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Adelmo Fornaciari was born in Roncocesi on 25th September 1955. He later moved to Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany where, between 1970 & 1978 he formed his first R&B bands: ‘Le Nuove Luci’, ‘Sugar & Daniel’ and ‘Sugar & Candies’. By that time he was already known as Zucchero, a nickname given to him by one of his school teachers.
In 1981 he won the Castrocaro Festival with ‘Canto Te’. Then in 1983 he recorded his first studio album entitled ‘Un Po di Zucchero’. He travelled to San Francisco to visit Corrado Rustici who introduced him to Randy Jackson. When he returned to Italy in 1985 it was with a new band featuring Randy Jackson on bass, Corrado Rustici on guitar, Walter Afanatieff on keyboards and Giorjo Francis Perry on drums. He competed at the San Remo Festival with the song ‘Donne’ and then released ‘Zucchero & The Randy Jackson Band’. The follow up album, ‘Rispetto’, topped the charts upon release. Zucchero triumphantly competed at the San Remo Festival once again the following year with ‘Canzone Triste’.
In 1987 Zucchero recorded ‘Blue’s’ with Corrado Rustici and David Sancious who teamed up for the sessions with Clarence Clemmons and the Memphis Horns. The result was over 1.3 million copies sold in Italy, the biggest commercial breakthrough ever to be reached by a rock music album in Italy. Zucchero followed the release by touring with Joe Cocker & Miles Davis.
In 1988 he wrote a musical score for the movie ‘Snack Bar Budapest’, directed by Tinto Brass. During the same year Zucchero recorded a new version of ‘Dune Mosse’ with Miles Davis.
In 1989 Zucchero released his fifth studio album, ‘Oro Incenso e Birra’, featuring Eric Clapton as well as the musicians who had collaborated on ‘Blue’s’. It is Clapton’s guitar solo on ‘Wonderful World’’ that makes this song so unique. This album sold over 1.7 million copies in Italy alone breaking the record set by ‘Blue’s’.
1990 saw the release of ‘Oro Incenso e Birra’ in England and to promote it Zucchero went on a double-billed European tour with Eric Clapton. He became the first rock artist to perform at the Kremlin in Moscow, and during the concert, which was broadcast all over Europe, he duetted with Randy Crawford on ‘Imagine’ and with Toni Childs on ‘Many Rivers to Cross ’.
In 1991 Zucchero recorded ‘Senza Una Donna’ (Without a Woman) with Paul Young. The single topped the charts in almost all European countries and the United States. The next single, ‘Diamante’ also topped the European charts. Zucchero wrote the lyrics & sang on the Italian version of ‘Mad About You ’, (Muoio per te) featured on Sting’s ‘The Soul Cages’ album. That same year, Brian May invited Zucchero to join him and the other members of Queen to perform at Wembley Stadium in London at the ‘Freddie Mercury Tribute’ where he performed ‘Las Palabras de Amor’.
‘Miserere’, his sixth studio album, was released internationally on October 1st, 1992 in both English and Italian. The title track is a duet with the Maestro, Luciano Pavarotti. The lyrics of the English version of the album were adapted by Bono of U2.
Also in 1992 Zucchero & Luciano Pavarotti together devised the concept of the Pavarotti & Friends charity gala. The first edition, broadcast live worldwide, was the first in a series of benefit concerts which are now held annually.
On January 25th 1993 ‘Miserere’ was certified multi platinum and at the World Music Awards Zucchero took the award for the ‘Year’s Most Successful Italian Singer’.
In 1994 Zucchero released ‘Diamante’ a greatest hits package especially for South America with translations by Fito Paez. That summer he was the only European artist to appear at the second Woodstock festival & feature in the movie of the event, ‘My Generation’.
‘Spirito Di Vino’ was released worldwide on 27th May 1995. The album concept arose from Zucchero’s desire to immerse himself in the musical scene of New Orleans, where the album was recorded. It succeeds in capturing the sounds and atmosphere of the Mississippi Delta.
