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Italian pop singer/songwriter Tiziano Ferro became involved in music while attending a local conservatory, taking guitar and piano classes in addition to improving his vocal skills. At the age of 16, he joined a gospel chorus, uncovering his passion for Afro-American music. In 1998, he began working with producers Alberto Salerno and Mara Maionchi, composing his first songs. Three years later, EMI Italy released his debut album, Rosso Relativo, featuring the hit single "Xdono." The album put his name on the map, but it was the 2003 follow-up, 111 -- named for the number of pounds his weight "ballooned" to while he suffered bulimia as a teenager -- that launched him to stardom, eventually selling over a million copies. Despite being panned by critics as a manufactured pop confection, he went on to a highly successful career not only as a recording artist -- scoring numerous platinum records and winning armloads of awards -- but as a songwriter for other artists, including Michael Bolton, Blue, and This Mortal Coil.

Ferro recorded extensively in numerous European languages including Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and English, most notably with the single "Universal Prayer," a duet with British R&B star Jamelia which was the official anthem of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. In 2006 he effectively scotched his career in Latin America with a series of spectacularly ill-advised comments about that region on a chat show; his gaffe did nothing to hurt his career in Italy, however, with his next three albums Nessuno è Solo (2006), Alla Mia Età (2008), and L'Amore È una Cosa Semplice (2011) all going to number one there. In 2010, after years of denial, he finally came out as gay in an interview with Vanity Fair. In 2013 he turned his hand to record production, working on the debut solo album by Italian female rapper Baby K. ~ Drago Bonacich & John D. Buchanan, Rovi