Not Just a Pretty Voice

I don't have a singer's voice," Paolo Conte says, his Marlboro-cured rasp lending evidence to that statement. But the lawyer-turned-jazzman-turned-chansonnier is playing to sold-out concert halls across Europe with an eclectic repertoire that ranges from early jazz to Argentinian milonga to Neapolitan folk songs. A self-taught musician, Conte, 64, once considered himself "a bit of a snob" with no interest in singing or songwriting. "Little by little, however, I discovered there was something interesting about singing in Italian with a bit of truth inside," he says. "I saw that it had to be me. The trick is to manage your defects...

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