Andrea Angel Bocelli is an Italian tenor whose music covers the genres of both pop and classical styles. He has been credited with bringing classical music to the top of the international pop charts and is a highly regarded cross-over performer with successful albums of both classical and pop music. He has sold over eighty million records worldwide and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for his duet with Celine Dion, ‘The Prayer’. One of his most famous songs is also a duet and this time with “Time to Say Goodbye” with Sarah Brightman.
Bocelli showed a talent for music from an early age and started playing the piano when he was just six years old. His parents encouraged their musically talented son and he also learned to play the flute, saxophone, guitar, trumpet and drums. He had been born with poor eyesight and completely lost his sight after a football accident when he was twelve years old. This incident, though tragic in nature, also instilled in him a special kind of sensitivity and added depth to his personality that is often reflected in his music.
After leaving school in 1980, he studied law at the University of Pisa. He performed in piano bars in the evenings to earn some money but his big break came in1992 when a demo tape containing Bocelli’s rendition of the song ‘Miserere’ was sent to Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Pavarotti was highly impressed by the young musician and they recorded a duet together that became a smash hit across Europe.
He accompanied Italian rock star Zucchero on his European concert tour in 1993 and sang duets with him but 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 and it reached 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 reached at No.1 on the Canadian, Italian, and Netherlands album charts.
In 2002, his album ‘Sentimento’ was released and Lorin Maazel, along with the 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 on 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 favourites in English, Italian, French and German. The only original song on 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 and the album contains duets with Jennifer Lopez and Nelly Furtado. The multi-lingual album has songs in English, Italian, French, and Spanish.
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 classical album ‘Sacred Arias’ is his most commercially successful classical album. The album reached the No.1 slot in the charts of several countries and has sold over five million copies. It is the biggest selling classical album by any solo artist in history.
Andrea Bocelli 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.
To date he has won six Classical BRITS Awards including the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2002.