Recently I had a revelation. I always knew how fantastic Piero was but when he stepped on that stage in Verona, he blew me away! That amazing voice stepped up so many levels I couldn’t believe my ears.
After hearing Piero sing in Verona, I wrote, “I want to give you some of my thoughts about our spinto tenor. Piero’s voice which always was amazing, always was powerful, and his presentation which always produced phenomenal climaxes in the concerts, has now become such a vibrant sound in our ears! His voice has expanded so much in the last two years.
Over this period, Piero has had the opportunity to spend unlimited time on his opera lessons. This is something that is not possible in his normal schedule. The intense opera lessons of the last two years have paid off with Piero standing at the door of La Scala! The intensity of his voice sends shivers up and down my spine! A truly amazing voice that has become even more powerful than it was! Phenomenal! Bravo Piero!”
As you know, Piero has been intensely studying the opera, Cavalleria Rusticana, these last few years and he brought to the stage at Taormina, for the first time, the beautiful aria, “Mamma, quel vino.” Taormina was the perfect setting for this opera because the opera is set in Sicily on Easter morning.
Opera isn’t only about the song it is about presentation. In an opera you need to feel the person who is singing the aria. You must feel the character. The words tell a story, but the character gives it life.
Piero makes you feel Turiddu’s final farewell with his mother and makes you understand that he knows he will lose the duel. You grieve for his loss even before he’s gone. That’s what opera and arias are about. With Piero’s delivery, you feel him bring the opera to a climax even before it’s over. The intensity of Turridu’s final moments with his mother are highlighted in this aria. I hope someday to hear Piero sing this opera at the La Scala.
This video presents Piero in 2014 and 2022 singing “No Puede Ser.” In both presentations he is fantastic.
The final story can only begin when THE TENOR has arrived! You have arrived Mr. Barone!
In my story about Ignazio and Gianluca, I wrote about passion. What about Piero’s passion?
What were his passions?
A while back I wrote about Piero’s passion. Yes, he certainly has a passion for his opera but, his passion went in other directions too.
Piero had a passion for Chemistry and Math but not for all of his school subjects. And, so, I introduce my personal favorite story about Piero, the Story of Denise!
We know if Piero had a passion, it had to be for music but, in this story, we find out he had no great passion for school but, he did have a passion, so to speak, for chemistry and math!
Piero tells us that he had good grades in school because of his secret weapon Denise….
Denise’s Wedding Day
Piero said, “For Denise I should make a monument.”
Denise was Piero’s classmate for twelve years. The good grades were thanks to her. In the afternoon Piero would pick her up in his electric car, an E50, and they would study together. She repeated the lesson and he learned by what she was saying. Well let me have Piero explain it to you….
I did not like reading books, what could I do? The songs have always remained in my head right away, I listen to a song and after two, three times at most, I know all the words, but the lessons no, these do not come into my head even with the hammering. You imagine that once, out of despair, to memorize a history lesson, I gave it a reason, that is, I put it to music. But when I could not do this – that is, most of the time – I sat next to Denise, and I listened to her repeat the lesson. Or, in classwork, she wrote and did it, zac! She put the paper in the middle of the desk and, I copied. The professors probably knew but they never caught me and so they always gave me that half vote less than she, even if the tasks were the same. But, who cared, I was very happy.
I only liked two school subjects. All of you are thinking physical education. No. Physical education I did not like, I did not want to put on the tracksuit because I was fat and, I felt clumsy with the tracksuit. Today everything is different.
Piero lost fifty-three pounds and he likes to go to the gym. He also helped Ignazio to get involved with exercising when he was on his diet….
At school, I did not like gymnastics instead I loved chemistry. I had good marks which I earned by myself. No Denise. And I excelled in Math, in fact, I am so good, that I am the one of the three that runs with a bag full of all of our accounts.
As for the other school subjects, I was always ordered, I was studying only the necessary, I did what I could. It is not that I did not study because of bad will, it was that I had other projects and the professors knew and understood it. I was not a tramp that ran from morning to night with the motorbike, I was one who was at home studying piano, solfeggio, I had many commitments, I always had something to do.
I was known in the country, I never smoked a cigarette, never used drugs of any kind, never went to the disco, I never did stupid. In short, never.
If you ask Piero’s father, he will surely tell you about the wheelies with the motorbike. It was the only thing that he did not do right. His friends told Mr. Barone that Piero did wheelies and he got angry….