In the middle of his 1996 European tour, he stopped off in Monte Carlo to collect the award for ‘World’s Best Selling Italian Artist of the Year 1995’ at the World Music Awards. In July of the same year ‘Spirito di Vino’ was awarded the IFPI’s Million Seller award and later that month he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where he played with Little Richard. He also performed with Buddy Guy at the benefit concert for Liberia which was held in Milan at the San Siro Stadium.
The ‘Best of Zucchero’ greatest hits album was released worldwide in November 1996. Upon release the album took the top spot in Europe with hits like ‘Il Volo/My Love’, ‘Menta e Rosmarino / I Wont Be Lonely Tonight ’ as well as some old favourites like ‘Diamante’, ‘Senza Una Donna ’ and ‘Diavolo in Me ’. The ‘Best of...’ album has sold close to 3 million copies to date.
Touring in 1997 kicked off in New York at the Carnegie Hall where he performed at the Rainforest Benefit, participating with artists such as Sting, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and many others. ‘Best of...’ was re-released at Christmas and included the single ‘Va Pensiero’, the famous classical chorus from Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’. The original lyrics were modified by Zucchero who turned the song into a lullaby; the aim was to raise awareness in children towards the problem of deforestation in the Amazon.
The 1998 ‘Annual Grammy Awards’ in New York featured Zucchero singing ‘Va Pensiero’ by invitation of Pavarotti. Later that year he was invited by Roman Polanski and Gerard Depardieu to perform at the ‘Cinemus International Festival’ in Gstaad with Vangelis and his orchestra. ‘Bluesugar’ was released in Italian and English on October 30th, and included the track ‘Blue’ with lyrics by U2’s Bono.
In February 1999 the Bluesugar World Tour kicked off from Italy and during the course of the year Zucchero appeared at the Pavarotti Charity Gala in Modena playing with B.B.King, at the IMST Festival in Austria where he was special guest to The Rolling Stones playing in front of 200,000 people and at the Red Cross charity concert in Munich where he appeared with Michael Jackson. Later, Zucchero was invited by Bono of U2 to play at the New York Net Aid charity which was broadcast worldwide. November saw the release of Tom Jones’ ‘Reload’ album featuring Zucchero duetting on ‘She Drives Me Crazy’.
The year 2000 saw Zucchero once again at the Pavarotti International Charity Gala and as part of the Millennium celebrations he made a special guest appearance with the Scorpions and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Hannover. In Paris, he joined among others, fellow musicians Johnny Hallyday, Peter Gabriel and YoussouN’Dour to take part in a cd project called ‘Solidays L’Album’, to raise money for AIDS victims in Africa.
2001 started in the Napa Valley, California where Zucchero and Corrado Rustici with DJ John O’Brien worked on the backing tracks of the new album. Soon after they went to the Plant Studios in Sausalito to record with Polo Jones on bass & Zach Alford on drums and here one of the highlights was an appearance by legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker, this sadly being one of the last sessions he was to perform on. From California Zucchero returned to Italy to complete recording at Umbi Studios in Rovigo and from there to Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in England to mix the album with U2 mix engineer Richard Rainey and finally to master at Metropolis studios in London.
‘Baila (sexy thing)’ the first single from the new album went to #1 in Italy upon release (July 2001) and also topped the charts in Switzerland (GOLD) and in Spain (for the first time ever!). The new album ‘Shake’ recorded in the Sausalito US and Real World UK studios was completed in Italy and released in September in Europe. It was certified IFPI PLATINUM for sales exceeding 1 million copies in Europe alone. The album includes an incredible duet with John Lee Hooker to whom the record was dedicated. A long SOLD OUT SHAKE TOUR followed.
