The moment Il Volo begin to sing, a crowd at The Grove in Los Angeles gather to watch. These teen boys sound like seasoned tenors. The popera Italian trio are taping a segment for Extra to a stunned crowed. However, after their appearance on American Idol on May 19, these kids will not be able to walk the streets unrecognized.
It's been an incredible journey for Piero Barone (17), Ignazio Boschetto (16) and Gianluca Ginoble (16) that started in 2009 when they met doing an Italian music competition show titled Ti Lascio Una Canzone (Leavin' You a Song).
These kids are high energy, funny and hard-working. Barone and Boschetto both hail from Sicily. When asked about their island home, both light up and launch into a skit of Sicilian and Calabrese humor and food jokes.
The group's self-titled debut, already a massive hit all over Europe, was released in the U.S. this week. Produced by hitmaker Humberto Gatica and artist/visionary Tony Renis, the album is the essence of cross-over opera pop.
In fact, legendary songwriter Diane Warren gave the group two songs, "La Luna Hizo Esto" (The Moon Did This), which Diane calls her "best melody ever" and another song titled "Painfully Beautiful." In addition, the album features a melody by iconic Italian composer Ennio Morricone with lyrics by Renis titled "E Piu Ti Penso."
Renis explains that Il Volo is the first-ever Italian act signed directly to a U.S. pop label (Geffen/Interscope). In fact, the group is an international priority for parent company Universal Music Group.
It was Renis -- best known for his massive 1962 hit "Quando, Quando, Quando" -- who discovered the group in May 2009 and assembled a dream team to launch them internationally. Grammy-award winning producer Gatica, who has worked with such acts as Josh Groban, came on board as did Michele Torpedine, Andrea Bocelli's manager for 16 years.
The trio was brought to then-Geffen chief Ron Fair. He and Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine promptly signed the act.
Word got around and rock manager Steve Leber, of Aerosmith and AC/DC fame, literally came out of retirement to share management duties with Torpedine.
"Il Volo reminds me of the early Rolling Stones and Elvis," Leber says. "They are going to create a massive shift in the music business."
The goal is to position Il Volo, which means "flight" in Italian, as international pop stars that transcend the classical genre so dominated by Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Josh Groban and the Three Tenors. "These boys can do anything," Renis says.
The boys hang out at The Gove after their performance of the hit that put them on the map, "0 Solo Mio." They are mobbed by a group asking for autographs and they smile and take photos with fans. One women bought two CDs on the spot.
"This is going to be big," says Leber.
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