Tiziano Ferro Biography
Aside from his success as an artist, Ferro is well known for his personal struggles. Having been overweight as a teenager, he has been outspoken about his battles with food addiction and eating disorders. In May 2006, several comments he made during an interview on Italian television resulted in major controversy abroad, effectively ending his blossoming career in Latin America. In October 2010, at the height of his fame, Ferro came out as gay, admitting that he had remained closeted out of fear that his homosexuality was not compatible with a career as a pop singer.
Since his debut in 2001, Ferro has worked himself up to becoming one of the best-selling artists in Italy today. Both his third album Nessuno è solo and fourth album Alla mia età were certified diamond. Despite his fears, his coming-out did not negatively affect his career, as fifth album L'amore è una cosa semplice was the best-selling album of 2012 in Italy, and the tour supporting this album included his first full stadium concert at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. As of 2015, Ferro has sold over 10 million records worldwide.
Ferro's interest in music was born when he received a toy keyboard as a present, which was used to compose his first songs when he was seven. He later started taking guitar and piano classes at a local conservatory of music. When he was 16 years-old, he joined a gospel choir and during the same years, he started performing in piano bars and karaoke contests.
In 1997, Ferro participated in the "Accademia della Canzone di Sanremo", a music contest created with the purpose to choose the contestants of the Sanremo Music Festival, but was eliminated during the first stage of the competition. The following year, Ferro participated again in the same contest, and despite being chosen as one of the 12 finalists, he did not make it to win the competition. However, during the selections, Ferro met music producers Alberto Salerno and Mara Maionchi, and started to collaborate with them.
In 1999 Ferro also toured throughout Italy as a back vocalist with the Italian hip hop band Sottotono.
In 2001, Ferro signed a contract with EMI Music Italy. On 22 June 2001, he released his first single, "Xdono". During the first months, the song received a poor reception, but it later became a hit and, after topping the Italian Singles Chart in September 2001, it was certified double platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry for sales exceeding 100,000 copies.
The song was included in Ferro's debut album, Rosso Relativo, released on 26 October 2001. Following the commercial success obtained in Italy, in 2002 the album was released in several European countries. A Spanish-language version of the record, titled Rojo relativo, was also released in Spain and Latin America.Rosso relativo obtained success in different markets and has sold more than 1,000,000 copies worldwide, according to EMI Music, allowing Ferro to receive a nomination for Best New Artist at the Latin Grammy Awards of 2003.
In November 2003, Ferro released his second studio album, 111, recorded both in Italian and Spanish, produced by Alberto Salerno, Mara Maionchi and Michele Canova. The album was preceded by the release of "Perverso", and also spawned the singles "Sere nere" / "Tardes negras", "Non me lo so spiegare" / "No me lo puedo explicar" and "Ti voglio bene" / "Desde mañana no lo se". 111 has sold more than 1,000,000 copies worldwide,topping the Mexican Albums Chart and being certified four times platinum in Italy for domestic sales exceeding 450,000 copies. Following the success of the album Ferro won Best Italian Artist at the 2004 MTV Europe Music Awards in Rome.
In July 2004, Ferro also released in Europe his first English-language single, "Universal Prayer", a duet with British R&B singer Jamelia recorded to promote the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Ferro lived in Mexico during these years, first in Cuernavaca and later in Puebla. He studied Spanish there at a university, eventually graduating in August 2005, before relocating to Manchester.