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Time Out: Gianluca, Tour Guide and Ambassador By Giovanna

Roseto TV interviewed Gianluca on June 2 outdoors at Cabana Park, with the beautiful Adriatic Sea in the background.  The segment, entitled “Gianluca Ginoble:  Il Lockdown, Le Passioni, L’Abruzzo, La Musica, Il Volo,” reached YouTube and Il Volo Italian’s Instagram page a week ago.  Gianluca was quite comfortable with the interviewer, Luca, an Abruzzo native he knows well, and was willing to open up about his non-professional life. 

If you listen to the link, you’ll notice that late in the interview, the two are sometimes talking right over each other.  As I listened, I realized that Luca wasn’t always asking questions.  He was pontificating, with pauses for answers, and as soon as Gianluca started speaking in the pauses, Luca would cheer him on, finishing Gianluca’s sentences, talking at the same time.  If you’re Italian or have been around Italians, you know that’s normal.  

I’m not sure exactly where in this post Jana or Pat will place the photos.  So, I will not refer to any photo being “above” or “below” my text.  You’ll just have to find it.  It’s more fun that way. 

Daniela, from the Flight Crew, agreed that Gianluca seems to be the most active in the media of the three Il Volo guys. 

Ignazio for a long time preferred not to post a lot of images, but rather, occasionally used Instagram as a form of musical air time.  You may have noticed he has recently been posting tantalizing clips and snippets of his vocals, accompanying himself on piano or guitar, or singing with other performers, or promoting his compadre Siciliano, Nico, whose work he produces.  Igna is an industrious, creative, high energy sort.

Piero protects his privacy and home life more than Gianluca does, but still frequently posts shots and videos of his workouts at home, in the gym, or outdoors in the sand.  I’ve even shown some of his past pictures to the trainers in my gym, who liked his workouts and sometimes even copied them.

L’Intervista (On to the Interview)

Luca explains it’s June 3, 2020 and he’s with Gianluca Ginoble, a Rosetano from their beloved Montepagano, an internationally known artist with Il Volo.  He welcomes Gian and asks him:  How have you spent the quarantine period for the COVID19 Coronavirus emergency?

Gian: Despite all the negativity of the situation, I have tried to find positive things.  For example, I have re-discovered passions that I haven’t exactly abandoned, but, well . . .   For one thing, I have started playing the piano. I became passionate about books and literature, about being with my family, things that you well know get set aside when we are away eight months per year on tour.   You could say that this quarantine hasn’t really been completely negative, because I have been close to my family and have rediscovered passions that I didn’t even know I had.

Luca: That’s an interesting reflection because I think that the issue of rediscovering one’s roots and one’s family, and having personal time, is an important message.  

He then asked Gianluca how he passes his days, in the so-called Phase 2, where there’s some freedom to go out (still respecting social distance) with masks no longer constantly required.  He asks what Gianluca’s up to, now that he’s is free to take get out and do some things.

Gian: Because of the COVID we’ve had to cancel our series of concerts through October.  So, for this time I’ll still be at home.  We of course have some filmed interviews and televised get-togethers, as we’ve done during the quarantine.  But I’ve been relaxing. I’ve started playing tennis.  I’m enjoying the seashore at Roseto d’Abruzzi.  I don’t go to other places, even if you can go outside the region from today on.  So, I’m staying here.  Yesterday we were at Rocca Calascio.  Every week my family has a regular date to go hiking in the mountains.

Luca: That’s also a wonderful lead in, because I remember that for several years you’ve been an official ambassador both of Abruzzo, and of Roseto d’Abruzzo, your great love.  Yesterday, I saw the photos of you at Rocca Calascio, where they filmed “Ladyhawke,”so this in itself is a great way to inspire future tourism. 

Back to the Intervista

Gian: Look, Luca, with you, apart from the relationship of respect and friendship we have, going beyond this interview, I’ll tell you as a friend.  You have to have the ability, how can I say it, to set and achieve goals, even when you’re as young as I am.  But at the same time, I’m trying to maintain my roots, and my connection to that normal guy I used to be, who wanted to live a normal life.  It’s like I’m a on a train track and every now and then I can jump from one rail to the other.  It’s really great to be able to live life like this.  I can always return here, stay home, and enjoy my family and my hometown.

