Paolo Conte – Mantova – 12 giugno 2021
Paolo Conte (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpaolo ˈkonte]; born 6 January 1937) is an Italian singer, pianist, composer, and lawyer notable for his grainy, resonant voice. His compositions are evocative of Italian and Mediterranean sounds, as well as of jazz music and South American atmospheres.
Paolo Conte was born in Asti, Piedmont. His parents were avid jazz fans and Conte and his younger brother Giorgio spent their formative years listening to a lot of early jazz and blues recordings. After obtaining a law degree at the University of Parma, Conte started working as an assistant solicitor with his father, simultaneously pursuing his musical studies. He learned to play the trombone, the vibraphone and the piano, and formed a jazz band with his brother on drums. Conte's skill for composing music and original arrangements was noted by music producer Lilli Greco, who paired Conte with lyricist Vito Pallavicini. They wrote songs for Adriano Celentano (Azzurro, 1968), Patty Pravo (Insieme a te non ci sto più, 1968), Fausto Leali (Deborah, 1968) and Enzo Jannacci (Messico e nuvole, 1970). In 1974 Conte recorded his first album, Paolo Conte. The following year, he released another eponymous album. Following a series of well-received shows at Club Tenco in Sanremo in 1976 and the commercial success of his third album, 'Un gelato al limon', Conte concentrated almost exclusively on his solo career.
Some of Conte's most popular songs have been used as film soundtracks, including "Come Di" in I Am David (2003) and Mickey Blue Eyes (1999), "Via con me" in French Kiss (1995), Mostly Martha (2001) and Welcome to Collinwood (2002). In 1997 Conte won the Nastro d'Argento for Best Score for the film La freccia azzurra.
On 24 March 1999, Paolo Conte was awarded with the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, by President Giorgio Napolitano for his "outstanding cultural achievements".
On 15 May 2001 France ordered Paolo Conte Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. in 2015 Conte was awarded a Premio Galileo for contemporary music.
Has also received several honorary doctorates, including one from the University of Macerata (1990).