This is one of my favorite interviews! Ermelinda shared such beautiful memories of Ignazio with me! She truly loves him and was and still is one of his biggest fans. It gives me great joy to share this amazing interview with you!
Competition before Ti Lascio una Canzone
A couple of years ago, someone shared one of my stories on Facebook and Ermelinda De Bartoli commented on it. She said: “Susan, Ignazio was my student until the second year of high school when after being launched with the others in the Italian broadcast they were discovered. After then he really took off … I really saw him take off.”
When I read this I said, wouldn’t it be great to have Ermelinda tell us who The Real Ignazio is and what he was like as a teenager! Ermelinda graciously accepted my invitation to be interviewed. The interview was in Italian. Below is my English translation.
Susan: How many years were you Ignazio’s teacher?
Ermelinda: I had Ignazio in class the first two years of social economic high school.
Susan: How would you describe Ignazio as a student?
Ermelinda: He was a quiet student who attended with good interest.
Susan: Ignazio’s mother said Ignazio was always very serious and responsible! How would you describe him as a teenager?
Ermelinda: I met him when he was only 14 years old. He was at the beginning of adolescence, and he was always joking. He was very attached to his family. He grew up in Bologna because the family moved there for work and at the age of 10 he moved to Marsala when the family decided to return. In Marsala he attended middle school and two years of high school. At school he was playful and sociable, with a very open and modest character. He often told us about his passion for singing which he studied with a teacher. His life as a teenager was not hard, because, as soon as he started his career at the age of 15, his life changed due to the numerous commitments linked to his success and the new path taken with Il Volo.
Susan: Would you say Ignazio was shy?
Ermelinda: Ignazio has never been shy! As I said he was always joking. In class, he was a driving force in terms of sociality and aggregation.
Susan: They call Ignazio the funny one in the group. Was Ignazio funny when he was your student?
Ermelinda: In the classroom it was fun because even though sometimes he was not very prepared in some lessons he intervened trying to repeat even what he did not know but he did it with such sympathy that we smiled at each other … and he also made a lot of self-irony about his being chubby, he lived this state of awareness without any concern or sympathy. His beautiful character dominated everything.
Susan: Ignazio is very kind and compassionate. Was this something you noticed about him as a teenager?
Ermelinda: He was very generous and affable to everyone. In particular, he was very compassionate towards some pupils with disabilities, with whom he often conversed, holding them in high regard and showing empathy. I remember an episode one evening after he won Ti Lascio una Canzone, the whole class with me and another colleague went to the pizzeria. Ignazio was just fifteen and, when it was time to pay the bill, he came to me and said: “Professor, you are my guest.” I understood that in him there was so much kindness in his manner and in his soul, in this case, a kind gesture towards a woman.
Susan: Were you amazed when you first heard Ignazio sing?
Ermelinda: During the hours of musical education, we turned on the PC monitor, we put on the Karaoke and, while not being able to hear the music due to lack of speakers, Ignazio would stand there and sing a cappella and his voice was already so powerful that it expanded to the corridors and from there a little bit in front of our door, where pupils gathered from other classes. They were ecstatic! Given the exceptional nature of the moment they had permission from their teachers to leave the classrooms to listen to him sing. The other thing is that while he sang, I felt shivers and so did many of his companions who expressed the same sensation.
Susan: When Ignazio was your student, he was already studying with Lilliana Adreanò. Ignazio said he had a great passion for soccer and, he loved to play every afternoon but, it had been less so after he started taking singing lessons. He said, “I had less free time and then no free time and I realized that singing was more important than all the rest.” How do you think Ignazio saw his future at that time?
Ermelinda: It is true to study singing he began to leave other hobbies. After Ti Lascio una Canzone, despite having being praised by these great Italian singers, who sang with him, I remember that he told all this with great modesty and simplicity and despite the fact that he had won he never spoke of great expectations nor did he delude himself, at least, until the moment in which Michele Torpedine and Tony Renis hired them after a short time, to form Il Volo. I heard the comments on him by experts such as Claudio Cecchetto and Al Bano who, when he told him that he had recently taken singing lessons, was amazed.
Another detail that I noticed is that while he sang he always kept his eyes closed and he told me that he was doing it because having recently lost his grandfather, who he adored, while he sang it was he who Ignazio thought of and he sang with his heart.
Susan: How did you see Ignazio’s future at that time?
Ermelinda: During that winter he went to Rome every week for the broadcast, he was still attending school. The problem arose when they signed the first contract and then he could no longer attend school because the tours around the world began immediately.
