Andrea Bocelli is a renowned Italian singer and instrumentalist. He is a tenor, the highest-pitched type of male singer, meaning his local range extends above a C5. He was born on the 22nd of September 1958 in Lajatico in Italy and has gone on to become one of Italy’s biggest stars after rising to fame in 1994 when he won the newcomer’s category of the 44th Sanremo Music Festival with his rendition of “Il mare calmo della sera”.
Andrea Bocelli was born partially sighted and was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, which is a condition where the optic nerve becomes damaged due to fluid build-up in the eye. Unfortunately, at the age of 12, Bocelli became fully blind after an accident during a football game. His disability has not hindered him however and since 1994, Bocelli has recorded 15 albums and sold over 75 million records worldwide. He is known for having brought classical music into popular charts over his career and spreading a love for classical Italian music. In fact, his album Sacred Arias is the biggest-selling classical album by any solo artist and his song “Con te partiro” is one of the most famous pieces of music of all time.
Much of Bocelli’s early life was spent on his family’s farm which made wine and sold farm machinery. As a young boy, he showed his large passion for music, which was the only thing which would comfort him. Starting piano lessons at age 6, Bocelli went on to play a myriad of instruments including the trumpet, saxophone, guitar, trombone, and drums. Bocelli also showed interest in singing, and by the time he was 7, he could identify famous singers by just their voices. When he was 14, Bocelli won his first song competition in Viareggo and, during the time in which he studied law at the University of Pisa, Bocelli performed in piano bars to make ends meet. He met his future wife in one such piano bar in 1987.
Bocelli continued to increase his fame when he duetted with Celine Dion in 1998 for songs featured in the film Quest for Camelot, winning a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. In 2006, to recognize the good he had done for spreading Italian culture, Bocelli was made a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Additionally, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.
It is said that Luciano Pavarotti heard a demo tape of Andrea Bocelli singing and helped him on his rise to fame. He was invited to tour with Zucchero, a famous Italian rock star, to begin his career performing for large audiences. Pavarotti continues to show an interest in Bocelli’s career to this day and has even invited him to perform at his annual charity gala concert in Modena known as Pavarotti International.
Bocelli now lives in a former hotel in Tuscany with his wife and manager, Veronica Berti. They live with their three children, Matteo, Amos, and Virginia.