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Although she toiled in the music business for 10 years, recorded eight albums in English and spent a good deal of time in Berkeley, Calif., Italian singer Elisa Toffoli was unknown to American audiences until this summer when her single “Dancing” was played—where else?—on a reality show.
Her moment on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance propelled the song into iTunes’ Top 20 and sparked more than a million hits on YouTube.
Now Toffoli, 30, is promoting her latest album, Dancing, and will embark on a monthlong North American tour, beginning October 29 in Toronto and traveling through New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle. “I’m really looking forward to seeing Las Vegas—it’s not exactly my style, but who knows, maybe I’ll end up liking it after all,” she says.
Her first album was recorded in Berkeley and produced by Corrado Rustici, who also worked with Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. Toffoli is considered a major star in her home country, having performed with Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli, but sticks with English lyrics on her own tracks and professes a deep love of The Doors.
“When I was 12, I saw the film by Oliver Stone, fell in love with their music and immediately bought a book of Jim Morrison’s poetry,” she says. “I learned English in large part by following the Italian translations of their lyrics in the album liners.”