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A Man of Passion and Emotion by Susan

Over the next few weeks, I decided I would write about the guys individually. Usually, when I do this, I start with Piero’s story, then Ignazio and then Gianluca. Sometimes I do it in reverse. And of course, Ignazio is always stuck in the middle. So, I’m going to start this series of stories with Ignazio!

Sometimes I feel like I spend every day of my life writing about Ignazio! In the last two years I’ve written over a hundred stories about the guys and, it seems as if half of them were about Ignazio’s projects. Because of all his projects in 2020, I sometimes wrote two and three stories a week about him, wearing many different hats. Entertainer, Lyricist, Manager, Entrepreneur! The amazing thing about it is, I can’t get enough of him! Ignazio lives in my mind. I have an emotional attachment to him. I guess it comes from writing all those stories. With fictional characters, the writer develops the character but, when you’re writing about real people, you come to a point where you are in their minds and, you feel their passions and emotions! And, Ignazio truly is A Man of Passion and Emotion!
Two years ago, I wrote a story called A Slice of Pizza with Ignazio on the Side! Obviously, it was the story about his mother Caterina opening her pizzeria and Ignazio starting his musical education.  I want to briefly talk about this event and how Ignazio was discovered.
Ignazio tells us his family left Marsala to go north because work opportunities in Marsala were scarce. Nina was just about four and Ignazio wasn’t born yet. By 1992 Ignazio’s parents realized they did not earn enough to keep going so, they made the decision to make another move to San Martino on Agrine near Bologna. And, as Ignazio says, “that’s why I was born in Bologna.”
In 2004, the family decided to move back to Marsala. At first, Ignazio was not happy with the move. He loved his life in Bologna, and he was not open to starting all over in Marsala.  But, like most ten-year olds, the moment you make friends everything changes.
Once the family was settled in it was time for Caterina to follow her dream but, let me let Ignazio tell you about that….

In 2004 there was a great change, the economic stability that mom and dad were looking for had arrived. Mom had regained her health and then what do we do? We return to live in Marsala.
During the first year we were back in Marsala, mom had gone back and forth every day to the center of Marsala to be able to secure her great dream: to open a pizzeria of her own.
In order to open the pizzeria, mom had to do certain things. First thing: she went back and forth to the office for the permits and all the bureaucratic things that she needed to do. Second thing: she used the ovens of friends and made pizzas. I remember it very well. She went from one oven to another and tried so many types of flour, she tried the dough, she tried so many types of mozzarellas so when she finally opened the pizzeria, she already knew how to prepare the right dough. It is different to make pizza in Bologna than making it in Marsala, take the word of a son and brother of a pizza maker: it is different because it depends on the humidity, the temperature and the type of flour. It’s not a simple matter to make a really good pizza.
So, mom did these two things alone, but to build the pizzeria physically the job was for a team and involved the whole family. My father with the savings accumulated over the years began the work. He was now working in a company that built wooden structures and being an experienced bricklayer, the dream could be realized, and the pizzeria could be built in front of the house.
For a whole year, in every free moment, my father dedicated himself to building the pizzeria for my mother and I loved to help him, so much so that when there were a few days of school vacation I went to work with him.

You will think that I tell you about the pizzeria under construction, but I am not a pizza maker.  Of course, but if there had not been a pizzeria, perhaps I would never have started singing seriously.

While the pizzeria grew, a passion grew within me….

It was a passion for electronics and music. I had started to be part of the elementary school choir and my dad, who was more passionate about electronics than me, had bought me a mixer, a microphone and two speakers, with which we started doing the easiest thing that could be done with those instruments: karaoke. I really enjoyed singing the songs of Andrea Bocelli and Giorgia.

Finally, in 2005 the pizzeria was completed and, mom opened the Pizzeria dei Desideri.
Within a few months mom already had regular customers and since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when I was singing at home, the customers could hear me sing. One day a gentleman said to my mother, ‘You know, my daughter is studying singing, why don’t you come with your son once? Even just to try.’
Like everything else, we talked it over within my family and everyone was enthusiastic about it. It was decided, I would go and see what this singing lesson was like.
I remember it as if it was yesterday, and instead ten years have passed!…. I was eleven. I wore a yellow shirt with green stripes, fashion was never my strong point. Arianna, the daughter of the pizzeria customer, who had heard me sing, and her mother and I waited, in front of the school for more than twenty minutes for Liliana Andreanò, the singing teacher.
Lilliana Adreanò, arrived in a grey Opel Astra. She got out of the car and immediately entered the school.
I was worried, almost embarrassed. Hard to believe, right? Even as a child I’ve never been the type to be speechless.
Lilliana begins to talk about music, what kind of songs I like to sing. It was already a strange thing because usually I just sang, no one asked me why and how.
You know, Liliana, I like to sing Giorgia’s songs. Lilliana said: ‘Strange for a kid to sing this kind of song. She asked, and which song of Giorgia would you like to make me listen to?’ ‘Gocce Di Memoria’ (Drops of Memory), I said. I didn’t even have a doubt. I start singing and Liliana was amazed by my extension but asks me to try a male song too.
I thought a little bit and then I said to her: sometimes I even sing ‘Con Te Partiro’ by Andrea Bocelli. I started singing and, when I finished Liliana told me: ‘Ignazio, this is your musical direction.’

