Latin Conference: Italian Veteran Laura Pausini Is 'Not a Diva'

Arnold Turner
Leila Cobo (left) and Laura Pausini a Billboard's Latin Conference 2014

By 2004, a decade after making her recording debut at the age of 18, Laura Pausini had sold over 25 million albums worldwide, an eye-opening accomplishment for anyone, much less an artist largely cut off from the lucrative English-language market.

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Never one to get caught up in the music industry’s numbers game, even 20 years after her debut album "Laura," the 39-year-old Italian singer/songwriter still spends her money wisely -- alongside her financial manager -- and is only concerned with one addition these days: her roughly 1-year-old daughter, Paola.

“Seeing my daughter smile,” said Pausini, during a rapid fire questionnaire conducted by Billboard’s executive director of Latin Content & Programming Leila Cobo, to conclude a 30-minute Q&A, wrapping up Wednesday’s itinerary at the 25th Latin Billboard Music Conference. “I was always uneasy, but ever since she was born it’s like, I’m with my teeth out. She’s a blessing.”

From taking a compliment from Cobo about always being impeccably dressed “like a model” in stride to comforting an aspiring singer in the audience who broke down in tears while telling Pausini that she is the inspiration behind her will to succeed in the industry, the 39-year-old Italian singer/songwriter was charming throughout the session, which was constantly interrupted with applause and cheers of approval from the crowd.

But, while her easy going nature and self-deprecating manner pleased the audience at every turn, Pausini made one thing roundly clear: She’s not a diva. “I don’t consider myself a diva. I don’t live like a diva,” said Pausini. “Life is short and I want to enjoy the jouney for as long as it lasts.”

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Her un-diva way of going about her business is apparent on Twitter, where -- though she understands having a presence on social media is crucial in today’s music industry, and it can used to promote her projects, including an upcoming TV talk-show Pausini will be hosting in Italy, starting next month -- the star takes action when she disapproves of something being said about her.

"I block them, especially when they say, “Hey Laura, you have a big behind or something." said Pausini. "I like to follow people that interact with me -- and I enjoy talking to a lot of singers and songwriters."

Pausini also calls the shots backstage, where she puts her fingerprints on everything before a performance.

“I’m very detailed, and [don’t] like if somebody paid to see your show to show them as much respect as possible,” added Pausini. “People sacrifice a lot to see you -- maybe it’s the only time [they can afford] to see you -- so you have to give them everything.”