One hundred twenty thousand CDs sold in two hours... A record set by GIOVANNI on QVC in 1998. To this day, no one has matched or even come close to achieving CD sales of that magnitude, on television, during that period of time. These numbers serve as a testament to the talent, style and popularity of Composer, Performer...GIOVANNI.
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Though he has filled showrooms in Las Vegas and sold over two million CDs during his appearances on QVC and more recently, The Home Shopping Network , success did not come easy for the Italian son of famed musician and conductor, Alfredo Marradi.
Giovanni was only five years old when, following in his father's footsteps, he began playing music. His family had moved from their native Italy to Beirut, Lebanon, where his father had been offered a prominent conductor's job. At the age of eight, he began to study composition under the tutelage of Michael Cheskinov, at the Russian Conservatory in Beirut. "Cheskinov was a classical pianist", says Giovanni. "I remember he had only three students and normally wouldn't accept anyone younger than 30". But because of my father's reputation, he made an exception and took me on. He was a taskmaster and had me practising eight hours a day. As the years went by, I became his only student and it stayed that way until the time of his death. I owe him so much".
From Beirut, Giovanni wandered from city to city, across Europe, picking up work wherever he could. At times, he felt like a gypsy, moving from place to place, earning next to nothing. But when he sat down at the piano, whether in a grand hotel lounge or a small, dimly lit bar he felt that he was accomplishing his mission...to bring his, Giovanni's music to the people. And when they responded with smiles and applause, he knew he had chosen the right path, as bumpy as it was. Though he enjoyed Europe, seeing all of the wonders of each city and meeting many interesting people, his goal, his longing, was to move to the United States.
After several mishaps and adventures that included a game of hide and seek with the Immigration Service, that will make a great screenplay someday, Giovanni settled in Los Angeles. In 1984, he finally realized a life-long dream, as he became an American citizen. "It was like winning an Oscar for the best score", says Giovanni. "I'm so proud to live in this country. People here, they are born to win."
With his citizenship and a new-found confidence, the years of displacement and confusion were now behind him. Hearing about an opportunity "where the stars play", Giovanni moved to Las Vegas. Through sheer determination and a little help from a new-found friend, he began an association with Caesar's Palace hotel and performed on their stage for more than ten years. Oh yes, the new friend....Frank Sinatra. "Frank used to come and listen to me play all the time", says Giovanni, with a smile. "He used to call me "my Italian boy". He would pinch my cheek and say, "Come on eat, you're skinny". Can you imagine, Sinatra calling me skinny?" One time he asked what I wanted out of life. I told him my hopes and dreams about people hearing my music and he just looked straight at me and said, "You'll do it. I can see it in your eyes."
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