(Ignazio at thirteen years old. What a voice!!!)
From that first lesson I began to study songs like ‘Il Mare Calmo Della Sera,’ ‘Un Amore Così’ Grande’ and all those that came to mind, and I liked it. It approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic. With Liliana, I found myself, very, comfortable. We understood each other immediately because she is a sociable person, simple, as are all of us in my family.
After several lessons, Lilliana proposed that I take part in a bullfight (competition) organized in Paolini. I wasn’t completely convinced that I wanted to get on a stage. Until that moment I had only thought about singing, but I had never seriously thought that all that singing one day could bring me into the spotlight. In short, I was afraid. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not being able to face the stage, but just to gain mastery on stage, Liliana urged me to participate, and so in the end I decided to do it.
I was about to get on the bullfight stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I decided to participate with the song by Bocelli ‘Con te partirò’ (Time to Say Goodbye), a song that I had studied and re-studied with Liliana, but as soon as the music started, I had a terrible fear of forgetting the words. So, what did I do? I looked down all the time. So, the audience, the place, what happened around me while I was singing, it’s not that I do not remember anything, I just do not know because I only saw the tips of my feet.
Fortunately, however, I remembered all the words and it is not so obvious because sometimes it happens that I forget the words even today now that I have become professional, the emotion continues to take us despite everything and.…

I came in third.

So, the great sacrifice by Ignazio’s family begins and would not end until he stepped on the stage at Ti Lascio una Canzone.

The rest of the story is history but, Ignazio’s story doesn’t just end with Il Volo. As I mentioned in the beginning, Ignazio wears many hats.
If Ignazio did nothing more than sing for the rest of his life, he would be remembered as a singer who captured an audience at a very young age and continues to intrigue them with every passing day.

From the first time he stepped on the stage, he was a star. I remember watching him on PBS and thinking if he’s this good now, what will he be like ten years from now. Along with Gianluca and Piero these three, amazing, men have achieved in thirteen years what most men could only dream of achieving in a lifetime!

He is the voice that never ends! The voice that intrigues! The voice that takes your breath away! The voice that leads you to ecstasy!

Let’s pick up our story in March of 2020 when we find ourselves in our homes hoping that this pandemic would end soon.

It seems we all tried to occupy our minds, but Ignazio had the best ideas about how to pass his time. He sang with his friend Lidia Schillaci!

He also sang and joked with his friends Claudio and Annaandrea ~ I Soldi Spicci
And every day he was online talking with us.
In January 2020 Ignazio, at age 25 started his own production company ~ Floki Productions. Does that surprise you?  It doesn’t surprise me. It makes a lot of sense to me.
Floki Productions I’m sure is Ignazio’s dream.
And how did Ignazio come up with the name Floki for his production company? He says….
I took the name of my label from the Viking shipbuilder Hrafna-Floki Vilgerðarson. As a fan of the TV series Vikings, Floki seemed like the right reference for the desire to get involved in this new adventure, because if you want to reach the continent from an island you can jump into the sea at the risk of drowning or invent something.
Working through a small label gives you the opportunity to follow means, believing in people even before the project and following them step by step in their path, discarding logic on the side.

So, where does the dream begin ~ Nico Arezzo!
In many ways Nico reminds me of Ignazio. He knows what he wants and, he goes after it. Nico was the first artist to sign a contract with Ignazio under Floki Productions.

You will remember that Ignazio released Nico’s song “Gorilla” on June 30, 2020 (in the middle of the pandemic) in a “Live on Instagram.”
How did I describe this event, Perfect Audio! 4 Cameras! A Crazy Band and, it was all LIVE ON INSTAGRAM!
Let’s listen to what Ignazio had to say about the event:
On Thursday night we were the first to do a high-quality sound live on Instagram.
People wouldn’t dream of doing what Ignazio did. What a spectacular show! While the music world was trying to restart, Ignazio, at age 25, made his debut as a producer.
And what a phenomenal production it was!
Ignazio tells us….Production has always been my dream. It started with an idea to give a chance to those who deserve a break. And Ignazio reminds us….as it happened 11 years ago to me, Gianluca and Piero.

