It was all a bit last minute, but I think rather worthwhile travelling to the USA to interview the amazing man behind the voice! I got a call from my manager about lunchtime on Wednesday to say could I go out to our US HQ in Pennsylvania.
Andrea Bocelli was due to do a one hour show with a live studio audience made up of QVC customers at 5pm on Sunday evening.
My job was to go out on Saturday, arriving late, and interview him on Sunday after the show, and then come back the next afternoon arriving first thing Tuesday morning – all a bit tight but do-able!
Things didn't start too well as I picked up a stinking cold which started to rear it's ugly head just as I got on the flight and has got progressively worse each day since. However, it didn't dampen my enthusiasm to have a chat with such a great star as Sgnr Bocelli.
All went well with travel and I spent most of Sunday morning researching and planning what questions I would ask. I turned up at our studios in West Chester (which, by the way, are enormous – more about them later!) about 3.30pm and at 4pm Andrea started his rehearsal.
He had only arrived from Italy a few hours before and it was quite an excited atmosphere! I was to interview him after the live show, together with his 16 times Grammy award-winning producer David Foster. But was told by his team that if he became too tired he may not want to do the interview in English and all would be done through an interpreter. This was not a great prospect but my Italian certainly wasn't up to doing it on my own.
I was hoping to introduce myself before the show and explain what the plan was but I'm afraid there just wasn't the chance. I watched the show and the delighted audience of QVC customers and I waited until I could say hello and start our chat. The show finished and Andrea and his team left the studio for a while, so when they came back we had a very small window of opportunity to complete the interview.
I was told by his interpreter that he WAS tired and I should be prepared for her to be involved. However, as it happens he was charming and delightfully co-operative and together with David Foster, spoke with me for over 20 minutes.
He is a rather shy and modest man who, as a fully qualified lawyer and beautiful piano player, flutist, guitar player and composer still finds time to scuba dive, ride horses and raise his two boys (from his first marriage) and his 10 month old daughter – all despite being totally blind since about the age of 12.
He has sold more than 80 million records – more than any other classical artist and yet remains so self effacing and was almost embarrassed by the praise that was being heaped upon him by the obviously deeply impressed David Foster (who, if you didn't know, is a very talented and entertaining big hitter in the record business).
You can see the interview soon as we have his album (Passione) on sale this week and you can see the full interview, if I can manage to organise it, on the web soon – I'll let you know! All in all, despite the cold, it was a great pleasure to meet such a charming and talented man and to hear him sing live was a great honour.
I have more to tell about my trip so watch out for some more blogs over the next few days. I am writing this on the plane and will fill you in on all the details as soon as I get home!