluca, Michele Torpedine and Piero dressed in blue and white

Gianluca interrupts: We were just dressed badly to be singers by trade, we were children, we came from families of workers. What could I buy? There was not even the need.
Piero interrupts: And then you remember the restaurant? Afterwards we went to a restaurant near the sea. When we finished eating, the three of us took off our shoes and ran to the beach. Michele ran behind us telling us: ‘Guys, calm down. Guys, slow down.’
At this point Ignazio loses his patience. “YES, but, what does that have to do with it, Pie? We were talking about Sanremo. What has Sorrento got to do with it?

The Performance

Ignazio gets the conversation back on track!
Sanremo 2015, from the 10th to 14th of February, we sang on the second evening, legs shaking, Gianluca’s birthday.
Among the many interviews, the diary that we kept every day for TV Sorrisi e Canzoni … We had fun with the diary!
It was a sort of ‘pill.’ A very few minutes, in which we recorded from the 9th to 14th of February. We talked about some of the emotions we felt. For example, the time that Gianluca almost stumbles on stage or the happiness of seeing the audience get up and applaud the first night we sang “Grande Amore”. The recording, then, went online on the site of the magazine.
What was I saying? Ah, yes, among the many interviews, the diary that we kept every day for TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, meetings and press conferences …
Piero interrupts: And the criticisms we felt in those days? People at home voted for us, appreciated us, and journalists gave us votes that we thought were postponed until September, I also said this at the press conference after the victory. Five that flew (Bad votes given by critics). But we see that the criticisms have done us good.
Ignazio: Can I do a criticism of you?
Piero: Ah, tell me…
Ignazio: You interrupted me. I was about to tell the final. I can continue?

The Win

Ignazio: In short, the final evening arrives, February 14th. I realize from my shirt that in a week we have eaten more than we sang. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m a boy who does not say cat if I do not have it in the bag, then until Carlo Conti said….
Piero interrupts: And indeed, whoever wins does not know it until the end! Sorry, Igna’. Speak you!!!
Ignazio: Until Carlo Conti said: ‘The winner of the Sanremo Festival 2015 is … Il Volo!’ I said to the boys: ‘No, guys, we do not win, it’s difficult.’ And on the one hand I had Piero with shining eyes and on the other Gianluca with a smug smile as if to say: ‘Do not worry.’

The guys of IL VOLO holding up the Sanremo trophy

Gianluca: The truth is that I was right from the beginning and no one had ever listened to me, ever. I believed it so much that, if you notice, maybe I’m the one with the least surprised look on my face when Carlo Conti announces the winner. Then, of those moments, one remembers little, there is great confusion, emotion. It was a dream to be able to shout, ‘Thank you, Italy!’ from that stage. I look at Sanremo as a child, when there was Pippo Baudo, and I was there and have won because people were on our side and it was a dream, I repeat even if I have already said.
The emotion was only when my grandfather told me almost in tears: “Who would have told me that in life I saw Modugno win at the Festival and then I saw you win?”
Taking the conversation back, I have to say, to me this was the best conversation we could listen to. They disagree, they find middle ground, and they agree but, most importantly they listen to one another and that’s what makes the bond so great!
In the end Gianluca said: “In short, Sanremo was just a dream that brought us many different emotions. Too bad it was not repeated also in Vienna!”

Many of you know the winner of Sanremo goes to Eurovision to represent Italy. After winning Sanremo and the popularity of “Grande Amore”, the guys were pretty confident they could win Eurovision. And to some degree, Ignazio believed it too!

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

As Italy is a member of the Big Five, the guys went straight into the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Vienna on May 23rd, 2015. “Grande Amore” came in 3rd with 292 points but, they won the televote with 366 points and 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 20th, 2015 and it was certified triple platinum by FIMI. At the Latin Billboard Awards, they dominated the social networking sites and now, they win the televote and the best song according to collective voting by the accredited press. The people have spoken!

So, they gambled and, they won. They were happy and they finally felt accepted in their own country. It seems that everything worked out well but there’s a little piece of the puzzle missing.
To really finish this story, we need to pass back Through the Fields of My Mind down the corridor that led us here and enter the day-by-day reality of Sanremo!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

TUTTI A SCUOLA by Daniela

Ok, I just attended the performance of Il Volo in the program broadcast by RAI 1 of TUTTI A SCUOLA and I’m still on a cloud.

Thanks guys, it’s been so long that I haven’t heard that beautiful song from your voices anymore and I’m still excited ………. but let’s go in order.

This program is broadcast every year on the day of the opening of the schools, and is broadcast by RAI1.

Today, 14 September 2020, in Italy is the first day of school and this year is a very special opening, because the schools have been closed since early March.

So the message is really strong, it reopens, a thought to the future, with many problems in the present, still not fully overcome, but with a lot of confidence and emotion.

Furthermore, instead of making this connection from Rome, as every year, this year in compliance with the anti-Covid rules, the program is broadcast in Vo’ Euganeo, one of the countries most affected by the virus, a country that has a sad record in the number of deaths.

Many guests will participate in the event, in the presence of our President of the Republic: Sergio Mattarella and other constitutional offices.

Il Volo is the most awaited guest, who will conclude the event, before the speech of our President.

But here they are, always beautiful, elegant but with sneakers, IL VOLO.

Tutti a Scuola Performance – Click Here

Beautiful opening of their performance with the beautiful GRANDE AMORE, which we always listen with pleasure.

I translate for you the speech after Grande Amore.

Man = Good, good, good, very good!

Women = Mamma mia, what a thrill.

G + I + P = Thank you, thank you all.

Man = And then, finally seeing you again on stage, being able to listen to you and admire and enjoy your talent, after very complicated months.