When I arrived at the roundabout in the center of the city, voom, I did a wheelie with the motorbike. Just that. But even in those cases I was very responsible. Do you know what I was doing when I was driving the motorbike? My father gave me sheets of newspaper, I put them on my chest, under my shirt and I went around so the wind did not enter my chest, understood? Full helmet, strictly integral.
If you’re wondering, yes, I was a little weighed in those years but, I was so controlled because, I had a thousand allergies that put my respiratory tract “in danger.” I never went to school trips, I could not go to the disco, I could not do certain things that all my peers did. But now, when I return home I go to the disco, we are never less than twenty, twenty-five people, and Dad is calm because I’m even more responsible than before and because in the group there are also people older than me, even forty years and married.
I like being with people much older than me because, even if I’m only twenty years old, I have to manage my life in a very serious way and at a certain point I had to ‘grow by force.’ It’s strange if I think about it, because that little boy Piero, who was attentive to everything he did, so as not to ruin his voice, and not to get some asthma attack, would never have imagined becoming a singer. He had other plans.
Given his asthma and allergies, the one place you would never find Piero as a child was on a soccer field. So, it’s no wonder when he played in the Partita del Cuore for Charity everyone was blown away but no one more so than Alessandro Del Piero.
This is one of my favorite videos
Let’s begin with the fact that Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on a soccer field. They played every day. In the video you will notice that the reporters, who were making fun of the guys when they went into the game, changed their tune when they saw Ignazio and Gianluca play. But the big surprise was Piero.
So here, our Piero, who doesn’t know the what for, of a soccer ball, decides he is going to tackle Del Piero.
Piero played so well that when he went up against Del Piero he surprised everyone with his moves. Especially the guys! You could tell Del Piero was enjoying the game as much as the guys! He was hysterical laughing when Piero took him on! I don’t think he expected it! You need to know that Del Piero has a wonderful sense of humor. He can be very funny.
NOTE: Alex Del Piero is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, and as one of the best Italian players of all times. If you don’t believe me, ask Ignazio. Go Juventus!
Many of you may know Alex Del Piero. He joined the ESPN sports roster last year. Del Piero currently lives in Los Angeles where he opened a world class Italian restaurant called No. 10, representing his jersey number when he played for Juventus.
They say the hero of the game was Gianluca because he scored a goal and tied the score, but I say it was Piero. When questioned by one of the reporters about his moves against Del Piero our dear Piero didn’t even understand what the reporter was talking about! The reporter said, “he doesn’t understand but he has taken up the invitation of his friends and he is playing more advanced.”
No matter, the important thing is he played well, and the guys were very proud of him!
So, if he wasn’t playing soccer in his youth, what was Piero doing?
To answer that question, I would like to go back to an interview that Piero had with Marcella Lattuca in 2013. Marcella and Piero were in the choir together.
In the interview Piero talks about his beginnings but also about where he and the guys are in their career. The 19-year-old Piero is truly amazing, red glasses and all! It is a very interesting interview.
Marcella: Dear viewers, welcome to this new episode of Agrigentini Bella Gente (Inhabitants of Agrigento, beautiful people).
This episode is very special because I have the privilege to talk with a real star of international music. 19-year-old, Piero Barone, who I thank for the interview, has reached goals that perhaps, artists cannot reach, over a whole career.
Thanks Piero, for being our guest.
Piero: It’s a pleasure. We did the chorus together and today we are here to do this fantastic interview.
Marcella: It’s true, you and I started in parallel, with a fairly considerable age gap, alas. You start from Naro, you were born in Naro, you have a family from Agrigento, and you start with the Little Cantori di Santa Cecilia. (The Choir of Santa Cecelia)
Tell us how you approached music.
Piero with his grandfather Pietro
Piero: I have always pursued this dream of music, I grew up in the middle of music with my grandfather, Pietro, and thanks also to my father’s constancy, because you know, sometimes there are moments, when you’re little, you play piano and you want to give up everything, but thanks to the constancy of my father, I always, always pursued this dream, first with the chorus of Santa Cecilia, studying with private teachers, and now fortunately, I’m here.
Marcella: Anyway, your career was born a few years ago, when you were really a child.
What was actually this turning point, which made you feel you wanted to do something more?
What was the spring?
Piero: In fact, there was not, because I always wanted to sing, but there was luck, thanks to my father, always, thanks to my father, to do a summer festival in Cosenza.