Luca: Those who know you also know that one of your trademarks, one of the things that makes you very much loved, is that you have remained humble. The world of concerts, as you already said, is on hold.  How much do you miss that world, given that on an international level, for 10 years Il Volo made world tours, virtually continually for the entire 10 years since you started?  How much do you miss that life, since it has been such a fundamental part of you?

 

Gian:  I miss all the people, our fans.   I miss tour life.  And above all, I miss singing. When I’m on a bicycle I’m singing. When I’m in the shower, I’m singing.  When I’m in bed, I’m singing.  When I work out, I’m singing.  When I’m on the beach I’m singing.  Because that’s my life.  It’s my relief valve.  It’s the way . . . it’s something, that truly makes me feel good.  Fortunately, this passion is one of those things that you can do anywhere, even while you’re eating! 

Luca: During this break, as we noted, you’re thinking about your roots, and things you put aside.  What makes you keep giving your best? Despite the fact that you’re only 25 years old for one thing, and have already won San Remo on the first attempt; you’ve won the Latin awards.  You’re Il Volo everywhere.  In Tokyo you’re Il Volo; in NY you’re Il Volo; In Texas you’re Il Volo.  What do you do to always have that grit that for 10 years has kept you at the world-class level?  I can imagine that even with this planetwide success, when you sit down, or try to sit down, what is it that keeps you from really sitting down?  [That’s an Italian expression for laying back, taking it easy or giving up].

Gian:  Truly, you need to have the awareness, the slight fear, that it could all end.  You really don’t recognize the value of certain things unless there’s some risk you could lose them – not just in the work environment, but in relationships with people.  Truly, life has granted me so many things, the emotions and the experiences, at such an early age.  When I was still so immature, at 14 years old, I already started to travel, to be familiar with marvelous places and sights, to meet people, to sing in front of the president of the Republic, and in front of the Pope, for example.  Because it all started at such a young age, I didn’t have to make any great sacrifices to achieve success.  Really, the success and the emotional experiences came over me like a tsunami.  Surely, the part [of me] I need to cultivate is to restore that little boy who dreamed of becoming someone but knew it would take perseverance, who knew that at times the effort was going to be more important than talent itself.

Luca: As they say in Russia, talent is like a basket of diamonds in the rough. Without hard work they don’t become diamonds.  You spoke earlier about Pope Francis, about [Sergio] Mattarella President of the Republic, and I could add, Bill Clinton, Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, who helped create the phenomenon of Michael Jackson.  You don’t have to mention Quincy Jones to anyone who loves music. There would be too many anecdotes to recount from what I’ve heard about, but the most relevant since we are in Abruzzo, if you want to tell us about it, is when you had the assignment to traipse Woody Allen all over Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. 

Gian: [Laughing] I would have wanted to speak in different dialects.  Every now and again I get to speak in other languages:  Chinese, American, it’s lots of fun.  But that time though, we chose not to, because we were at dinner with other people.  Next time, though, I’ll do that.  [Note: Can you imagine Gianluca and Woody Allen swapping languages and mimicking accents together?  I’d be in pain from laughing.] 

Luca:  Yes, I saw you with the nice soldiers in the Galleria in Houston [apparently joking in English].

Gian:  I did get to explain to him [Woody Allen] some things about Montepulciano.  I asked him ‘Do you like wine?  In my native region, Abruzzo, we have the best wine in the whole world, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.”  He told me “Montepulciano, I love it, I know it.”  [Note: I know every Italian thinks the best wine in the world comes from his own specific region of Italy, but Gianluca was telling the truth about Abbruzzo’s fine specialty red – the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  It competes with the Barolo from the Piedemonte and the Brunello di Montalcino as one of the top reds in all of Italy and the world.]

Luca: That was more valuable than a thousand ad campaigns.  Like when Lebron James shared some of his favorite wines several months ago on Instagram and generated a hundred thousand “likes” for a local winemaker in Abruzzo.  How lucky that winemaker was.  [Note: Basketball star LeBron James is a wine afficionado and fills his Instagram page with pictures of bottles from his cellar.]

Luca: You’ve talked much about how important your hometown is to you, but I know you also like the ancient village of Montepagano.  I’ve seen you walking around now and then taking photos.  I know you live in a marvelous place where you can even enjoy the view of the sea from above.  I know you’ve never wanted to lose connection with your roots, and this, I imagine, gives you strength.  But if you had to describe this to someone who doesn’t know you, what would you want to say?

