Popera scion Matteo Bocelli

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Photo by Mattia Guolo

No longer merely the son of Andrea Bocelli, Matteo has emerged as a performer and star in his own right.

September was a huge month for Matteo Bocelli.

After three years of intensive work, the Italian pop classical crossover singer released his first solo album and then embarked on his first solo world tour, all in short order.

“It is an incredible feeling to finally be able to share my first album with everyone,” Bocelli tells Fra Noi. “To be able to release it after so long is a satisfying feeling. I am excited and nervous to see what people think about it!”

Bocelli kicked off his world tour in Germany and followed that with concerts in Austria, Poland and the United Kingdom, among others. He’s now making his way through 13 performances across the United States, including one on Dec. 8 at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

Bocelli, whose father is world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli, says it’s been wonderful to see the crowd’s reaction when he takes the stage.

“I am truly blown away by how much fun I have had during each show. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming and made me feel so comfortable,” he says. “I was definitely nervous going into this tour because I didn’t know what to expect from the audiences, and I didn’t want to let anyone down. But having everyone’s support during each show has been so helpful and really encouraging.”

The tour also has given him the chance to connect with his Italian-American fans, which has special significance for him.

“Being able to tour in America is an incredible opportunity, especially for an Italian artist,” he says. “I love knowing that I have fans in America who are from or have relatives from Italy. I hope this allows them to feel a bit more connected to me and to my lyrics.”

Ron Onesti, founder of Onesti Entertainment, says he’s honored his St. Charles venue will host Bocelli’s only appearance in the Chicago area. “His music is relevant and important, because it brings together generations from youthful to mature,” Onesti says.

Onesti, also president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, adds that each opportunity to present the arts from Italy further strengthens the Italian-American community. “At a time where our ethnicity and our history is being challenged, positive experiences that bring people together under the umbrella of our wonderful Italian heritage and culture become more and more important.”

Matteo Bocelli’s singing career launched in 2018 when he performed “Fall on Me” with his father. A year later, he signed to Capitol Records.

The release of his self-titled first album, “Matteo,” was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and then by a holiday album he put out alongside his father and his younger sister, Virginia, Vanity Fair reported. Andrea Bocelli also has another son, Amos, 28.

Matteo Bocelli’s album features 12 songs in Italian and English, a careful selection culled from about 100 songs written with the team at Capitol Records, he told Billboard Italy. One of the songs is a collaboration with British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

“[Ed] sent me a few songs, but the one that really, really, really I loved so much was ‘Chasing Stars,’” Bocelli told People magazine. “The story was fitting so much to myself because, of course, we both had in common the fact that we were born in a family that loved music, and this passion was given from our parents.”

Growing up in Forte dei Marmi, a seaside town in Tuscany, Bocelli says he never stopped studying music after he started playing the piano at age 6. However, even though he studied vocal performance at the Institute of Musical Studies Luigi Boccherini, singing wasn’t always on the horizon for him. It was only after he spoke with music producer David Foster that he really considered being a singer, Bocelli told Gentleman’s Journal.

“David has been extremely important in the development of my dad’s career, and, without him, I don’t think I’d be on this path,” Bocelli told the magazine. “He was the person who said to me, ‘You have the skill and the technical ability. You should be on the stage singing.’”

Bocelli’s classical training influences his music, which he approaches with a technical perspective, Bocelli told Gentleman’s Journal. “I’m obsessed with how each element of the music is built and layers together. At the same time, I always love working with composers and collaborators from the pop world to bring in other elements I might not have thought of.”

Thanks to his father’s enormous success, Bocelli grew up in rarefied circles. He has met the pope and various American presidents, and attended Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding. Most recently, he performed with the elder Bocelli at Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s wedding in Portofino, on the Italian Riviera, Vanity Fair reported.

In response to those who might attribute his success to nepotism, Bocelli told the magazine: “It’s true that I easily had a contract with Capitol, my label, easily a contract with the management team. But then, if you don’t work, you don’t work. And now I’m in the moment which I have to demonstrate, and we’ll see. I think music is fair. … That’s the toughest now, to prove that you are something, as well. You have something to tell.”

Bocelli says he appreciates all types of music and artists, and listens to anything from rap and pop to opera and the classics. “I think every moment of the day and situation has a particular type of music to match the mood,” he says.

That mindset is a reflection of his upbringing in a home filled with wide-ranging music, from opera and classical to Frank Sinatra, Queen and The Beatles, he told Wonderland magazine. “I was brought up with very eclectic taste, and even now, I feel like I’m a bit of an old soul when it comes to music. I loved playing ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon, The Commodores, Elton John. A lot of them are still my favorite songs now. The singers I really admire and respect now are the ones who have managed to forge lasting careers — people like Ed Sheeran and Adele. Their fans have grown up with them and still love the work they’re making.”

Matteo Bocelli also has pursued acting and composing. In 2022, he made his on-screen debut in George Miller’s film “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” alongside Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, and co-wrote several of the film’s songs with composer Tom Holkenborg, People magazine reported.

In his free time, Bocelli says he loves to hang out with friends and enjoys restoring Jeeps that date back to World War II. “It is something I have invested a lot of my time in, and something I am truly passionate about,” he says.

For tickets to Bocelli’s performance at the Dec. 8 performance at the Arcada, click here.

The above appears in the December 2023 issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our gorgeous, monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and features, entertainment and culture. To subscribe, click here.

 

About Elena Ferrarin

Elena Ferrarin is a native of Rome who has worked as a journalist in the United States since 2002. She has been a correspondent for Fra Noi for more than a decade. She previously worked as a reporter for The Daily Herald in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, The Regional News in Palos Heights and as a reporter/assistant editor for Reflejos, a Spanish-English newspaper in Arlington Heights. She has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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