My father called me and told me “Do you want to do this festival? Let’s go and come back in 24 hours (by car), let’s go and come back.”
I replied, “Dad, are you crazy?” and he “Come on, let’s try, I drive, and you sleep in the car.”
For that selection they did not take me, but they gave my name to the editorial office of Ti Lascio una Canzone, Antonella Clerici’s program.
One day I was returning from the piano school, and I found my father on the phone with a lady Isabella Abiuso, and from there it all started, in fact my father asked me if I wanted to do that program and I replied, “Why not, let’s try.”
Marcella: You started as a soloist at Ti Lascio una Canzone, and then maybe fate played a special role.
Piero: Oh yes, we started this program as three singers, and now I, Ignazio and Gianluca are the group Il Volo. In the fourth episode, the producer Roberto Cenci, had the idea to join our voices, and from there started … the three tenors …. the Tryo, we changed name, but in the end, we decided to call ourselves Il Volo.
Immediately after the program, we signed a contract with Universal Music in Los Angeles.
Marcella: A little thing of nothing….
Piero (about the name): They wanted a short Italian name. Il Volo was a metaphorical name, Il Volo, to fly.
Marcella: Anyway, what I understood from your words, the one that followed you the most, was your dad, also because, being a minor, you could not go around alone.
Piero: My father and my grandfather – my grandfather discovered my voice, my father helped me. He is great and he has been a great support.
Marcella: So immediately after Ti Lascio una Canzone, you signed this contract with Universal, and you started your flight.
Piero: Yes, we signed a contract with Universal, with our producer Tony Renis and Umberto Gattica and our manager Michele Torpedine, and from there, the first TV, the first album, with the first album we sold 1 million copies. And now the new album “We Are Love” has been released, where there is also a duet with Eros Ramazzotti and with Placido Domingo.
Marcella: But when you tell these things, do you realize where you’ve come from and all the way you’ve come in such a short time?
Piero: This is nothing, we made this new album, but behind this album we have done lots of experiences, like, a tour with Barbra Streisand, 12 dates with her. She was a great teacher for us, and we learned so many things from her, like from many other great artists.
Marcella: I can afford to mention some reviews I read on the internet.
“EL PASO TIMES: Electrifying: the name of the group means the flight in Italian, perfect name for a trio of young tenors who conquers ever higher peaks,” just to name one, another:
“Beautiful and intense voices accompanied by beautiful harmonies that enchant the public by giving strong emotions,” this is the enthusiastic comment of the NEW YORK JOURNAL.
You are a trio, so you are dealing with two other guys who are the same age.
Piero: Ignazio and Gianluca
Marcella: Perfect. What is the relationship between you three? Is it really difficult to keep united, even if you go in one direction only?
Piero: This project was born as three friends, you know, living every day together, we have established a great relationship, we are like three brothers, because we share everything …. not everything. There is a great relationship, a great agreement.
Marcella: But you also perform individually?
Piero: No, no, our concert is the concert of Il Volo.
We have just finished a tour of 48 dates in America, this is the fourth tour. We have done an American tour, a South American, a European and another American just finished and now in 2013 we will do another South American, American and Europe.
Marcella: But for a boy of your age, you have spent most of your adolescence ….
Piero: On the plane
Marcella: In fact, what effect does it make, having left your friends, your country, was it tough? Then you had to approach even with a language that was not yours, you had to learn English.
Piero: English is fundamental, and we also had to learn Spanish.
Marcella: You have learned Spanish because now, however, you will start a tour, if I’m not mistaken in South America.
Piero: The second tour, and now there are great future projects, but I’ll tell you what we did in the last two months. We started at Rockefeller Center in New York, with the lighting of the Christmas tree, the Christmas season opens all over the world, the Christmas time. We were there, Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Tony Bennett, everyone was there.
Immediately after we sang for the Nobel Prize presentation in Oslo. We represented Italy because the Nobel Prize was given to the European Union.
There was Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gerald Butler, Sial, it was a great experience.
Marcella: Informing me on the internet, I read that you have also become a style icon, because your fans have adopted this red eyewear look, is your brand?
Piero: If you come to our concerts, you find all the girls with red glasses, it’s really nice!
Marcella: And then you also have some very important fans, like for example …. say you …
Piero: We were in Panama and a friend called us and told us “Guys, read the interview in LA REPUBBLICA”, we go on the internet and we read they asked Placido Domingo, what music he is listening to at the moment, and he replied: “I listen to Il Volo, they are three jewels that the whole world should know.” And the nephew of Pacido Domingo, is a wild fan, crazy about us, he wears red glasses, the vest, the tie…. and from there was born the duet with Palcido Domingo.
