Signore Fornaciari, with “Discover” you have released an album full of cover versions.

Did you fulfill a wish with this?

Christian Riethmuller

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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Ever since I started making music in the 1970s, I've been rehearsing and recording songs by other artists from time to time and have been toying with the idea of ​​a cover album for a long time.

When the list grew to more than 500 songs and we had to stay at home for the past two years, I thought the time had come.

The album offers a thoroughly eclectic selection of Italian hits with a San Remo touch, but also songs by Neil Young and Coldplay.

You recorded a song together with Bono from U2.

With Bono, he called me and told me he had written a new song.

Do you remember the beginnings of Corona, when the Italians made music and sang on the balconies?

Oh yeah .

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Bono dedicated the song he sent me as a demo to this form of resistance and to the people.

I really liked the melody and the lyrics and asked him if I could record an Italian version of it and he would like to sing it with me.

He immediately agreed, recorded his part in Ireland and I recorded mine in Tuscany, and that's how this song came about.

It was similar with a song by REM singer Michael Stipe, which also has the pandemic as its background, great melody, great lyrics.

I also asked him if I could import an Italian version.

Basically, I wanted to record songs that haven't been covered many times.

I've tried some and found that they don't suit my voice.

In this way, a selection came about that conforms to my voice and in which I had the feeling that I had written the respective song myself.

The songs became mine and that's what I wanted.

With some of the interpretations you get the impression that you are looking for the roots of the songs, for their very original inspiration?

I have tried to uncover the core of these songs, to make the often complex production of the originals forgotten.

Only voice and melody.

As simple as possible.

Did you record the songs all by yourself in your studio in Tuscany?

Or did you invite musicians?

I've been working with Max Marcolini for more than 20 years, who is not only an audio engineer but also plays a variety of instruments and is a great help.

We recorded the tracks together and then invited some musicians to record something like a pedal steel.

But they did that where they live.

Otherwise I'm in the studio with a band for an album production, but that wasn't possible because of the pandemic.

It was the first time for me to record in such a way.

And how did you rehearse for the current tour?

I have a lot of space so we could practice.

And many of the musicians have been playing for me for many years.

We are sworn.

Ten musicians are on tour this time, and we play songs from "Discover", from the previous album "DOC" and of course the older hits.

Will the British organist Brian Auger be there again?

Unfortunately no, for family reasons.

But he is fantastic, a legend!

You enjoy playing with legendary musicians.

Do you just give them a call or do you meet up and talk to each other about possible collaborations or projects?

A lot of things happened out of fortunate coincidence.

I never called just like that.

They were already big when I was still unknown.

It probably started with Miles Davis, who heard a song of mine on the radio while on vacation in Italy and asked who was singing and what song it was;

he wants to play with it.

It was similar with Eric Clapton, who was vacationing in Sicily with his then girlfriend when we were doing some concerts there.

She was a fan of mine and urged him to go to a concert.

He then came backstage, said how much he enjoyed it and invited us to open for his European tour.

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and then all of Europe knew this blues singer from Italy by the name of Zucchero.

Do you actually see yourself as an ambassador for the Italian language?

The newspapers think so and describe me as the most famous Italian musician.

But I don't make typical Italian music.

I mix styles and combine Afro-American music with Italian and Mediterranean melodies.

Your texts will also be praised.

They are witty and play with ambiguity.

Do you see yourself in the tradition of the Cantautori?

The cantautori usually put more emphasis on the text than on the music.

It is poetry recited to sounds.

I do try to be poetic in my lyrics, profound or ironic.

But I prefer to let the music do the talking.

Zucchero "Sugar" Fornaciari will be playing on Friday, May 27, from 8 p.m. in the Festhalle Frankfurt.

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