Of course, Ignazio did not stop at Nico. In October 2021, Ignazio signed, Giada Luppi. You might say that name is familiar. That is correct because Giada won the Junior World Figure Skating Championships in Asuncion, Paraguay. Giada is not only a Championship skater, but also a singer!
Giada has a very clear idea about her future. “I will compete a few more years because I think I have already dedicated so much of my life to skating and then I would like to devote myself completely to music.”

With her debut single, in collaboration with Ignazio and manager Michele Torpedine, she entered what she hoped would become her career in the entertainment world.

In the video of her first single, La Rotta (The Route), Giada proves skating and singing are not incompatible activities. And the song Giada skates to, La Rotta, was written by Ignazio and Giada.
Does it seem to you that Ignazio knows how to pick them? Amazing just like him!

And then there were two!

Let me step back one moment to remind you about another production on Instagram. On May 17, 2020, Ignazio produced an event on Instagram and Facebook that really moved all of us. Ignazio along with Giampiero Grani, Alessandro Quarto, Bruno Farinelli, Gino De Vita, Pierluigi Mingotti and Andrea Morelli presented, “Almeno tu nell’universo.” Moments like this are few and far between. Only the genius Ignazio would come up with something this amazing. Bravo Ignazio!
In March 2021, I wrote a story called Ignazio’s Sicily, Land of Sages and Fools ~ Made of Devils and Saints! This story was about Ignazio the Composer and Lyricist!

It amazes me that the young boy who went to Sicily kicking and screaming when he was ten, became the spokesman for Marsala, around the world, and now for the region of Trapani. Ignazio came to embrace the land of his parents and he loves all the wonders of Sicily.
Sicily is different than Italy. Yes, I know Sicily is Italy but, how the Sicilians live and, who they are is very different. Ignazio’s song invites us to take a better look at this other land in the south. It speaks of “a land of sages and a land of fools, made from devils and saints.” Yes, that’s what Sicily is! They honor their saints while keeping their superstitions!

Ignazio invites you to live a new reality through his eyes. He invites us to see a different side of Sicily through his beautiful theme song, Màkari.

Ignazio did a video about Màkari explaining to us his experience of Sicily as seen through his eyes. He says, “It is a Sicily as told by a twenty-five-year-old who lived Sicily through stories, through images!”
This song speaks volumes! Where did the words of this song come from? No doubt! Ignazio’s heart! There is something very mysterious about the song. It speaks of truth! The truth as seen through Ignazio’s eyes.
Think about the words of the song! Is Ignazio singing about the writer who leaves his home and returns after a long period of time or the entertainer who travels the world? The similarities in his life and the life of the writer are striking, that’s why he was able to write such an emotional song! I feel like Ignazio wrote the song and then they made the show. His words are very enticing, they pull you into the story. They tell all there is to know and, Ignazio tells us a story, through the imagery of his words!
Ignazio’s words allow us to see Sicily through tradition, home and love! And that’s what Ignazio is really all about!
In the video about the song, Ignazio talks about the summers he spent in San Vito Capo in the landscape of Màkari.
What is it that draws him back year after year? Is it the “silence” of the land that screams for you to open your eyes and look around at the wonder of the landscape or, the traditions of the land that go deep into your soul? It seems to Ignazio, Màkari is joy and love and so he will never forget it! And what does that say! Simple! This is Ignazio’s story! His story of Sicily, the land he left to pursue his dream and the land he is drawn back to time and again.
Màkari is a song that leads us back to A Man of Passion and Emotion. It points its finger at the young boy who left Sicily to pursue his dream, but Sicily was never far from his heart. Ignazio expressed in this song all that he felt in life and all that he missed when he went away but he also tells us that he is never far from his family or far from his dreams. Through his images we know all of this is always in his mind and in his heart and he carries it with him around the world!
I would need twenty more pages to really tell all of Ignazio’s story. A truly amazing man!

Let me close with a quote from an article by Ilvolovers Romania: “Ignazio, for what he looks like and also for everything he sometimes hides, is an imposing, brave and authentic young man. Sensitive and passionate, his performance creates a hurricane of feelings for anyone who looks at him and listens to him. For him, the phrase “singing with the heart” is not a metaphor, it is a reality expressed in every gesture and makes us wonder what his eyes see when he sings.”
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
*Excerpts from: Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia
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 videos and photos.