Marcella: In fact, because in the last album, in addition to the duet with Ramazzotti, you also have one with Placido Domingo, which is one of the three historical tenors.
Piero: Domingo, Carreras and Pavarotti. We dedicated the song we sang together with Placido Domingo, “Il Canto,” to Pavarotti.
Marcella: It’s an extraordinary thing, and tell me, you said that you met so many famous people and I would like to know if any of these gave you advice, if they made you a “mentor” in addition to your grandfather and your dad.
Piero: The advice, be yourself, because the key to success is only one, talent and humility, because all the great artists are great people.
Marcella: The real ones.
Piero: Real ones, like Barbra Streisand, 70, and every night she entertains 25,000 people in America’s biggest arenas.
Now we have to start the tour with Barbra Streisand, in Europe. Unfortunately, it never happened)
Piero: American Idol, the jurors were: Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson. Steven Tyler is the singer of Aerosmith and in our new album we sang “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” but we did it in a classic Italian “Questo Amore Splendido” (Piero begins to sing the song), just beautiful. (This was one of Piero’s favorite songs.)
Marcella: Nice to even hear it live.
Piero: We did Jay Leno, it’s the third time, Jay Leno is America’s most watched Tonight Show, Jay Leno and Larry King are the most famous, we sang “Beautiful Day” two weeks ago, which is the cover of U2.
Let’s say that of our album, people ask us, but your kind of music, what is it? We did two duets, one with Ramazzotti which is the top of pop and Placido Domingo, which is the top of classical music.
Marcello: So, you are versatile, you have shown your versatility and even those who gave you a kind of emulation of the TRIO of Tenors, like a bad copy of the trio, in the end it was denied.
Piero: This problem was, and there is, only in Italy, but you know, Italy is a very, very difficult country, but …. let’s do everything in time.
But the thing that makes us angry, and I have to say this, we participated in the Nobel Prize, we have represented Italy, the whole world talks about it, who does not talk about it: Italy.
Marcella: It seems we are a little xerophilous.
Piero: But we love our country, so we love it as it is.
Marcella: With the merits and the defects.
You said you spent most of your teenage years on the plane, but how did you stay in touch with your friends and study?
Piero: I always say that what we do is what we like to do, so if you love what you do, everything becomes easy.
Marcella: But how did you study?
Piero: I study again, because I lost a year with my work. But this year I graduate, study in hotels, on airplanes.
I took the license. I did the theory in August and the guide in November.
Marcella: Even if in America? It’s not like you travel by car there.
Piero: Yes, I do. I drive my producer’s car. Sometimes I hire a Ferrari, or a Porsche, I like driving.
Marcella: And can you orient yourself? You are now a citizen of the world.
Piero: But the beautiful thing … “beautiful”, so to speak, because sometimes you lack freedom, especially in South America, we walk with the escort, in South America we have five bodyguards at the baggage claim because at the exit of the airport there are a thousand girls.
Marcella: They recognize you on the street, it is shocking!
Piero: We travel with cars darkened and armored because unfortunately South America is a dangerous country, but we love it and they love us, the girls chase us with taxis…. and shout, it’s nice!
Marcella: Are you afraid of this thing?
Piero: No, no fear, it fills you with pride and satisfaction because you understand that what you are transmitting reaches people.
Marcella: But this life is so stressful, how do you recharge? What is your secret to recharging?
Piero: It’s my family. Many people tell me “You have traveled the world,” and it is true, I miss only Japan and Russia, because they are two very strong markets, and we love them….
Everyone asks me “What is your favorite city? Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, Paris?” My favorite city is Naro, Naro is my world.
Marcella: What’s your relationship with Naro?? After singing in faraway places, with immense crowds, when you arrive at Naro, do you have to re-program again?
Piero: No, Naro is my homeland, so every time it’s always a party.
Marcella: What is your relationship with Naro’s inhabitants?
Piero: Fantastic, I love them!
Marcella: Welcome you?
Piero: Yes, I go to buy fruit, I go to the hairdresser … it’s very nice!
Marcella: Perhaps paradoxically your country is the only place where you can roam freely.
Piero: With my little car, now I go around with my friends, I greet everyone, I am a very open type.
