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Matteo Bocelli Talks About Collaborating With Indian Musicians And Everything He Has Learnt From His Father

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Nayare Ali

Good looks and charm are an inherent part of the Bocelli family DNA. Add a great voice to the mix, and you have the perfect package. A product of these great genes, Matteo Bocelli followed in his father’s musical footsteps to take up opera singing and playing the piano. Now, shifting gears from opera to pop, he made a quick tour of India to announce his collaboration with music director Amaal Mallik and singing sisters Prakriti and Sukriti Kakkar.

It’s 7pm when Matteo finds the time to sit back and patiently take HELLO! on a voyage of his Italian roots and rhythmic career. In the midst of the pressing demands of his short time in the country, the 24-year-old has had a “busy day, rushing from one place to another” in Mumbai, though he’s thoroughly enjoying every bit of his first visit to India.

“I was fascinated by the indie music market,” says Matteo, the son of world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. “Both Indians and Italians share beautiful melodies. So when I received this beautiful piece of music from Amaal, I felt it would be amazing for a collaboration. I got to sing ‘Amore’ with Sukriti and Prakriti, who are not just amazing artists but beautiful people, too.”

With an infectious smile and a pleasing personality, Matteo is animated as he talks about his debut album, ‘Enigma’, set to release by the end of the year. However, his first official single ‘Solo’, produced by Grammy-nominated songwriter Jesse Shatkin, has already received rave reviews. The music video is as enchanting as Matteo’s deep, soulful voice that croons about life after a broken romance.

“It’s difficult to be separated from a loved one. You feel lost and confused...” In 2018, the father-son duo had teamed up for the song ‘Fall On Me’, featured both in Andrea’s album Sì and in Disney movie The Nutcracker And The Four Realms.

“It was an important step in my career, as it was the beginning of everything,” Matteo recalls. “When I did the demo, it was a way to convince my dad to include this pop song in his album. It was quite different from his other melodies.”

Hearing Andrea and Matteo sing together is an electrifying experience. But the music video, which features the two in tuxedos, their backs against each other as they play the piano, their voices in sync over a montage of photographs, is nothing short of magical. It even led an emotional Andrea to confess: “Anyone who’s a parent, anyone who knows the precious responsibility of being a mother or a father, will fully grasp the meaning of this piece.”

An integral aspect of this song — and the Bocelli family — who isn’t in the video is Andrea’s youngest son Amos, who plays the piano on acoustic.

“It’s beautiful when you share a passion with your family. I come from a home that’s rooted in music. My elder brother also plays the piano but went the engineering route. We brothers are very close. I especially value my younger brother Amos’ feedback as he listens to contemporary music and is very clued into new-age trends.”

Having grown up with an illustrious father, Matteo has had the privilege of performing for several VIPs, including the likes of US President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden, as well as The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, an experience he calls “an amazing moment with beautiful memories”.

“It felt supremely powerful to sing at The White House, an address I always identified as a power centre during my years growing up. To find myself at that very building, performing for the President of the United States, was an unforgettable experience.”

While his life has been a sequence of several such experiences, Matteo was particularly overwhelmed when he had to sing before the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. “Around three years ago, I had to perform in a city close to Rome for a charity foundation. It was hard to sing as he was looking straight at me.”

For many artists, it may be a challenge to pick a favourite from among such high-profile performances. But not for Matteo, who rates the Ravello Festival in Italy as his most iconic moment. “This is the most prestigious music festival in Italy. This is where my dad first tasted success. So when I performed there, I was very emotional. It brought back a lot of memories, but luckily, everything went well.”

Like most Italians, Matteo is extremely family oriented. His deep attachment to his father is evident when shares the many lessons on life he learnt from Andrea.

“My father taught me a lot about life. I learnt all my lessons and values from him. He believes that life is not just about amassing wealth, but that it’s more important to gain knowledge from everything around you. You should invest in yourself, and more than making money, your true value lies in your accomplishments.”

If the way his life appears to be headed is any indication, Matteo is bound to create more such memories soon. His sharp features led him to modelling for fashion giants like Bulgari and Guess, and he’s also set to make his acting debut in May with Three Thousand Years of Longing alongside Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton.

“It was a potent experience. I’m curious to see how I act, but I’m also very worried. It’ll be very strange to see myself on the big screen,” he laughs.

While Matteo does prefer acting to modelling, he quickly admits: “I’ll do another film if I’m offered one, but my first and primary passion is music. Though I understand that artists today must be open to all creative mediums.”

And creative he certainly is. In his free time, Matteo loves to tinker with and fix old cars. “I’m a very practical person. My brother is the brain of the family, while I’m the hand that holds them together.”

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s May 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!