Style, sophistication, elegance… Where can we find that old-school cool in our consumer culture of instantly disposable celebrity? Time to meet Patrizio Buanne. Tall, dark and handsome, perfectly groomed and impeccably dressed, the clean-cut Italian with the rich baritone voice is an enigma.

Inspired by the singers of yesteryear, Patrizio harks back to a time when a man would not dream of singing onstage in anything less than a suit, shoes polished, clean-shaven, hair neatly brushed, with a dab of cologne behind the ears.

Nothing strange about that, you might say. Except that Patrizio is only 26 years old - and hopelessly devoted to his art – romantic crooning.

Dean Martin, Paul Anka, Tom Jones , along with the traditional Italian singers – these are the men he idolises. Unfashionable? Perhaps, on first impression. But as they say: style is temporary and class is permanent.

‘less is more’. “Those artists perform great melodies - its so fantastic to go onstage performing beautiful melodies with an orchestra behind you”.

Patrizio’s life is a remarkable story in itself. He’s won countless talent shows, played Elvis onstage and sung for the Pope. And all before he was 20.

Raised in Naples, he moved to Vienna at the age of six when his father opened Austria’s first pizzeria and lived in the city of waltzes and white horses. But his fiercely patriotic father would play only Italian music at home.

From the age of four, Patrizio would sing along to the Neapolitan songs from his father’s own childhood. “The only music I heard was Italian. We also listened to Julio Iglesias, but only to his two Italian albums; Dean Martin, but only That’s Amore because it’s in Italian; Elvis Presley but only Its Now Or Never because the tune is O Sole Mio. And of course the Italian-American crooners like Perry Como, Jerry Vale, Buddy Greco ,Tony Bennett and Al Martino. I would be listening and singing along while playing with my toys when dad recorded the music for his restaurant.”

By the age of 5 Patrizio was performing the same songs for family friends in the living room. “I would get into fancy dress and put on wigs or smooth down my hair with water to look like the crooners I’d seen in old Sinatra and Bing Crosby films that we watched on TV.”

When he was 8 his parents bought him a guitar and at 11 years old Patrizio made his first public performance at a talent contest for schools. He borrowed his father’s white dinner jacket and sang Only You. “Until then I had wanted to be a cook like my father. But standing on that stage in front of all those people made me realise what I really wanted to be was a professional singer.”

The same year Patrizio saw his first concert, a show by doo-wop vocal group The Platters (the original performers of Only You), and talked his way backstage to meet them. “I sang Only You for them in their dressing room and they said if I was black, I would be invited to join the group!”

Also at 13, Patrizio played a starring role in his primary school’s graduation ball, already in his own white dinner jacket and bow tie his mother bought him for the occasion. “It was fantastic. It was fun and the people liked it. I got my first pay cheque - and my first experience with girls! All those 17 and 18 year old girls came back stage and I didn’t know what to do. I had my first dance with a girl that night.”

Patrizio began to enter talent competitions – and always won first prize. He even won a contest for Elvis impersonators, his prize being a trip to Graceland with his mum. “All the other entrants were older guys doing Seventies Elvis in jump suits, but I was fascinated by the 50’s and 60’s so dressed like a rockabilly and sang Heartbreak Hotel.”

That led to an offer to play the lead in an Austrian stage production about Elvis when he was 16. “I was still at school and all my friends were at discos, while I was doing my homework and then going to the theatre. It was fun, girls came backstage”

At the age of 17 Patrizio was invited to sing for the Pope in Poland, performing in front of his biggest audience yet - 85,000 people - when the Pontiff said mass on a papal visit to his home country. That led to a recording contract and at 17 Patrizio began to gain a reputation in Poland.

“I used to go to school in Vienna from Monday to Friday and every Friday I’d go to Poland where I had a successful single in the charts. I’d do two concerts over the weekend then on Sunday nights I’d get the midnight train back to Vienna, doing my homework on the journey, and my mum would meet me at 6.30am on Monday and take me straight to school.”

Tragedy followed when his beloved father died shortly after Patrizio’s 17th birthday and, grief-stricken, Patrizio almost lost his own life to a perforated ulcer. But one thing made him determined to survive.

“I had promised my father I would be a superstar and make my name – his name – famous. It is always music that reminds me of my father and makes me happy.” In 1999 Patrizio took up an uncle’s offer to return to Italy and, after winning yet another talent show, found himself offered a job as a TV entertainer. Soon he was one of the most popular young faces on Italian television, hosting his own show in between studying languages at university in Rome. “It was a big contract with fantastic money, a fantastic flat in the centre of Rome. But my dream was still to be a recording artist – and most of all to be successful in Great Britain and America.”

In 2003 Patrizio was introduced to music producer Christian Seitz. They both shared the same passion and vision for music, so bravely quitting his burgeoning TV career they went to work on the album - going into London’s world-famous Abbey Road studios with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to realise his dream. 18 months later the result is ‘L’Italiano’ (‘The Italian’), an album mixing traditional Neapolitan romance and singing tradition with Italian standards from the Fifties and Sixties – songs barely known outside Italy but destined to become favourites for a new generation.. “Everyone is familiar with the Latino lover, singers like Julio Igelsias or Ricky Martin, the concept for this album is the Italian lover,” says producer Christian Seiz “I want to give people Italian romance, growing up outside Italy, I feel even more Italian than a native, because I was raised with this cliché of pasta eating, hand gesturing , Alfa Romeo driving… My father was the ambassador of Italian kitchen and pizza and I am the ambassador of Italian romance and dolce vita,” says Patrizio.

To listen to Patrizio is to immerse yourself in the soundtrack of a world familiar from film and television – from Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollabrigida to The Godfather, Goodfellas and The Sopranos. “My music is as Italian as pasta in an Italian kitchen,” says Patrizio. These songs are timeless classics. To me, crooning is more than a way of singing, it’s a way of life ! And I want to share that with a new audience.” With the smooth sounds of the Fifties and Sixties coming back into fashion it seems that Patrizio is in the right place at the right time.

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