When it comes to life, it can take a while to find your calling. And for any musician, the shared experience of evolving your abilities can come from the many inspirations that surround you. All that can be said for Matteo Bocelli.
The 25-year-old budding singer has been around music for most of his life, as his father is globally renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Growing up in a household filled with the sounds of one of the world’s most recognizable voices, Matteo’s curiosity in music naturally took flight—having first collaborated with his father back in 2018 for his first-ever single “Fall on Me”, going on to amass more than 300 million streams and perform on some of the world’s biggest stages. Now nearly five years later, Bocelli is ready for his proper musical debut, with the upcoming release of his first album, Matteo. The 12-track body of work sees the growing tenor perform in a range of songs, done in both English and Italian, that echo the magic of Matteo’s upbringing and cultural surroundings.
Below, VMAN caught up with the rising tenor to discuss the upcoming release of his debut album, his creative process behind the new songs, and how his relationship with his father grew closer through music
VMAN: How are you feeling in the lead-up to the release of your debut album? Are you nervous at all or feeling more excited now that it’s finally going out for the world to enjoy?
Matteo Bocelli: With the upcoming release of my debut album, I am definitely a bit nervous, but it’s a good type of nerve that I think is normal for any “first” of something. When it is the first time doing anything, there’s typically a feeling of discomfort because of the unknown. With that being said, I am super excited to finally release it and share a project that I have been working on for three years!
VM: What do you think has been the biggest lesson you learned about yourself since releasing “Fall On Me” in 2018 with your father (both musically, and creatively)?
MB: I have realized the importance of really believing in yourself and who you are, not trying to change for others or their approval. Being authentic is so important when creating music because the audience is able to tell fairly quickly when you create something that is not true to you. If you don’t believe in what you are creating, how can you expect others to believe in it too?
VM: How do you think your sound has evolved since putting out that first track? Are you going into this new era of music with more confidence?
MB: I think a musician’s sound and style of writing is constantly evolving, based on what point they are at in their lives. So yes, my sound has evolved since I began my singing career because I have evolved a lot since then. Not only has my style of writing and singing changed, but my voice has also changed as I have had more time to practice and train, as well as becoming a few years older. There is definitely a calmer, more confident feeling when it comes to the release of this album. I am very happy with the end result and knowing I gave my everything in creating a beautiful album helps with feeling even more confident when starting this new journey.
VM: Why did you ultimately choose for the album to have a mix of songs in English and Italian?
MB: I have always enjoyed listening to English music and singing in English. But it is also important for me to continue singing in Italian. Firstly, because I think it’s important to remember where you come from and honor those roots. I also love the sound of the Italian language. Obviously, Italian is my first language so it is the language where I can best articulate my thoughts and feelings.
VM: What was it like working with artists like Ed Sheeran, Jesse Shatkin, and Stuart Crichton on this album? How did you choose which direction to go when deciding what you wanted your sound to be for this album?
MB: I feel very privileged and honored to have worked with so many incredible artists for my first album. I was lucky enough to get to work with Jesse Shatkin for “Solo” and “Close,” which is a really special memory for me because those are two of my first-ever releases. I also enjoyed being able to work with someone I consider a great friend and talent, Stuart Crichton, for my single “Close.” Being able to have contributions from Ed and Matt Sheeran for my other single, “Chasing Stars,” is a dream for me. I have followed Ed since the beginning and have always been a huge fan. They have all helped with this album and in developing my sound. We were able to create a final product that does a great job of capturing where I am in my life right now and I am so happy with these results.
VM: What was it about “For You” that made you want the track to be the album’s first single?
MB: It was an incredible experience to collaborate with Red Triangle for this song. I instantly connected with this song because of the energy and style it had, which is something I had been looking for in the song that would be my first single. I have always associated myself with songs that are romantic and ballad-like and not as much with more upbeat songs. This type of song, with a good vibe that really carries throughout the entire song, is just what I had been looking for and I am really happy with how it turned out!
VM: Chasing Stars,” which was co-written for you by Ed and Matthew Sheeran, is all about a father-son relationship. How has your relationship with your father grown creatively throughout these last few years of your venturing into music?
MB: My father and I have always had a special and close relationship. During these past few years, I feel that our relationship has developed even more as we have begun working together. Especially now, with me pursuing a career in music and following his footsteps, there are many times when he has been able to offer a helping hand and words of advice.
VM: Can you recall the first time your father reacted to you expressing interest in performing? Did he happen to help guide you in any way, in terms of finding your voice and perfecting your sound?
MB: I have always been surrounded by music since I was little, but my father encouraged us to enjoy music and discover it by ourselves. He never expected us to pursue careers in music and was actually surprised when I told him about my decision to pursue my own career. He has always given me helpful advice both in life and in music, but he has also given me space and allowed me to discover my voice and sound on my own.
VM: With an upcoming world tour, what are you looking forward to the most? Which of the cities are your favorite to visit?
MB: I am really looking forward to my upcoming tour in general, but especially because it is the first time I’m embarking on a tour alone. It will be a completely new experience for me and I can’t wait. Many of the cities we will be performing at throughout the tour will be new for me. I am excited to discover more incredible cities and new venues during these new months.
Matteo will be available to stream beginning September 22nd via Capitol Records
Photography by Mattia Guolo