The Italian Almanac

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Laura Pausini

She Sings

Italian pop star Laura Pausini has picked up her second Latin Grammy award, winning the prestigious prize for her smash hit album Yo Canto (I Sing). The 33-year-old singer, who has a huge following in Latin America, received her 'best pop album by a female performer' award at a glittering ceremony in Las Vegas on Thursday night. "I'll never get used to all this excitement. My heart was bursting," said Pausini, who was wearing a flowing black gown by Italian designer Gianfranco Ferré at the presentation.

Yo Canto is the Spanish version of her top selling Italian album Io Canto (I Sing), the name coming from the title track, a cover of a classic hit by Italian singer/songwriter Riccardo Cocciante. The album, which was the best-selling disk in Italy in 2006, has sold over two million copies in 47 countries. During the Latin Grammy awards the Italian singer performed a song from it, Disparame/Dispara, and then did a duet with Italian pop tenor Andrea Bocelli, earning a standing ovation from the audience at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

She won her first Latin Grammy in 2005 for her album Escucha, becoming the only Italian female singer to ever do so. The same album earned her a regular Grammy in 2006. Pausini's second Latin Grammy comes less than a week after she won a third World Music Award, also for her album 'Io Canto'. Although relatively unknown in Britain and the US, her distinctive voice and song-writing skills have made her hugely popular in Europe and South America. She has sold over 22 million records worldwide.

The album Io Canto, her ninth, consists entirely of covers. It spans three decades of Italian pop music history. She said she chose the songs on it because they were "tunes that have taught me how to feel, how to love music beyond genres and styles".