Andrea Bocelli, who describes himself as "a modern but old-fashioned tenor" in a highly successful career mixing opera with classical and popular music, received the 2,402nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday.
Born Sept. 22, 1958 in Lajatico in Tuscany, Bocelli grew up on his family's farm and began studying piano when he was six years old, later learning to play the flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, harp, guitar and drums.
Bocelli had problems with his sight from birth and was eventually diagnosed with glaucoma. When he was 12 years old, he completely lost his sight after an accident at a soccer game.
Despite his blindness, Bocelli won his first song competition at the age of 14 and went on to complete law school. He spent a year as a court-appointed lawyer, earning extra money performing evenings in piano bars.
In 1992, the Italian rock star Zucchero held auditions for tenors to make a demo tape with him of the song "Misere," from his album of the same name to send to Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. After hearing Bocelli on tape, Pavarotti urged Zucchero to use Bocelli instead of him.
In 1994, Bocelli made his opera debut in Verdi's "Macbeth" in the role of Macduff. Bocelli's 1996 recording of "Con te Partiro" and its later arrangement as a duet with Sara Brightman with the title "Time to Say Goodbye," was a worldwide hit. In Germany, the duet became the best-selling single of all-time.
Bocelli's subsequent opera roles would include Rodolfo in Puccini's "La Boheme" in Cagliari; "Carmen" at the Rome Opera; Puccini's "Messa di Gloria" in Padova; and Turiddu in "Cavalleria Rusticana" at Berlin's Deutsche Opera.
Bocelli's classical recordings include "Viaggio Italiano," "Aria -- The Opera Album," "Sacred Arias"; "Il Trovatore" and Massenet's "Werther."
His most recent album, "My Christmas," was second on the Billboard Top 200 Chart for six weeks.