(3 / 5)
One of four new releases from major league Italian solo artists to be issued in the UK in December 2017, on the Blue Wrasse label. Multi-Platinum selling artist Lorenzo Jovanotti has penned all 14 songs on this new record, produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, the co-founder of Def Jam records.
The lead single taken from the album is the title track, released in November and opening the set on the album. Sung in Italian, the songs and the vocal performances are passionate, intense and emotionally connected; the material is versatile and Lorenzo says, is meant to go “straight to the heart”. He’s got some following. On Vevo, the official “Oh, Vita!” video has had almost 4,000,000 hits so far.
He sees the new collaboration with the legendary US producer Rick Rubin – who has worked the likes of The Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Adele, U2, Green Day and a zillion more big names – as a privilege and a “new beginning”, and “Oh, Vita!” as a “very important album for me”. A “great human and musical adventure”.
His 14th album since his debut in 1998, the modestly titled, “Jovanotti For President”. He has won 21 major awards and been nominated for another 25, including several MTV Awards. He is 51-years-old, plays drums and guitar, sings, writes, raps, produces and his music straddles various genres from pop to hip hop, funk to World music.
Lorenzo Cherubini is better known as Jovanotti, which derives from the plural form of the Italian word giovanotto (“young man”), i.e. giovanotti. He initially chose “Joe Vanotti” as his stage name, but a promotional poster for a night club incorrectly billed him as “Jovanotti” and the name stuck. (The spelling Jovanotti is anglicized; the letter J is rarely used in Italian). He often calls himself Jova.
Jovanotti gradually departed from his early mix of hip hop, rap and disco, taking in funk, World music and even classical arrangements and ska influences. Some of his earlier work is also closer to keyboard-heavy 1980s pop. Most of his songs are sung in Italian; he also released a Spanish-language greatest hits album. His live album includes a short version of the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”
Jovanotti appears on several international compilations, most notably Red Hot + Rhapsody, a 1998 tribute to George Gershwin, on which he performed “I Got Rhythm”. Jovanotti also appeared in one of Luciano Pavarotti’s charity concerts in 1996.
He was born in Rome, but spent part of his childhood in his parents’ hometown, Cortona, Tuscany. After High-School, he was a DJ in several clubs and radio stations in Rome. In 1985 he moved to Milan. Two years later while he was playing a DJ set,he met record producer and talent scout Claudio Cecchetto. That same year Jovanotti released his first single, “Walking,” and started working as a DJ for one of the most prominent national radio stations, which was founded by Cecchetto five years earlier.
His first studio album was released in 1988 and became the symbol of the Italian youth of the eighties. A big commercial success, hitting number three in the Italian chart, selling more than 400,000 copies in Italy. It spawned five singles, including the number-one hits, “Gimme Five” and “Gimme Five (Rasta Five)” and the songs “Go Jovanotti Go” and “Mix, Remix & The Singers,” which entered the Italian top five.
The song “Piove” was released for the second season of The Sopranos as an ending credits track. In December 2010, he achieved a number one hit on the Italian chart with “Tutto l’amore che ho.” In January 2011, he released his eighteenth album, and later that same year, performed at the massive US festival, Bonnaroo.
Jovanotti has a friendship with U2’s Bono due to their mutual quest for the cancellation of foreign debt in poor African countries. He collaborated with Michael Franti of Spearhead on two albums. Even though Jovanotti has never had a UK chart hit under his own name, he was known as the presenter of the DEF II programme Gimme 5. The programme showcased youth television programmes from around the world.
Jovanotti was behind one of two rival Gino Latino house tracks in the early 1990s. His Gino Latino single, “Welcome”, reached number 17 on the UK Singles Chart.
He has a gruff rock voice one minute and a romantic, smooth vocal the next. His look is decidedly unsmooth; grizzly beard and both arms full of tatt’s. But his full of attitude rapping fits too. A few Latin flavours and grooves thrown in for good measure.
The album opens with the infectious and hooky title track, where he raps before singing the chorus. It’s got a Fun Loving Criminals/Spin Doctors vibe to it. Love to hear a version sung in English. Track two “Sbagliato” sits on an acoustic guitar base and is brush stroked with subtle strings. The rapping is switched to a crooning vocal. The closer “Fame”, returns to a rap style.
By Sally Fox
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’