28 October 2016

Eros Ramazzotti - singer-songwriter

Best-selling Italian star is 53 today

Eros Ramazzotti on stage in 2015
Eros Ramazzotti on stage in 2015

The best-selling Italian singer and songwriter Eros Ramazzotti was born on this day in 1963 in Rome.

Ramazzotti, whose style has developed from pure pop to a contemporary soft rock genre with elements of classical crossover, has sold around 65 million records in a career spanning almost 35 years, putting him among the top 12 Italian recording artists of all time.

He is popular throughout Europe and in Spanish-speaking countries in South America, so much so that he records most of his albums in Spanish as well as Italian.

Among his 13 studio albums, three compilations and six live albums, 12 have reached No 1 in the Italian charts and 10 in the Swiss charts.  In addition, Ramazzotti has had No 1s in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Sweden.

Twice - with 9 in 2003 and e2 in 2007 – he sold more records in that year in Italy than any other artist.

Ramazzotti's distinctive voice is part of his appeal
Ramazzotti's distinctive voice is
part of his appeal
Other major selling albums have been In ogni senso, Tutte storie, Dove c'è musica, Stilelibero and Calma apparente.

His appeal is said to stem from his unique voice - a vibrant, slightly nasal tenor – his energetic delivery of catchy pop numbers and the passion he brings to often semi-autobiographical ballads, a genre very popular with Italian audiences who like songs with which they can identify.

Ramazzotti was born in Cinecittà Est, a suburb of Rome that takes its name from the huge film studio complex that was built in the area in the 1930s and subsequently became the hub of the Italian movie industry.

His parents, Rodolfo and Raffaela, named him Eros after the Greek god of love. They were not wealthy but bought him a guitar when he was seven and he began to write songs with his father, who played the piano, in his teens. 

Owing to a lack of musical background, his application to study at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the pre-eminent music conservatory in Rome, was declined and his first serious work was as a bookkeeper.

Occasionally, he appeared as an extra in films at Cinecittà, but his ambition was to be a pop star.

Listen to Eros Ramazzotti perform one of his biggest hits Più Bella Cosa

His talent became clear in 1981 when he took part in a music contest, Voci Nuove di Castrocaro (New Voices of Castrocaro Terme) with the song "Rock 80".  Although the contest was won by Zucchero and the female singer Fiordaliso, Ramazzotti reached the final and earned his first recording contract with a studio in Milan, moving to the northern city soon afterwards. 

His first single was not particularly successful but then his song "Terra promessa" (Promised Land) won the Newcomers' category at the 1984 Sanremo Festival. 

In 1985, Ramazzotti took part in the Sanremo Festival again with the song "Una storia importante" (An Important Story), taken from his debut album Cuori agitati (Troubled Hearts). He finished only sixth but the song was released as a single and became a hit in many European countries. 

Eros Ramazzotti on stage in Alicante, Spain
Eros Ramazzotti on stage in Alicante, Spain
His second album Nuovi eroi (New Heroes), released in 1986, gave him his first No 1 and the single from the album, "Adesso tu" (Now You) won Sanremo outright. 

Since then, his career has been one of almost unremitting success, with other performers eager to share the spotlight. Ramazzotti has filled large venues performing alongside such stars as Cher, Tina Turner, Andrea Bocelli, Patsy Kensit, Anastacia, Joe Cocker, Luciano Pavarotti and Laura Pausini among others. 

Away from the stage and studio, Ramazzotti has led a very public private life.

In 1998 he married the Swiss model and TV presenter, Michelle Hunziker, with whom he had already had a child, Aurora Sophie. His hit song "Più bella cosa"(The best thing) was dedicated to Michelle, the follow-up single "L’aurora" (The aurora) to his daughter. They were considered the perfect couple but their marriage ended in divorce and a custody battle that the tabloids lapped up. 

In June 2014 Ramazzotti married Italian model and actress Marica Pellegrinelli, who is 24 years’ his junior.  They have a daughter, five-year-old Raffaela Maria, and a son, Gabrio Tullio, aged 18 months. 

A football fan, despite his links with Rome and Milan he supports the Turin club, Juventus.

The Cinecittà film studio complex is near Ramazzotti's childhood home in the Rome suburbs
The Cinecittà film studio complex is near Ramazzotti's
childhood home in the Rome suburbs
Travel tip:

Cinecittà in Rome is the largest film studio in Europe, spreading over an area of 100 acres with  22 stages and 300 dressing rooms. Situated six miles south of the city centre, it is the hub of the Italian film industry. Built during the Fascist era under the personal direction of Benito Mussolini and his son, Vittorio, the studios were bombed by the Allies in the Second World War but were rebuilt and used again in the 1950s for large productions, such as Ben Hur. These days a range of productions, from television drama to music videos, are filmed there.

Travel tip:

Eros Ramazzotti’s first record company was based close to the commercial heart of Milan in Via della Spiga, which forms part of the so-called Fashion Quadrilateral, bordered by Via Monte Napoleone, Via Manzoni, Via Sant'Andrea and Corso Venezia.  Via della Spiga is home to many designer stores.

More reading:
(Photo of Cinecitta by JRibaX CC BY-SA 3.0)

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