While serving as president of classical and jazz recording at Universal Music Group International, Christopher “Chris” Roberts made great strides in modernizing the culture of both genres. In addition to reinvigorating labels including Verve, Decca, and Deutsche Grammaphon, Christopher Roberts also helped to establish the careers of such prominent Universal Music recording artists as Andrea Bocelli.
Over the past 20 years, Andrea Bocelli has established a reputation as one of the most successful crossover artists of all time. The multi-platinum recording artist has risen to the top of the pop, classical, and opera genres with his diverse repertoire and mass musical appeal. Andrea Bocelli has earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for claiming the first, second, and third spots on America’s classical album charts, as well as a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Formally trained in law, Bocelli began singing in piano bars in his native Italy before deciding to enter the newcomer competition at the 1994 San Remo Music Festival. After taking the top prize, he garnered further acclaim with his 1997 album Romanza. With over 20 million copies sold, the pop-influenced opera album remains the best-selling record by an Italian artist.
Two years later, Andrea Bocelli received a Best New Artist nomination at the 1999 Grammy Awards, becoming the first classical artist to receive such recognition in over three decades.
Bocelli’s extensive discography also includes Sacred Arias, a faith-inspired album that has sold over five million copies, and Concerto: One Night in Central Park, a live album. Featuring both famous opera compositions such as “La donna e mobile” and pop classics including “New York, New York” (performed as a duet with Tony Bennett), the album serves as a shining example of the diverse repertoire that has enabled Bocelli’s success as a crossover artist.