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Bocelli aims ‘to reach the hearts of the people’

Andrea Bocelli’s favorite songs of the season have colors in their titles.

Andrea Bocelli’s favorite songs of the season have colors in their titles.

That the singer has been without eyesight for most of his 52 years is only part of the peculiarity that he would name “Blue Christmas” and “White Christmas” when asked about the holiday songs he likes best. The Italian tenor says he has only experienced Christmas with snow on the ground “probably two or three times.”

“It was very beautiful,” he recounts, “especially when I was a child.”

Bocelli says although he may not have immediately related to all of the yuletide customs that are celebrated on his newly re-released album, “My Christmas,” he consulted with some of the album’s collaborators, including Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole and Reba McEntire.

“I’m lucky,” he says. “I’ve sung with many of the best singers of the world.”

He has woven his operatic tenor with Blige’s soulful voice a few times before, but it was a new experience to pair it with the country twang of McEntire, his partner on “Blue Christmas.”

“I thought it was very interesting, this combination of voices, because we have different voices and different repertoires,” he says of working with the country star. “Everyone has very important elements to reach the hearts of the people.”

This “everyone” he speaks of also includes The Muppets, with whom he delivers a fun rendition of “Jingle Bells” that the listener is never quite certain is silly or sincere.

“I met them in America,” he says of the Jim Henson creatures, “but before that I had a very nice experience with Elmo. We did something together in television with big success. And also my children, when they saw this program, the smaller one cried. He was very moved. But with Muppets, it’s been a beautiful experience.”

War and peace

One of Bocelli’s trademarks is his relaxed onstage demeanor, but there’s more than meets the eye there.

“I suffer a lot from stage fright,” he admits. “It’s true. I have to create a mix between war and peace. War inside and peace outside.”

So how does he find that balance?

“The most important thing for me is to think of the lyrics, because I need to very well under-stand the meaning of the lyrics. Because from the meaning of the lyrics comes the interpretation,” he says.

 
 
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