Susan: Ignazio went from your classroom to Ti Lascio una Canzone and immediately became a star. You told me after the Italian program, he just took off. You said you saw him take off! What was it like watching all of this happen before your eyes? Did it seem like it was all happening very fast?
Ermelinda: Of course having seen him “take flight” in a short time and, see him pass by the school desks, and then on a stage was for me, as for all his companions, a great emotion and a source of great pride.
Susan: Did you see a change in Ignazio during this time?
Ermelinda: Ignazio was still at school, after his first success, and with all of us, he always remained himself … with a modesty and genuineness that still distinguishes him today.
Susan: During the performances Ignazio sang with some really great singers. Massimo Ranieri, Albano, Fausto Leali to name a few. These singers were in awe of him. Do you think that Ignazio understood what was happening to him?
Ermelinda: Yes, these singers were more than in awe of what they heard, they were astonished, something that Ignazio confirmed when we asked him. And, to think that he was still a kid, and had not yet completed the development of the vocal cords.
Yes, Ignazio from the point of view of his singing ability had already understood in comparison with these famous singers that he had what it takes to become even greater.
Susan: How did your other students feel about what was going on in Ignazio’s life?
Ermelinda: His classmates were very happy and excited. Every Saturday night none of us left the house. We all waited to see Ignazio on TV … and on Monday when he returned to school, for the class, it was a riot and bursting questions, and also a source of pride to kids as they were, to have him as a companion … the little big star, their friend.
Susan: Did the other students treat him any differently when he returned to class?
Ermelinda: Pupils from other classes certainly looked at him with more interest.
Susan: You had to be very proud of Ignazio. Can you tell us how this made you feel to see your student on TV and watch him take his first step towards stardom?
Ermelinda: During his performances of Ti Lascio una Canzone, being still a kid and not going out much alone, even the people of Marsala followed him with pride. People who knew him in school as that, chubby boy, still in the grass, at that moment obviously aroused a lot of interest especially among the boys.
Susan: I would imagine there was great excitement in Marsala during Ti Lascio una Canzone. Ignazio said people started to recognize him. What did Ignazio’s performance on Ti Lascio una Canzone do for the people of Marsala? What did you notice was going on with the people of Marsala?
Ermelinda: Let’s say that the reaction of the people of Marsala began “as soon as he started” in Il Volo and reached its peak when they won the Sanremo festival.
The Two Tenors
Susan: Did you every stop to think about how this all happened? How did a young man from a very simple family suddenly become a superstar?
Ermelinda: It often occurred to me that what was happening to Ignazio was a fairy tale … of those things that you think can only happen in fairy tales. He is a boy with a great talent hitherto unknown, from a very modest family but very united and with healthy values, he was able to tread the scenes of half the world … from his cottage in the countryside to a duet with Barbra Streisand and much more that we know.
The way in which all this happened is told by the facts that there was a first revelation of his talent and Ti Lasco una Canzone, as we know, could remain there as it happens to many without getting anything else; then as he also said he had the luck of an intuition of the director who suggested to the managers Michele Torpedine and Tony Renis to form the trio.
Susan: We are in a pandemic now and while the music world is trying to restart, Ignazio, at age 25 and already a superstar, has made his debut as a music producer. He has his own production company, Floki! Ignazio said, “Production has always been my dream. It started with an idea to give a chance to those who deserve a break.” I know Ignazio has helped many young aspiring artists get a start. How do you see Ignazio in his role as a producer?
Ermelinda: Yes, Ignazio at 25 is already a star, aware that he too has skipped the stages of adolescence a bit, a period in which there are more joys than duties, but he has always said that all this deprivation has always been filled with his love for music and today he also finds himself working as a producer. From what I know about him, in my opinion this new path was born above all from his constant desire to want to help others.
Susan: How did you feel when Il Volo won Sanremo?
Ermelinda: When Il Volo won in Sanremo, that evening, in addition to the great emotion, I retraced the periods of when Ignazio was still young, always talking with humility about his first successes and I also thought that from the beginning I told myself that he was a phenomenon, so seeing him on that stage, the most important in Italy, was for me just as it was for all Marsala people.
Susan: When Ignazio returned to Marsala after winning Sanremo, the whole city came out to greet him. Can you tell us about that?
Ermelinda: When he returned to Marsala after Sanremo, the Municipality organized a ceremony in his honor to award him the title of “Ambassador of Marsala in the World,” which took place first in the hall of the city council whose images were projected simultaneously on a large screen on the square where we were thousands of people. I remember that his speech was directed to all those talented guys who deserve to be helped to be able to take off and that he with some of them was trying to do it. Afterwards he took to the square and I tell you what everyone did with warmth and recognition emanated from that square: I sang “Grande Amore” with everyone in the square … a unique emotion.