Gian:  Every young person, every child, needs to grow up with the knowledge that their roots are the most important thing:  like their family, their dialect.  We need to raise children this way, and young people my age, especially those who already have children, need to teach real values, including their own dialect. I’m ashamed that I even see people who are actually embarrassed to speak their own dialect, as if it were a bad thing, instead of a fine thing.  Even if you only speak it to make jokes or when you get angry.  Without it [understanding your own dialect], you make no sense.  So, I am really proud to be Paganese, Rosetano, and Abruzzesse. “Abruzzo Forte e Gentile” [“Abruzzo strong and kind” is the local byword].  Every time I go to Belvedere [another historic spot inland from Pescara, Abruzzo], it’s emotional for me.  When I’m on tour, I show pictures of Montepagano and Roseto to everyone.  Because, look, [he turns around to show the seashore behind him] this is maybe one of the most beautiful places on the entire Adriatic coast.  You have to be really proud. 

Luca joked a little bit about local dialect and that when you teach the hidden meaning of some expressions, to a Milanese or to an American, how wonderful it is when you see them explode into a smile.  He also added that there are some things, expressed between locals with one word of dialect, that would otherwise take an Italian five minutes to hatch (explain).

Luca; What projects do you have?  We know your passion for tennis, know you are practicing the piano, and like to draw.  Talk to me though about your desire to act.  [Gianluca responds about music right here, and about acting further on].

Gian: My musical tastes vary.  I rarely listen to opera, because I like great musicians, guitarists like John Mayer, and great singers.  I’m glad you asked, because I want people to know that I like the full 360-degree range of musical styles.  And you know that I have a passion for all genres of music, including the type our group sings in concert, but in the future, who knows.  Il Volo is the main priority, but I adore artists like Michael Bublé, Frank Sinatra.  I even like Led Zeppelin, a fact that unfortunately was mis-represented by journalists who sometimes write anything to get “clicks” and “likes” in the media.  I like them all: Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, I like this music.  Another thing that really moves me is the music of Georgio Gaber, of Fabrizio De André.  Dad passed on to me a passion for these singers. 

Luca:  Your father has very refined taste even in songwriters.  This is a Gianluca that has never come out, so it’s right to emphasize this, and I’m happy you brought it up with us, because you’ve often been misunderstood before.  So, you love music in the fullest sense. 

Gian:  On Facebook I published a list of the songs I like best with text, like the French song interpreted by Franco Battiato, a song about old lovers that melts you, it’s so heartbreaking in parts.   So, there are so many projects.  I’d would like very much to act, I’d like very much to be an actor, maybe to go to Rome to study; I don’t know.  There are so many projects, and for this year that we are inactive, I’m focusing mostly on improving myself.

Luca:  Days off are constructive time.

Gian: Then, with Il Volo there are so many projects.  We have a very beautiful musical project we’re working on, but for now I can’t tell you too much about it.  In the future, we’ll see.

Luca:  Of course.  But I’m happy to assure the many fans of Il Volo that, as soon as the situation allows it, you’ll return stronger than ever.   So, you’re working on this project; and it’s something important.  It’s also important that you miss your fans and, as you’ve said, you’ll be back with them as soon as you can.

Luca:  One last thing.  What is your idea of happiness?  What is happiness for this 25-year old who has remained humble?  Define happiness for Gianluca Ginoble. 

Gian:  That question was certainly profound enough.

Luca:  The tough one came last.

Gian:  Happiness for me is to live my passions, “mano a mano” all my life.  To have a wonderful family, to have friends you can talk to about things, to let your problems out.  Even when there are problems, knowing that there’s someone you can vent your problems to, who listens and understands.  For me that’s happiness, knowing that I don’t feel alone.  It’s also the feeling [I get] when I’m on the stage and sing for thousands of people.  For me that’s also happiness.

Luca:  So, with this beautiful reflection on happiness, which I really appreciate, I thank you Gianluca Ginoble of Il Volo.  Thanks, Gianluca, and obviously, I wish you a great and successful life with the many things we talked about, and with your many projects. 

Gian:  For doing this interview, Luca, you’re number one.  I said it to you and I’m saying it even looking into the camera.

Luca:  Thank you.  You’re too good.  Thank you also for your friendship.

Grazie – Giovanna (Jo Ann)