Andrea Angel Bocelli is an Italian tenor and singer who music covers the genres of both pop and classical styles. He is regarded a highly successful cross-over performer with several albums of both classical and pop music to his record, and is credited to have brought classical music to the top of international pop charts. He is also the creator of nine complete operas. Blessed with a timbre that is full, powerful and versatile, he can effortlessly render with the same perfection a sacred hymn or a pop song. Bocelli displayed an interest in music from an early age and started playing the piano when he was just six years old. His parents encouraged their musically inclined son and he also learnt to play the flute, saxophone, guitar, trumpet and drums. He had been born with poor vision and completely lost his sight after a football accident when he was 12. This incident, though tragic in nature also instilled in him a special kind of sensitivity and added depth to his personality which is often reflected in his music. He has sold over eighty million records worldwide and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for ‘The Prayer’, his duet with Celine Dion.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born as the son of Alessandro and Edi Bocelli. His mother had been advised to abort the fetus while she was pregnant with him. She refused vehemently and insisted on giving birth to her child.
His family lived on a farm and sold farm machinery and made wine for a living. He suffered from congenital glaucoma and completely lost his sight in a sporting accident when he was 12.
He displayed a great love for music from a young age. He learned piano, flute, saxophone, guitar and drums as a young boy.
As a seven year old he could recognize the voices of the great singers of those times and even tried to sing like them. He participated in music competitions and gave concerts while still young.
He finished school in 1980 and studied law at the University of Pisa. He performed in piano bars in the evenings to earn some money.
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He found his big break in 1992 when a demo tape containing Bocelli’s rendition of the song ‘Miserere’ was sent to Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti who was highly impressed by the young musician. The duo recorded a duet which became a smash hit throughout Europe.
He accompanied Italian rock star Zucchero in his European concert tour in 1993. He sang duets with him and was also given solo sets in the concert. He performed at a concert at the Teatro Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilia in December the same year.
He entered the Sanremo Music Festival where he won the preliminary round with the song ‘Miserere’, and participated in the main Sanremo Festival competition with ‘Il mare calmo della sera’ and won the newcomers section. He released his debut album ‘Il mare calmo della sera’ in 1994 following this win.
His album ‘Songo’ was released in 1999. It reaches the top spots in pop Album charts all over the world and registered worldwide sales of over 10 million copies. He was nominated for the Best New Artist at the Grammys—the first time a classical musician had been nominated for that category since 1961.
The album ‘Sacred Arias’, released in 1999 featured music composed in traditional Christian style. It had the tracks ‘Ave Maria (Funeral for a Friend)’, and ‘Panis Angelicus’. It peaked at No.1 on the Canadian, Italian, and Netherlands Album charts.
In 2002, his album ‘Sentimento’ was out. Lorin Maazel along with London Symphony Orchestra was the conductor of the album. The album was critically praised and won several awards and accolades.
His album ‘Amore’ was released in January 2006 for the Valentine’s Day season. A remake of the Elvis Presley’s song ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ was featured in this album. It also had the duet, ‘Somos Novios (It's Impossible)’ which he had sung with Christina Aguilera.
In 2009, he released his first ever Christmas album, ‘My Christmas’ which was a compilation of holiday favorites in English, Italian, French and German. The only original song in the album was ‘God Bless Us Everyone’. It was one of the best-selling albums of the year.
His 2013 album ‘Passione’ is a collection of Mediterranean love songs. The album contains duets with Jennifer Lopez and Nelly Furtado. The multi-lingual album has songs in English, Italian, French, and Spanish.
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The album ‘Songo’, literally translated as “Dreams” in English was a super hit. It spawned the hit singles ‘Canto della Terra’ and ‘The Prayer’ which was a duet with Celine Dion. It peaked at No.1 on the pop albums charts in Austria, Sweden and Switzerland.
His first ever Christmas album, ‘My Christmas’ was a huge commercial and well as critical hit. It peaked at No. 1 position on the US Classical albums chart and has till date sold over three million copies—becoming one of the best selling holiday albums in the U.S.
His classical album ‘Sacred Arias’ is his most commercially successful classical album. The album reached the No.1 position in the charts of several countries all over the world and has sold over five million copies. It is the biggest selling classical album by any solo artist in history.
Awards & Achievements
He is the recipient of seven World Music Awards which include four awards for the Best Selling Classical Artist and three for the Best Selling Italian singer.
Till date he has won six Classical BRITS Awards including the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2002.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Enrica Cenzatti in 1992 and had two children. The couple separated in 2002. He forged a relationship with Veronica Berti whom he met in 2002. He has one daughter with her.
He regularly performs in charity benefit concerts supporting various causes in different countries including the Memorial Concert at Ground Zero, in New York City and the Music of Asia festival in 2004, for the Indian tsunami appeal.
Andrea Bocelli was born with poor eyesight and became completely blind at age 12, as a result of football accident.