Italian teen trio Il Volo, on its first trip to America, were feted at Geffen Records Chairman Ron Fair's home in Brentwood, California on Thursday night. Fair and Interscope head Jimmy Iovine signed the teenage tenors (Gianluca Ginoble, Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto), whose new self-titled album contains classic Italian songs (see video for "O Sole Mio," below) as well as three original tracks, including a pair written by Diane Warren, who was also on hand. Humberto Gatica and legendary Italian singer/producer/music mogul Tony Renis, also in attendance, co-produced the album.

GRAMMY
Left to right: Tony Renis, GianLuca Ginoble (Il Volo), Piero Barone (Il Volo), Jimmy Iovine, Ron Fair, Ignazio Boschetto (Il Volo), Steve Leber (manager, The Leber Group)

Click Here For .biz's Complete Grammys Central 2011: Photos, News & More

The act performed tracks from its new album in the intimate setting before celebrities and industry elite, which included Babyface, JoJo, Interscope-Geffen-A&M's Brenda Romano, Steve Berman, Gary Kelly and Chris Lopes, Universal Music Group President & CEO Jim Urie and Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman & CEO David Renzer.

GRAMMY
Interscope head honcho Jimmy Iovine with il Volo co-producer Tony Renis, who has worked with such luminaries as CĂ©line Dion and Andrea Bocelli. (Photo: Aki Kaneko)
GRAMMY
20-year-old singer/actress JoJo (left) and Ron Fair.

For the event, Fair brought a little bit of Italy to L.A. for Grammy week, decorating his lovely home with a green, white and red balloons and importing an Italian-speaking wait staff who cheerfully served those in attendance. With a contingent of friends, family and business associates from Italy spread out among the crowd, the Italian language was omnipresent among the many conversations taking place.

GRAMMY
Left to right: Nicole Patenburg, Babyface, Ron Fair and Stefanie Fair.

Producer/Co-Principal Tony Renis, famous among other things for co-penning the classic 1962 Italian hit "Quando Quando, Quando (Tell Me When)" said that he was as excited as he's ever been about the trio's prospects of achieving success both in the U.S. and internationally. When asked about his favorite version of "Quando" (a song covered most famously by Engelbert Humperdinck and Pat Boone as well as Connie Francis and Cliff Richard), Renis replied that it was a fairly recent rendition by Michael Buble with Nelly Furtado (from Buble's 2005 album "It's Time") he loved best.

GRAMMY
Left to right: Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde, Il Volo's Gianluca Ginoble, Ron Fair's assistant Buffy Hubelbank, Billboard Publisher Lisa Howard, Il Volo's co-producer Tony Renis, Il Volo's Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto, Billboard's Aki Kaneko.

The IGA promotion and sales teams were flush with anticipation: On the next morning (Friday), Lady Gaga's new single "Born This Way" would be released to radio and iTunes. Target was also featuring a special pre-sale promotion for Gaga's upcoming album, where a pre-order would get fans a free download of the single.

In attendance from Target were John Butcher (VP Merchandise Manager of the Entertainment division) and Jake Langner (senior buyer), who said it was a no-brainer to partner with Gaga and IGA on the project. Speculation among those in attendance is that the single could possible break the 7-day digital track record (636,000 by Flo Rida's "Right Round") in just three days, with her album being a strong contender to be the first single-week million-unit seller since Taylor Swift's "Speak Now."

GRAMMY
Cheek to cheek: Ron Fair with Dianne Warren.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print