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Italian pop sensation Antonino was born in Foggia on March 9, 1983. Antonino fell in love with music as a young child, a passion that was cultivated by his father, who sang with him. As a youth, Antonino participated in regional singing festivals and competitions, an experience that would prepare him for his big break -- Antonino auditioned and was accepted to compete on the 2005 season of Amici, the Italian version of the American Idol franchise. The program afforded him many opportunities, including training and valuable experience in singing, dancing, and performing. In addition, Antonino was featured in a series of duets with many of his longtime idols, including Laura Pausini, Michael Bublé, and Gigi d'Alessio (with whom he would perform at the Sanremo Festival in 2005). The young singer won the competition and was offered a recording contract with Sony BMG. After Antonino spent the following summer on a national tour, his first single was released, produced by Mario Lavezzi. The song, "Ce la Far," met with great success, peaking at number three on European charts, eventually achieving gold record status. Antonino's self-titled debut album was not far behind, hitting the shelves on April 7, 2006. The album and subsequent tour won Antonino the Battisti Award for Best New Artist that year. A new single was expected during the summer of 2007, heralding the arrival of his second album, due out in the fall. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez