Jovanotti is probably the biggest pop star you’ve never heard of, unless of course you happen to be Italian. Over the years, he's evolved into an Italian Bruce Springsteen or Bono - an iconic pop star who takes on issues from AIDS to poverty in Africa. Back home, he sells out stadiums and churns out number one hits like L'ombelico del mondo.
We caught up with Jovanotti on his first trip to San Francisco, where he played the Stern Grove Festival, a long-running series of free summer concerts.
Now on "Quick Hits," Jovanotti sings some impromptu ballads and tells Marco Werman about bicycling through Iran. Discover Jovanotti, and don't miss our backstage slide show by Yuli Weeks and a fan's appreciation by Italian journalist Carola Mamberto.
Don't miss other Quick Hits starring Dengue Fever, Charles Bradley & Sharon Jones, Helene Grimaud, Jovanotti, KT Tunstall, Meklit Hadero, Ozomatli, and Seu Jorge. For more info visit the Sound Tracks website.
So you want to be a rock and roll star? Meet Jovanotti, Italy's leading pop singer. As a teen idol, he introduced his culture to rap, Italian-style. Imagine Marky Mark in Rome.
Over the years, he's evolved into an Italian Bruce Springsteen or Bono (who happens to be a friend) -- an iconic pop star who takes on issues from AIDS to poverty in Africa to the Mafia. Now on "Quick Hits," he sings some impromptu ballads and tells Marco Werman about bicycling through Iran.
Back home, Jovanotti sells out stadiums and churns out number one hits, like his dance party anthem "L'ombelico del mondo." The song is a celebration of Italy as the "bellybutton of the world."
Sound Tracks caught up with Jovanotti on his first trip to San Francisco, where he played the Stern Grove Festival, a long-running series of free summer concerts in a park near the Pacific Ocean. On a cool afternoon in late July, he gets 100,000 people up on their feet and dancing, while he bounces from one end of the stage to the other before plunging into the crowd.
"My name is Lorenzo, a.k.a. Jovanotti," he raps, "I groove like James Brown and I sing like Pavarotti."
It's a boast, but he declares it with a smile. Jovanotti's playful humor is clearly part his appeal. He's not afraid to mock his pop star persona.
Jovanotti's pre-concert interview and the two songs filmed during his Stern Grove performance are the first in a series of "Quick Hits" produced exclusively for PBS Arts online by the makers of Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders, a new TV series in development for PBS.
Jovanotti's band includes:
Bassist: Saturnino Celani
Drummer: Gil Oliveira
Guitar: Riccardo Onori
Keyboards: Charles Blenzig
Keyboards: Christian Rigano
Percussion: Meia Noite
For more information about the Stern Grove Musical Festival, visit their website.