I share a birthday with Andrea Bocelli. I’m not sure he knows it, but if I run into him in Tuscany, I’ll spill. On Sept. 22 he turned a young 60. He was born in Lajatico, Tuscany and now lives in Fortei di Marmi – not far from Viareggio, where we’ll be in February and May.
I’ve come across a couple things recently that are share-worthy. Not only is he a super talented tenor, but he’s a very thoughtful and down-to-Earth human being.
Blind since age 12, he thought nothing of windsurfing, skiing and skydiving. He doesn’t look at physical limitations the way you might think. “There is no impossible dream. If you have enough faith, discipline and humility, you can pursue just about any task.”
His 20-year-old son, Matteo, sings with him on his latest album. A friend recently sent a video of their song “Fall On Me”, which is so beautifully done. They sing to and about each other, and it includes old family photos. Very touching! (Celine Dion has said that “if God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli.) He’s extremely proud of his son’s talent, but also says he wants Matteo to chart his own course. “I know how much pressure there is and how many setbacks there can be. You want what’s best for your children, even though they need to find their own way.”
He has sung duets with countless singers from around the world during his nearly 30-year career, including his manager-wife, Veronica. He actually has a law degree from the University of Pisa (’87) and practiced law one year before taking a fork in the road that led to his magnificent singing career.
And in a world that can be so dark and negative, it’s easy to say no – to requests, to concerts, to many things. But yes is so much better, he says. “You say yes when you have your first kiss, when you want to make someone feel good, when you open yourself to new experiences. I always say yes – sì, sì, sì! – and it makes every day better.” The title of his new album, out this month, is titled Sì.
One last cool fact: In 2006, Bocelli worked with his hometown Lajatico to build an outdoor theatre, the “Teatro del Silenzio.” He serves as its honorary president and performs for one night only, every July; the rest of the year, the theatre remains silent. He invites others to join him each year, like Italian performers Placido Domingo and Laura Pausini and American jazz musicians Chris Botti and Kenny G.
Here’s to music and a beautiful person!