Tenor Bocelli teams with pop's Ariana Grande on 'Cinema' album

Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:56am EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - The blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has sold 85 million albums and is the best selling singer of all time on the classical charts, but at age 57, this year could be shaping up into one of his biggest ever.

Bocelli, who rocketed to stardom in the early 1990s in part as a protégé of the late Luciano Pavarotti, will release "Cinema", an album of songs from movies ranging from "Maria" in "West Side Story" to "Brucia la Terra" (Burn the Earth) from "The Godfather", on Oct. 23.

It includes a duet version with pop princess Ariana Grande of "E Piu ti Penso" (The More I Think of You) from "Once Upon a Time in America".

"I love very much this kind of music. Why? Because ... the music of the movies is like a big field where composers can run where they want and be ... free," Bocelli told Reuters in an interview in English at The Elstree Studios north of London, where he was filming a song to be used in the hit British television show "Strictly Come Dancing".

Asked what film music means to him, even though he has been blind since the age of 12, when a sporting injury affected his already poor vision, he said: "The same thing it means to you."

He added that singing with Grande had been a treat, in part because his two sons are big fans of the former teen actress turned singer.

"She comes from a different repertoire and her voice is very nice, very sensual...I think for her also it's been very interesting to change the atmosphere of the repertoire, I think that her fans will be very surprised...to listen to Ariana Grande sing a song like this."

Bocelli follows up the release of "Cinema" with a U.S. nationwide Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) special based on the album, broadcast on Nov. 27.   Continued...

Italian singer Andrea Bocelli performs during the amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2015 event during the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Antibes, near Cannes, southern France, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/ Regis Duvignau