Adelmo Fornaciari was born in Roncocesi on 25th September 1955. He later moved to Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany where, between 1970 & 1978 he formed his first R&B bands: ‘Le Nuove Luci’, ‘Sugar & Daniel’ and ‘Sugar & Candies’. By that time, he was already known as Zucchero, a nickname given to him by one of his school teachers.
In 1981 he won the Castrocaro Festival with ‘Canto Te’. Then in 1983, he recorded his first studio album entitled ‘Un Po di Zucchero’. He travelled to San Francisco to visit Corrado Rustici who introduced him to Randy Jackson. When he returned to Italy in 1985 it was with a new band featuring Randy Jackson on bass, Corrado Rustici on guitar, Walter Afanatieff on keyboards and Giorjo Francis Perry on drums. He competed at the San Remo Festival with the song ‘Donne’ (BMG) and then released ‘Zucchero & The Randy Jackson Band’. The follow up album, ‘Rispetto’, topped the charts upon release. Zucchero triumphantly competed at the San Remo Festival once again the following year with ‘Canzone Triste’.
In 1987 Zucchero recorded ‘Blue’s’ with Corrado Rustici and David Sancious who teamed up for the sessions with Clarence Clemmons and the Memphis Horns. The result was over 1.3 million copies sold in Italy, the biggest commercial breakthrough ever to be reached by a rock music album in Italy. Zucchero followed the release by touring with Joe Cocker & Miles Davis.
In 1988 he wrote a musical score for the movie ‘Snack Bar Budapest’, directed by Tinto Brass. During the same year, Zucchero recorded a new version of ‘Dune Mosse’ with Miles Davis.
In 1989 Zucchero released his fifth studio album, ‘Oro Incenso e Birra’, featuring Eric Clapton as well as the musicians who had collaborated on ‘Blue’s’. It is Clapton’s guitar solo on ‘Wonderful World’’ that makes this song so unique. This album sold over 1.7 million copies in Italy alone breaking the record set by ‘Blue’s’.
1990 saw the release of ‘Oro Incenso e Birra’ in England and to promote it Zucchero went on a double-billed European tour with Eric Clapton. He became the first rock artist to perform at the Kremlin in Moscow, and during the concert, which was broadcast all over Europe, he duetted with Randy Crawford on ‘Imagine’ and with Toni Childs on ‘Many Rivers to Cross ’. In the same year, he released the album Zucchero onto the world market, a collection of hits sung in English, followed by a European tour that ended with two historic concerts at the Kremlin (8 and 9 December).
In 1991 Zucchero recorded ‘Senza Una Donna’ (Without a Woman) with Paul Young. The single topped the charts in almost all European countries and the United States. The next single, ‘Diamante’ also topped the European charts. Zucchero wrote the lyrics & sang on the Italian version of ‘Mad About You ’, (Muoio per te) featured on Sting’s ‘The Soul Cages’ album. That same year, Zucchero returned to Moscow to release the Live at the Kremlin album to the world press. Later in the year Brian May invited Zucchero to join him and the other members of Queen to perform at Wembley Stadium in London at the ‘Freddie Mercury Tribute’ where he performed ‘Las Palabras de Amor’ (1992).
‘Miserere’, his sixth studio album, was released internationally on October 1st, 1992 in both English and Italian. The title track is a duet with the Maestro, Luciano Pavarotti. The lyrics of the English version of the album were adapted by Bono of U2. In the album, the tenor part was entrusted to Andrea Bocelli, who was discovered and launched onto the record market by Zucchero.
Also in 1992 Zucchero & Luciano Pavarotti together devised the concept of the Pavarotti & Friends charity gala. The first edition, broadcast live worldwide, was the first in a series of charity concerts, which were held annually until 2003.
On January 25th 1993 ‘Miserere’ was certified multi platinum and at the World Music Awards Zucchero took the award for the ‘Year’s Most Successful Italian Singer’.
After four sold out concerts (on the 25 and 26 January in Milan, and the 28 and 29 January in Rome) the Urlo Tour began and passed through major European and Italian cities.
In 1994 Zucchero released ‘Diamante’ a greatest hits package especially for South America with translations by Fito Paez. That summer he was the only European artist to appear at the second Woodstock festival & feature in the movie of the event, ‘My Generation’.
