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Born on May 16, 1968, in Rome to a father who was one of the main producers in the 1970s Italian prog scene (and whose own father was a piano teacher), Niccolò Fabi began learning about music early in life, studying recording techniques at age three and classical piano at five. By 13, his interests had shifted to contemporary artists, and he played drums in a Police cover band and learned the acoustic guitar in order to sing songs by artists like Bob Dylan and James Taylor. Soon, he had moved to bass, playing in a funk band in high school, the whole time spending time in the studio with his father learning about the process of recording. In the early '90s, as a student in Rome studying medieval manuscripts, Fabi played in various clubs around the city, befriending and collaborating with fellow singer/songwriters like Max Gazzè and Riccardo Sinigallia. It was the latter who brought Fabi's demo to Virgin in 1996, setting him up for a deal.
His debut, Il Giardiniere, which contained the singles "Dica" and "Capelli," came out in 1997, and that same year the singer performed at the San Remo Festival, where he received critical praise. In 1998 his self-titled sophomore album, which included a cover of Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing," retitled "Il Male Minore," was released. Though Fabi took a break for the next few years to reflect on his success and life in general, he still recorded at home, and many of these pieces made it onto 2000's Sereno ad Ovest; that year Fabi was also chosen as Sting's opener in Italy, an experience that not only gave him greater national exposure, but also improved his abilities as a performer. In 2003 La Cura del Tempo was released, and the next years were spent touring as well as participating in various peace benefits. In 2006 a best-of collection celebrating his decade making records, Dischi Volanti, came out, as well as Novo Mesto, Fabi's fifth studio album.