Giovanni Amenta was one of the original members of The Canadian Tenors and Destino, and has been compared to Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli.
He sung in front of Pope John Paul the second and Prince Albert of Monaco, and shared the stage with Michael BublÃ©, Marie Osmond and Tom Cochran.
This Wednesday night, Amenta will sing at the sold out 14th Annual Nite of Hope Richmond in the River Rock Casino Resort Theatre.
After a four-year hiatus from professional singing, Amenta has returned in a big way.
"A few of us left The Canadian Tenors because of management issues and then we formed Destino," said Amenta, who just turned 34 last weekend. "For four years things were really good with Destino, but then problems arose and my heart was broken."
The singer walked away from his promising career.
Amenta then spent the last four years in Vancouver working with Canada's top image consultants and stylists, teaching fashion styling at John Casablanca as well as launching his own company, Pink & Grey Style and Image Consulting.
"I still sang once in awhile at charity events and I couldn't pass up singing during the Vancouver Winter Olympics," he added. "When I was offered the Tenors I didn't trust myself enough that I could have a solo career- now, I have enough confidence."
Amenta is already garnering rave reviews for his solo act.
Elaine Overholt, vocal coach with Universal and Virgin as well as for Academy Award winning movie musical Chicago said, "Never have I been so excited by such a talent."
He also has two number one hits on Italian radio for songs he co-wrote while with The Canadian Tenors - Io Vivo Di Te and Figlio Mio.
"The music hasn't changed as much as I've evolved as a person," said Amenta.
"This time I'm ready to sing again on my own terms; doing it my way."
He also just returned from two and a half months in Miami, Florida where he trained with Doug Emery, music producer to such mega stars as Barbra Streisand, Leann Rimes and Ricky Martin.
"I did writing sessions with Doug and it was heaven," he added. "Doug is so gifted.
"I ended up doing a big show in Fort Lauderdale in front of the crème de la crème of high society there."
Amenta said he's finally listening to his heart and moving his music down the path he wants.
Meanwhile, Amenta quipped that the Nite of Hope will be his "rebirth of sorts."
Amenta said he became hooked on music after his parents took him to see the musical Cats.
"I was six at the time and I came home and reenacted the whole play for my parents," he said with a laugh. "I knew early on that singing was something I could do as a career."
His mother, who sang and played the piano, nurtured his passion.
Amenta grew up in Port Hardy and then his parents moved the family to Florence, Italy for four months to learn about their heritage and culture.
When asked if it was there that his passion for his genre of music was born, he said no.
"I was attracted to that melodic operatic sound, which we called popera for a long time," Amenta said. (Popera or operatic pop is a subgenre of pop music performed in an operatic style.)
"I always loved the big, sappy ballads and admire singers such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Canada's Jan Arden. I also listened to a lot of Pavarotti because my dad had it on all the time."
Amenta went on to say that although he trained in opera, he doesn't really like it.
"Even while with The Canadian Tenors I sang the pop-crossover songs," he added. "I like to write songs with passion. I'm not so big on bubblegum songs - I like the juicy meat and potatoes songs, songs with depth and deal with life issues."
During Wednesday's performance, Amenta will sing from his CD, Open, released online in January of this year.
"A lot of the song on this CD never got released although I sang a couple of them while with the Tenors," he said.
He's bringing along his touring band, which includes Destino's violinist Rosemary Siemens.
"I've moved past the Destino issues and I think it's going to be a great night of music," said Amenta.
The pop-opera singer will also be singing during Nite of Hope's moving Rose Ceremony, honouring the women who have breast cancer, those who are still fighting the disease and the survivors.
"Nite of Hope is such an important evening and it's a great reminder that we need to enjoy our lives," he said.
"I'm thrilled and so honoured to be able to share the stage with these courageous women."
For information, about Amenta visit www.giovanniamenta.com or www. niteofhope.com/Richmond.
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