Susan: Finally, what would you like to add about Ignazio that we haven’t already covered?
Ermelinda: I think I have said everything about him of what I know and what I have had the opportunity to perceive. When I talk about Ignazio, with others, I always say that he is very humble, modest and always very affectionate with the people who meet him. I still say: “Ignazio, is a beautiful soul.”
Ermelinda I want to thank you on behalf of all the fans for sharing your great memories of Ignazio and I would like to invite you to come back with anything that tells us more about your experiences with our beloved Ignazio!
After this interview I had two additional teachers contact me to say Ignazio was their student! I felt this interview said it all and showed us The Real Ignazio!
One final note, you may have noticed that Ermelinda and I have the same last name. Ermelinda lives in Marsala and I live in New York. About a month before the interview I got a message from Ermelinda asking me about my roots because she and I have the same last name. I told her my grandfather was from Calabria but, I recently got an update on my DNA and found out I have roots in Marsala. Ermelinda wrote back and said we must be related because we are the only De Bartoli’s in Marsala. This is something I plan to investigate more. I would be very happy if this lovely lady and I were related. Who knows, Il Volo may have helped me find some long, lost, relatives. Thank you, guys!
Ermelinda De Bartoli and Susan De Bartoli
Il Volo Takes Flight 2011 Full Concert
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
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A pleasant interview with Gianluca Ginoble, made by the journalist: Luca Maggitti.
The occasion was the ABBA Immobiliare event, for the presentation of their construction project LUXURY ESTATE which will be carried out in Roseto degli Abruzzi.
A nice dinner on a summer evening with a touch of rain. The event was cheered by some guests, including our Gianluca.
The video begins with the performance of a good violinist with CON TE PARTIRÒ (Time to Say Goodbye) performed among the tables of the guests.
I translate for you.
LM = On stage with me, the winner of Sanremo 2015 with Il Volo: Gianluca Ginoble.
GG = Good evening
LM = These drops (drizzle), remind me of a passage from a book that says that Mexican nobles love to sleep outdoors with the drops of water that wet their sheets in the summer.
GG = The perfect soundtrack. The sound of nature.
LM = Singing in the rain.
GG = Singing in the rain. Wet evening, lucky evening (it’s an old Italian saying).
LM = You are truly an international artist, you have been on exceptional stages. A memory … when I saw you taking a selfie with Pope Francis in Panama, remind me how many there were, how many you were.
GG = Maybe it was one of the best experiences ….. but you know that I don’t like to always talk about myself. This is a special evening and first of all I want to greet everyone, even ABBA Immobiliare and all of you, I am really happy and honored to be here, and thanks for the affection you have shown me also in these last weeks where we have had the opportunity to be together.
LM = But they want to hear about you.
GG = Yes, of course, let’s say that during my artistic career, it is now 11 years that I “fly” with my colleagues.
LM = You have been on a world tour for 11 years without stopping, COVID has stopped you, otherwise you would be doing the eleventh year of touring.
GG = Unfortunately, Covid has stopped everyone, there is no alternative and in any case health is the most important thing. Surely one of the most beautiful experiences was to sing for the Pope, one meter from Pope Francis, a Ave Maria Mater Misericordiae written especially for us. There were thousands of young people, it was WYD.
LM =Eight hundred thousand young people?
GG = You added three hundred thousand more …..
LM = But do you realize how many young people ….. and then you go there and say “Francis, let’s take a selfie?”
GG = It was nice, because the Pope is always very helpful, we had the opportunity to meet him also during the private audience, and that day we said “Can we take a selfie like young people do?” And he said “Sure.”
LM = Then I have an Argentine national volleyball guest and I keep you here, as you also speak Spanish and I don’t.
GG = Okay.
LM = You also sang for two Presidents of the Italian Republic, in the Senate there was Napolitano and in Trieste, for the unification of Italy there was Mattarella. Even in those cases, I imagine, a great satisfaction.
GG = Especially in the Senate I was very excited, I was 18/19 and it was something surreal, like the beginning of our career, from school desks, to travels around the world.
It was an honor for us, Napolitano, Grasso (President and Prime Minister), he was very prestigious, one of the things I will never forget.
LM = Another thing I remember, at least it struck me a lot and maybe it is something passed over in silence, when you went to do a sort of “Band Aid”, years later for Haiti, if I’m not mistaken, and you were invited by Quincy Jones himself. Quincy Jones isn’t recognized by many, but he produced Michael Jackson, he produced Thriller.
