Andrea Bocelli Sings Life's Praises
The Italian tenor on windsurfing, family duets and singing in bars
Life without limits
I’m not the best person to give advice about overcoming physical limitations. I don’t think that way. I never go to the doctor. I am physically active. When I was younger I never missed a chance to go skiing, windsurfing or skydiving, although my wife is insisting lately that I be more cautious. There is no impossible dream. If you have faith, discipline and humility, you can pursue just about any task.
Singing a different tune
Early in my career I worked from Tuesdays to Sundays, playing in piano bars and at parties. A whole new world opened up for me. I had to reconsider my strict views concentrating on classical music and open myself to the idea that pop music has masterpieces as well. I would also cross paths, even if only for one night, with some girl my age and would inevitably, and precariously, fall deeply in love.
I’ve had the incredible privilege to weave my voice together with greats such as Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Luciano Pavarotti and more. But if I could rewind time, it would be an unimaginable thrill to sing alongside Maria Callas or the great Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi.
The next generation
My 20-year-old son, Matteo, sings with me on my new album. It makes me happy and proud that he’s interested in singing, but I also worry. I know how much pressure there is, how many setbacks there can be. You want what’s best for your children even though they need to find their own way.
Location, location, location
The Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pyramids, Central Park. Performing in these monumental settings is spectacular. But so are the small venues, the difficult concerts or the ones when I had a cold. Each contributed to making me who I am today.
Just say yes
It’s so easy to be negative in this world and to say no. Yes is so much better. 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 big 6-Oh
Age is something I try not to deal with. The average life span is longer; the seasons of our lives are different from those of our fathers and grandfathers. Nowadays we can also say that chronological age and biological age do not always go hand in hand, especially if we live a healthy lifestyle. But I have to confess that the round figure and the shift of decade, they have their impact on me.
Andrea Bocelli, 60, will release Sì, his first album of all-new material in 14 years, on Oct. 26.
—As told to David Hochman