By 2004, roughly a decade after she made her recording debut at the age of 18, Laura Pausini had sold over 25 million albums worldwide, quite an impressive feat for someone who'd never broken into the lucrative English-language market. The Italian singer (born May 16, 1974) began her career at a young age, making her live debut at age 12. Her singing didn't really take off until 1993, however, when she recorded her self-titled debut and scored a big hit with "La Solitudine." A year later -- in a practice that would come to define her career and compound her success -- she released a Spanish version of her debut, including a version of her breakthrough hit, titled accordingly "Lo Soledad." Further albums followed -- Laura (1995), Le Cose Che Vivi/Las Cosas Que Vives (1996), Mia Risposta/Mi Respuesta (1998), and Tra Te e il Mare/Entre Tu y Mil Mares (2000) -- each of them finding mass success in their respective markets.
During these formative years, Pausini enjoyed her fame; for instance, singing for Pope John Paul II at a special Vatican Christmas mass as well as at Barbra Streisand's birthday party in 1998, and embarking on sold-out world tours. She capped off this run of success with a round of greatest-hits collections -- The Best of Laura Pausini/Lo Mejor de Laura Pausini (2001) -- and, in turn, with what was planned to be her English-language crossover album, From the Inside (2002). There was a lot riding on From the Inside, it should be noted, and so when it met a mixed reception and essentially struck out with consumers, a lot was made of its failure to penetrate the English-language market. She understandably took some time off after her world tour and didn't return until late 2004 with Resta in Ascolto/Escucha. Released four long years after her last proper romance-language studio album, this one had a lot riding on it as well, suffice to say, considering not only the long wait but also the disappointment of From the Inside. So it was a relief when Resta in Ascolto/Escucha returned her to the top of the charts, particularly thanks to the power ballad "Víveme." In fact, Warner Music Latina reissued the album in America in late 2005 to capitalize on its Latin Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Album, adding bonus material. Shortly after winning that Grammy Award, Warner released a triumphant live set, Live in Paris 05, to capitalize on the momentum.
Back on top, Pausini was given free rein to record an album of covers, Io Canto/Yo Canto (2006), consisting of Italian pop/rock songs, mainly from the '90s, that had greatly influenced her. Selling over 500,000 copies, Io Canto/Yo Canto was the biggest-selling album of the year in Italy, while she also scooped up the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album at the Latin Grammy Awards. In 2007, Pausini became the first female artist to perform at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, with the show being released in November that year and titled San Siro 2007.
In 2008, Pausini released her tenth studio album, Primavera in Anticipo/Primavera Anticipada, which included the single "Invece No"/"En Cambio No," as well as a duet with British singer/songwriter James Blunt. 2009 saw the singer organize another concert at the San Siro -- this time featuring a host of female artists -- to raise money for those affected by that year's L'Aquila earthquake. The resulting video sold more than 250,000 copies. Pausini continued to tour before going to work on her next album, Inedito/Inédito. Released in 2010, the record was promoted on the Inedito World Tour, which included a date at London's Royal Albert Hall.
In late 2012, Pausini recorded a duet with Josh Groban for his album All That Echoes, before reissuing her 1993 single "La Solitudine" to celebrate its 20-year anniversary. It became part of a special 20th anniversary year, with the album 20: The Greatest Hits/20: Grandes Exitos appearing in 2013. A mixture of vintage and new recordings, it included feature appearances by many of Pausini's friends and fellow superstars, including Kylie Minogue on the number one Italian hit "Limpido" and Thalía on the Top Ten "Se Non Te." Also making appearances were Marc Anthony, Lara Fabian, Alejandro Sanz, and Andrea Bocelli. The album sold over a million copies globally and topped the charts in her native Italy-- where it was designated multi-platinum --as well as in Malta, Mexico, and Switzerland.
Pausini took a little over two years off to concentrate on family matters before returning in late 2013. She embarked on her Greatest Hits World Tour, which took her across Europe, Latin America, Australia, and, for the first time, to Russia.
She returned to recording in late 2014, and worked in studios across Europe with a several producers and session musicians. The first radio single, "Lato Destro del Cuore," was released in October of 2015, followed by the album Simili in November (issued in both Italian and Castilian editions). She promoted the recording with an unprecedented series of Sunday evening appearances on Univisioin's La Banda throughout the following December. ~ Jason Birchmeier