Whether you’re in need of some uplifting spirit, or simply get your kicks from the easy tunes of Matter Bocelli’s rich vocals, you are undoubtedly in luck as the acclaimed singer and songwriter kicks off 2022 with a brand new single and video for “Close”. With his statement emotive melodies in tow, Matteo’s soul shines bright in the anthem, proving his artistry is as charming as himself.
In a breathtaking visual that was shot at Italy’s Arena di Verona, Bocelli’s track soars through the space of the barren Roman amphitheatre which once housed the talents of Paul McCartney and One Direction. Packed to the bring with feel-good energy and positive sentiments, “Close” carries with it the sugar sweet qualities that create timeless hits — to play whenever in need of a pick me up, on a road trip with your best friends, or having an outdoor dinner with your family.
Upon the release of the new track, we sat down with Matteo Bocelli to discuss his influences, as well as the stories of his past that have made him into the man he is today. Head below for the full interview…
What has the pandemic changed in your life for the better?
It definitely brought my family closer. We have always been close, but so many months all together never happened and for this reason I feel very greatful
I also had the time to focus on my music with less pressure and that’s been very important to find my own path
Where do you call home today? How does it influence your art?
Tuscany. Always. It’s where I grew up and where my family still lives. I think there’s maybe a bit of a misconception about me that my life is very jet-set and cosmopolitan, and it can be at times, but I’m not a fan of big cities. The countryside is where I really belong. You can already hear it in the music I’ve released up to this point. In Solo, I wrote about being surrounded by the trappings of success but yearning to be home with the people I love.
Which artists were your biggest inspiration growing up? And how about artists today too? At age 6 you began learning piano and singing, you love it right away? What were your favorites to play and sing?
The house was always full of music – not just opera and classical music, but also Sinatra, Queen, The Beatles. So I was brought up with very eclectic taste and even now I feel like I’m a bit of an old soul when it comes to music. I loved playing Imagine by John Lennon, The Commodores, Elton John. A lot of them are still my favourite songs now. The singers I really admire and respect now are the ones who have managed to forge lasting careers. People like Ed Sheeran and Adele. Their fans have grown up with them and still love the work they’re making.
Obviously your father is an icon, what have you learned from your dad, and also beyond music?
It’s the work ethic he instilled in me more than anything else. As a kid I watched him work so hard for us as a family – travelling all the time. I found it difficult watching him leave for tours and shows so often but I knew it was for us and that it was hard on him too. And now I feel it myself, heading out into the world as an artist. He taught me a lot of discipline. If you want something you have to work for it, you have to practice. It’s not just going to come from nowhere.
Your first US performance was with David Foster, what was your biggest take away from that?
David has been absolutely crucial in the development of my father’s career. If there was no David Foster, there would definitely be no Matteo Bocelli! David was the first person that told me I belonged on stage. Before David, I wasn’t even thinking about singing as a career possibility for me – I just knew I loved music and wanted to be in that world. David was the person who said to me, ‘you have the technical capabilities to do this, you have the skills, go and do it.’ My biggest take-away from David was, ‘there’s never going to be a second first impression.’ It’s always important to give every performance everything you have because everyone is watching and you will be judged on it.
When did you know music would be your career?
I knew pretty young that music was where I belonged. I didn’t know until later that I wanted to pursue a career as a singer – as I said, David Foster was really instrumental in pushing me to sing. When I was younger I was very set on studying music, going to a conservatoire and having proper classical training. My dad was never pushy about music. He didn’t expect for any of us to follow in his footsteps. Once we released Fall On Me, and the response was so incredible – labels were suddenly interested in me as a soloist – that was when it felt that music was becoming something more then a passion
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?
Trust your gut. And know that music is a language and it’s important to learn it with constancy.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
In life is important to do what we love but most of all to learn loving what we do.
What has been the hardest part of your music journey so far?
The hardest part is making yourself so vulnerable in front of the world. You write the music and it’s really personal and then you put it out there and wait for everyone to judge it!
I think nervousness is important. If you’re not nervous it probably doesn’t mean that much to you.
What has been your favourite part of your career thus far?
There have been so many amazing moments already. My dad has opened some incredible doors – performing at The White House, playing Madison Square Garden and The Hollywood Bowl. But I think the biggest highlight is when I was sent the final artwork for Solo – my own single. There was an incredible feeling of excitement and accomplishment that I had done this thing and it was actually real.
You did some modelling alongside Jennifer Lopez, what made you decide to do that campaign? How was it working with her?
That was crazy! I couldn’t believe they even wanted me to model with Jennifer Lopez! It wasn’t really a decision – when Guess say they want you to be in their campaign with one of the biggest stars in the world you just say yes!
Jennifer was really fantastic to work with – very fun and a beautiful person in every way. She’s someone I really admire in the entertainment industry. She’s built an incredible, diverse career and she’s as relevant now as she was twenty years ago. She’s someone to really look up to.
How does fashion fit into your life? Which designers are your favorite?
This is an interesting question because day-to-day I’m a very casual person. I love my sportswear and sneakers. I used to be called “unicolor” because I never wanted to spend too much time thinking about what to wear, so jeans and a white t-shirt hasalways been my perfect look. I wear what’s comfortable. But I do enjoy dressing up for a photoshoot. I love the opportunity that this career has given me for trying different designers, different looks that I never imagined would work. The stylist says, ‘just try it,’ and you can be really surprised when something looks great.
Your latest single just came out, share with us how it came to be?
This song was written in between Lajatico and Los Angeles with Stuart Crichton and Wrabel. I’d worked with Stuart before on some other tracks, and Wrabel was someone I was really keen to work with. It came pretty late in the album-writing process. We’d already decided that Solo would be the first single and when I came out of the writing sessions for Close, everyone felt straight away that it was the perfect follow-up track. The songs are two sides of the same coin. They’re both exploring very similar feelings in a totally different way.
What is 2022 looking like for you?
Busy! I’ve got performances with my father and a lot of my own solo projects coming up. Lots of things I’m not allowed to say too much about just yet. And more music too!
What is your ideal / Perfect day?
I’m really happiest outside in Tuscany. I like to make the most of the morning, so I’d be under the hood of an old Land Rover or fixing some other piece of machinery – I get that from my grandfather. If I wasn’t a singer, I’d have been a mechanic! Then a really good lunch outside with lots of fresh food, and then in the afternoon a hike with friends through the countryside or down to the coast.