‘Spirito Di Vino’ was released worldwide on 27th May 1995. The album concept arose from Zucchero’s desire to immerse himself in the musical scene of New Orleans, where the album was recorded. It succeeds in capturing the sounds and atmosphere of the Mississippi Delta. After a few dates in major European summer festivals like the Rockpalast (8 July) and the Nice Jazz Festival (July 15) and Pavarotti & Friends (12 September), the Spirito DiVino Tour (September 18, 1995) started in Brescia. Brian May was a guest in Bologna (September 22), Paul Young in Verona (September 28) and Francesco De Gregori in Rome (October 2). The first part of the tour ended with three sold out dates at the Assago Forum (9, 10 and 11 October) and, later, the tour visited the main European cities and ended in Parma (20 December).
In the middle of his 1996 European tour, he stopped off in Monte Carlo to collect the award for ‘World’s Best Selling Italian Artist of the Year 1995’ at the World Music Awards. In July of the same year ‘Spirito di Vino’ was awarded the IFPI’s Million Seller award and later that month he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where he played with Little Richard. He also performed with Buddy Guy at the benefit concert for Liberia which was held in Milan at the San Siro Stadium. Spirito DiVino Tour arrived in the United States: it was Zucchero’s first American tour. Dan Aykroyd announced the tour during an interview on the David Letterman Show. The US tour ended with a concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York (April 22) it then continued to Europe and concluded, after a year from its start, with a tour in the Italian stadiums.
The ‘Best of Zucchero’ greatest hits album was released worldwide in November 1996. Upon release the album took the top spot in Europe with hits like ‘Il Volo/My Love’, ‘Menta e Rosmarino / I Wont Be Lonely Tonight’ as well as some old favourites like ‘Diamante’, ‘Senza Una Donna’ and ‘Diavolo in Me ’. The ‘Best of…’ album has sold close to 3 million copies to date.
Touring in 1997 kicked off in New York at the Carnegie Hall where he performed at the Rainforest Benefit, participating with artists such as Sting, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and many others. ‘Best of…’ was re-released at Christmas and included the single ‘Va Pensiero’, the famous classical chorus from Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’. The original lyrics were modified by Zucchero who turned the song into a lullaby; the aim was to raise awareness in children towards the problem of deforestation in the Amazon.
The 1998 ‘Annual Grammy Awards’ in New York featured Zucchero singing ‘Va Pensiero’ by invitation of Pavarotti. Later that year he was invited by Roman Polanski and Gerard Depardieu to perform at the ‘Cinemusic International Festival’ in Gstaad with Vangelis and his orchestra. ‘Bluesugar’ was released in Italian and English on October 30th, and included the track ‘Blue’ with lyrics by U2’s Bono.
In February 1999 the Bluesugar World Tour kicked off from Italy and during the course of the year Zucchero appeared at the Pavarotti Charity Gala in Modena playing with B.B.King, at the IMST Festival in Austria where he was special guest to The Rolling Stones playing in front of 200,000 people and at the Red Cross charity concert in Munich where he appeared with Michael Jackson. Later, Zucchero was invited by Bono of U2 to play at the New York Net Aid charity, which was broadcast worldwide. November saw the release of Tom Jones’ ‘Reload’ album featuring Zucchero duetting on ‘She Drives Me Crazy’. In the same year, Zucchero released the Overdose D’Amore The Ballads album for the American market.
The year 2000 saw Zucchero once again at the Pavarotti International Charity Gala and as part of the Millennium celebrations he made a special guest appearance with the Scorpions and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Hannover. In Paris, he joined among others, fellow musicians Johnny Hallyday, Peter Gabriel and YoussouN’Dour to take part in a cd project called ‘Solidays L’Album’, to raise money for AIDS victims in Africa. At the invitation of Dori Ghezzi, he performed a personal version of the song “Ho Visto Nina Volare” at the concert held in memory of Fabrizio De André at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa (12 March).
2001 started in the Napa Valley, California where Zucchero and Corrado Rustici with DJ John O’Brien worked on the backing tracks of the new album. Soon after they went to the Plant Studios in Sausalito to record with Polo Jones on bass & Zach Alford on drums and here one of the highlights was an appearance by legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker, this sadly being one of the last sessions he was to perform on. From California Zucchero returned to Italy to complete recording at Umbi Studios in Rovigo and from there to Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in England to mix the album with U2 mix engineer Richard Rainey and finally to master at Metropolis studios in London.
