Let’s mix it up a bit today! I decided to write about two amazing young men who celebrated birthdays this week! Our own Ignazio Boschetto and Nico Arezzo! Two shining stars. Similar personalities and similar genius! In the dictionary, under the word music, you will find pictures of Ignazio and Nico. They are the epitome of music!
It’s been a while since I wrote about Nico. Many of the new fans don’t know who he is and, the old fans ask me about him all the time. They like to know what’s going on in his life and his music. They’ve been following him since day one! For me day one was the Verona Festival Show in 2017! An astonishing young man. For those of you who are meeting Nico for the first time, hold on to your seats because you’re in for an exciting ride. Of course, we can’t talk about Nico without talking about Ignazio! The man behind Nico!
So, let’s start with Ignazio!
For all those new fans, I know you all love Ignazio our amazing tenor but, did you know he is also a producer? At 25 Ignazio started his own production company. Does that surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. It makes a lot of sense to me. At the beginning of 2020 Ignazio started a production company called, Floki Production and the first person he signed was Nico Arezzo!
So much of this I said before but, it needs to be said again. If Ignazio did nothing more than sing 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.
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!
Ignazio’s story is about music but, it is also about family! Ignazio comes from a very close-knit family starting with his dad, Vito, who has recently left us but will always be in our hearts, his mom, Caterina and his sister Nina. Why do we know these people so well? Because we met them when Ignazio first started out and the guys traveled with their parents. So, when we talk about Ignazio or any of the guys we always seem to come back to their families, as well we should, because we know that Ignazio’s good values come from his parents.
This morning when I started writing this story, a story came up on Instagram that I was a bit surprised to see. It was Piero walking around San Luca. I’ve never seen Piero there before. I know Piero lives in Bologna now but, I always consider Bologna as Ignazio’s city! But this is actually a good introduction to Ignazio’s early years.
In an interview, Ignazio said he would go on Sunday morning walks, with the family, in the center of Bologna. Under the portico there was a lady who made fresh pasta and he said his mother would buy Tortellini from her for Sunday dinner.
What are these porticos?
The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy is known for its porticos. Bologna is in the province of Emilia-Romagna. Ignazio was born in Bologna and after living in Marsala through his teenage years and early twenties, he returned to Bologna. In all the cities the shops are covered by porticos so you can shop in any weather. Entire blocks are covered by porticos. The most famous portico being the Portico of San Luca. The Portico was built to protect a painting by St. Luke of the Virgin Mary and Jesus from the rain. Every year the painting is taken from the Basilica of San Luca and brought in procession to the Cathedral of St. Peter’s in Bologna. This procession happens every May. The San Luca portico is the longest covered walkway in the world. It is 2.24 miles.
So, our story for Ignazio begins in Bologna where he grew up, went to school, played lots of soccer and sang in the choir until the time his family decided to move back to Marsala.
At ten years old Ignazio found himself in Marsala. The last place in the world he wanted to be! But like any other ten-year-old, the minute he made friends everything changed.
Ignazio the Singer
While Ignazio’s life in Bologna was all about soccer, his life in Marsala was all about music.
In Marsala Ignazio joined the school choir. Every day he would practice his singing and the people who visited his mother’s pizzeria had the opportunity to hear his beautiful voice! Eventually one of the customers approached his mother and suggested Ignazio take singing lessons. So, Ignazio traded his soccer ball for music lessons and the rest is history!
Ignazio the Songwriter
In my story Land of Sages and Fools ~ Made of Devils and Saints, I focus on a different side of Ignazio.
I wrote: “Sometimes I feel like I spend every day of my life writing about Ignazio! In the last year I wrote over fifty stories about the guys and, it seems as if half of them were about Ignazio’s projects. Because of all his projects, on occasion I’ve had to write two and three stories a week about him, wearing many different hats. Entertainer, Lyricist, Manager, Entrepreneur!”
Last year Ignazio wrote the theme song for a new Rai Series called Màkari! Truthfully, who better to write a song about Sicily and the region of Trapani than a native child! No, Ignazio wasn’t born in Sicily but, for Italians, who your parents are is who you are so, in fact, Ignazio is Sicilian.
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 the Producer
So now we’ve met the singer and the songwriter so next we need to meet the producer. But first we need to meet Nico!
Nico the Energy
Nico’s story begins in Ragusa, Sicily! Nico (Domenico) Arezzo was born in Ragusa, Sicily on October 2, 1998. You might say he was born and raised on a stage, initially “with drumsticks in his hands” … but soon the need to put one note after another brought him to the guitar.
Both of his parents are entertainers. His mother Emanuela Curcio is a dancer and a dance teacher, and his father Peppe Arezzo is a pianist and an Orchestra Conductor. Nico also has a younger sister Emma.
But what is it I see in this family that gives me a good feeling? Values, good values! Like Ignazio’s family! Their good values stand out! It seems they were raised in the same way!
I talk a lot about values because I think it molds beautiful people. To understand where I’m coming from, let’s take a closer look at the Arezzo family.
When you’re a family of entertainers, it seems someone is always traveling so, whenever everyone has the opportunity to be together, it’s a festival. And what do they celebrate? Everything!
