Musically Speaking: Eros Ramazzotti is Italy’s Most Successful Cross-Over Artist

One of the few Italian performers who have successfully translated his talent into worldwide success – Italy’s Eros Ramazzotti just wrapped up the final leg of his “Calme Apparante” (Apparent Calm) 2006 World Tour.

Supporting the album of the same name, “Calme Apparante” has already sold 2.5 million copies and is set to hit the 3-million mark before Christmas.

Known as much for his melancholy ballads as for his romantic love songs, Ramazzotti has pulled a hat trick this summer – consistently selling out stadiums and arenas wherever he performed. No small feat given the glut of performers and acts that hit the road during the summer months.

The Ramazzotti world tour was forecasted to last at least 8 months and the initial schedule of 69 concerts was expanded to nearly 80. The first leg of which wrapped in early June. Joining Eros on the stage is Paul Warren and Giorgio Secco on guitar, Luca Scarpa and Pippo Lamberti on keyboards, Reggie Hamilton on bass and Curt Bisquera on drums. Back-up singers include Lidia Schillaci and Bridget Mohammed, who fill in for Anastasia on the chart-topping ballad “I belong to You”. Eros took a break and resumed his tour in July. The “Calme Apparante” tour wrapped on August 7th in Monte Carlo.

The big question at this point though is…now what?

Despite his international fame, Eros Ramozzotti is still an undiscovered commodity in the United States. Which has more than a few people scratching their heads. His crossover hit with Anastasia owes as much to her presence at it does to half the lyrics being in English.

Although this particular single may be his most popular in America. “I belong to You” isn’t the first time Eros Ramazzotti crossed over to the US in an effort to court American audiences. His 3rd album “In Certi Momenti” (In Certain Moments) contained a single performed with Patsy Kensit – “La Luce Buona Delle Stelle” (The Good Light of the Stars) which proved very successful internationally. He enjoyed a sold-out performance at Radio City Music Hall in 1990 in support of his “In Ogni Sense” (In Every Sense) album. In 1995 at the Europe Summer Festival Eros hit the stage alongside heavyweights Rod Stewart, Elton John e Joe Cocker. Seven years later with 20 millions records sold and several more successful albums under his belt, Ramazzotti produced and sang “Can’t Stop Thinking of You”, with the legendary Tina Turner. The result: another worldwide hit.

In the interim, Eros Ramazzotti has performed alongside some of Italy’s most famous performers including Luciano Pavorotti, Andrea Bocelli, Jovanotti and Pino Daniele among others.

Touring in America could be a huge risk. Ramazzotti won’t be the first foreigner to come to America in search of gold only come up short and find aluminum instead. Fellow performer Laura Pausini – currently one of Italy’s newest and most successful recording artists – balked at suggestions that she try to “sex up her image” for American audiences. I’m not sure how sexy a 40-something, balding Italian singer can become, but Eros does go over well with the 18-28 demographic and THAT’S what counts (musical integrity aside).

Select dates in major markets where there is a strong Italian or international audience may the key to brisk business on this side of the Atlantic. Anxious promoters are waiting to see what sort of decision Ramazzotti makes.

In the meantime, the numbers don’t lie: the “Calme Apparente” tour was one of the most successful of the summer season and the album it supports struck the motherload as well.

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