Andrea Bocelli’s first holiday album, “My Christmas,” was one of the best-selling albums of 2009, making the celebrated tenor synonymous with the season.
Now, he’s truly making the season a family affair.
Bocelli, 63, will release his new album, “A Family Christmas,” on Oct. 21. He’s joined on the record by his son Matteo, 24, and daughter Virginia, 10. It’s the first time all three have worked together in the studio.
Catching up with the Bocellis via Zoom from Italy, the tenor called the album’s short turnaround time a miracle: The family recorded their vocals at the start of summer. But according to his son, there was a silver lining.
“When you make music in a short time, you get the first emotions. You don’t really overthink it,” says Matteo. “Most of the time, it’s good to get the first takes of your voice.”
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Bocelli’s son, who recently made his film debut in George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” says the idea for a family album came from their label Decca Records after seeing audiences react when Virginia and Matteo joined their father on stage. Bocelli has sung with both of them live before.
“For me as their father, it’s been very nice to see their work,” Bocelli says.
Bocelli’s own father, Alessandro, often told him, “You must do two things: to sing in America and to sing on television,” he recalls of the encouragement he received early in his career. “For me, it’s very nice to have the possibility to go around the world with all of my family.”
His family also includes his wife and manager, Veronica Berti, and eldest son Amos, 25. In addition to the new album, the Bocellis will embark on an 11-date tour this December that includes the tenor’s first performances in Indianapolis; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Savannah, Georgia. He’ll also return to New York’s Madison Square Garden.
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A total of 13 tracks, most of them covers and standards the tenor had never sung before, include “A Family Christmas.” The first single, “The Greatest Gift,” is an original song that features vocals from all three Bocellis. The family patriarch played the biggest role in the final song selection – at least according to the youngest.
“Me and Matteo did not choose a single song,” Virginia jokes, before adding that her brother chose “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” for the album. Other tracks include “Joy to the World,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad.” “I was pretty excited, not just for Daddy but especially for Matteo, because I’ve never really done anything musically with him.”
Make no mistake, though, Virginia loves the holiday season. She excitedly describes family traditions, including the Christmas Eve “festa dei sette pesce,” or “feast of the seven fishes.”
“On Christmas Day, we usually have like all Italians do, pasta … a very heavy meal,” she says. “After dinner, we go to the living room and start opening the presents.”
For many who celebrate Christmas, the morning begins with a check to see if Santa stopped by. But for the Bocellis, their holiday begins with a different tradition.
“Every year, we go together to mass in the morning,” Bocelli says. “This, for me, is the only important thing for Christmas.”
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