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Matteo Bocelli

Sunday, April 21, 2024 @ 7:30pm

Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC)
100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960

At just 25 years old, Matteo Bocelli has already performed on some of the world’s biggest stages and tasted musical stardom—sharing his sensitive songs and dynamic vocal performances with listeners around the globe. As the son and sometimes collaborator of renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli, he’s been instilled with a lifelong musical education and an endlessly curious nature, which are on full display on his debut solo album Matteo, a bold step into his own spotlight.

Immersed in music from a young age, Matteo began taking piano lessons as a child. While his father wanted him to learn about the world before plunging into a music career, he realized his calling as a teenager. “I’d always loved music since I was a little kid,” he says. “But I realized that music was becoming something more than just a passion around the age of 16 or 17.” His debut live performance at age 18 was at Rome’s Colosseum, and in 2018 he and his father released “Fall on Me,” a stirring duet about the relationship between parent and child, which has amassed over 400 million global streams to date.

Matteo grew up listening to opera and classical music as well as “the great voices” like Whitney Houston and Frank Sinatra. But in his adolescence, he began broadening his musical horizons to include modern pop, and he was particularly taken by the then-emerging singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. “I truly consider him a genius,” says Matteo. In 2020 Matteo released “Solo,” a breathtaking love song that recalls both classic arias and sleek radio hits, showing off his exquisite phrasing over a track that combines melodic arpeggios with the dramatic sweep of EDM.

Since then, Matteo has dug even further into his pop-appreciating side, and the result is Matteo, which displays all the facets of his artistry—not just his strong yet vulnerable vocal style, but his songwriting as well. He co-wrote songs across the project, like the lead single “For You,” a triumphant, pulsing track in which Matteo displays his devotion to a friend—and his impressive falsetto. “I’m a very romantic guy, and I love ballads,” he says. “But this was the right song to get a more uptempo sound, and to make people groove a little bit.”

While Matteo’s voice is the only one heard on Matteo, it does feature the singer’s pop hero Sheeran, who wrote “Chasing Stars” for Matteo, a sweeping ballad that shows off his upper register. “When I was younger, my father was my hero / Let me hop on his shoulders, we sang to the moon,” Matteo sings as the song opens, and it goes on to tell a story about a father telling his son to “be who you are.” The song’s messages of family and finding oneself resonated strongly with Matteo. “We both grew up in families where music was very appreciated,” he says. “He wrote the song, but it seems like he wrote it for me. I really feel privileged.”

Matteo has already released songs in multiple languages—he recorded “Fall on Me” in English, Italian, French, and Russian—and Matteo includes tracks sung in Italian, like the disco-tinged “Fasi,” which uses its insistent beat to drive home its message of resilience. “It’s a summary of this phase of my life, where you understand that you have to take certain steps and make certain decisions by yourself,” he says. “You can have the most true and honest suggestions from the people who surround you, but in the end, it’s you.”

While “Fasi” may tell the story of self-reliance, the piano ballad “I’m Here” also underlines the importance of forging relationships with other people—even when doing so might be painful. “’ I’m here’ is a very powerful thing to say,” says Matteo. “I think it’s beautiful when someone tells you, ‘I’m here whenever you need me’—whether you want to share something happy with me, or you feel down and need time to express your emotions. Life is beautiful when you’re able to help someone.”

With his first solo album, Matteo hopes to say “I’m here,” using his formidable voice to offer listeners comfort—and more than a few opportunities to let themselves go in his classically minded version of 21st-century pop. “You can always find positivity from negative experiences,” he says. “I’m the first one that has to work on this—it’s not easy. But through these songs, I wanted to say that when there’s an ending, there’s always a new beginning.

“And above all, I’m here. I’m here for you. Even if we may live life with different points of view, what’s important is that we keep sharing.”

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