Andrea Bocelli’s distinctive voice has placed him at the forefront of classical music.  This notable tenor has also dabbled in the world of  popular music as well. His phenomenal career has set him apart from most classical artists.  His unique voice has amassed sales of more than 60 million albums.  His music has topped international charts with critically acclaimed albums and singles, that won several, prestigious awards. ‘The Prayer’, his duet with Celine Dion for the animated film, The Quest for Camelot, won the Golden Globe for Best Song.  It was also nominated for an Academy Award. Bocelli’s nomination for the 1999 Best New Artist Grammy marked the first time a classical artist had been nominated for that category in 38 years.

Bocelli was born in Lajatico, in rural Tuscany where he cultivated his passion for opera and traditional Italian music. He dreamed of becoming an Italian tenor at a very young age. His family, however, was concerned about the risks associated with the music industry.  As a result, Bocelli graduated from the University of Pisa in law and became a state-appointed defense attorney.

“I graduated at the Law School in Pisa, Italy, and practiced law for a short while but never really thought about dropping my passion for music,” he said. “Even while practicing law, I used to perform in bars and clubs at night.”

He continued to study music and listened passionately to the sounds of his favorite artists – Mario Del Monaco, Beniamino Gigli and Franco Corelli. His hero, tenor Franco Corelli, finally accepted Andrea as a pupil for his master classes.

“To be quite honest, I would have never been a good attorney as I tend to get emotional,” he admitted.

 While it may not have been an asset as an attorney, his passion and zest have proven successful as an opera singer.

“What I crave most; what I hope to achieve”, he said, “is to communicate with the listener.  I want to touch them in the same way that I was touched during childhood by my favorite singers, who made me cry and dream.”

Bocelli has appeared on  American Idol and The Today Show where he has been called “one of opera’s most successful crossover stars.”  Andrea Bocelli released his fourth pop album in 2004, and produced Amore, featuring guest appearances by Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera, two years later.  He anticipates more work in the years ahead.

“My career as a recording artist is quite complicated because I always have something to promote, somewhere in the world,” he said. “I’m still promoting my last pop album, “Vivere”. and plan to launch a new classical album and 2 opera sets this year.”

Bocelli’s release of Sacred Arias became his most successful classical album to date. It was the most popular, selling album by a classical soloist of all time.   Bocelli earned a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for this release.  He simultaneously held the No 1, 2 and 3 positions on the US classical album charts. 

So, who are some of Bocelli’s favorite musicians?

“Certainly all the great tenors from the past: Franco Corelli, Beniamino Gigli and Luciano Pavarotti,” he said.  ”I recently recorded two opera sets,  Carmen and Andrea Chenier, which are due for release in 2008. I will stage the opera “Carmen” in Rome, Italy, in June and then more touring.”

The first, pop only, concert was held last year on the slopes of Lajatico where he was raised.  The town built a special theater for the live concert where Bocelli sang some of his most popular songs and new material to honor the occasion. His latest album, combines some of his most popular songs with four exciting new tracks, featuring collaborations with Laura Pausini, Lang Lang and Kenny G.  Vivere: Andrea Bocelli Live In Tuscany, hit the stores in January and have set an exceptional musical tone for the new year. 

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