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Andrea Bocelli, Modern Renaissance Man

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Born in 1958, Andrea Bocelli grew up on the Bocelli family farm with his mother Edi, his father Alessandro, and younger brother Alberto. During his childhood Bocelli had a love for music, starting piano lessons at six and going on to learn other instruments such as the flute, saxophone, trumpet, guitar, drums, and learning how to sing. He won his first singing competition at 14.

Bocelli always had problems with his sight since birth and doctors diagnosed him with congenital glaucoma. However, it wasn’t until a tragic football accident that he lost his sight completely at age 12.

Bocelli studied at University of Pisa, supporting himself in the evenings by singing in piano bars. Earning his law degree, he became a court-appointed lawyer but only worked a year before deciding to pursue a music career. His degree was not an online master degree; it was earned in a traditional setting. During this time he met his wife Erica in 1987.

Bocelli’s singing career had its big break when Italian rock star Zucchero auditioned tenors for a demo tape with Miserere, a song from one of his recent albums. Bocelli’s demo tape was sent to Luciano Pavarotti. After hearing it, Pavarotti was persuaded to record the song with Bocelli. The song became a smash-hit throughout Europe.

Shortly afterward, Bocelli entered a variety of music festivals and received high marks in their newcomer categories. His debut concert in the classical world was at the Teatro Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilia. His debut album, Il mare calmo della sera, immediately entered the Italian top ten upon release, going platinum in a few short weeks.

International success came with successes like the single Time to Say Goodbye (1996), a duet with Sarah Brighman, which eclipsed his previous best-selling singles. His break into the US market came when he performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and later at the White House.

Other notable albums include Romanza (1997), Sueno (1999), Tosca (2003), Cieli di Toscana (2001), Amore (2006), and Incanto (2008).

Bocelli married Erica in 1992, but divorced ten years later. They have two children together.

Even in recent years Bocelli has enjoyed touring and gaining further awards. In March of 2010, Bocelli was entered into the Walk of Fame for his contributions to live theatre. As of 2012, he played Romeo in Charles Gounod’s opera Roméo et Juliette, performing without a fee because the theatre was suffering financial difficulties.

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