Billboard Latin Music Awards

Andrea Bocelli: I was destined to sing

 
Michael Buckner / Getty Images for Fight Night

Talk about an OMG moment for anyone who didn’t know that global superstar Andrea Bocelli kept a lair in South Florida. The famed Italian tenor showed up on Sunday for a solo hymn at Easter services at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Miami Beach.

Later, Bocelli, along with his wife of one month/manager Veronica Berti visited Cavalli Restaurant and Lounge for a dinner of truffle risotto with the clothing designer-owner himself. Just so happens the “popera” singer (who was born with glaucoma and blinded in a soccer accident at the age of 12), and Cavalli are old friends. No spontaneous singing was reported.

We’ll get to see and hear more of Bocelli, 55, when he performs at the 25th annual Billboard Latin Music Awards, and picks up a lifetime achievement trophy. The always caliente ceremony will be broadcast live by Telemundo and mun2 at 7 p.m. Thursday from the BankUnited Center at University of Miami.

We caught up with Bocelli, through a translator:

When did you first realize you wanted to go into music?

When I was still in my cradle. My mother says that as soon as I heard music I stopped crying. At the age of 7, I could recognize famous voices almost instantly. My first hero was [opera great] Beniamino Gigli; an elderly uncle of mine who deeply admired him told me about him. A key moment in my personal training that led me to pursue a career as a tenor was the extraordinary voice of [famed tenor] Franco Corelli, who would later become my teacher. My nanny Oriana gave me my first record. I used to listen so I could learn the great arias then try to emulate the way they sounded, singing in a loud voice in the living room. Relatives and friends of my family used to ask me to sing for them on special occasions. As a child I knew that music would be a true friend for life. But the constant demands made me understand that it could become a profession.

How did you start out?

As a self-taught teenager, I gave my first concert at a small village feast not far from Lajatico, where I was born. I sang with great hesitation, but for the first time I could perceive the affection of a real audience. Music started to become my career when I was around 18. To pay for lessons I started to work in piano bars in Pisa. It was also around this time when I added pop to my repertoire, something I had never thought of doing before. It was through pop how I found a wider audience — and spread my wings.

If you weren’t a singer what else would you be doing?

After high school, I studied law. After I got my degree, I was convinced that I would earn a living as a lawyer. I don’t know whether I would have been a good lawyer, but certainly I would have been a conscientious professional and loved my job. If that were my fate, it would have been fine all the same. There are a thousand ways to be a valuable person without being famous.

Madeleine Marr

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity birthdays on July 25

    Actress Barbara Harris is 79. Singer-guitarist Bruce Woodley of The Seekers is 72. Supermodel Iman is 59. Cartoonist Ray Billingsley (“Curtis”) is 57. Country singer Marty Brown is 49. Actress Illeana Douglas is 49. Actor Matt LeBlanc is 47. Actor D.B. Woodside (“24”) is 45. Actress Miriam Shor (“Swingtown,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) is 43. Actor David Denman (“Parenthood,” “The Office”) is 41.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Kelsey Grammer a new dad, Cynthia Nixon shocked by past family violence, Selena Gomez has a new man

    The Killing star Mireille Enos and husband Alan Ruck (Spin City) say they are “awestruck by the arrival” of their baby boy. “The whole thing is a miracle.” Larkin joins big sister, Vesper, 3.

  • La vida local

    Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union: Top secret wedding location

    We are left wondering where Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are going to get hitched at the end of next month. A peek of the invite leaked on TMZ says to “put on your dancing shoes” for a “throw down.” An enclosed note with blacked-out words tells guests to meet up at a hotel, where they will be transported to the wedding site. If they prefer to drive, attendees are directed to call a number for instructions on how to get to the venue that is “45 to 50 minutes south of South Beach.” Um, the Biltmore? Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne? Private estate? Your guess is as good as ours.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category