Jovanotti – Live Webcast!
Monday August 13th 6pm – Hollywood
Italian superstar Jovanotti performs a live set and signs copies of his new album, Italia 1988-2012 – out August 7th on ATO Records. In his first U.S. release, Grammy award winning producer Ian Brennan has compiled and remixed what he considers Jovanotti’s most compelling material over the past 25 years.
Can’t be in Hollywood for the in-store? Watch the live webcast on Amoeba.com!
Signing after performance is limited purchasers of the new album at Amoeba Music, Hollywood. Retain receipt and signing ticket if purchasing CD in advance of event!
The ATO Records release of Jovanotti’s Italia1988-2012 this August, and the artist’s move to New York this fall, culminate a relationship with the city that has underlied his career from the outset.
Indeed, New York is the Eden of Jovanotti’s origin story, which begins in the mid-1980s, when the Italian superstar made his professional debut behind two turntables and a microphone. “I discovered music – and myself- through hip-hop. Artists like Afrika Bambaataa, the Zulu Nation, Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, the Beastie Boys were, for me, a musical epiphany,” He says. “I learned English entirely through my obsession with records and films from the U.S. New York was a beacon.”
Over the roughly 25 years comprising his recording career to date, Jovanotti has become one of his country’s most beloved – and internationally visible – public figures. He has sold over five million albums in Italy, where he routinely sells out stadiums and arenas. His most recent studio album, Ora, was the best-selling record of the year there in 2011, continuing a streak in which every Jovanotti album of the past decade has topped the record charts (for a total of eight #1 albums and ten #1 singles). He has over a million followers on Twitter, more than any other Italian citizen.
As a teenager in Milan, Jovanotti (Lorenzo Cherubini) cut his teeth as a club and radio DJ, encountering resistance to his rap sensibilities from a conservative, classic-rock culture. His debut album, 1988’s Jovanotti for President, paid homage to these influences. Released two years after Licensed to Ill, the recording consisted primarily of Jovanotti rhyming in English, making brash party music. He appeared on the cover with a baseball cap turned sideways. Even his stage name is a slang, Anglicized spelling of giovanotti, the Italian word for “young men,” and is also a phonetic play on his tongue-in-cheek, Italian-Americanesque nickname, Joe Vanotti.
The album’s success established Jovanotti as the first Italian to break through commercially as a rapper. He was soon collaborating with his heroes, sharing stages with Bambaataa, Run DMC and other hip hop icons.
Jovanotti, who was born in Rome and raised in Tuscany, is often compared in the American press to Springsteen, because he is perhaps the poet laureate rock star of his country. His fans call him “the poet of a generation.” Another reference point is his contemporary Manu Chao, whose musical omnivorousness – particularly his passion for Latin styles – and his dedication to socially progressive causes and movements has garnered him a following spanning borders and generations.
Since the 1990s, Jovanotti has incorporated classical, ska, funk, Latin music and more into his music, and collaborated with such varied luminaries as Amadou & Mariam, Sergio Mendes, Gogol Bordello, Ben Harper, TV on the Radio, The Beastie Boys and the late Luciano Pavarotti, among others.
In compiling and re-mixing – and, in the case of four world premiere tracks featured on the album, recording – the material that makes up the career-spanning Italia 1988-2012, GRAMMY-winning producer Brennan focused on “the thread that runs through all of Lorenzo’s stylistic explorations and growth: his voice, which, largely due to its understatement, resonates with a rare intelligence and humanity that makes it instantly recognizable, standing out like a sore thumb – in all of the best ways- from the sea of commercial Italian radio pop.”
Brennan won a GRAMMY earlier this year for Tinariwen’s Tassili (Anti-); produced the debut of Rain Machine, the solo project of Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio); and has worked with a diversity of highly accomplished artists. Of Jovanotti, Brennan says, “Lorenzo exudes the same consistently high vision I have experienced only with a handful of the major artists I have worked with: Merle Haggard, John Waters, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib of Tinariwen, and Ian MacKaye of Fugazi. Like them, he has a genius which is palpable and unmistakable in its seeming effortlessness.”
While Italia 1988-2012is not a greatest hits album – but rather a best-of, from an American producer’s perspective – it does include Jovanotti’s first mega-hit, the 1994 song “Piove,” which is a veritable entry in Italy’s cultural canon, is known across Europe and Latin America, and has even played under the ending credits of an episode of “The Sopranos.” Rolling Stone recently named the album from which it is culled, Lorenzo 94, one of greatest Italian rock albums of all time.
The internationalization of the content of Jovanotti’s music continued in 1999, when he traveled to South Africa to record his Capo Horn album in 1999. In 2002, he released a Spanish-language album of his greatest hits, which he followed with performances in Mexico City and Cuba, where a concert with Juanes and other Latin stars drew over a half-million people.
Jovanotti released the anthem “Cancella il debito (Cancel the Debt)” in 2000. The success of the song put pressure on then-Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema to reduce debt to developing African countries. Jovanotti and Bono were invited to meet with D’Alema, who agreed, making Italy one of the first countries to offer such relief to Africa.
On an insatiable quest for information and inspiration, Jovanotti possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of fine art, world history, and pop music. Viva Tutto!, a book of conversations between him and Franco Bolelli, a major European philosopher, was a bestseller in 2011. He also directed almost all of the film and video elements for his most recent (2011) tour, a multimedia spectacle that required a 100-person crew to undertake.
Since the dawn of the new millennium, Jovanotti’s music turned more towards guitar rock and electronica and revealed a renewed engagement with the U.S. He recorded his album Safari (2008) in Los Angeles at the famed A&M complex that Charlie Chaplin founded.
In the summer of 2009, he and a mostly Stateside-based band performed a string of sold-out shows at downtown New York clubs. He has returned for brief stints in other parts of this country, including a performance at Central Park SummerStage in 2010, and earlier this year, with TV on the Radio, in the Rolling Stones tribute at Carnegie Hall.
At 45, Jovanotti is now a stable family man with a daughter nearing adolescence. But rather than resting on his laurels, he is starting from scratch, setting his sights on (and taking up residence in) America, a country that, aside from its Italian ex-pats, is only beginning to discover him.
He comes here with a humble reverence that, in a recent conversation with NPR host Guy Raz, he likened to “an American priest going to the Vatican.”
Will American audiences connect with the music? He hopes so. “I grew up listening to rap, hip-hop, funk and American music and I didn’t understand most of the lyrics,” he says. “But the spirit and the feeling of the songs were clear to me. I’m confident that people will get the gist of what I’m saying. Many of the important operas are in Italian, and they have been successfully produced here countless times. So it’s not a question of language, it’s a question of good music.”