Raphael Gualazzi was born in Urbino on November 11th, 1981. After studying the piano at Pesaro’s Conservatorio Rossini, he extended his musical research towards such genres as Jazz, Blues and Fusion. In 2009 he had the chance to reach a wider audience with his cover of Fleetwood Mac’s 1970s hit “Don’t Stop”, featured in a television commercial for Italian integrated energy company Eni.
2011 saw him triumphing at the Sanremo Festival with Follia D’Amore, which earned him first place in the “Newcomers” category and won the Mia Martini Critic’s Award, the Pressroom Award, the Assomusica Award for Best Live Performance and the Siae Award for Composer of the Year. “Follia D’Amore”, which was written, produced and arranged by Gualazzi himself, was included in his debut album “Reality And Fantasy”.
After his Sanremo triumph, Gualazzi flew to Düsseldorf to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, where he was awarded second place and honoured with the professional jury’s first prize. In June of the same year, Sugar signed a world exclusive contract with the prestigious Blue Note/Emi Music France record label: the deal marked the start of Gualazzi’s international career, launched by Gilles Peterson’s remix of “Reality And Fantasy”.
The following year Raphael released his follow-up “Happy Mistake”, featuring duets with quirky British trio The Puppini Sisters and ethereal French songstress Camille, as well as collaborations with Vince Mendoza and Fabrizio Bosso. The album included surprising homages to classical composer Giuseppe Verdi and movie scoring maestro Nino Rota. Around the same time Gualazzi went back to Sanremo, this time as an established artist, performing two new songs called “Sai” and “Senza Ritegno”.
On March 28, 2013, Raphael embarked on his Happy Mistake Tour, performing at the world’s most prestigious Jazz festivals, from Paris to Madrid, as well as in dozens of Italian theaters. In the fall of 2013 Italian TV presenter Fabio Fazio asked Gualazzi to compose some music for his prime-time talk show “Che tempo che fa”. Their collaboration was followed by the release of Gualazzi’s Rainbows EP, which included a cover version of Adriano Celentano’s “Svalutation” as well as “Il Mare”, an Italian version of Charles Trenet’s classic “La Mer”.