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Andrea Bocelli was born in Lajatico, in rural Tuscany, not far from the ancient city of Pisa. Fascinated by the passion and storytelling of opera and traditional Italian music, Andrea dreamed of following in the footsteps of his idols; celebrated Italian tenors including Mario Del Monaco, Beniamino Gigli and especially Franco Corelli. While a child, Andrea's beautiful, natural voice had made him something of a local celebrity. However his musical dreams were to be interrupted by the realities of adult life. To placate his family and their concerns for his future, he graduated from the University of Pisa in law, practicing as a state-appointed defence attorney for a short time. But his passion for music remained, and Andrea was soon studying under a number of maestros, most notably achieving a personal triumph and a source of encouragement when accepted as a pupil for master classes by his hero, tenor Franco Corelli. In 1992, Italian rock star Zucchero enlisted then-unknown Andrea to record a 'demo track' of "Miserere", a duet to be recorded with Luciano Pavarotti. Andrea effortlessly captured the very essence of the song. As Zucchero later said, "He just had this 'soul'". Andrea's voice was soon attracting attention outside Italy. His international breakthrough hit was the beguiling "Con Te Partirò" and in it's duet arrangement with Sarah Brightman, "Time to Say Goodbye (Con Te Partirò)". The solo version was a worldwide smash, topping the French singles chart, while the duet held the top spot on Germany's single chart for fourteen weeks, and, at three million copies, went on to become Germany's best selling single of all time. "I have wonderful memories singing with Andrea," says Sarah Brightman today. ''Time to Say Goodbye' will always hold a special place in my heart".In 1996 and 1997 Andrea Bocelli exploded on album charts across the world, with the international debut album, Romanza, a collection of passionate popular songs. Conquering Europe, then charts around the world, the album amassed a multitude of platinum and multi-platinum awards, with worldwide sales in excess of 16 million copies to date. Selling an impressive 500,000 copies in the Far East, one million in Italy, and more than three million in Latin America and Spain, the album also contained "Vivere ", "Il Mare Calmo Della Sera," and the title track, "Romanza," all of which feature on the new Best Of collection.Andrea's 1999 Best New Artist Grammy nomination marked the first time a classical artist had been nominated in the category in 38 years. 'The Prayer', his duet with Celine Dion for the animated film, The Quest for Camelot, won the Golden Globe for Best Song and was nominated for an Academy Award. In March 1999 Andrea released his second pop offering, Sogno. The album, which included "The Prayer," entered the upper reaches of the pop album charts around the world, confirming Andrea's position at the pinnacle of the world of popular music, and giving birth to the phenomenon of "Bocellimania".
In the fall of this watershed year in an already impressive career, Andrea released Sacred Arias, which went on to become his most successful classical album to date. It has also become the biggest selling album by a classical soloist of all time. With its release, Andrea captured a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records, as he simultaneously held the No 1, 2 and 3 positions on the US classical album chart.  The next three-and-a-half years followed with Andrea holding permanent residency at the No 1 spot.In 2001, Andrea released the semi-autobiographical memoir, The Music of Silence, and closed the year with another hugely successful pop album, Cieli di Toscana, which included "Melodramma" and ''Mille Lune, Mille Onde". The romantic yet melancholic sound of 2002's Sentimento combined the voice of Andrea Bocelli with the exquisite violin of Maestro Lorin Maazel. The album was another huge success on the international pop and classical charts and this was reflected by Andrea's acquisition of two awards including Album of the Year at the prestigious British Classical Brit Awards in 2003. In support of this album Andrea embarked on a packed concert schedule that took in places as far ranging as China and Madison Square Gardens in New York. In addition to these ubiquitous landmarks Andrea also performed in front of the Egyptian Pyramids (a highlight that could only be equaled by his performance in front of The Statue of Liberty earlier in this prolific career).The 2004 release of Andrea's fourth pop album, was followed in 2006 by Amore, featuring guest appearances by the likes of Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera. The album also featured "Because We Believe", which Andrea performed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. As his zest and passion for life has shown, Andrea Bocelli is not a man to avoid a challenge, although his goals it seems are quite simple. "What I crave most, what I hope to achieve", he says, "is to communicate with the listener; to touch them in the same way that I was touched as a child by my favourite singers, who made me cry and made me dream".

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Start: 2000
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