Born Leonard De Bernardini in the medieval city of Bologna in north Italy of Italian and Russian heritage, Leo Z is a multi-platinum composer/producer/songwriter who has collaborated with such artists as Josh Groban, Nathan Pacheco, Andrea Bocelli, and Elisa.
Fusing elements of classical, electronic, world, folk, Celtic, contemporary, ambient and progressive rock music to create a unique voice in the international pop-crossover genre, Leo began his music career in Bologna when, in his early 20s, started collaborating with BMG Italy and Sugar Universal, as producer, arranger and composer.
After producing, writing, arranging and performing songs for popular Artists such as Elisa, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban (the record Closer sold over 8 million units and includes Leo's song "Oceano") and Lucio Dalla, Leo felt the urge to change and crossed the ocean to Los Angeles, exchanging the hills of north Italy for the hills of West Hollywood, the right place for extending his music path to soundtracks .
In 2007 Leo started his experience in films, winning the Platinum Award at the Houston World Fest 2008 for scoring a short movie entitled Breast Pump and Blender.
Coming soon on Yahoo is Electric City by Tom Hanks, for which Leo composed, performed and produced the music in collaboration with Ali Noori.
In 2009 Leo signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell and a few months later, Disney hires him to develop Nathan Pacheco's project, a brand new Crossover Tenor Singer, just signed by the legendary Bob Cavallo, and started his collaboration with Jon Lind, the very gifted VP of A&R's at Hollywood Record.
Leo becomes the producer, the arranger and the main songwriter for this mystical debut record of Nathan that will be released by Fall 2012, and has been recorded between Leo's Chateau Z Studio, EastWest Studios Los Angeles, Air Studios Lyndhurst (with the London Philarmonia and the amazing sound engineer Geoff Foster) and mixed at the Electric Lady Studio NY by the also legendary Michael Brauer.
Leo is actually developing a solo record for piano, prepared piano, 22 Strings and Virus DarkStar as well as collaborating with Josh Groban on some new repertoire.
Above all a pianist, Leo also plays percussion and programs and designs music on keyboards and computer (Digital Performer, Protools).
His influences include Elliot Goldenthal, Thomas Newman, John Williams, Brian Eno, Hans Zimmer, Tori Amos, Bjork Elbow, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, Mike Oldfield, Keith Jarrett, Riuchi Sakamoto and Jan Garbarek.
Leo selected TELEFUNKEN's ELA M251T to record Nathan Pacheco for his debut album on Disney Pearl. "It wasn't easy to find the right microphone for Nathan," Leo Z explained. "He has a magical soft tone, but can be extremely powerful in an operatic way. With the 251, his voice cuts through the sound of the orchestra, yet remains smooth and clear." The album was recorded with full orchestra at Air Lyndhurst in London, at EASTWEST recording studios in Hollywood, and at Leo Z's private studio, and was mixed by the renowned Michael Brauer.
A pair of TELEFUNKEN's CU-29 is his first choice on piano (Steinway and Son B 1986), inside.
Leo also uses the 251T on acoustic guitars, percussion and to capture the sound of his magic woodsy live room.
"The center of the world is a little house in the woods, with a view to the Universe."
"I have a Gothic side and I get bored of flat environment."
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