This much I know: Andrea Bocelli The opera singer, 54, on being Italian, love at first sight and why he hates travelling
"When you’re on stage singing, you’re naked. Your voice is something very intimate": Andrea Bocelli. Photograph: Giovanni De Sandre
Some of us are born with a weakness for music. As a baby, music would stop whatever thought I was having. If I was worried, it would stop me worrying; if I was crying, it would stop me crying. Music was a healing thing for me.
I always knew I would sing. I just didn't know if I would be successful or not. But I sang at school, I sang at parties, I sang at church. Everyone always asked me to sing. I'd be playing football with my friends and my parents would ask me to sing for their guests. I was never very happy about that because I wanted to play football.
I am an Italian man. I was born and grew up in Italy. I was imbued with the Italian mentality and culture. And everyone knows that an Italian man lives for women.
When you're on stage singing, you're naked. Your voice is something very intimate and that's why I'm scared every time before I perform. It doesn't matter if I'm singing for a king or a queen or the Pope, it's enough to be in front of anybody. I suffer, but I can't do anything about it.
Immanuel Kant was the world's most important thinker. From Kant I learned that you have to treat everyone as an end, not as a means. That has served me well in the music industry.
I'm incredibly competitive by nature. That is why it is not surprising that I was a lawyer before I was a singer.
Music should not be abused. Nowadays, it is everywhere: in restaurants, in elevators, in cars. That's very dangerous because it loses its power as a medicine.
Love, for me, is always at first sight. If you have love that comes after a while, it's not real, not genuine. Love is at once or never.
Schopenhauer said it best: when it comes to love, men are like reeds blown in the wind. It doesn't matter how clever or cultured you are. When you're in love, those things don't mean anything.
I don't like being called "macho". Macho basically means stupid and a real Italian man is not macho, he's smart. That's smart in both senses: elegant and clever.
Sex is the enemy of the athlete and the artist. Footballers need to rest before a match; singers, too, need to have time to think about themselves by themselves.
I hate to travel. I live by the sea near Tuscany and for me it's the most beautiful place in the world. So I like to stay at home, doing the same things. But my destiny decided something different for me.
I've sung for my daughter Virginia since she was conceived. She loves music and she always calms down when I sing. She's six months old now, so she will have to listen to me for a few years yet.
To become a father again at my age, that's beautiful.
Andrea Bocelli is touring the UK in November (tickets from kililive.com or 0844 871 8803). His new album, Opera, is released on 5 November