Italian pop wouldn't be the same without Eros Ramazzotti, who's sold millions of albums all over the world. The singer is now releasing his 15th album, "Perfetto." Is it as perfect as the title suggests?
"When you finish working on a project, you give it one last good look, you add the finishing touches, and then you say 'Perfetto,'" says Ramazzotti to explain the title of his latest release.
During the production, he probably said it 20 times a day, and that's how it became the perfect name for his album.
The result is truly authentic: It's just right for all Italian pop lovers and, of course, for his fans. These fans - with all due respect - are getting older. After all, the 51-year-old pop star has been on stage for over 30 years.
A talent contest in 1981 brought him his first record deal. His career really took off three years later at the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy, where he won the prize for Best Newcomer. In 1985, he landed his first megahit, "Una Storia Importante."
Ramazzotti was huge in the 1980s and the 90s: He'd fill stadiums and sing with big names such as Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Cher, Adriano Celentano and even Luciano Pavarotti.
He had already sold nearly 35 million records worldwide by 2005, and now he has reached the 50-million mark.
Ramazzotti's recipe for success is flawless pop music. His mostly female fans melt for the schmaltzy songs he sings with his unmistakable nasal voice. His records were also released in Spanish: Since then, fans have been multiplying in South America. North American releases of his albums cater to the US market.
Soccer and dirty laundry
After music, Ramazzotti's second passion is European football, which he already loved as a child. He kicks for charity as a team member of the Nazionale Italiana Cantanti, the Italian national team of singers. He scored over 170 goals for the team, in stadiums just as full as when he sings.
His glamorous private life was also made public when he married the Swiss model and TV presenter, Michelle Hunziker. They had a child while both pursuing their successful careers and were considered the perfect couple. When they got divorced, the tabloids published all the dirt on their nasty custody battle.
Ramazzotti has since remarried and he and Marica Pellegrinelli have two children.
Big names, classic style
In 2007, Ramazzotti released an album of greatest hits, which delighted fans by offering surprises beyond his well-known successes of the last 20 years. The album called "e2" included new versions of these hits - remixes and duets with popular international artists, such as Latin pop star Ricky Martin, hip hop singer Wyclef Jean and Carlos Santana. It went platinum 10 times and became the bestseller of the year in Italy.
Eros Ramazzotti has always enjoyed working with big names. For "Perfetto," he traveled around the world to record tracks with the greatest studio musicians, collaborating for instance with the legendary drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, who played on albums by Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, and Sting. He also hired one of the most popular US guitarists, Michael "The Man" Landau, who has played with the likes of Pink Floyd, Madonna and Miles Davis.
But don't expect jazz influences or other musical surprises on this album. Produced by Ramazzotti's long-time friend Claudio Guidetti, the record offers 14 light pop songs: It's smoothly produced, without electronic gimmicks, and has the unmistakable Ramazzotti note.
It combines upbeat pieces like the current single "Alla Fine Del Mondo" with more contemplative songs like "Sei Un Pensiero Speciale." Ramazzotti couldn't avoid including violin-oozing ballads like "Tra Vent'Anni." This time, though, he refrained from duets. Altogether, "Perfetto" is a record that won't hurt anyone while discreetly playing in the background. Actually, it could have been made by the Italian singer 10 or 20 years ago.
The fans won't be bothered by the lack of originality, though. They can look forward to his new songs and to his international tour. The artist has four concerts planned in Germany for this fall, in large concert halls in Munich, Mannheim, Cologne and Stuttgart.