Marcella: It is a practice of our program, to ask what advice you would give to a person who has become a public figure, like you, to the Agrigentini boys who want to approach the art of singing, in this case.
Piero: My advice is always to follow your dream, never give up, there will be people who will say, “But come on, change jobs, change profession.” Never believe in them, believe in yourself, but when you arrive, stay where you are. Returning to the previous speech, I learned this from Barbra Streisand, and from all the great artists.
For example, we were on tour with Barbra Streisand, we were in the dressing room, and we hear a knock, I go to open and there is Sting, or Michael Bublé, David Beckham, Tom Hanks, all these great artists who knock on our dressing room, to have a photo, to greet us.
Marcella: This proves the fact that these great artists that have such long careers, it means that they remained what they were, it means that goodness of mind pays, beyond talent.
Piero: And then the humility even if it is really difficult to say what you are, if you do not have great people behind, like a big family, I am doubly lucky because I am a person that could follow his dream and get there. Yet we have not arrived, but we are working, we study a lot, and my second fortune is my family – a moral support, a daily support, my father travels with me only when there are concerts, because the tour is very stressful. But for promotions, I travel alone, and you know, in the morning, when I call home, they give me the charge to start the day.
Marcella: As a good Sicilian you have left the roots here, however you continually feed from your family.
Piero: When someone tell me “You know, when you speak, we hear the Sicilian accent, the Italian accent….” Let it be heard!
Marcella: On the other hand, your pride, it is this and, I can say, you are also our pride and I believe I also interpret the thought of all the inhabitants of Agrigento who followed you.
Last question, what do you dream of doing “when you grow up?”
Piero: I’m studying lyric now, because that’s my dream, that world, it’s my dream, the lyric is another dimension, but you have to study … too much … and now I’m studying, thanks to my possibilities, I am studying in Bologna, with my teacher Sergio Bertocchi, a great teacher, and he is a great person. I’m studying an opera setting, however, always with Il Volo, Il Volo is always …. the group Il Volo …. IS IL VOLO. And so, my dream is that one day maybe, to do the Premiere to La Scala or in some theater.
Marcella: And we really wish you to stand out even more in this flight.
Piero: Before closing I have a gift, I brought you the new album of Il Volo, “We Are Love,” this is the deluxe version, with over eight unpublished songs, including two duets, and four covers, there are five Christmas songs.
Marcella: This is the advantage of interviewing these characters, but I accept it only if you sign it.
I wish you all the best.
Piero: It was really a huge pleasure.
Marcella: For me too.
Piero: When my father told me that they had called for this interview, I immediately said yes, let’s do it.
Marcella: I confirm it, because you have remained what you are.
Piero, thank you very much, Ad Maiora. (Towards greater things!)
What a totally amazing interview with a 19-year-old Piero!
I have to say for me, this was a strange story because I started at the end and went back to the beginning. But it was necessary to do that with this story because I needed you to see how far Piero has come. The absolutely powerful voice was always there, always, but the voice that Piero wants, the one that will bring him the greatest joy in life has just begun to appear. I know Piero always sang opera. That’s what a spinto tenor does but to be THE TENOR, to stand on the stage at La Scala that tenor has to present himself over the years. It’s a lot of hard work but Piero made it. He got there! And so, it seems, the final story has begun! All that’s left are the finishing touches!
One final note. The World Tour has begun! So happy you guys are back on stage. It was lonely without you!
Today, we need to understand what it was like for the guys to come together, become Il Volo and start to understand the reality of stardom! But before we begin, let’s take a look at how the guys came to be called Il Volo.
In the beginning the idea of being one in three was something that the guys needed to learn about. They had to learn how to sing together. It was no longer this is your song, learn it and sing it. No, now it was, this is your part, your take, your phrase, learn it and sing it. They began to understand how music and recording actually worked. They were starting to learn about being three in the form of one. Sharing! And, if that wasn’t enough, they had to learn something even harder, how to get along with one another.
I’ve told you, in some of my stories, about the problems, the disagreements. These may seem unusual but in reality, they were not. You show me three teenage boys who can be thrown together and just immediately like one another and totally agree with one another. No, that won’t happen.
Ignazio said: “We were only three kids accompanied by our parents. We still did not know each other well. At the beginning I immediately started to connect with Piero. Perhaps because he is Sicilian like me and maybe because we always found the opportunity to make jokes and have fun.”
