Gigi D'Alessio is an Italian pop phenomenon who got his professional start in the early '90s. He grew up in Naples, first encountering music when his father gave him an accordion at age 12, by some accounts. He became obsessed with music, entered the Music Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella and proceeded to leave with a degree in piano and music theory at the tender age of 21. Pretty soon he was in high demand around Naples as a songwriter and arranger, penning songs for Neapolitan artists like Gigi Finizio and D'Angelo (not that D'Angelo!). He released his debut album in 1992, garnering a hit song with "Cient'anne." He then embarked on a steady schedule of touring and releasing records. By the end of the decade he was playing to crowds that numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and he had become a staple on Italian television and a film star to boot. Now in a relationship with the much-younger pop star (and former student) Anna Tatangelo, D'Alessio has morphed into an elder statesman of romantic Italian pop.