We talked to each other on the computer, via Skype during Eurovision (this year he presented Eurovision Italia) and we had said to ourselves: sooner or later it will start again…..

Piero = Today is a special day, a day of hope. We are delighted to be present at this fantastic event and we send a big hug to all the kids who are back at school today. Study is the most important thing.

Man = Perfect! Guys, by the way, what kind of relationship did you have with school?

Ignazio = It’s really exciting to be here after the lockdown …..

Man = Ah, you avoid the question??

Ignazio = No, why did you understand?? (laughter)

Seriously, we are happy to be here.

Before, a very painful point was touched (bullying) that I experienced too, so I understand and I am very close…….

Man = Are you talking about difficulties at school?

Ignazio = No, I’m talking about cyberbullying in general.

Social media is a serious thing, we often use them, just to play, to have fun, but they are a very serious thing. Social networks give everyone a voice, but not everyone has the intelligence to know how to use them in the right way.

So we are very close to all the guys who need support, we are helping a lot of people, and we are also creating a Foundation for that.

Woman = Beautiful.

Ignazio = Yes, because in 2020 we are far ahead, but also far behind in the way we behave.

Woman = We hope that the school also does a good job, teaching these kids to use social media well.

Man = The real revolution starts from school, education. A teacher, a pupil, a notebook, a pen, and you can begin, not only to dream, but to change the world.

Thanks guys for the introduction to this beautiful speech, which has not been prepared, I am truly amazed.

Ignazio = You were talking about this speech before and it is something that touches us a lot.

Gianluca = Also because, dedicating ourselves to culture, to study, not only makes us educated people, it also helps us to look at the world with other eyes, to the point of making us better people, with a pinch of empathy, of sensitivity, this can happen. So we renew our “good luck” to all students and also to children.

Man = “Better and free people,” said Gianni Rodari (Italian writer). “Study if you want to be free.”

But you have a gift, a little for us, but above all for our extraordinary President.

You explain it yourself.

Piero = Today we have decided to pay homage to the Italian column of music in the world, the maestro Ennio Morricone. (applause)

Man = About the music of “Once Upon a Time in America” and “Malena”, right?

Piero = Exactly, a piece entitled E PIÙ TI PENSO.

Man = Great names like Renis, Mogol participated in this song. And you sing.

Gianluca = We always remember this song with great affection, because we were just over 15 years old, when we had the honor of singing and performing with the great maestro Ennio Morricone.

Man = You speak like a 90-year-old….. and you already have a 10-year career ….. you started at 8 …. (laughter), you are still very young: Il Volo !!

Il Volo sings E PIÙ TI PENSO.

Man = I’m speechless, really, and then live, from a few meters …

Gianluca =  Really Thanks, we also want to thank the maestro Leonardo De Amicis (he directed the guys at Ti Lascio Una Canzone) and all the musicians of the orchestra, who are all boys, just like us. Thank you.

Man = Anyway you joke, but talent, only by studying, studying, can reach certain levels. Thanks, good job and good flight, infinite flight.

I + P + G = Thank you

Man = Hurray for Il Volo, who greets our President, I recommend you distance and mask.

Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca go down to greet the President, wearing the mask first.

The guys get a personal applause from our President, standing in front of them.

Great guys!!

But let me spend a few words on the superb interpretation they gave of E PIÙ TI PENSO!

How long have we not heard this song sung by Il Volo.

I would like to clarify that Tony Renis wrote the words on this beautiful music by Maestro Morricone, with the aim that it would be sung by Il Volo, then almost unknown kids in Italy.

Since then it has only been sung a few times by them.

On this occasion, they surpassed themselves, with an interpretation full of emotion, a unique sweetness and harmony, which only Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero can produce.

As the presenter said, talent yes, but also a lot of study to achieve this.

Again, I am very proud of them.

After the performance of Il Volo, there was the speech of our President of the Republic. A very long speech but with very beautiful pieces that I translate for you.

“Today is an important day. The inauguration of the school year, never, as on this occasion, has the value and significance of a restart, for the whole of society.

The children feel it, the adults understand it, and also the institutions. We are facing a decisive challenge. Starting over from Vo’ Euganeo gives even more the sense of how this challenge affects the whole country. Just as here in Vo’, after the anguish and closures, life has resumed at full speed, so the reopening of the schools expresses the full recovery of the life of Italy.”……

“As we prepare for tomorrow, we feel the need to remember those affected by the disease, the many broken lives, and the pain suffered by many. We will not forget, and we will try to learn from the exceptional and dramatic events that have affected all continents and that still keep us busy, requiring responsibility and prudence.”…….

“The precautionary measures have become a test that the Italian people have been able to face, as in other difficult moments in its history.

The school also serves this purpose, to train aware citizens, to defeat ignorance with knowledge, to curb fears with culture, to share responsibilities.

The school, the culture, the continuous confrontation, are also antidotes to the virus of violence and intolerance, which can also infect the community, if attention is reduced.”…..

Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy

Beautiful words from our President, but also the words spoken by our boys, unprepared speeches, which make me even more proud of them, are beautiful and appropriate.

Ignazio said they are preparing a Foundation to help the children.

What wonderful people.

I love them.

Daniela

Let’s watch the video of E PIÙ TI PENSO, sung years ago by three little friends, emerging artists: Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca: IL VOLO. ❤️❤️❤️

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

GOODBYE FOR NOW by SUSAN

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!

Goodbye 01

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.

Goodbye 02

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….

Goodbye 03

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.

Goodbye 04

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!

Goodbye 05

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 06

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!

PIERO, IGNAZIO and GIANLUCA

Goodbye 07

 

Credit to owners of all photos.