Nico explains it in this way.
I’m down! (in Ragusa). It’s Christmas time. We celebrate birthdays when it’s not the right day. We celebrate birthdays when we are together. Tomorrow or maybe the day after tomorrow it’s my turn!
And during his time at home for Christmas 2020, Nico experienced his first earthquake. He said, Yesterday I felt my first earthquake in history. It was weird, powerful! I’m down! It’s Christmas time and everything is shaking! Happy birthday to everyone.
How did Nico get to where he is? Certainly, he got his talent from his mom and dad but how did he get to where he is today?
Nico first came to my attention in 2017 when he won the Festival Show in Verona with the song “Se Vuoi” (If You Want). I happened to be in Italy at the time and I was very taken by his performance. Nico can be very engaging and, you can get lost in Nico’s words and actions. Nico said “Se Vuoi” made him move! I say Nico made “Se Vuoi” move! Nico said he was drawn to this song because, “It’s a song that forces the body to move even without wanting. It’s a fresh song that turns on everything that can be turned on … the same freshness that I want to convey now that the music has taken my whole life.”
The song is exciting and lively, like Nico! I remember that his voice captured me. He has lots of rhythm and expression. He immediately captured the audience. And I know he captured the attention of at least one of the judges that night, Michele Torpedine.
I remember watching Michele during the performance. He was feeling Nico’s every move. I was not surprised when he took Nico on!
So, we have the beginnings for both these guys now let’s put them together to see how they work together.
And so, the collaboration begins!
Let’s listen to what Michele Torpedine had to say about this event, “This is the first moment where we understood.”
What makes Nico so good? He’s very talented and the team is amazing! Nico Arezzo, Ignazio Boschetto and Michele Torpedine! Collaboration complete!
Nico is versatile! How about Nico and Ignazio singing a Pino Daniele medley? Anyone who sings a Pino Daniele song, gets a seat in my corner!
Nico along with Ignazio, Davide Marchi and Francesco Landi, wrote and set to music the song “Volo” which Nico sang at the Sanremo Festival Giovani in 2019. In the song there is the desire of the singer to live 360 degrees, with joys, pains, emotions and also a lot of love. But that’s not all, what struck everyone about his performance was his ability to play the guitar, an element that has conquered the public, the judges and the critics. He can make that guitar Scream!
In January 2020, Ignazio started Floki Production. Nico was the first artist to sign a contract with Ignazio under Floki. This made lots of sense to me.In many ways Nico reminds me of Ignazio. He knows what he wants and, he goes after it.
Perfect Audio! 4 Cameras! A Crazy Band and, it was all LIVE ON INSTAGRAM!
Ignazio the Genius
And, in the mist of the pandemic, Ignazio did a high-quality sound LIVE on Instagram to present the first release by Floki. “Gorilla!” This was never done before but of course the genius of Ignazio brought it all together. It was an amazing event!
While the music world was trying to restart, Ignazio, at age 25, has made his debut as a producer. Ignazio said, “Production has always been my dream. It started with an idea to give a chance to those who deserve a break.” Ignazio reminds us “as it happened 11 years ago to himself, Gianluca and Piero.”
Speaking of Floki, Ignazio says, ′′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 on their path, discarding logic on the side.”
Ignazio signed Nico Arezzo a year ago but, he had his eye on him since 2017 when he appeared on Xfactor and the Festival Show in Verona. Ignazio said: “After the victory at the Festival Show, Michele Torpedine started following him and, slowly, he and I came to the decision to create a label.”
Ignazio spoke of the release of Gorilla and the debut of Floki. “Yeah! This is the moment Nico has been waiting for, for two and a half years. We could have anticipated the times, but I think we did the right thing to wait. Nico needed to grow calmly in writing. And he’s doing it very well. Yesterday was a debut for me too and it’s a great satisfaction to see written on Spotify under the title of the song, Floki Production.” I know I loved seeing Floki Production on Amazon too!
Wonderful achievement, Ignazio!
In “Gorilla”, Nico comes alive! He is the Gorilla in the jungle! He has the feeling and the expression for this song. He’s bouncing all over the stage. He’s definitely got the moves! It’s so catchy! And people love it!
Following the release of Gorilla, Nico did an interview with Nico Donvito, an Italian Music Blogger. In this interview, I saw another side of Nico. We hear this young man talk about his music. His place in the music industry. How he got there and all the people who are responsible for his journey. When I listened to this interview, I shook my head and said, he’s just like Ignazio.
I heard a, very, intelligent and responsible young man who has worked hard to get to where he is. He talks about, who he is, where he came from and how he sees his future.
Right out the gate, Nico impressed me with his insight. Nico saw “Gorilla” as a means of escape from where we are in our world today and an expression of where he finds himself in the world.
Nico said, Gorilla’ has a fresh taste, because in the last few months we have been a bit obliged to heavy thoughts, to stop and reflect on important things, to close ourselves in ourselves. At a certain point the moment comes when you need a beer on the beach with your friends, ‘Gorilla’ is just that, something not at all thick which and, in certain situations, can be essential.”
