Following sold-out shows in South Africa’s cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, fans couldn’t get enough of the musical brilliance of the young Matteo Bocelli, singing alongside his father, Andrea. The assumption might be made that his vocal abilities come from great genes, but nothing this remarkable can be attained without a good dose of talent and determination.
You were born into musical royalty – the son of world-famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. What are the fondest memories of your formative years?
Since I was a child, I have many memories related to music, because, as you can imagine, it accompanied me from morning to night. I started studying piano at the age of seven on the advice of my father and from that moment, I never abandoned it.
Your father is widely listed as your inspiration – he is also your tutor?
My Dad has had many roles in my musical growth. I have been greatly inspired by him. From the first day, I decided to pursue this career he became a tutor, a trusted person with a lot of experience in the field who can always give me the right advice. Who could do it better than him?
You made your debut as a tenor in 2016 at the age of 19 in front of twelve thousand spectators at the Teatro del Silenzio. What was that experience like for you?
I was very nervous, not only because I was singing in front of so many people and I wasn’t used to it, but also because at the last minute my Dad decided to sing a song that I hadn’t prepared. Apart from this, it was a beautiful experience for me, a moment I will never forget.
There were many more performances after that. Did you ever have/do you have stage fright singing in front of so many people?
Naturally, the first few times you are particularly tense, but with the passage of time, you get used to it. Today I’m pretty quiet and I think it’s right to always have a little fear because it means you care about what you are doing.
Which performances are highlights for you?
In particular, I will remember the concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where you can breathe the magic of the evenings when that stage was played by all-time great artists like Frank Sinatra, Queen, and many others.
The duet with your father ‘Fall on Me’ is absolutely goosebump beautiful. What is the message behind the song and it must be incredible to perform with your father? Basically, the song is about the relationship between father and son, in which the latter is becoming a man and appeals to his father to help him find the way that will make him happy in life. I think this song, especially the message, has reached people because it tells the reality based on the true affection that exists between me and my Dad. In all honesty, singing with my Dad was a wonderful experience that led us to spend some time together around the world, but at the same time, an everyday thing, because I’ve been singing with him since I was a child (Matteo laughs).
Apart from your musical talents, you have done some advertising work with iconic brands, collaborating with some high-profile celebrities. What was it like working on the Guess Fall/winter 2017 campaign alongside Jennifer Lopez?
Working in the fashion world was a very fun experience for me, something new that I had never done before. Collaborating with Jennifer Lopez has made the experience even more fantastic. She is an artist who has shown so much and who today, is not tired of getting involved to give even more.
You visited South Africa for the first time when you performed in Johannesburg and Cape Town. It must have been lovely to experience it with your family and it seems as though you had some amazing animal sightings on your first safari.
I had never been to South Africa and my brother Amos and I had promised ourselves for many years to visit that wonderful country … finally, we made it! The safari experience was wonderful and the air you breathe revitalizes you. A magical place from which you would never want to leave. I hope to be back soon. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
Exciting prospects in the pipeline?
I am very focused on my musical studies at the Lucca Conservatory in Italy and at the same time, I get a bit of space to experiment with my voice on various musical genres. When the time comes, who knows … maybe I’ll release my own album.
Follow Matteo on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/matteobocelli/
| Photographs courtesy of Matteo Bocelli and by Luca Rossetti