(Roncocesi, RE, 1956 – )

Adelmo Fornaciari was born in a modest family in a small town of the province of Reggio Emilia. His elementary school teacher gave him the nickname “Zucchero” (sugar) that remained with him all of his life. He graduated school as an Industrial Surveyor and enrolled at the University of Bologna studying to be a veterinarian. In those years he met a black friend who taught him to listen to the music from Overseas. Zucchero’s passion for music grew more and more, to the point that he abandoned his studies to dedicate himself completely to his art. With his first group Sugar and the new lights he played in the ball rooms of Romagna but the beginnings were difficult, so much that Zucchero adapted also to work as a deli counter help and as a turner. In the meantime he wrote songs for artists that at the time were already famous like Iva Zanicchi, Ornella Vanoni, Fred Buongusto and Fiordaliso. In 1981 he won the New Voices of Castrocaro contest. His first LP record entitled A bit of Sugar was unsuccessful, as it was evident that the music played and sung in this record was not suitable for Zucchero. Then he moved to the U.S.A. to San Francisco where he played in the nightclub of a friend where he met Randy Jackson and Corrado Rustici. Zucchero finally found his music: the Blues. He recorded another LP entitled “Zucchero and the Randy Jackson Band”. The song Donne (Women) is an extract of this LP and even though it placed second to last in the Sanremo Festival contest, it obtained a great success of critics and public. In 1986 he obtained the long awaited recognition of his talent with the LP Rispetto (Respect) which also contains a song by Gino Paoli. From that time on record albums of great success followed, such as Blue’s; Oro, incenso & birra (Gold, incense and beer); Miserere; Spirito DiVino (literally Spirit of Wine); Bluesugar; Shake that consecrated him as the king of Italian Blues. In 1994 Zucchero interpreted the legendary song written by Irwing Berlin and made famous by Bing Crosby White Christmas for Barilla, singing along with 100 children. This was used in the Viva il blu (long live the blue) campaign by Young & Rubicam and was filmed in Los Angeles under the direction of Bob Giraldi. The rights of the famous song, thus used for the first and only time in a commercial, were devolved to charity and made possible the rebuilding of an elementary school in the Orti neighborhood of the city of Alessandria which had been destroyed by a flood a few months earlier.

Cecilia Farinelli