You were very young, and you had this man who, from the videos, hugged you …..
GG = There are great things very appreciated abroad, of our country, and they are good food and this type of music, which has its own light and illuminates the world for decades, also brought by Pavarotti and Bocelli. Thanks to this, we have attracted the attention of the great boss of international music like Quincy Jones, because we do nothing but bring, with our voices, the name of our music, of our country.
LM = It struck me a lot, even the fact that the former Roseto basketball coach, when he was in Atlanta, called me and said, “Is that boy really from Roseto?”. And then he came to greet you at meet & greet and he wrote me, “This is the music that everyone loves in the world.” and he is a Croatian.
The beautiful thing about Il Volo, I have always said, as a simple journalist, you are Il Volo in Japan, Il Volo in America …… that is … Vasco Rossi (a very famous pop singer in Italy) it is Vasco Rossi in Italy, but in France (France taken as an example of a neighboring country), no offense, he is nobody ….. you are Il Volo in the world, and this is an incredible thing.
When you go to South America they give the news on the national news. For you, who are always kind it seems normal, but sharing this with you, let me say to all: let’s do another round of applause !!
There is also another succulent anecdote, when you went with Bruno Vespa in New York and you met Woody Allen and you explain to him that you live in Montepagano, taking the wine route. Tell us.
GG = I sometimes think about it and it makes me laugh.
LM = Your spontaneity makes you do everything.
GG = Sicily is certainly much better known than Abruzzo, this is the reality. We were having dinner with Woody Allen and he asked us where we come from. The other two replied from Sicily and he said he had seen it several times, then I say from Abruzzo, he did not know where it was, then I add, near Rome, and then I say, “Do you know Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine?” and he said, “Yes, great wine, I like it very much”. You understand, I had to go around through the wine to explain where Abruzzo is, because unfortunately he didn’t know it, but through the wine he understood.
LM = Yes, for many foreign people, Abruzzo is close to Rome, even if in fact it is not that close for us, indeed it is far from Rome, but to explain it is easier this way.
GG = In addition, the places of the Abruzzo mountains are more famous than those of the sea. But we have beautiful beaches here and there are people like you (Abba Immobiliare) who are investing in the territory of Roseto degli Abruzzi, which is a jewel and has nothing to envy from other beaches.
LM= Last thing I want to tell you, something that happened to me and your dad, Ercole. One day I was here at the Liberty having a coffee and I see four women who speak English. They were four of Gianluca admirers from Connecticut, Texas, Florida, and I would say Louisiana or Georgia, who had come here, had hired a driver, an interpreter, and wanted to see the places where Gianluca had grown up. If I hadn’t witnessed this, I wouldn’t have believed it. They asked me, “Do you really know Gianluca?” And I called Ercole and told him that I had seen women who were almost crying for Gianluca.
GG = Do you realize?
LM = The Texan woman, (Deborah, they are talking about you!) showed me the photo of the car with the personalized IL VOLO license plate, because there, paying for it is possible (in Italy it is not possible) and told me, “I am cured of depression, after the death of my husband, listening to the music of Il Volo” and hugged you and never left you. They came from America to see your house, then, luckily you were there, but for them, it was enough to see Gianluca’s house in Montepagano. What do you think of this?
GG = Sometimes I can hardly believe it, how life can radically change, however I was a child who dreamed of singing, but I never imagined that my life could change like this and get to the other side of the world and excite and also to heal people ….. the power of music, and it’s something that still excites me.
LM = In 2009, Massimo Ranieri (famous Italian singer) comes here to sing and the mayor tells me, I bring Gianluca to Ranieri and introduce him to him. You know him, and you tell him, “You will see that I will become a good singer.”
GG = But…… I can’t have said that.
LM = Then you also took the photo with your cell phone.
GG = It was 2007 and then in 2015 we sang together on RAI1 QUANDO L’AMORE DIVENTA POESIA and he showed that old photo on TV.
LM = What effect did it have on you?
GG = This shows that over the years anything can happen, as a child I came to see a singer in concert and a few years later, I sing on TV with him.
GG = Luca, but you know that I don’t like to talk only about me.
LM = But you are the star. In 2007, the first memory I have of you, at the age of 12, you go to sing twp songs for a poetry award at the Pia Marta oratory school and you sing IL MARE CALMO DELLA SERA, a very difficult piece.
GG = I remember, I was a little anomalous, a 12 year old boy singing Bocelli, my friends listened to something else. I also listened to other groups, but also classical music, so the children of my age saw me as a “different” child.
