There’s no mistaking the big new Christmas hit on the albums chart in 2022 (and probably for many more festive seasons to come). Classical star Andrea Bocelli has been joined by his son Matteo and daughter Virginia on A Family Christmas (Decca), which has so far peaked at No.4.
The family dynamic has paid off during Q4 with the album chasing another Top 5 finish this week and sales to date set to pass 50,000.
The Christmas LP will get another boost today (December 15) with the new Disney+ short, The Simpsons Meet The Bocellis in Feliz Navidad. In the short for the streaming service, Homer surprises Marge with a performance from the Italian opera superstar, his 25-year-old son Matteo and 10-year-old daughter Virginia.
The Bocellis’ cover of the festive track Feliz Navidad, which features on the album, is released as their new single.
Decca’s co-presidents Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, and the Bocellis, are interviewed in the latest edition of Music Week.
“There’s something extraordinary about both the vulnerability and power in his vocals, he has a voice that transcends everything,” said Tom Lewis. “We went to Italy when we renewed Andrea’s contract last year and we were welcomed into his home and made to feel part of the family. I think that magic, that sense of warmth, is captured on the new record.”
“To be at the top of his game, for so long, is incredible,” added Laura Monks. “I think he is a truly unique artist, a lifetime artist.”
I think he is a truly unique artist, a lifetime artist
The superstar tenor is very much at home with Universal Music and Decca.
“It is a long and good relationship,” he told Music Week. “Classical music is changing and modern composers are in desperate need of new things because a lot has already been said by the greats, but the world is ever-changing, everything is expanding and spreading and the same thing will happen to the music.”
Andrea Bocelli has sold 80 million albums around the world, including a UK No.1 with 2018’s Si (281,994 sales - Official Charts Company). The 2009 Bocelli album My Christmas has 208,340 sales to date.
The Christmas album is part of a wider campaign to boost Bocelli in the digital world.
The team are, “talking to YouTube and hoping to build on what we did with Music For Hope,” said Monks, referencing the Il Duomo performance during the pandemic. It has 43 million on-demand views, in addition to those who watched live at the time.
Monks also pointed to Bocelli’s “personality-driven” TikTok which now has 307,000 followers. The combined family following is 600,000.
At 5pm GMT today (December 15), a TikTok LIVE will feature the Bocellis performing from Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps on the border between Italy and France.
The 13-track A Family Christmas comprises a selection of seasonal favourites and new compositions, including lead single The Greatest Gift, a co-write between Bocelli, Amy Wadge, Jonas Myrin and Stephan Moccio, who produced the album.
The various physical editions of the album include CD options with a winter spice scented candle or a festive bauble, as well as gold and ‘Christmas’ vinyl options.
Laura Monks said that similar thought has gone into the digital plan.
“We’re thinking about it holistically, because he does still sell records,” she said. “But digitally, Christmas is an interesting time. People are getting new devices. They’re also in shops with music playing. They want something to listen to while they wrap their presents. They might not know what they want to hear specifically, but they know they want ‘holiday’ as a category. You don’t have to be a Bocelli fan to enjoy Matteo singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, it could be just a beautiful version of a song you already know and like. The potential for reach and discovery is much wider.”
Decca Records knows how to do Christmas better than most. From Bing Crosby’s White Christmas in 1942, through to recent successes such as 2020 chart-topper Together At Christmas, the fourth album by Michael Ball and Alfie Boe (168,736 sales), the label’s track record is second to none.
“You want a sense of innocence and magic, warm hugs from music,” said Tom Lewis of the festive period. “You do have to really think about the sound, though. I’m not a huge one for overdoing the sleigh bells, or it gets to a point where it just sounds like pastiche. But you do need genuine warmth and honesty and not marketing-led cynicism.”
With Bocelli, he is truly global - so our campaign thinking has to be global, too
Decca’s Q4 marketing campaigns are carefully planned week by week.
“You can’t come out with the mince pies too fast,” said Monks. “Look at The Greatest Gift on A Family Christmas. Now, that isn’t specifically a Christmas song, but it has all the essence of Christmas within it. That means you can play it now as well as having it on repeat at a Christmas party. It’s the same with the visuals. This is the time where people want to be taken to another place, and to be thinking about joy and happiness.”
Inevitably, this album has an international focus with Capitol as the US label.
“When people say someone is a global star, then that can mean they’re big in the US and the UK,” said Lewis. “With Bocelli, he is truly global. He’s as big in Latin America as he is in the UK. He’s huge in Germany, Spain, Poland... So our campaign thinking has to be global, too.”
Monks explains that Decca built a campaign designed to ebb and flow as the season progressed.
“We really focus on building a lot of different creatives around campaigns,” she said. “It’s important that the creative evolves, with visuals that can be used from October through to December. Where others have gone wrong is putting a Christmas elf in front of the audience in September. People are not ready for that.”
Because of that, Monks is confident that everything is in place for A Family Christmas to become a Q4 mainstay.
“We do want to focus on building over the run-up to Christmas and have this album be the Christmas album of the year,” she said. “If you achieve that then you have someone who becomes an evergreen Christmas artist.”
“You’ve said something important there,” added Lewis. “A record is for life, not just for Christmas.”
Subscribers can read the interview with Decca and the Bocellis here.