‘Baila (sexy thing)’ the first single from the new album went to #1 in Italy upon release (July 2001) and also topped the charts in Switzerland (GOLD) and in Spain (for the first time ever!). The new album ‘Shake’ recorded in the Sausalito US and Real World UK studios was completed in Italy and released in September in Europe. It was certified IFPI PLATINUM for sales exceeding 1 million copies in Europe alone. The album includes an incredible duet with John Lee Hooker to whom the record was dedicated. A long SOLD OUT SHAKE TOUR followed.
In 2001 he returned to the Sanremo as a songwriter for Elisa “Luce (Tramonti A Nord Est)” which came first and Giorgia “Di sole e d’azzurro, ” which came second.
In 2002, he took part in the “Good Rockin’ Tonight” documentary about Sun Records, and sang the Italian version of the soundtrack for the cartoon “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.”
In November 2003 Zucchero was invited by Brian May and Dave Stewart to take part in the mega-concert “46664 give 1 minute of your life to AIDS” an event organised by Dave Stewart and Queen to support Nelson Mandela’s campaign. Zucchero sang “Everybody’s got to learn sometime” accompanied by Brian May, Roger Taylor, Sharon Corr and then Queen’s marvelous medley “I want it all” and “We are the Champions” with Anastasia. And finally, he joined all the other artists for the grand finale to sing “46664 (long walk of freedom).”
Zucchero was also the only 46664 Ambassador to appear at the “Festival 46664 Comunidad de Madrid” event which took place in the Spanish capital. He also performed at the “46664 Arctic” concert which took place in Tromsø, Norway in June 2004.
Zucchero’s 2004 international hit album “Zu & Co.” featured duets with many music greats, including Miles Davis, Paul Young, Ronan Keating, Sheryl Crow, The Cranberries‘ Dolores O’Riordan, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Maná, Brian May, and Solomon Burke. The international launch of the album took place at London’s Royal Albert Hall with a special concert featuring Brian May, Mousse T., Jenny Bae, Tina Arena, Fher from Mana, Paul Young, Dolores O’Riordan, Solomon Burke, Cheb Mami, Ronan Keating, Luciano Pavarotti, Eric Clapton, and Irene Fornaciari. The album sold millions of copies throughout Europe and the rest of the world and entered the Billboard charts after its release in the U.S. in the summer of 2005.
The next album to be released in September 2006 was entitled “Fly”. Produced by Don Was, it includes the singles “Bacco perbacco“, “Cuba Libre” and “Occhi” and features collaborations with artists such as Ivano Fossati and Jovanotti. The album track “L’amore è nell’aria” (“Love Is In The Air”), borrows instrumental backing from the b-side “Broken” by UK rock band Feeder, but it is a new recording based on the Feeder original rather than a sample taken directly from the recording. The album immediately entered all European charts debuting at No. 1 in many countries.
Sam Moore’s album “Overnight Sensational” was released including a duet of “You Are So Beautiful” by Zucchero and the legendary soul man, accompanied by Billy Preston (Hammond organ), Eric Clapton (guitar) and Robert Randolph (pedal steel). This version of “You Are So Beautiful” from the Sam Moore album was nominated for the 49th Grammy Awards in the “Traditional R & B Vocal” category.
The beginning of 2007 saw Zucchero promoting “Fly”, throughout Europe guesting on major television and radio shows, followed by a worldwide tour which opened in Paris and ran until the end of the year, playing more than 150 concerts (almost all of them sold-out) all over Europe, Canada, the US and Latin America. The tour was a huge success both in terms of audience response and critical acclaim, and Zucchero played legendary places and venues like the Opera in Paris, the Arena in Verona, the Valle dei Templi in Sicily, the Carnegie Hall in New York, the House of Blues in Los Angeles, and many others…
On November 26th “All the best”, a collection of Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari’s greatest hits, was released simultaneuosly all over the world.
Following this release, Zucchero went on a 2 year worldwide tour, playing more then 200 gigs in 5 continents.