That’s pretty deep and right on. It was almost as if Nico was saying I wrote this song two years ago, but this was its moment. It’s when it was needed. To say that the ‘Gorilla’ is that moment in time when you need to kick back or as Nico put it when you need a beer on the beach with your friends, yes, that’s exactly what “Gorilla” is. Its’ light and intriguing and it brought us away from all the madness that preceded it. Perhaps, the finger sign that Ignazio made the day that “Gorilla” was released, that seemed to upset so many people, was nothing more than Ignazio saying: Let’s take the weight of the world and toss it aside. You had your way and now, we’re going to have ours!
And where is Nico now? In his own words, “There are days that if I focus, Traffic Lights go green when I want.”
Nico’s new song, “Polline (pollen)” has been released. Nico says, ‘I wrote almost all of my song in this notebook. ‘Polline’ was born a year ago. This summer this notebook fell into the sea, dried in the sun and ‘Polline’ remains legible.”
In a review a writer said: This is a “new piece in the path of the artist produced by Ignazio Boschetto. Nico Arezzo’s ‘Polline’ is the single that marks the return of one of the most talented songwriters of the new generation already the winner of the Festival Show a few years ago.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Nico tell us, “This song has been ready for at least a year, in the meantime I have written many other things, I have explored a new musical genre that you will listen to soon and I am evolving but, this piece, I absolutely did not want to abandon it because I am very attached to it.
‘Polline’ is a song to which I am very attached, especially, literally. It’s a piece that comes almost as a challenge. They said to me, ‘Can you talk about a relationship that’s over but, looking back, you can say ‘but it was beautiful’? And so, even though there may be a small void hidden between the lines of the song, thinking that I haven’t lived through that story would make me sadder.”
And how did Nico preview this new song on Instagram? Honey jars! Nico said, “I’m releasing a new track this month. Every day I will add a jar of honey in my fridge with a letter on it, not in order. I start today! Go into my stories, write in the comments the first word you think of. Try not to guess right away or you will ruin everything for me! Every day a jar a letter! Oddly, though my Italian is very limited, I guessed what it was!
What is the song about? The answer is in one line of the song! “They say you can understand a person from what you find in his fridge.” Let’s go to Nico’s fridge and see what he’s really all about!
Another amazing video! It makes me smile! It makes me laugh! It makes me happy! Nico, everything you do excites me! From day one I knew you would bring a fresh approach to the music industry and, I was right. You have such energy and, all your projects are ambitious like you. Your videos present the real you!
Before I end this story, I want to go back to my story about Ignazio’s song Màkari. Why? Because this song says a lot about Ignazio. It tells us who he is and where his heart is! Everything else falls into place.
In a video, Ignazio talked about the summers he spent in S. 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. Yes, Bologna is his home but, Sicily is the place he comes home to!
Mix Ignazio’s Genius and Nico’s Energy and what do you get? A Complicated but, always Delightful mixture!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Let me tell you about the day I fell in Love. Not with one guy but with three. I turned on my TV and there they were three handsome teenagers stepping on the stage at the Detroit Opera House. I had seen them before on American Idol and Good Morning America but, on this day, I would lose my heart to them.
Every note they sang went straight to my heart! Just amazing! Ever song they sang was wonderful but when they sang El Reloj something happened to me! I knew no other group would ever take their place in my life or my heart. They totally reached me with that song! For me I wanted the CLOCK to stop at that moment in time!
Why this song? They sing so many beautiful songs. What was it that captured me that night? It wasn’t so much about the song as it was about the voices. It was how natural the delivery was. Teenagers with such maturity! Such strength in their voices. Voices that flowed through the air! It was the simplicity of this song and how they delivered it that captured me.
Their voices form a symphony. Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before. Ignazio’s voice makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes that lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero’s voice fills all your sense and brings you to such heights that you have to stop and breathe.
If you want to present a voice, in this case three voices, this is the way you do it. They were together such a short period of time and yet they were perfect! And it went beyond the voices. It was their personalities, their presentation, their interaction with the audience. They were young but they had it all. They won the people with their voices but, they totally captured them with their charm and personality.
A few months ago, I wrote a story “On the Road to PBS” about how the guys got to where they were. So, I’m going to revisit some of that story so you can see how they came to the PBS stage.
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on PBS. From their first concert on October 27, 2011 at the Detroit Opera House, they won the admiration of the American people and stole their hearts. They have done six concerts with PBS over the past 10 years. And now for their 10th Anniversary, PBS will televise the Tribute to Ennio Morricone in America! Great news for America especially since we not only love our guys but also love the music of Morricone. A marriage made in heaven.
When they began, they introduced America to a new style of music. Operatic pop! A very different kind of music for teenagers. Their aim was to show young people how good this music is. They won over the children, parents and grandparents. They were an immediate sensation. America fell in love with them. But where did it all begin for them. Let’s listen to what the guys had to say about how they were discovered.
Piero will take us back to his grandfather, Pietro Ognibene’s, back yard where he is swinging on a swing that hung from a mulberry tree. His grandfather was sitting on the veranda, as he usually did, at this time of day. His grandfather has been blind for many years and so he always had a tape recorder with him which he used to record music and poetry. Piero’s grandfather is also a singer. On this day he was recording a little Sicilian song which Piero said his grandfather wrote. So, let’s listen to what Piero had to say…
“I was swinging on the swing, I was about four or five years old, I was really, very small. I listened to him a little and at a certain point, when he stopped singing, I started: E lu suli, talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta pedra luci ci duna. What can I tell you? It just came out like that.”
