Andrea Bocelli, Grand officer OMRI (Italian pronunciation: ; born 22 September 1958) is an Italian tenor, multi-instrumentalist and classical crossover artist. Born with poor eyesight, he became completely blind at the age of twelve following a football accident.
Since winning the Newcomers section of the Sanremo Music Festival in 1994, Bocelli has recorded thirteen solo studio albums, of both pop and classical music, two greatest hits albums, and eight complete operas, selling over 70 million copies worldwide. Thus, he is the biggest-selling solo artist in the history of classical music and has caused core classical repertoire to "cross over" to the top of international pop charts and into previously uncharted territory in popular culture.
In 1998, he was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. In 1999, his nomination for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards marked the first, and so far only time a classical artist had been nominated in the category, since Leontyne Price, in 1961. The Prayer, his duet with Celine Dion for the animated film, The Quest for Camelot, won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category. With the release of his classical album, Sacred Arias, Bocelli captured a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records, as he simultaneously held the top 3 positions on the U.S. classical albums charts. Five of his albums have since reached the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, and a record-setting 7, have topped the classical albums charts in the United States.