It is a “Vera Storia Italiana”: If it had been up to his family, then little Giovanni should actually have taken over the business of his uncle: a funeral home. But the boy was much too lively for that – and above all musically too talented.
Already as piccolo ragazzo he ran through Nonna’s kitchen singing and smiting hits from Celentano; At the tender age of seven he learned piano and it was also his first time as a singer on a stage. Still a student, he founded a band with which he toured as soon as he turned 18, throughout Italy. Of course, the music had to become his profession and since then he was very serious about it. He studied piano at the Conservatory in Perugia and then composition studies in Milan. Incidentally, he appeared as a bar pianist: “In this intense time, I realized how easy it is for me to change the mood in a room with my music and to make people happy,” says Costello.
He has been doing this for many years, on big stages, on television and with his upcoming fifth album. It was named after Costello’s authentic lyrics and melodies telling stories that he uses to identify himself: “True Italian Stories”.
His own story plays for many years for the most part in Germany. Here, a music manager recommended him soon after his studies as a pianist. It was only later, that Costello began to sing and the warm, smoky timbre of his voice has thrilled audiences since then. In 2011 he participated in the first season of “The Voice of Germany”. With his Battle opponent, he sang a beautiful duet instead of a vocal competition – they interpreted “What a wonderful world”. He continued to work with Xavier Naidoo after “The Voice” and recorded three more CDs with him and the band “Sing for your life”. But as he wanted to pursue his solo career, they parted ways.
Giovanni Costello is a true Italian – un vero italiano. To this day, he drives as often as he can into his house in the middle of the Umbrian forest, chops wood for the fireplace, composes new songs in his studio and meets his friends in the café. On these days he fuels energy and gets a lot of inspiration for his music. Of course, the Italian loves good food, excellent wine and likes to party and sing together with his friends, usually with a piano nearby. Celebrity chef Frank Rosin is one of his best friends in Germany – and it was he who persuaded him to take part in “The Voice of Germany”. What luck!
Costello, as an Italian gentleman, is very stylish and pays attention to his appearance. He works out a lot and loves perfect suits. “Fashion is a must for me,” he comments. Therefore, the musician and singer makes a “bella figura” in every way, not only on stage. He elegantly combines canzone, soul, pop and jazz – his role models are Rossini, Verdi and Puccini, Nat “King” Cole, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra on the other. And, of course, James Bond belongs to this list, certainly not as a singer, but as an elegant man who loves a good challenge and knows how to handle it.
After numerous concerts, tours and four own albums, he feels “more mature and more philosophical”, as he says, something that “is also reflected in the lyrics”. He has seen and experienced a lot in his life to interpret “True Italian Stories” credibly. His songs tell stories, mostly romantic, but always honest. With “lo dico di no”, he says “no” to the seductions of life, well – mostly. The song “Meglio Stasera” by Henry Mancini, which he wrote for the film “Pink Panther”, is a tribute to the 60s. With Eros Ramazotti’s hit “Se bastasse una canzone” he jumps into the 90s. Paolos Conte’s “Via con me” should especially captivate the lovers of the Italian Cantautores, as dedicated and free as he performs this song. And with a wink he sings Fred Buscaglione’s “CheBambola”. He already sang the German version of the song together with Götz Alsmann on stage. Conversely, Costello translated the “Illusionen” of the great Udo Jürgens into Italian for “Non avessi te”. Of course, his song “Roma” must not be missing. It is a subtly political and socio-critical, yet extremely loving tribute to this beautiful historical “eternal” city, thriving from its contrasts, its chaos and all temptations on the one hand and the relaxed Dolce Vita on the other. Of course, the Catholic Church plays a big role and furthermore, the city is shaped by the many politicians and their street convoys. In the general hustle and bustle one discovers again and again beautiful women who just wait to be discovered by a producer for the next Hollywood blockbuster.
For all this, Costello has chosen the big show: a cooperation with the SWR Big Band. He collaborated with the legendary German Jazz Orchestra for the first time in 2014 and the common wavelength was so obvious that this cooperation was deepened in 2016 and 2017. The best of the joint live concerts is gathered on “True Italian Stories”, refined by such experienced arrangers as the Stuttgart native Ralf Hesse, Hamburg’s Markus Voigt or the Canadian David Foster (to whom Michael Bublé owes his first hits) and the arrangements are played by such outstanding Jazz musicians as the saxophonists Klaus Graf and Axel Kühn, the trumpeters Namanja Jovanivic and Felice Civitareale or the pianist Olaf Polziehn and the conductor and nominal arranger of the SWR Big Band Klaus Wagenleiter. As ravishing as ever Costello can give them the swinging crooner and the real soulman – and not at least the moving cantautore, who tells real Italian stories.