In November 2003 Zucchero was invited by Brian May and Dave Stewart to take part in the mega-concert “46664 give 1 minute of your life to AIDS” an event organised by Dave Stewart and Queen to support Nelson Mandela’s campaign. Zucchero sang “Everybody’s got to learn sometime” accompanied by Brian May, Roger Taylor, Sharon Corr and then Queen’s marvellous medley "I want it all" and "We are the Champions" with Anastasia. And finally, he joined all the other artists for the grand finale to sing "46664 (long walk of freedom)."
Zucchero was also the only 46664 Ambassador to appear at the “Festival 46664 Comunidad de Madrid” event which took place in the Spanish capital. He also performed at the “46664 Arctic” concert which took place in Tromsø, Norway in June 2004.
Zucchero's 2004 international hit album “Zu & Co.” featured duets with many music greats, including Miles Davis, Paul Young, Ronan Keating, Sheryl Crow, The Cranberries's Dolores O'Riordan, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Maná, Brian May, and Solomon Burke. The international launch of the album took place at London’s Royal Albert Hall with a special concert featuring Brian May, Mousse T., Jenny Bae, Tina Arena, Fher from Mana, Paul Young, Dolores O’Riordan, Solomon Burke, Cheb Mami, Ronan Keating, Luciano Pavarotti, Eric Clapton, and Irene Fornaciari. The album sold millions of copies throughout Europe and the rest of the world and entered the Billboard charts after its release in the U.S. in the summer of 2005.
In July 2005, Zucchero took part in the Live 8 concerts in both Rome and Paris.
The next album to be released in September 2006 was entitled “Fly”. Produced by Don Was, it includes the singles "Bacco perbacco", "Cuba Libre" and "Occhi" and features collaborations with artists such as Ivano Fossati and Jovanotti. The album track "L'amore è nell'aria" ("Love Is In The Air"), borrows instrumental backing from the b-side "Broken" by UK rock band Feeder, but it is a new recording based on the Feeder original rather than a sample taken directly from the recording. The album immediately entered all European charts debuting at No. 1 in many countries.
Sam Moore’s album “Overnight Sensational” was released including a duet of “You Are So Beautiful” by Zucchero and the legendary soul man, accompanied by Billy Preston (Hammond organ), Eric Clapton (guitar) and Robert Randolph (pedal steel). This version of “You Are So Beautiful” from the Sam Moore album was nominated for the 49th Grammy Awards in the “Traditional R & B Vocal” category.
The beginning of 2007 saw Zucchero promoting “Fly”, throughout Europe guesting on major television and radio shows, followed by a worldwide tour which opened in Paris and ran until the end of the year, playing more than 150 concerts (almost all of them sold-out) all over Europe, Canada, the US and Latin America. The tour was a huge success both in terms of audience response and critical acclaim, and Zucchero played legendary places and venues like the Opera in Paris, the Arena in Verona, the Valle dei Templi in Sicily, the Carnegie Hall in New York, the House of Blues in Los Angeles, and many others…
On November 26th “All the best”, a collection of Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari’s greatest hits, was released simultaneuosly all over the world.
Following this release, Zucchero went on a 2 year worldwide tour, playing more then 200 gigs in 5 continents.
In November 2008, the album “Live in Italy” was released. It was a double package, 2 CDs + 2 DVDs of recorded and filmed footage capturing the magic atmosphere of the concerts held in Milan’s San Siro Stadium and the Arena in Verona. Again, the album was a huge, worldwide success.
Then in 2009, following the terrible earthquake which shook the central Italian town of L’Aquila on April 24th, Zucchero and other major Italian artists joined forces to record a single called “Domani 21-04-09” (Tomorrow 21-04-09), with all proceeds from the sale of this single going to the rebuilding and restoration of the “Alfredo Casella” Academy of Music and the Stabile Theatre of Abruzzo in L’Aquila.
At the VII Ischia Global Film & Music Fest Zucchero and Paul Haggis presented Sting with an award, and later on during the gala Zucchero gave a surprize performance with Sting and Andrea Bocelli. On the second day of the event it was Zucchero’s turn to receive an award, presented to him by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler.