His grandfather turned off the recorder and called his wife. Rina came out on the terrace and he asked her, “Unni è Piero?” (Where is Piero?)
She replied, “In Altalena” (He is on the swing)
Pietro asked, “Ma cu cantava? Iddu?” (But who was singing? He?)
She replied, “Eh, si.” (yes)
He told Rina to call him.
So, Piero got up and went to his grandfather. Pietro lifted him up and put him on the table next to the recorder and told him to “sing the song again.” Piero sang the song exactly as his grandfather sang it. And so it begins….
Ignazio’s discovery would come about because of Nina’s pianola.
Ignazio remembers, “When I was three or four years old – I played with the piano my parents had given my sister, Nina. My mother says I was one years old when I played. Nina taught me to play Happy Birthday with one finger.”
Nina’s famous pianola gave Ignazio an passion for music.
Ignazio continues, “I do not remember the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed. If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put in the middle of the class to sing, forget it. I had a passion for music but, I had an even greater passion for pranks. I tell you, since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation.”
But as Ignazio explains, this agitation passed and the most important event in his life began to take shape…
“With the passage of time, I found something good to do at school, that is, an activity that was able to hold my interest enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I joined the school choir. I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to make better use of Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flip through them. And that’s when I discovered La Donna È Mobile. I liked it so much that I sang with the base and invented words. I don’t remember the words but, it certainly was a song about Pavarotti. Having seen Pavarotti on TV, I knew he always had a big handkerchief so I would invent text and sing on the air La Donna È Mobile.”
It seems at three years old Ignazio was already composing wonderful music!
Gianluca tells us that his life was different from Ignazio but, in many ways like Piero’s.
“My life as a child seems so far away. I remember very little of my childhood! I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally. Dad and mom realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years.
My parents tell me when I was three years old, I sang ’O Sole Mio in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who, sitting around the bar table, were listening to this little boy with such a particular voice.”
Each boy has now been set on the road to PBS so where did they go from here?
Over the years, each boy approached his musical education in a different way.
After his discovery in the garden, Piero embarked on a classical music education. He began piano lessons at the age of 8. At 10 years old he joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. And then he began the competitions around Sicily.
In Marsala, Ignazio sang with his first singing teacher Lilliana Andreanò. He continued his singing lessons moving on to other teachers as he progressed. He took three years of piano lessons. He also participated in competitions around Sicily. Even after moving on to other teachers, Ignazio continued his relationship with Lilliana Andreanò. She advised him every step of the way right up to his audition at Ti Lascio Una Canzone which she convinced him to do.
Gianluca, unlike Piero and Ignazio, never had a singing lesson or piano lesson. He joined the Piccolo Choir of Roses. At one of their events, he was discovered.
As you know they came in first, second and third on Ti Lascio una Canzone. But their biggest win was becoming Il Volo.
After American Idol, they did many shows but the one show that really set them “in flight” in America, was the PBS special “Il Volo Takes Flight.”
Click photo below to view the LAaRT interview.
Their concert was shown on PBS stations across the US and Canada.
After they performed on PBS, things really started moving. They were now bringing their bel canto around the world. One of the most memorable moments of their lives was touring with Barbara Streisand.
After seeing the guys on the PBS special, Barbra Streisand invited them to join the “Back to Brooklyn” tour. They were an integral part of the tour. They performed with Barbara Streisand in 12 of her shows in the United States and Canada.
Their first ever live album titled “Il Volo Takes Flight” was released in 2012.
The hit “Il Volo” rose to first and second place in the Billboard Classical Crossover charts.
In 2013, ”Más Que Amor” was certified “Gold” in Mexico and Argentina and, this catapulted the guys into the Latin market. From that day on they took the Latin market by storm.
In February 2014, they receive two nominations at the 2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards, as “Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group” and “Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group.” At the awards show they were awarded as ”Best Group of the Year in the Latin Pop Album” category and they also won the “El Pulso Social Award,” as the artist who dominated interactions on social networking sites during the Billboard Awards. This is unheard of! Three Italian kids taking over the Latin market! What a win!
But for the guys, the close of 2014 was the highlight of it all!
The Christmas Concert at the Italian Senate on December 21, 2014 gave them new hope for their presence in Italy. Ignazio wrote in their book: “We want to talk about the thrill of singing in front of the highest offices of state! What twenty year old boy has something like that happen to him? It happened to us, and it seems to me a beautiful result, an honor. You cannot imagine the emotional feeling to be called ‘guests of honor’ inside the Senate. We were accompanied by the, fantastic, Filarmonia Orchestra Veneta conducted by Diego Basso. Half the beauty of the song is in the orchestra.
The most exciting moments? Every one! But the hymn of Mameli was the heart-pounding one, the first song, singing in that place, with everyone singing along with us, includingGiorgio Napolitano, (President) andPietro Grasso (President of the Senate). It is one thing that I cannot explain.