LM = And I remember, that this 12 year old is doing this very difficult song and in the end we all stood up.
GG = Then I still had the young voice, so it was easier to get to the high notes.
LM = It was an exceptional ride and it is still at the beginning because you are very young.
GG = I hope so, I’ve always enjoyed living with music.
LM = Last thing, you were international stars, but you missed Italy, first time in Sanremo and immediately victory, what effect did it have on you?
(Sanremo first night, how much emotion !!!)
GG = In fact we were more known and appreciated in other countries than at home, it was a sort of revenge, to show that we had a great desire to do and to be recognized in our country after years abroad, and for us to win Sanremo it was the most important thing, it gave us the real fame in Italy, that of being recognized on the street. But I must say that I am really happy and I hope to continue flying with my colleagues for many more years.
LM = The hope is also that you will always remain so available, ladies and gentlemen: GIANLUCA GINOBLE.
Gianluca Ginoble with Luca Maggitti.
This photo is published on Luca Maggitti’s Facebook page with this dedication:
If I can express a wish to friends, for 2019, it is to have the humility of Gianluca: an international star who – since I have known him … and I have known him since he was 12 years old and he was nobody – has never been haughty.
On the other hand, I know people who are haughty and don’t even have a shred of talent.
(In the lower right corner of the photo is Gianluca’s first public performance, on May 25, 2007 at the Oratorio Piamarta.)
Did you like this interview?
Really a nice chat between friends who respect each other.
And you, Gianluca, always kind and helpful, we really like this aspect of your character. 😘
Surely in these days, this beautiful photo has not escaped you, but perhaps (Italians aside), not everyone knows who this man is that warmly embraces Michele and Gianluca.
He is a very good singer, indeed a true complete artist.
For those who do not know him, Massimo Ranieri is a fantastic singer with excellent vocal talents, but also a good actor, a historian, in the true sense of the word.
The photo below has been posted by Ranieri himself, with a beautiful dedication. He was in Roseto degli Abruzzi, for a concert, which was very successful. Michele and Gianluca also went to his concert.
Ieri magnifica serata a Roseto degli Abruzzi in compagnia dei miei cari amici Gianluca Ginoble e Michele Torpedine.
Yesterday wonderful evening in Roseto degli Abruzzi, in the company of my dear friends Gianluca Ginoble and Michele Torpedine.
Il Volo, in 2016, had already been a guest of a transmission conducted by Massimo Ranieri, entitled SOGNO O SON DESTO?
During that transmission, Gianluca showed the photo with Ranieri, whom he jealously kept in his cell phone.
Here is the video of the evening, it is not of excellent quality but it is seen and feels quite well.
Massimo, at the end of the song “QUANDO L’AMORE DIVENTA POESIA”, presents IL VOLO with these words, “Here they are, these three fantastic, wonderful boys”.
After the pleasantries, Massimo says he was moved when Gianluca showed him the photo, stored in his cell phone.
There is a lot of respect and affection between Gianluca, Ignazio, Piero and Massimo Ranieri.
Another thing you may not know, is that the beautiful song “VENT’ANNI”, sung in concert in 2016 by Gianluca and Piero, is a song brought to success by a young Massimo Ranieri.
And here is the video of Massimo Ranieri who sings “VENT’ANNI” during Canzonissima (a transmission of songs) of 1970. Massimo was 19, the song was a great success.
And here, the beautiful words of the lyrics of the song.
La mia vita cominciò Come l’erba come il fiore E mia madre mi baciò Come fossi il primo amore
La la la la la La la la la la
Nasce cosi La vita mia Come comincia Una poesia
Io credo che lassù C’era un sorriso anche per me La stessa luce che Si accende quando nasce un re
Una stella una chitarra Primo amore biondo e mio Con l’orgoglio dei vent’anni Piansi, ma vi dissi addio
E me ne andai Verso il destino Con l’entusiasmo Di un bambino
Io credo che lassù C’era un sorriso anche per me La stessa luce che
si accende quando nasce un re.
Io credo che lassù…..
My life began Like grass like a flower And my mother kissed me How I was the first love
La la la la La la la la
Thus was born My life How it begins A poem
I believe that up there There was a smile for me too The same light that It lights up when a king is born
A star a guitar First blonde love and mine With the pride of twenty years I cried, but I said you goodbye
And I left To destiny With enthusiasm Of a child
I believe that up there There was a smile for me too The same light that
It lights up when a king is born
I believe that up there……
Did you enjoy getting to know Massimo Ranieri better?
What do you think of his performance at 19?
Credit to owners of all photos and videos.
Come in and share the love of life, friends and Il Volo!