In November 2008, the album “Live in Italy” was released. It was a double package, 2 CDs + 2 DVDs of recorded and filmed footage capturing the magic atmosphere of the concerts held in Milan’s San Siro Stadium and the Arena in Verona. Again, the album was a huge, worldwide success.
In the same year, he took part at the Luciano Pavarotti memorial concert in Petra in Jordan (October 12).
Then in 2009, following the terrible earthquake which shook the central Italian town of L’Aquila on April 24th, Zucchero and other major Italian artists joined forces to record a single called “Domani 21-04-09” (Tomorrow 21-04-09), with all proceeds from the sale of this single going to the rebuilding and restoration of the “Alfredo Casella” Academy of Music and the Stabile Theatre of Abruzzo in L’Aquila. In 2009 he made his first tour of Australia with four big concerts in the major cities.
At the VII Ischia Global Film & Music Festival Zucchero and Paul Haggis presented Sting with an award, and later on during the gala Zucchero gave a surprise performance with Sting and Andrea Bocelli. On the second day of the event, it was Zucchero’s turn to receive an award, presented to him by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler.
Zucchero was invited to the festivities for Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday and to take part in the “46664 Make An Imprint” concert held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Other artists performing were Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Will.I.Am, Josh Groban, Carla Bruni, Dave Stewart, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Angelique Kidjo, Whoopi Goldberg, Forest Whitaker, Morgan Freeman and many more. Zucchero, who was introduced to the audience as “the biggest rockstar in Italy”, sang “You Are So Beautiful” and then joined the other stars to sing the chorus accompanying Stevie Wonder’s rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
A terrible disaster at Viareggio railway station in Tuscany (June 30th 2009) led Zucchero and promoter Mimmo d’Alessandro to organize a “Concert For Viareggio – Lest We Forget”. Accompanied by a house band formed by Massimo Marcolini (musical director and guitarist), Andrea Cozzani (bass), Guido Carli (drums), Giuseppe Zito (keyboards), Eros Cristiani (keyboards), Joe Damiani (percussion), Sara Grimaldi (vocalist), Stefania Orrico (vocalist), Mario Schilirò (guitar), Derek Wilson (drums), James Thompson (sax) and Massimo Greco (trumpet). Zucchero sang “Diavolo In Me” with Solomon Burke, “Baila (Sexy Thing)”, “Dio è Morto” with Bebbe Carletti from The Nomadi, “Dune Mosse” with Jeff Beck on guitar, “Every Breath You Take” with Sting, “Fragile” with Sting and Jeff Beck, “Così Celeste” with the Puccini Festival Choir and “Miserere” performed as a virtual duet with Luciano Pavarotti on the mega screens.
November 2010 sees the release of ‘Chocabeck’, already hailed as one of the best, if not the best album ever written by Zucchero. Recorded across the Globe including stints in Los Angeles, Bolgheri, and London the album features production from some of music’s best known alumni including Don Was (The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison) and Brendan O’Brien (AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam). Additional production also comes from Jon Hopkins and Davide Rossi, who were at the helm of the incredibly successful last Coldplay record (Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends). Featuring some of Zucchero’s most poignant and touching lyrics, he also managed to enlist the assistance of his good friends Bono (who the lyrics for the track ‘Someone Else’s Tears’ ((Il Suono Della Domenica)) and Brian Wilson (who recorded backing vocals for the title track). With this new record Zucchero opens up a new chapter in his illustrious and coveted career.
The Zucchero’s acclaimed ‘Chocabeck World Tour’ in 2011 that saw him perform in more than a hundred concerts in Europe, North America and Latin America.
The tour began with two concerts at the Hallenstadion in Zurich (9 and 10 May) and then performing in the most prestigious European cities. The tour arrived in Italy for five sold out concerts at the Verona Arena (2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 June). After a short break, the tour started again in Warsaw (20 September). This time a space dedicated to Zucchero was opened in the Hard Rock Cafe in the Polish capital. Zucchero then celebrated his birthday with two sold out concerts at the Verona Arena (September 25 and 26). Beginning his United States tour, Zucchero performed as the first and only Italian artist at the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. He published his autobiographical novel “Il Suono Della Domenica” and starting from the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam (November 2) toured major European and Italian cities, and finished by giving the people of his home town three special concerts at the Teatro Valli in Reggio Emilia (19 , 20 and 21 December), entitled “Il Suono Della Domenica.”
