In his 30-plus years as a singer, songwriter and musician, Adelmo Fornaciari — better known as Zucchero — has sold over 60 million albums. Beyond being widely-recognized as the father of Italian blues music, he is the best-selling Italian artist of all time. Collaborators of Zucchero have included Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ray Charles, Sting, and B.B. King. Collaborations like these have led to Zucchero receiving six IFPI Europe Platinum Awards, six Wind Music Awards, and two World Music Awards.
Zucchero has not stopped created new music, and his latest full-length is 2016’s Black Cat. The Universal Music title includes work with U2’s Bono, Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, Loney, Dear, and Avicii. In support of Black Cat, Zucchero will be touring the United States next month, including a Mar. 31 stop at The Beacon Theatre.
Downtown had the pleasure of speaking with Zucchero about Black Cat, his history with New York, and what else he has coming up. Zucchero can be visited online at www.zucchero.it and followed via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Where was the first gig you ever played in New York? What do you remember about it?
Zucchero: It was 2007 at Carnegie Hall. It was a great thrill for me to play in New York. We had a great time that night.
Do you ever come to New York besides touring here? Have you recorded an album here?
Z: No, I haven’t for a long time. My new album Black Cat was recorded in New Orleans.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
Z: There are many restaurants that I love in New York, but I have a good friend Fabio who owns Serafina, and I always to one of his restaurants.
For someone who hasn’t seen you live before, why should they expect from your Beacon Theatre show?
Z: I enjoy performing for the fans and new fans. The show has a lot of energy, tracks from my new album and my hits — the crowds seem to love it!
Do you have a favorite song on your new album?
Z: It would be unfair of me to pick a favorite, but the song “Streets Of Surrender” will always have a special meaning to me. Bono wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music. It is a track inspired by the attacks at The Bataclan in Paris in 2015.
Black Cat was produced by Don Was. When did you first meet Don?
Z: When I recorded my album Fly back in 2005/2006. He is a great guy and fun to work with we have a good connection.
Once you’re doing touring in support of Black Cat, what is ahead for you?
Z: I will take some time out in Italy with my family and friends. Then I will start to think about a new album and tour!
You’ve collaborated with many of pop and rock’s top stars. Is there anyone you’re still hoping to collaborate when?
Z: Bruce Springsteen would be a great guy to work with — who knows…
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Z: I have my farm in Italy, and I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.
Is there something you wish more people knew about Zucchero?
Z: No, I cannot think of anything. I think most people know what I am about!
Did you have a favorite album of 2016?
Z: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker — a very spiritual record. He will be sadly missed.
Finally, Zucchero, any last words for the kids?
Z: I very much hope you carry on enjoying my music and concerts. Love and peace to everybody.