The Journey of Andrea Bocelli

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Andrea Bocelli is a renowned Italian singer, songwriter and record producer. Over the course of his career, Bocelli has recorded 15 solo studio albums of both pop and classical music. He has achieved tremendous success and sold more than 80 million records globally.  However, his journey to stardom has definitely not been an easy one. Bocelli was born with several problems affecting his vision and he went on to be diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, a condition developed due to ocular hypertension. As a young boy, Bocelli displayed a great regard for music and his mother has often said that it was the only thing that gave him a sense of comfort during his tough times.

By the time he was barely 7 years old, he had gained the ability to recognise the voices of famous singers and he would often try to mimic them. Sadly, at the young age of 12, Bocelli suffered a major accident during a football tournament and lost his sight completely as a result of a severe brain haemorrhage. Following this tragedy, his parents encouraged him to learn how to play a range of instruments such as the trumpet, drums, saxophone, flute and guitar. Although his accident was extremely unfortunate, it is believed that it also served as a motivating factor for Bocelli and added layers to his personality, which is reflected in his ongoing style of music. Bocelli went on to pursue law at the University of Pisa and began performing in piano bars after classes in order to earn pocket money.

His big break occurred in 1992, when the infamous Italian rockstar Zucchero held auditions for singers to make a demo tape of his song ‘Miserere’ and sent it to the Italian maestro Luciano Pavarotti. After hearing Bocelli’s tape, Pavarotti was so impressed that he recorded a duet with him which went on to become an instant smash hit across Europe. Following his success post the duet, Bocelli was also given solo sets in concert where he sang ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Giacomo Puccini’s opera. He achieved his first real commercial break when he was signed with the Sugar Music label in Milan after the group’s president heard him sing live at a birthday party for Zucchero.

The Sanremo Music Festival was held in 1993, where Bocelli won the preliminary round for his rendition of the song ‘Miserere’ and went on to win in the newcomers category after performing the song ‘Il mare calm della sera’. Following this tremendous victory, he released his debut album of the same title in April, 1994 and it was chosen for the Italian Top Ten. His popularity continued to rise over the following years and he began to sing duets with notable artists. His most successful album of all time was possibly ‘Sacred Arias’ which was released in 1999 and featured music composed to a traditional Christian rhythm. The tracks ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Panis Angelicus’ were smash hits in particular. It went on to top the charts in Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.

Bocelli has extensively spoken about his musical influences over the course of his career. He was highly inspired by the great works of Mario Lanza, Francesco Gucinni, Jose Carreras, Franco Corelli and namely, Luciano Pavarotti who gave him his first big break (Caldwell, 80). Pavarotti continued to remain a lifelong friend and mentor to Bocelli until his untimely death in 2007. Both of them had always shared a love for horses and Bocelli honoured his memory by singing at his funeral just as he had sung at his wedding in 2003.  He has recorded a total of eight operas and thirteen solo albums. His album ‘Sacred Arias’ holds the record for the highest sold classical album by a solo artist. His track ‘Time to say goodbye’ from the album ‘Romanza’ has also sold over 12 million copies across the globe.

His achievements over the years has been breathtaking and it is hard to believe that he has accomplished such a great deal within the short span of 18 years. He is a regular performer in Italy where he holds the honour of the title ‘Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic’ bestowed upon him in 2006 (Burnetts 18). Additionally, his talent and popularity has been recognised with the multiple awards won by him in various categories ranging from ‘Best Singer’ to ‘Best Selling Artist’. Most recently, he was given a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his immense contribution to live theatre. He was also named on the People Magazine List of ‘Fifty most beautiful people’.

On the personal front, he is married to Veronica Berti with whom he has one daughter. Bocelli also performs frequently in charity benefit concerts across countries which support different causes. This includes the Memorial Concert at Ground Zero for 9/11 victims in New York, Music of Asia Festival and the Indian Tsunami Relief concert. Most recently, he launched the Andrea Bocelli Foundation with a mission to fund poverty alleviation and extensive medical research.

Works Cited:

Lauer, Magda. Italy Magazine, Italy Treasures 2012.

Burnetts, Katie. The Gaurdian, 2014.

Caldwell, Simon. The Telegraph, 2010.

Sherwin, Adam. Independant, 2013

October 05, 2023

Life Music



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