Gianluca said; “I was very shy and a little insecure but also a little immature and too instinctive
In quarrels, for example, maybe it happened that I also answered in an annoying way because I was the one, I felt at that time, and I could not wait until then. Piero, for example, took some good kicks from me. I threw a pizza, at Ignazio, in front of the Universal Canadian official in a restaurant in Montreal. The shrimp flew off the pizza and hit the official of Universal, I mean really.”
These were some of the obstacles. Some would easily be resolved and, some would take a long time and a lot of trust to overcome.
In 2009 – 2010 during the recording of their first album, the guys still did not have a “real” name. After Ti Lascio una Canzone, they were given the name Tre Tenorini, because they resembled Luciano Pavarotti (Ignazio, for the waistline). Jose Carreras (Gianluca, for the elegance, says Torpedine) and Plácido Domingo (Piero, for the tenor voice).
Tre Tenorini, no, that was never going to work. First off, they aren’t three tenors. As you know they are a baritone, a lyrical tenor and a spinto tenor. So, a new name would have to be found. Easy, no not at all. Let’s listen to what guys had to say about choosing a name.
Piero begins: “Sometimes finding a name is much more complicated than it may seem. We did not even believe that we would continue to sing, imagine if we thought we needed a name. Do you know that at one point they wanted to call us La Scala?”
Ignazio continues: “At that time when we were looking for a name and we couldn’t find one, we were recording We Are the World 25 for Haiti. It was the beginning of February 2010, and we called ourselves The Tryo, which we then used as guests at the second evening of the Sanremo Festival. A week later, we sang in front of Queen Rania of Jordan, and that is when we translated it to, Il Trio.
Gianluca said: “The problem of the name? It was one of those impossible marketing missions: it had to be short and easy to pronounce in practically all the world. For example, there is a group called Il Divo, and they also sing a genre similar to ours, and Il Divo was just the kind of name we wanted: short, easy to pronounce and also very international, because it has a clear meaning to everyone.
And that’s why the name La Scala came out. Elettra Morini, the wife of Tony Renis, had proposed it. Elettra, who was a dancer there, told her husband: ‘Why do you not call them La Scala? Surely everyone in the world knows La Scala.’
Ignazio interrupts: “And then, there was the question that they called us the Lyric, La Scala, La Scala. We chewed on it a little but, it did not convince us.”
Piero tells us that everyone was involved in this project….
“But who was looking for the name? All of us: the three of us, Michele, our parents, whoever belonged to our family or, our working group said a name, two or three, and it was written on a list. That list had become worse than a telephone list: we got to more than five hundred proposals.
This thing of the name was becoming a joke. We were going to record the album, make a meeting, or engage in anything else and, we ended up talking about this name, but we never got the right idea. In the end, one day out of the blue, a gentleman working from Michele, Stefano, says: ‘Il Volo.’”
Ignazio says, “IL VOLO? What about IL VOLO? IL VOLO? It began to turn in the air (ha ha) and so the birth of Il Volo.”
And just when it seemed the decision was made to choose Il Volo, another problem arose.
“But then we discovered that there had already been a group by this name in 1974, composed of Mario Lavezzi, Vince Tempera, Alberto Radius, Bob Callero, Gabriele Lorenzi and Gianni Dall’Aglio. It was a collaboration that lasted a year and a half and had gathered all of the best musicians. But now we liked the name, so we decided to keep it. Also, because it immediately seemed to us a good omen to fly, to take flight, get up in the air.
But we risked a little.
Think if this project did not start, if we were not really able to ‘take off,’ do you imagine how they would have made fun of us? ‘The Flight takes off? No, Il Volo has crashed!’ At that point, we had the CD, the name also and we left for the States.”
After a week in the States visiting Miami and Los Angeles, they returned to Italy. By May 2010, things began to change.
Piero recalls: “We too began to understand that something was only changing when our first record came out.”
Ignazio remembers: “It was already in May 2010 and the Il Volo album was about to come out all over the world. Maybe I was too small and naive, but I did not feel the anxiety of the job, like today.”
The first major television show in which the guys appeared in America was American Idol, the world’s most famous music talent show.
The guys certainly took America by storm and slowly also many other countries in the world.
Ignazio begins to explain the reality of it…
“In a few months I found myself having traveled the world, from Europe to the Americas, from Asia to Oceania. From 2010 to 2013 we traveled like crazy, without ever stopping. In three years, I have not been home for five months.
In 2013 at the end of the American tour the guys found themselves at the door of Latin America and their South American Tour.
