For Gino Vannelli, coming to terms with the past meant confronting a few ghosts. Throughout the late-’80s and ’90s, the Montreal-born singer-songwriter tried to recapture the success he’d had in the 70s as a hairy-chested, disco-pop icon with hits like I Just Wanna Stop. But his star continued to dim. Then, a few years ago, approaching the age of 50, Vannelli took a hard look at himself. Moving forward, he surmised, meant reinvention. “That’s no easy thing,” he says. “All of a sudden, you see yourself in your 40s and wonder, Ts it over?’ ” Shunning the casino and corporate gigs route, he began working with a vocal coach in his home base of Portland, Ore. “He stripped me down of my old habits,” says Vannelli, “and
helped me to rebuild myself.” Vannelli expanded his vocal range and began singing in other languages. He penned Parole Per Mio Padre, a touching song written for his late father, with whom he’d had an acrimonious relationship. Unexpectedly, says Vannelli, music executives from BMG Canada Inc. were interested in the song and sent him into the studio. The recording ended up being more than just a business opportunity; Vannelli asked his brothers Joe and Ross to collaborate with him for the first time in years. The result is Canto, an orchestral pop album in Italian, French, Spanish and English. “It’s a coming of age and acceptance for myself,” he says. And a
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