And then, of course, the pleasure of shaking hands with the President of the Republic and of feeling that he knows Marsala, he has been there.”
What a way to close out 2014 but, what would happen in 2015 would set them on a new path, one which they hoped for from day one.
Next week we follow the guys as they make a big decision which will determine their future! This is a journey that will lead them back home. We follow the guys along a very bumpy path with many twists and turns that lead Through the Fields of My Mind….
Last week I received and email from Sharon Bear in Detroit. Sharon wrote:
I had received a clip of Il Volo from a 90+ year old man in Marco Island. A dear friend. That promotional clip was maddening in that I could not play it enough – dancing with my Rottweiler who was deaf but learned to feel the music, his front paws bouncing up and down as I held them up and danced. He enjoyed my playing the song. Same song. Oh about 1000 times more or less.
It became part of my being. (The song. The guys’ voices. The air is different when you listen). I wondered where they were going to perform. Then it hit me – hey! Detroit is a major music market! Duh! “Maybe” they’ll perform here!!! Clicked a few links and voila!!! They were coming to the Fox Theater for a concert in a couple weeks. “Donation” to PBS was $40 for a ticket. I ordered my ticket as quickly as I could dial the phone.
At that concert it finished. The Capture of me. I’d try to explain it but why try. You know what I’m talking about so no need to “Preach to the choir”.
Then at the end of that concert they announced that in 10 days the guys are coming back to film a DVD at the Opera House. You can buy a seat in the audience for $40. They would pass out seats in the order the calls came in for tickets. Oooookkaayyyy. How should I time my call? Not too early to be staring straight up at the lights and not too late and be sitting in the rafters. I called an hour or two after it opened. Not everyone is going to know these guys so, seats won’t be sold out too early I figured. I was right. And it was a God-thing as we say. My seat was right on the end of the third row, front and center. It was the families first row. Music producers, labels, financiers’, directors second row. Then me! Third row!! Yessss.
I woozy with the thrill of these voices. Their boyishness yet adult focus and performance. I’ll remember this forever I realized. Then came The Song – the song everyone knows, ‘O Sole Mio. People applauded, yelled when they recognized it. In mid-song Piero and Ignazio entered the audience from side doors singing their solos. Women young and old reached to touch them as they passed in the aisles singing.
Piero walked directly toward my row, casually stopped beside me, reached down and took my hand. Huh??? What? Is this real? I’m having a serenade of this song by Piero??? Yes. It is true. And, sadly, to say all the muscle memory in my arms and hands reverted back to those 1003 times I had taken my Rottweiler’s paws and bounced up and down with him to the beat of the song. Yes. Like a muscular stuck in a rut moment, I started to bounce Piero’s hand up and down as he sang. But I did “get a grip” and cherished the happening. Sometimes looking back at the video, I want to yell at myself – “that’s not the dog! It’s not dancing with the dog! It’s the ‘real Piero’ singing it! Ok. Whew. You quickly realized it was real and enjoyed it.” Too funny. How we can react when amazed and shocked. The brief goofiness didn’t count. The stirring reality of being part of this Birth of these guys coming into the world as a force of goodness, music and unity which will change lives and enrich in ways beyond music That evening was a thrilling episode in life I always will hold close – and now I’ll remember it’s Piero’s hands and how the world felt being serenaded that incredible memory.
What makes this letter so absolutely wonderful is I found the video to go with it! Enjoy!
Often, I write about Ignazio and all his wonderful achievements but, today I have to write about something that is so very sad.
On Monday, we all heard the news about the sudden death of Ignazio’s father, Vito Boschetto. Each of us stopped to think about Ignazio and, how he must be feeling. There are no words that we can express to comfort the family. We can only say they are in our hearts and in our prayers!
I write about Ignazio so often that I feel a special closeness to him and, my heart aches for him. I know how sensitive he is and, I think he must be hurting a lot right now.
Today I want to write, not about Ignazio but, about his family. What I know about them and how they made Ignazio who he is today.
Over the years, as we watched Ignazio grow into a fine, young men, we grew to understand that it was his parents’ guidance that made him who he is. They are a very proud family. Hard working people. This is a trait we see in Ignazio.
They gave Ignazio such exceptional values that it only made sense he would become the good, kind and compassionate person he is.
When Ignazio speaks about his family he speaks with a passion. The deep bond this family has is exceptional. Even as a very young child Ignazio said his family shared everything. No matter what happened it was discussed with the whole family. Ignazio has said that he admires his parents for their openness with him and Nina.
This is what Ignazio had to say about his parents. “Is it the same if the images that I will never forget are …. the memories of my parents? It’s not that I’m crazy or strange, it’s right that my story would never have existed without my parents …. Of sacrifices they have made many and, big for me and for my sister but, more so for me. I do not spend days when I do not think about how proud I am of them.”
Mr. Boschetto was a man who worked very hard for his family. He was a mason, a brick layer. He worked at this job right up to the last days of his life. Ignazio would tell you that his mom and dad had worked at many jobs, and they tried to learn any trade, just to earn some extra money for the family.
In 1990 when work was scarce in Marsala, it became necessary to find work elsewhere. Vito heard about work in Buonconvento, in the province of Siena and he moved his family there. At the time only Nina was born.