Zucchero was invited to the festivities for Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday and to take part in the “46664 Make An Imprint” concert held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Other artists performing were Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Will.I.Am, Josh Groban, Carla Bruni, Dave Stewart, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Angelique Kidjo, Whoopi Goldberg, Forest Whitaker, Morgan Freeman and many more. Zucchero, who was introduced to the audience as “the biggest rockstar in Italy”, sang “You Are So Beautiful” and then joined the other stars to sing the chorus accompanying Stevie Wonder’s rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
A terrible disaster at Viareggio railway station in Tuscany (June 30th 2009) led Zucchero and promoter Mimmo d’Alessandro to organize a “Concert For Viareggio – Lest We Forget”. Accompanied by a house band formed by Massimo Marcolini (musical director and guiitarist), Andrea Cozzani (bass), Guido Carli (drums), Giuseppe Zito (keyboards), Eros Cristiani (keyboards), Joe Damiani (percussion), Sara Grimaldi (vocalist), Stefania Orrico (vocalist), Mario Schilirò (guitar), Derek Wilson (drums), James Thompson (sax) and Massimo Greco (trumpet). Zucchero sang “Diavolo In Me” with Solomon Burke, “Baila (Sexy Thing)”, “Dio è Morto” with Bebbe Carletti from The Nomadi, “Dune Mosse” with Jeff Beck on guitar, “Every Breath You Take” with Sting, “Fragile” with Sting and Jeff Beck, “Così Celeste” with the Puccini Festival Choir and “Miserere” performed as a virtual duet with Luciano Pavarotti on the mega screens.
November 2010 saw the release of ‘Chocabeck’, already hailed as one of the best, if not the best album ever written by Zucchero. Recorded across the Globe including stints in Los Angeles, Bolgheri, and London the album featured production from some of music’s best known alumni including Don Was (The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison) and Brendan O’Brien (AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam). Additional production also came from people who were at the helm of the incredibly successful last Coldplay record (Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends) messrs Jon Hopkins and Davide Rossi. Featuring some of Zucchero’s most poignant and touching lyrics he also managed to enlist the assistance of his good friends Bono (who the lyrics for the track ‘Someone Else’s Tears’ ((Il Suono Della Domenica)) and Brian Wilson (who recorded backing vocals for the title track). With this record Zucchero opened up a new chapter in his illustrious and coveted career.
‘Chocabeck’ was also the name of Zucchero’s acclaimed ‘Chocabeck World Tour’ that saw him to play more than one hundred concerts in Europe, North America and Latin America.
In summer 2012 Zucchero recorded in Havana ‘La Sesión Cubana’, an album that featured collaborations from some of Cuba’s most important musicians. The album was preceded by the first worldwide single “Guantanamera (Guajira)”, which was produced by Zucchero and Don Was, and mixed by Michael Brauer. ‘La sesión cubana’ combined seven brand new songs with six newly arranged Zucchero hits (“Baila”, “Un Kilo”, “Così Celeste”, “Cuba Libre”, ”Everybody’s got to learn sometime” and “L’Urlo”). The new recordings consisted of the first single “Guantanamera (Guajira)”, adapted by Zucchero into Italian, original compositions “Love is all around” and “Sabor a ti”, and covers “Never is a moment”, “Nena”, “Pana” and “Ave Maria no morro”. “Nena” and “Pana” are in Spanish, the second one a duet with Bebe, and “Ave Maria no morro”, sung in Portuguese, was a duet with one of the most prestigious singers of contemporary Brazilian music, Djavan.
Zucchero described his album in his own words: My music, as everybody knows, comes from blues, from soul, from gospel. This project is a trip from New Orleans to Cuba via Mexicali. Latin, Cuban, tex-mex sounds and rhythms melt together dancing. “Hasta l’asta siempre”.
The album was launched with a mega concert event at the University of Arts of Cuba with the collaboration of the Cuban Culture minister, the Cuban Institute of Music and the Italian embassy in Havana. Zucchero performed in front of 80,000 people.