First stop Guadalajara, Mexico. And what better way to begin than on October 4, 2013, Ignazio’s 19th birthday!
Here Come the Fans
Gianluca recalls how the South American Tour began…
“In five years, we have done a lot of concerts, we have been in a lot of places and, I absolutely agree with Piero when he says that it is difficult to remember everything, that things have followed so quickly that they seem confused, sometimes I almost forget. However, if I stop and think about it there are flashes that come to mind, for example the 2013 tour in South America.
One of the first things I remember is Ignazio’s birthday in Messio, on the evening of the first concert of the tour.
We arrived at the hotel that was a bit in the middle of nowhere, in Guadalajara. Here we met for the first time our drummer, Salvatore Corazza. There was a huge garden and we started playing soccer.
The most special thing about Ignazio’s birthday was that we celebrated with fans. And speaking of fans, there I lost my password for Instagram and, I started to go crazy because it is very important to keep in touch with the Volovers.
“At the beginning, in South America, we realized we were really famous only when we arrived and, the fans were in front of the hotel waiting for us. But it happened slowly, slowly. Slowly, relatively slowly, month after month. Because two months before we were in Argentina and there were twenty fans, the next one there were a hundred, the one after there were three hundred, and then a thousand, two thousand. Now the situation is unbelievable if you have not experienced it, you will not believe it because we are with bodyguards twenty-four hours a day. It’s another world.
I remember in Peru, in Lima, we land, we get off the plane and there were already bodyguards at the baggage claim. Usually, they are waiting for us after the baggage claim, two of them come to the entrance and two of them come to the exit to escort us.
Here seven, eight bodyguards arrive directly at the baggage claim. I did not understand. Why, for us? I thought of the fans, but it was the first time we went to Peru, it was really impossible that it was. Now imagine a glazed sliding door, at the airport and you cannot see the other side. Imagine that you have just picked up your baggage, you approach the door, the bodyguard puts you next to the door and the door opens and … you find yourself in front of a wall, a wall of girls, all one above the other screaming, a single scream, something that stuns.
We were in our cars and, they followed us with taxis. The taxi drivers overcame us like crazy, with the girls hanging out of the windows that sounded trumpets, waving flags. We spent three months of our year this way.”
“And, instead, do you remember Cuernavaca? It was 2013, I remember that we went in the room of Jerry di Pirro, who was our tour manager, to listen to Sade’s music. I remember the white curtains and a terrible heat, in the evening, the pool …”
“… the insects! In that hotel I remember that I entered the room, we were in the middle of the forest and the white ceiling was completely covered with insects. My father and I spent half the evening crushing mosquitoes and other little animals with slippers.
Then I remember my father talking to the Mexicans while he cooked me pasta. Because before singing, three hours before, I always eat a hundred grams of tomato and basil spaghetti. I love that moment.
He comes in the dressing room, brings me the spaghetti made by him (we bring the packages from home). And that year he started explaining to the Mexicans how spaghetti tomato and basil was cooked.
It was a tour de force, from one day to the other air travel throughout South America, but dad was always with me. One morning I woke up in Guatemala, I look at my dad and say: ‘Dad, what should we do today?’
‘We have to leave for another city.’
‘When is the concert? Tomorrow?’
‘No, tonight! And go! Let’s start.’
That is the real passion: come without force but go forward. Only passion kept me standing.”
“Now I do not know, maybe we would not do it this way anymore.”
“However, Gianlu’ this year in July we have gone thirty hours on flights for appearances on TV in the United States. I went back to Detroit with that heat and the album to finish and the tour to do.”
Ignazio recalls opening his mouth and, nothing comes out…
“I tried to sing and, my voice does not come out, there is nothing to do, it does not come out.
I only know that when I finished that tour in South America I was nicknamed ‘Ignazio the tank’ by myself: I had done twenty concerts with bronchitis.
The worst was in Caracas, Venezuela, six thousand five hundred people, at seven in the evening: soundcheck.
Let’s start with the first song. I try to sing and, my voice does not come out, there is nothing to do, it does not come out. And here comes the most total panic, we stopped the soundcheck, the production calls a doctor and, I was punctured with Bentelan.
In short, for a month and half I sang only thanks to the cortisone and breathing technique that our teacher Sergio Bertocchi taught us.”
“Our because he is also my teacher.