In 1992 it became apparent that this was not working. They could not earn enough to sustain the family and so, after hearing from an old friend about work in San Martino in Argine, near Bologna, Vito moved his family there. This was an excellent decision because the family began to prosper with this move. They decided it was time to move into a home of their own and, so, they moved into a house in the hamlet of Guarda di Molinella. This is the house where Ignazio was born.
You will recall that Ignazio’s mother became ill with cancer and many of Ignazio’s young years were spent alone with his sister, Nina. For Ignazio, Nina is a second mother.
After Caterina’s successful treatment, she returned to work and finally everything was normal.
Vito and Caterina knew they would return to Marsala one day and, that is what they worked towards.
In July 2004 the family moved back to Marsala. Caterina’s dream was to open a pizzeria and Vito’s dream was to have Caterina’s dream come true.
Every day for one year, when Vito returned from worked, he built the pizzeria. He built it right in front of their house. Every free moment Ignazio had, he worked alongside his father so that his mother could realize her dream. A year later the pizzeria was completed.
Ignazio’s memories of this time bring him to a very important moment in his life. He always says, “If there had not been the pizzeria, perhaps I would never have started singing seriously. Because, in the meantime, while the pizzeria grew, into me grew more and more the 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 that: karaoke.”
Much of this story you already know. After Caterina’s customer heard Ignazio sing, he suggested he meet with a singing teacher and the rest is history. But, before the history there were many obstacles to overcome.
Lessons, many, many lessons. Lessons took money. Lots and lots of money. And so, Vito and Caterina did everything they could to get the money that was needed for the lessons. It took a lot of hard work but, for Vito and Caterina, it was necessary so Ignazio could have his dream.
Finally, the day arrived when the money ran out and Vito and Caterina were heartbroken. They tried everything possible but could not find the means for Ignazio to go on with his lessons. Finally, they found a way. They decided to make a loan. And through the generosity of someone dear to them, the lessons continued. Yes, the sacrifices were great and, many but they were made with love!
After Ti Lascio una Canzone, Il Volo came to be and, a, new, sacrifice had to be made.
Since Ignazio was underage, one of his parents had to travel with him on his world tours. The time was split between Vito and Caterina. This certainly disrupted their family life but, being the people they are, they managed to get through it. At that point the greatest sacrifice to be made was between Ignazio and Nina who would not see each other for very long periods of time. The world tours kept the family apart but, their love kept them together.
When Vito returned from the tour, he would return to his work. He never tried to make his life easy. What he did, he did for his children and would only accept their love in return.
Vito was a simple man! A humble man who taught his children to be kind and humble and to live lives that they could be proud of.
It is not every man that passes through this life that can say he was able to fulfill his son’s dream. A dream that would bring him fame.
Once Ignazio described his family as simple people. Yes, simple and loving and always ready to do whatever was necessary to help each other.
Ignazio, your father is gone but you will keep him alive in your memory. You’ll walk into a room and remember a beautiful moment. You’ll look at a picture and remember that wonderful smile that made a little boys tears go away. You’ll walk down a street and remember the first time you walked together and, he held your hand and made you understand that he would always be there for you. He will always be there for you! You will feel his presence! You will keep his memory alive with your stories of all the wonderful things you shared! But, above all, you will keep him alive because you are him! You are the best part of what he was! His unbounding love! This is the greatest legacy a man can leave for his family!
Ignazio, please accept our deepest condolences! Know that we all are praying for you and your family.
Vito Boschetto, father of Ignazio de Il Volo, has died.
Vito Boschetto, father of Ignazio, Marsala singer of Il Volo, together with Piero Barone and Gianluca Ginoble, died on the evening of Sunday 28 February. The man died in Bologna, where his son lives, due to a sudden illness that left him no way out.
Married to Caterina Licari, Vito also has an eldest daughter, Nina, who ran a pizzeria for years. A close-knit family that has always supported their son far and wide throughout Italy, making him study until the success obtained with the broadcast “Ti lascio una canzone” on Rai Uno with the conduction of Antonella Clerici, aimed at the discovery of children’s talents. It is there that Ignazio Boschetto met the other two “tenorini” Piero and Gianluca with whom he will form Il Volo, which achieved worldwide success.
On March 3 Il Volo should perform on the stage of the 71st Sanremo Festival. But confirmations are expected after this tragic news.
Covid has nothing to do with it, it was a tumor, recently discovered, but unfortunately in an advanced state, which left Vito no chance for a regression.
I do not dare to think of the infinite pain of Ignatius who, we remember, did a good part of his travels and stayed abroad accompanied by his beloved father.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality is this and Ignazio, already shy enough for personal news, lived this last period of his father’s life, without divulging the news, living the pain together with his family, his mother Caterina and his sister Nina.
The Il Volo family also gathered around Ignazio and his family, but could only watch the events helplessly.
Gianluca today published a series of their photos and the last photo represents Il Volo in a moment of meditation, with Ignazio looking up.
ALWAYS TOGETHER. What can best represent the three of them, in every moment of life, even the saddest, ALWAYS TOGETHER.