In 2013, Zucchero was invited to take part at the “Los Angeles, Italia – Film, Fashion & Art Fest” the night before the annual Academy Awards. At the Grammy Museum, he received the “L.A. Italian Excellence Award 2013’’ . The night after, at the Chinese Theatre there was a the premiere of the recording of the Havana concert that took place in December.
In the same year he brought his tour to Australia. After 3 sold-out dates at the Arena of Verona, La Sesiòn Cubana World Tour 2013 arrived in Europe with more than 60 dates including a 4th Arena di Verona show.
Zucchero took part at the flash-mob wanted and organized by Bono in London called “Agit8”, where he sang “Love is all around” transformed for the occasion to “Love is still around” and then, by popular demand, “Everybody’s got to learn something”.
The Italian and International version of the cd+dvd live “Una rosa blanca” that contained the recording of legendary Cuba concert was released in December 2013.
The following year Zucchero embarked on his Americana Tour 2014, which lasted 2 months and consisted of more than 40 dates around the United States and Canada. During the triumphal Madison Square Garden concert, Zucchero invited on stage Sting, Sam Moore, Fher, of Mana, Elisa, Jovanotti, Fiorella Mannoia, Chris Botti, Monica Messinger, Andrea Griminelli and Irene Fornaciari.
During the Americana Tour 2014, Randy Jackson, Corrado Rustici, Don Was, Jimmy LaFave and Andy J. Forest all made guest appearances.
Zucchero was chosen as the headliner of th sold out 18 city German “Night of the promsms” arena tour.
April 29th 2016 saw the release of Black Cat (Universal Music), a new studio album which Zucchero presented live on the Black Cat Tour 2016. The tour kicked off at the Verona Arena on September 16th with the extraordinary “10 + 1” shows, and between October 1st and November 15th 2016 it became the “Black Cat World Tour”, enjoying enormous success among an international audience. On November 25th the “BLACK CAT DELUXE EDITION” was released, a box set containing 2 CDs and 1 DVD to mark the great success of ZUCCHERO and his latest studio album “Black Cat”.
In February 2017 Zucchero was, for the first time, a special guest at the Festival of Sanremo during the final evening of Italy's most famous song contest. In March, the “Black Cat World Tour” began again, this time taking in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and South America, as Zucchero presented to the world the songs from “Black Cat” as well as all his greatest hits. In Italy, the “Black Cat World Tour” reached the city of Verona, where Zucchero set an extraordinary record of completing 22 concerts at the Verona Arena within a 12-month period (September 16-17-18-20-21-23-24-25-26-27-28 2016, May 1-2-3-4-5 2017 and September 20-21,22,23,24,25 2017).
On the “Black Cat World Tour”, Zucchero played to over 1 million people in 611 cities, 67 countries and 5 continents.
November 2017 saw the release of “WANTED - THE BEST COLLECTION”, celebrating the best of over 30 years of music and featuring live material from the Verona Arena shows, a docufilm with backstage footage as well as interviews, other special content and three brand new songs.
In February 2018 Zucchero played some of the most important indoor arenas in Italy during his “WANTED ITALIAN TOUR 2018”, and all ten dates were sold out! Still in Italy, on July 3rd and 4th, Zucchero performed for the first time in Piazza San Marco, the first pop/rock artist to do so for seven years. The summer then took Zucchero on an international tour entitled “Summer Events and Festivals 2018”, and he played at some of the most important festivals in Europe, including “British Summer Time” in Hyde Park, London, the Cornbury Music Festival in Oxfordshire, the Bospop Festival in the Netherlands, as well as events in Croatia, France, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, in other words, pretty much the whole of Europe.
In October, Zucchero was awarded the TENCO ARTISTA PRIZE 2018 (the most prestigious recognition for Italian singer-songwriters) during the 42nd edition of the TENCO AWARDS.
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