In summer 2012 Zucchero recorded in Havana ‘La sesión cubana’, an album that features collaborations from some of Cuba’s most important musicians. The album, anticipated by the first worldwide single “Guantanamera (Guajira)”, is produced by Zucchero and Don Was, and mixed by Michael Brauer. ‘La sesión cubana’ combines seven brand new songs with six newly arranged Zucchero hits (“Baila”, “Un Kilo”, “Così Celeste”, “Cuba Libre”, ”Everybody’s got to learn sometime” and “L’Urlo”). The new recordings consist of the first single “Guantanamera (Guajira)”, adapted by Zucchero into Italian, original compositions “Love is all around” and “Sabor a ti”, and covers “Never is a moment”, “Nena”, “Pana” and “Ave Maria no morro”. “Nena” and “Pana” are in Spanish, the second one in duet with the brilliant artist Bebe, and “Ave Maria no morro”, sang in Portuguese, is a duet with one of the most prestigious singers of contemporary Brazilian music, Djavan.
Zucchero describes his new album in his own words: My music, as everybody knows, comes from blues, from soul, from gospel. This project is a trip from New Orleans to Cuba via Mexicali. Latin, Cuban, tex-mex sounds and rhythms melt together dancing. “Hasta l’asta siempre”.
The album is launched with a mega concert event at the University of Arts of Cuba with the collaboration of the Culture minister, the Cuban Institute of Music and the Italian embassy in Havana. Zucchero performed in front of 80,000 people.
In 2013, Zucchero was invited to take part at the “Los Angeles, Italia – Film, Fashion & Art Fest” the night before the annual Academy Awards. At the Grammy Museum, he received the “L.A. Italian Excellence Award 2013” during “A night at the Grammy Museum” event. The night after, at the Chinese Theatre it is the moment of the premiere of the recording of the Havana concert that took place in December.
In the same year, he brought his tour to Australia. After 3 sold-out dates at the Arena in Verona, La Sesiòn Cubana World Tour 2013 arrived in Europe with more than 60 dates.
Zucchero took part at the flash-mob wanted and organized by Bono in London called “Agit8”, where he sang “Love is all around” transformed for the occasion in “Love is still around” and then, by popular demand, “Everybody’s got to learn sometime”.
The Italian and International version of the cd+dvd live “Una rosa blanca” that contains the recording of legendary Cuba concert was released in December 2013.
The following year Zucchero embarked on his Americana Tour 2014, which lasted 2 months and consisted of more than 40 dates around the United States and Canada. The band included Polo Jones (bass), Kat Dyson (guitar), Adriano Molinari (drums), Nicola Peruch (keyboard). During the Toronto, Los Angeles and New York concerts the band welcomed Horacio “El Negro” Hernandenz (drums), Joanquin Nunez Hidalgo (percussion) and Elmer Ferrer (guitar).
During the triumphal Madison Square Garden concert, which was part of the Americana Tour, Zucchero invited on stage Sting, Sam Moore, Pher, Elisa, Jovanotti, Lorenzo Jovanotti Cherubini, Fiorella Mannoia, Chris Botti, Monica Messinger, Andrea Griminelli and Irene Fornaciari and a gospel choir.
During the Americana Tour 2014, Randy Jackson, Corrado Rustici, Don Was, Jimmy LaFave and Andy J. Forest all made guest appearances.
Zucchero was chosen as the headliner of the German dates of “Night of the Proms”: 18 sold-out dates that took place in the most prestigious stadiums of Germany. A box set containing “ZU & Company” and “All the best” (International version) was released in Germany in the same year.
In 2015, he was invited by Bono to perform at the U2 concert at Pala Alpitour in Turin. Zucchero sang “I Still Have not Found What I’m Looking For” with U2 and later attended as a guest at a Alejandro Sanz concert at the Barclaycard Centre Madrid, where he sang “Un Zombie A La Intemperie” and “Baila Morena” with him. He then left the United States to record his new album.
On April 29, 2016 Black Cat (Universal Music) was released, the new Zucchero album, will be performed live in a world premiere in 10 dates at the Verona Arena (16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 27 and 28 September), followed by a tour of the principal European cities.