Dear Ignazio, you are always so cheerful, so joyful, but now you have the agony in your heart, your dear dad is gone.
We Volovers hold you in a long affectionate embrace around you and your mother Caterina and your sister Nina.
Our prayers reach Vito who from above will guide you in your life, proud of you.
No words can be of comfort to you, but all our affection reaches you from the depths of our hearts.
A big hug: Il Volo Flight Crew
The Flight Crew staff with all the fans will try to deliver to Ignazio and his family a floral message of deep condolences and affection.
My choice for Best Photo of 2020 is the picture of Ignazio and Fabio embracing at Fabio and Maria’s Baby Reveal Party! Take that picture, put it in a dictionary under the word “friendship” and no other explanation is necessary!
My story today is about the man behind the picture, Fabio Ingrassia! His life, his art, his music and his friendship with Ignazio and Il Volo.
Fabio Ingrassia was born on June 6, 1989 in Marsala, Sicily. He is a contemporary artist. He attended the Mazara del Vallo Institute of Art and the Fine Arts Academy of Palermo. He continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo but without finishing his studies, thus embarking on a path full of obstacles and difficulty, at least in the eyes of the artist, but certainly not in the eyes of the public!
From an early age Fabio showed a love for art and colors. He is always looking for new stimuli and new artistic expressions. He says, “Art is the desire to live, to communicate, to discover and to admire… I live art in the shadows, in black and white between colors.”
The Il Volo fans know Fabio as a long-time friend of Ignazio and Il Volo but what they do not know is Fabio is a world-renowned artist. His works can be found in North America, South America, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Germany, Belgium and of course Italy.
Fabio’s journey took him from the small city of Marsala to the stages of America where he truly lived the American dream. He joined Il Volo on the Grande Amore World Tour with three performances in Florida.
In March 2019, in Miami, Fabio created one of the most important, music recording studio works “Latin Harmony” – a mural representing the singers who recorded in the studio of Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
Trivia: Did you know Fabio was in the “Noche Sin Dia” video with the guys? See if you can find him!
Fabio says, “Italy is my first source of inspiration. I love the Renaissance and I am lucky enough to be able to admire these masterpieces whenever I would like.” He says these masters are a source of inspiration for him however, among all the sources of inspiration, music is the one that most excites him.
Fabio has a strong admiration for Il Volo. One of the paintings that is a major part of his collection is “The Power of the Genius” where he represents Il Volo, “Three Voices One Soul.”
On September 16, 2018 together with the comedian Roberto Lipari, Fabio performed in front of 200,000 people on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Palermo.
On August 19, 2020 Fabio and Alessandro Quarta performed at the Noto Music Festival. Fabio said, “We ‘created’ together a concert on stage, a carnal relationship with his violin, between sensuality, nostalgia and – sometimes – sadness.”
Fabio works in so many different art forms it would take not just a story but a book to write about all of it. From his sand paintings in which he is not just painting a picture but telling a story to his tattoo art.
The work of art that most of you have seen and which I truly admire is the painting he did for Domenico Dolce for 62nd birthday. It was magnificent. The painting is Fabio’s interpretation of the Moment of Creation for Domenico Dolce! In the tradition of the renaissance, he included himself and Maria in it.
He presented the painting on Instagram and asked the question, “What do you see in this painting?” Most people answered that they saw Fabio. But what he was referring to was Caravaggio’s technique of chiaroscuro. The use of light and dark to give bold effects to the painting.
Not only did he use this technique but, he incorporated baroque pieces into the painting, like the detail on the chair that Domenico is sitting on. Most artists consider these old techniques and don’t use them in their painting anymore. He has taken Contemporary art and incorporated these old elements and created a new art form.
Now I want to talk about his relationship with Ignazio and Il Volo.
Fabio and Nina Boschetto were classmates at art school and this is how he met Ignazio. He was a regular at the pizzeria.
In an interview, Fabio said, “I had the chance to see Ignazio’s passion growing, year after year. I remember the moment in which it became clear to me that success would be his path, and that it couldn’t be otherwise. When Ignazio, enthusiastically, showed me the video of the musicalStreetlight, to which he took part in, it was like a hurricane. He managed to draw everyone into his passion for music. One day you could find him studying singing techniques, another one playing the piano, and yet another one playing drums. As a friend and as a Marsala citizen I am very proud of his artistic path and of his successes.”
Let me tell you how I see their friendship. I see not just as a friendship but two brilliant minds that think alike. I think of Ignazio as not just a singer but as a whole production and I think of Fabio as not just an artist but as art itself.
What do I mean by this? Ignazio and Fabio are constantly creating. Constantly going to the next dimension. There is nothing Ignazio can’t do musically and there is nothing that Fabio can’t do artistically!
Before I move on to the part of the story, I know you are all waiting for, I would like to mention the incident when Ignazio broke his arm in Tampa.
The stage was narrow and Ignazio picked up a child and took him in his arms to take him to the center of the stage where Piero, Gianluca and the other two children were.
There were electrical cables on the ground and Ignazio tried to avoid them, but he tripped and fell holding the child. To protect the child, Ignazio twisted his body, so that his left arm hit the ground taking the full brunt of the fall while raising the child above his head to protect him.