But maybe only say master. Sergio Bertocchi is the person who helped me most in singing, the one that solves my doubts and my problems. If I enter a lesson with a doubt, I go out and I am another Piero, happy and relaxed.
And he never leaves me alone: even outside of Italy, we do lessons on Skype, we solve doubts and problems on the phone.
When I thought that in the Grande Amore tour, I would have liked to sing an air of an opera, Bertocchi told me: ‘You can do it very well, but you have to study a lot.’ And so, I did. For me, the study is fundamental, commitment and study.
Between May and June 2015, every time we were in Bologna to record ‘L’amore Si Mouve,’ I went to my teacher from 8 to 10 am (then at 10:30 am I went into the recording studio) and studied with him ‘E Lucevan le Stelle,’ the aria of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca that I sang during the tour.
It was tiring, but there’s nothing like seriously engaging in something to feel at peace with oneself. Or at least for me.
And you do not know how important it is to have an experienced a person like Sergio Bertocchi to guide you.”
“I know for sure, that without his breathing exercises I do not know how I would have sung. Without a voice I was completely out of it.”
Piero jokes with Ignazio….
“Eh, Igna’, but the voice, you had in that interview!
It was March 2013 we were in Argentina at the famous Los 5 edicion broadcast of QMusica TV. In practice the program works like this. The guest says something about himself and, between a piece and the other part of his story, presents a video of a song he likes, for a total of five videos.
What was the problem? In the meantime, we spoke Spanish and sometimes we were wrong, so we stopped the recording and got it back. So, Ignazio was already a bit tired out, let’s say.
But the worst thing is that in Argentina they do not have the Volo V, they have the B, they say ‘Il Bolo.’
And one, and two, and three, always ‘Il Bolo.’ At that point, Ignazio begins to correct the guy who was in the studio and repeating to us the things to say, and once, and twice, and three: ‘Il Volo, it is said Il Volo, V!’
Until the guy in the studio runs off of new ‘Il Bolo’ and Ignazio starts with a string of bad words in precise Sicilian that are still today immortalized in the off-wave.”
“Eh, however, guys, we are serious people, now. And, I have made a commitment to write.
Where were we? Oh yes. The end of the Latin American tour.
Christmas 2013 was approaching and, the record company wanted to come out with a record of Christmas songs. So Universal decided to complete the EP that came out two years ago with just five Christmas songs.
So, after the Latin American tour we started promoting the Christmas album.
My house began to fail me. Being four months away, changing cities, hotels and planes almost every day is not easy. From the age of sixteen, finding yourself catapulted into a world that was completely different from the one I was used to, was not a simple thing to manage. At first no, actually the first two years I thought ‘What a beautiful life!’ Then I realized that all that glitters is not gold.
To get satisfaction and achieve the goals you have set for yourself, you have to give up many things and, work hard. Stay focused on your work. It’s not easy.
Many people ask: ‘But these guys never get tired?’ Well, yes, we get tired too, sometimes. Personally, there was a time when I thought only of friends. I wanted to go out, I never answered the phone, the emails, the messages, I was out of this world.
It was thanks to my family, to the boys and to Michele that I realized that I was neglecting what was always important for me: the music.”
Gianluca agreeing with Ignazio continues….
“True, Ignazio is right. It was not easy then and, neither is it now.
In those years, in 2012 and 2013, no one knew us in Italy, we were just the three children who had come from Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
But in America, in South America, in Europe we were very well known. And not only there! After the release of our first CD, we went on tour even in places that none of us could have imagined we would go to: Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and New Zealand. In Singapore we also had a gold record with that first CD.
In 2012 we arrived in Norway, one of the few European countries that we had not yet touched. We participated in the concert dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize – that year went to the European Union – in Oslo. A fantastic evening that allowed us to meet Gerard Butler and Sarah Jessica Parker, who were the presenters, and an artist like Kylie Minogue.
And then, in 2014 we were in Moscow twice, once guests in a concert by Toto Cugno and once with a concert of our own, and at the beginning of 2015 we were in Beijing, guests of a TV program for the Chinese New Year.
So, before Sanremo, we lived two lives, two completely different lives. Abroad we were stars and, we came to Italy to rest. I took refuge in Montepagano, Piero in Naro, Ignazio in Marsala. It was nice to come back to a ‘normal’ life.
We felt that something was missing, that it was bad to be so successful outside of our country and not be able to have it in Italy.”
So, they learned very early on to understand what it meant to live two lives. And to experience The Reality of Stardom.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!