Monday, January 30, 2023

For Andrea Bocelli and his children, singing is a family business

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When it comes to the mammoth task of performing for their typical crowds of 20,000, each member of the Bocelli family prepares in a different way.

Girl Virginia, 10 years old, is known to dance. “I love gymnastics, so when I dance, I move my body and my heart beats before I go on stage, it’s because of the dance, not because I’m afraid.”

Meanwhile, her brother Matteo is on vacation. “I try to relax as much as possible”, explains the 25-year-old. “The best medicine for your voice is sleep.”

What about 64-year-old Andrea, the legendary tenor and their superstar father? There is no pre-show routine at all.

“No lucky rituals, no lucky charms,” ​​explains Andrea. “We keep stress at bay by having a clear conscience, living as healthy a life as possible and facing the public with the right seriousness and positivity.”

It’s a trio of prospects who teamed up for the first time this year as Virginia and Matteo joined Andrea for a nationwide tour in support of his latest album, aptly titled A Family Christmas. A follow-up to his 2009 hit holiday effort My Christmas, one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time, Andrea and his two children take listeners on a seasonal journey through a variety of covers and songs originals that prove a skill. because the vocalizations that geese make run in their genes.

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The main theme of the album, according to Andreas, is a simple but powerful one: “that family is a blessing, a source of strength, a cornerstone of society.” Songs such as “The Greatest Gift”, a heartfelt original ballad, combine the pop vocals of Virginia and Matteo with Andrea’s iconic voice, complemented by both an orchestra and choir.

“It’s a project that was really conceived by a family for all families,” says Andrea, although he admits that “he also can’t deny that a strong motivator was also the opportunity to spend more time with my children.”

The descendants of the Italian tenor happened to music in a purely organic way. (Although he doesn’t sing on stage with his family, Andrea’s eldest son Amos, who works as an aerospace engineer, is also proficient on the piano. “As for the music industry, he has kept his distance from her,” the patriarch. says.)

Growing up, singing was a regular occurrence for the Bocelli family around their large Tuscan villa. “I never imagined I’d be going on tour with my dad, but let’s just say I was prepared,” says Virginia, who performed on stage with her father for the first time during the pandemic. Andrea was set to sing Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah”, but the plan was for him to sing it in English.

“He didn’t want to learn the text in English, and I was listening to this conversation between my mom and dad,” she recalls. “So I just said, ‘Oh, I can sing a little part of it.’

With that, an 8-year-old Virginia and her father took the stage in December 2020 at Teatro Regio – Parma, Italy’s jewel box of a theater – and surrounded by flickering candles, gave a tender duet. It turned out to be the perfect presentation: As the show was filmed, eventually garnering 24 million views on YouTube, the theater was empty due to Covid restrictions. “It’s a lot scarier with an audience,” says the younger Andrea.

Matteo’s official singing debut at the age of 18 was a little more intimidating; he took his first bow with his father at the Colosseum in Rome.

“People think that performing next to Andrea Bocelli is quite difficult,” says Matteo, who first recorded the 2018 duet “Fall on Me” with his father for the album “Si”. “But Andrea Bocelli is also just my father, and the presence of your father is very useful to be on stage with you.”

In addition to the family Christmas project, Matteo is also amazing in his pop career. He is signed to Capitol Records, where he is preparing his debut album. He also recently contributed the song “Cautionary Tale” to the 2022 fantasy film Three Thousand Years of Longing, in which he also appears, and recently duetted with Colombian star singer Sebastián Yatra on the song “Until run away”. Earlier this year, Matteo featured prominently alongside Andrea at Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s high-profile wedding in Portofino, Italy.

However, Matteo is continuing in the family business with a sense of care given to him by his father. “I think my children know very well that fame, in itself, is not a value,” says Andrea. When she was Matteo’s age, Andrea had already completed law school at the University of Pisa and spent a year as a court-appointed lawyer.

“It is undeniable that being appreciated is a source of satisfaction, but being famous is not a natural quality,” explains Andrea. “In fact, if one aims to gain real human depth, it is a hindrance, because with fame it is easier to lose touch with reality. And if you don’t keep your feet firmly on the ground, you risk losing. Any form of vanity is an intellectual challenge from which we try to keep our distance.”

But that doesn’t mean the Bocelles don’t enjoy the benefits of an audience, as evidenced by their stop earlier this month at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Their show there, which has become an annual holiday tradition, consisted of operatic classics in the first half and a cheery Christmas second act, as well as Andrea’s pop hits like “Time to Say Goodbye” and ” Perfect”.

As the show ended and the family took their bows, Andrea’s children escorted her to the edge of the stage and down a set of steps. (The tenor lost his sight when he was 12.) With the crowd still on their feet, Andrea could be seen chatting with his children before deciding whether to return for an encore. It was a scenario that repeated itself several times as the audience continued to cheer with each successive decision to sing another song.

“Dad just kept wanting to go out again, and again, and we went out five times,” says Virginia. “He loved hearing the love, all the cheers and applause. Then we finally left before taking a bow – left, right and center – all as a family.

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