Ignazio got up right away still holding the child in his arms and finished the song. At the next song it was clear that Ignazio had a broken shoulder but he managed to finish the concert. He left before the meet and greet. Barbara Vitali immediately took him to the hospital. In the next concert he had a sling on his arm and it remained on for two concerts. The most important thing was he needed to rest.
At that time, Fabio was in Miami and he immediately left to be with his friend. Ignazio’s spirits were low and Fabio kept him company and supported him until he was able to appear at his next performance. That’s a friend!
And now it’s time to talk about Verona! I know both of you and I wonder how Fabio does his magic in Concert. Fabio’s aim has always been to combine musical art with pictorial art… He says, “The combination of pictorial art and that of music is one of the ways to reach the viewer on a deeper emotional level.”
On September 24, 2019, Fabio performed at the Verona Arena during Il Volo’s concert. While the guys sang “Smile,” Fabio painted Charlie Chaplin.
This is when you meet the real Fabio! So, let’s listen to Fabio in his own words . . . .
“I was painting in my studio. Pongo and Peggy my dogs as usual were watching me from the glass door, ready for dinner. I was very nervous. I still had some panic attacks and the more I tried not to think about it the more I thought about it.
It was 7:00 pm and Ignazio called me and asked me to be a guest of Il Volo at the concert in Verona. I can’t express my happiness but in the best of my expression I said WOW!
From that moment on I immediately concentrated on the realization of my performance. What to do, on what support, easel, color.
After choosing the song and the character to present with Il Volo, I had to try and try again until I got the time and the result I wanted. I had to create a story, not a simple painting . . . a story that had a beginning and an end . . . The song was ‘Smile’ and I had to represent Charlie Chaplin. I liked the idea so much! I had read everything about Chaplin because one evening at dinner Valentino Picone made me fall in love with him by telling me of his importance in the world of cinema.
After days and sleepless nights, I found what I liked . . . I would start with the horizontal canvas by painting a Chaplin from behind in a countryside landscape, then I would turn the canvas, spin it and continue the painting until the face was blown up.
Time was short for such a large and complex canvas. I asked for more time but there was not much that could be done.
I tried the painting only once, in my parents’ living room. The proof was beautiful but, I was out with the time, I could not fit it within the four minutes I had available.
I did mental training on distances, movements and dimensions to maintain and I tried closing my eyes trying to simulate the realization of the painting, making it several times would have been too expensive.
I get the canvas, the easel and the suitcases in the car and Maria and I leave for Verona.
The next day I immediately went to the arena to set everything up and do a test, but the arena is outdoors so we couldn’t try the lights. I was worried, for my way of working I have to have everything 100% and that uncertainty gave me anxiety.
The evening comes, we are in the dressing rooms, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca were rehearsing and I was getting paranoid about the lighting issue, I wanted to give 100% and not having control over that, it made me question myself. Ignazio calmed me by telling me that we should have fun and do nothing else. The concert begins, it’s freezing cold but, I go up on stage in short sleeves, the adrenaline rushing, I looked at the full Arena and for two hours I had goosebumps. Really incredible . . . indescribable . . . then my moment arrives ”Smile” begins. They place a light on me on the right of the stage and the magic begins. I forget about the 14,000 people behind me. My mental exercise was now real . . . the brush slips on canvas creating shapes, but the light is too strong and reflects my eyes, so I close them trying not to lose control and I create Charlie’s hat with my eyes closed. Three minutes are few but, in that context, they become even less, the canvas turns and my race against time becomes more and more fierce.
When the song ends and I turn the painting, the crowd is euphoric, Ignazio makes a speech that leaves me speechless, I hug the guys and leave the stage. I immediately run to the dressing room and lock myself in. I’m always very demanding with myself. I can’t enjoy the moment because I would like to do more, but then I check the phone and I had thousands of notifications, photos, videos, I see myself again and I understood that my message had reached everyone.
So, I ran through the backstage corridors of the arena and went to look at what I had done, look where I did it and for a few seconds I was satisfied. I took the brush and defined it with details.
Behind the scenes it was a competition to see who wanted to take the painting but, in the end, together with Ignazio, we decided I would take it home becauseit represented how two friends can share a dream together, having fun and thrilling the public.”
This brings me back to where my story began, The Baby Reveal Party!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this would be the picture. The look on Ignazio’s face, the smile, the absolute joy he is feeling for his friends. I said this picture should be the picture of the year because it tells me that their relationship goes beyond a friendship. These two men have shared some very important moments together! On stage and off! They have both become Super Stars since their first meeting at the pizzeria and to me, they are more than friends, they are brothers!
But on January 5 Fabio cheered us up with this good news: “With great joy and emotion we announce the birth of
💙 NOAH INGRASSIA💙 3,650 kg (8 lbs.) of pure love 😍
Thanks to all.” 🙏🏻💙
Congratulations Fabio and Maria on the birth of your beautiful baby boy, Noah! God bless your beautiful family!
Note: To read more about Fabio, to see his, magnificent, artwork, videos and prints, visit his website atwww.fabioingrassia.com
Credit to owners of all photos and videos.
Come in and share the love of life, friends and Il Volo!