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Niccolò Fabi

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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, Dischi Volanti 96-06, a best-of collection celebrating his decade making records, was released, as well as Novo Mesto, Fabi's fifth studio album. He would follow the busy year with a second Spanish-language album, Dentro, in 2007. After participating in a pair of multi-artist projects (Violenza 124 and the earthquake relief effort Artisti Uniti per l'Abruzzo), Fabi parted with Virgin and signed with Universal for the release of his sixth effort, Solo un Oomo, in 2010. However, tragedy struck months later when Fabi's daughter Olivia passed away. Nicknamed Lulubella, she succumbed to meningitis at the age of two. Fabi held a memorial benefit concert in her name, enlisting Italian stars like Elisa and Jovanotti for the lineup. Proceeds went toward building a children's hospital in Angola. The concert was recorded and released as a DVD, Parole per Lulu, and featured a Fabi duet with Italian diva Mina on her classic song, "Parole, Parole." In 2012, Fabi returned with his seventh LP, Ecco, which became his first to debut in the Top Ten at the number three spot. Four years later, he would reach number one with his chart-topping Una Somma di Piccole Cose. ~ Marisa Brown & Neil Z. Yeung

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16 May 1968 in Rome, Italy

Years Active:

'90s, '00s, '10s