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From The Church Choir to The World Stage

by - 14 October

Meet Mario Biondi - a world sensation and one of the most popular artists in Europe. They call him the Italian Barry White due to his distinct deep voice. But he has shaped his unique style.
The son of a songwriter, Biondi started singing in a church choir but soon moved on to performing in public squares. In 1988 he had the opportunity to support Ray Charles. He received his first big break in 2004 when his  single "This Is What You Are" became an international hit. He has some great collaborations with artists such as Chaka Kahn Al Jarreau & Incognito.

I had the chance to talk to Mario Biondi on the phone about his path from the church to the world stage and the price of the big fame. 

How long was the road from the church to the world stage?
I started thanks to my father when I was six. The first stage with my father was here in Sicily. I went on stage with him like background vocals. And before that, I went to the choir, to the Gregorian choir, and it was an awesome experience for me. It was fantastic. I remember very well also right now the words in Latin.
"The long and Winding Road" - it's an old song written by Paul McCartney. And I think that it's the picture of my career from 12 till now. But it's fantastic to receive this opportunity - to be on big stages all over the world. It's fabulous to meet a lot of people, to share and to have the chance to sing to people that love music.
What were the main life lessons that you learned during your career - from the church to the world stage?
I think that I had the chance to learn a lot of things thanks to people that I met during my crusader. I had the chance to open my mind thanks to the music and to love the people all over the world.

What does success mean to you?
Success is to meet beautiful people all over the world. Success is having the chance to sing your songs without any compromise.

What does success take and what does success give?
Sometimes the music career puts you a little bit far from the family, from the kids. This is maybe the the worst part. But the music gives me back the chance to be a better man for my family.

What do you mean?
I think that I grew up thanks to the music and thanks to the opportunity to meet a lot of people in the world - artists but also normal people that taught me a lot of things. These people make me see a lot of things, which are maybe not easy to see and analyze.
What were the main things that you learn from these people? 
I learn sometimes in a strange way, you know, sometimes to understand some things in life you have to be alone. Often to feel like a castaway on a stage, like a man alone on an island. But little by little I put together the energy of the musicians that surround me. And thanks to them I had and have the chance to feel a lot of a brotherhood so I cannot feel alone any more.

Who were the musicians that inspired you mostly?
First of all - Al Jarreau and my father.

Was the music that chooses you or you chose the music? 
Maybe first the music chose me and after that I chose the music and I devoted myself.

Who was the first person that believed in you? And do you remember the exact moment and how that made you feel?
The first person was my father. The moment was when I was 16. I talked to my father and tried to explain to him that I would like to be a professional singer. He looked at me and said: "Professionally! Are you sure? You know that it's not easy?" It were maybe two-three words, nothing more, but it's printed in my brain, in my soul.

And what was your answer to the question?
My answer was: "Yes, I would like to do it. And I'm sure".
My father taught me the value of the word. He asked me - "Are you sure man? You promised me. Are you sure?" And to me that is like a blood promise.

How the soul music transformed you?
I don't know if the soul music transformed me. But it makes me understand that I'm part of the kind of mood, the kind of culture of soul. And I try to follow the best that I can in the right way with this kind of culture, kind of vision.
If you have to define yourself with a song or a composition, which would it be? What is the sound of your soul?
I think sometimes is: "The love is a temple", sometimes is: "No more trouble", sometimes is: "This is what you are", sometimes is: "Something that was beautiful".

How did you master the universal language to touch people from everywhere in the world?
The music is the universal language obviously. Thanks to  my crazy idea to try to sing in a language that it's not my mother tongue - English is not my mother tongue, but little by little I improved.

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