In 1992, Bocelli's first break as a singer came when Italian rock singer Zucchero Fornaciari auditioned tenors to record a demo version of "Miserere", which he had co-written with U2's Bono. Successfully passing the audition, Bocelli recorded the tune as a duet with Pavarotti, with whom he became very close friends, even singing at his second wedding, and funeral. After touring all over Europe with Zucchero in 1993, Bocelli was then invited to perform at the Pavarotti & Friends, held in Modena in September 1994.
Bocelli was then signed to Sugar Music by Caterina Caselli, who persuaded him to participate in the Sanremo music festival. He eventually won the newcomer section of the competition in 1994, with "Il mare calmo della sera", a song written by Zucchero for him.