Matteo Setti was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy, on the 17th of August, 1972.
In his past there have been Rock, big musicals and theatre, the present and the future now he’s introducing himself as a crooner.
Matteo Setti is everything an audience would expect from Italy: authenticity, top-shelf quality, passion, style. Credit Luciano Pavarotti for having discovered him; not to mention the decade Setti spent performing in internationally touring musicals produced by such legends as Pavarotti and Pierre Cardin: The phrase Made in Italy was made for Matteo Setti.
Born in 1972 in northern Italy to Franco Setti, a professional singer in the 1960s, the younger Setti spent his upbringing observing the qualities that make a voice stand out. In 2011 this came full circle when he gained national attention in Italy for participating in a study led by Dr. Claudio De Felice to observe the effect of live singing on young patients with Rett Syndrome, a form of autism. About Setti’s participation in the study, neuropsychiatrist Joussef Hayek told Italy’s largest newspaper, Corriere della Sera that “unlike other singers,” Setti uses a one-of-a-kind way to suspend his external breathing that the researchers likened to the frequency of a violin. “The uniqueness of [Setti's] voice,” Dr. Hayek said, resulted in the study’s groundbreaking findings—from Corriere della Sera: “The oxygenation of the [patients'] blood increases by over 10 percent to a normal level, as well as increases the blood perfusion in tissue, and reduces oxidative stress and heart rate. The patients relax and experience reduced symptoms of the disease.”
The Vatican was equally convinced of Setti’s talent, when in 2011 he was chosen over two Italian radio artists to record a song, “Non Abbiate Paura” (“Have No Fear”) that aired in over 60 countries the morning Pope John Paul II was beatified (the third step of the four steps to sainthood). The Catholic Writers Guild notes: “‘Non abbiate paura’ (‘Have no fear’), the official song dedicated to John Paul II featuring original images and words of the Pope was … authored by Giorgio Mantovan and Francesco Fiumanò, was performed by Italian singer Matteo Setti and is the only musical piece for which the Vatican has given permission to use Karol Wojtyla’s (Pope John Paul’s) voice.”
Yet to encounter Setti’s smile and dynamic personality, it’s not shocking to discover that this artist so committed to faith and goodwill also has a soul for rock and roll. In 1996, Setti performed as the frontman in Radiogaga, the internationally acclaimed Queen tribute band. In 1999 he debuted in the Japanese dance market with two live performances and over three dozen records for Walt Disney Records and Dave Rodgers’ Japanese label that went on to sell 300,000 copies in Japan.
In 2001, Setti starred as Roger in Jonathan Larson’s Rent, the musical tour produced in Italy by Luciano Pavarotti, who famously staked his claim for having given Setti his start: “I discovered Matteo Setti!” From 2002 to 2009, he played the narrator Gringoire in Italy’s beloved musical-opera, Notre Dame de Paris. This was Setti’s massive breakout role, and he performed on the original cast recording on Sony/BMG. Then in 2010 he starred as Giacomo Casanova in the Pierre Cardin-produced Casanova: Love and Intrigue in Venice. The show was staged in Paris at the Espace Cardin, then at the Opera House in Athens and at Moscow’s historic Kremlin theater.
Setti’s 2012 debut as a solo big band “pop-crooner” came with an evolved inspiration to thrill audiences in a more meaningful way than ever. “Swing brings people together,” he says. “The audience can sing with me, bond with each other, visit the past and connect with their roots.” This new direction in Setti’s career also comes from his longtime goal to pursue the American Dream. “America will be a very important jump—there I can live and breathe music. This is a part of my journey I’ve waited a long time for.”
An incredibly warm reception in spring 2013 at New York’s famed Birdland Jazz Club led to multiple invitations for Setti to perform at Cast Party, Jim Caruso’s exclusive open mic, where audiences were arrested by Setti’s exciting swing interpretations of internationally known standards and contemporary tracks.
Matteo Setti’s first solo album includes this same type of “Italian classic-meets-American cool” repertoire. Planned for a 2014 release, the album was recorded in New York City in spring 2013 with Daniele Falangone as the arranger, Davy Nathan (Christina Aguilera, NKOTB, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton) and a 10-piece A-list band that includes drummer Charles Haynes (Lady Gaga, Kanye West), Jacques Schwarz-Bart (John Legend, Eric Benet, Erykah Badu) as lead horn and Clay Sears (Jay-Z, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Jill Scott) on guitar.
Setti’s live project kicked off at the Milan Blue Note on February 21, 2013 and debuted in Dubai in March. Other performances are planned in the United States and Europe, including Venice’s Biennale international art exhibition in May 2013.