Roberto Zanetti was born in Massa on November 28th, 1956. When he was fourteen years old he started to study the piano and soon felt in love with music. At that moment he realised that this music would be the focus of his future career.
During his High School days Roberto played with musical groups, before he went to University. The work with different groups became so important that Roberto decided to undertake a musical career. As a result he put together a professional group called “TAXI”, in which Zucchero Fornaciari was on guitar.
This was the time when Roberto started to compose songs – at first in a melodic and commercial style – and later he changed to “Dance Style”.
In 1983 he recorded the first Single for his group “TAXI” called “TO MIAMI”. The song became a local success (it was released only in central Italy) and paved him the way for another piece called “ANGELICA” by Joey Moon.
After these experiences, Roberto was contacted by two DJ’s and together they produced “INCANTATION” by Gang.
This Song – a Cover Version of a Mike Oldfield Song – worked out well in Italy and it was the beginning of a collaboration with DISCOMAGIC, which distributed it and became Roberto’s partner in the future.
From October until November 1983, Roberto produced four more Songs called: “BUENAS NOCHES” by Kamillo, “STARMAN” by Claudio Mingardi, “MAGIC CARILLON” by Rose and his turning point “DON’T CRY TONIGHT” by Savage. This Song was Roberto’s first, real and great success. In the meantime he decided to call himself “ROBYX” using this name as a producer.
This professional name was origin from school, when Roberto used to draw strip cartoons together with his friend Fabrizio Bonini. One of the characters – a rich and famous rock
star – was called “ROBYX”.
In the years to come (1984-1986) Roberto dedicated himself to the “SAVAGE PROJECT”, successfully recording the album “TONIGHT” and some other Singles like “ONLY YOU”, “CELEBRATE”, “RADIO”, “A LOVE AGAIN”, “LOVE IS DEATH”, “LOOSING YOU” and “GOODBYE”. At that time the only production – (apart from the record “SAVAGE”) was “LIFE IS LIFE” by Stargo. This Song was a Dance Cover of the famous group “OPUS”. Roberto’s Version reached the top of the French Charts, winning a gold record for 250’000 sold copies.
As he was the performer in the “SAVAGE PROJECT” singing all the songs, Roberto started to concentrate his work on shows and tours throughout Europe, becoming a well known star in some countries of Eastern Europe, such as Poland and Russia.
At the end of 1986, Roberto decided to create his own Recording Studio called “CASABLANCA RECORDINGS”, where he also had the headquarters of this production, called “ROBYX”.
It’s important to remember that all the previous records had been made in an Italian Studio called “SCACCOMATTO”in Lavagna (GE). Roberto started his career as a self-taught producer. As a keyboard player he quickly learnt how to utilise computers and digital equipment that shortly afterwards became the basic of Dance Music.
One of the most meaningful stages of this technological progress was marked by being one of the first to use “LINN DRUMS” in 1984, “YAMAHA DX7 in 1984 and “ROLAND MC 700/500” Computers in 1985.
Among the first projects undertaken in the new Recording Studio, the “HOUSE-FEVER”
phenomenon is remarkable. This was a time of transition in the world of music. The first “HOUSE” started to cause a big sensation in the United Kingdom and in the United States, but he had not yet reached Italy.
Roberto noted the Song “THE PARTY” by the group “CRAZE” and decided to make a Cover Version in the Italian language using witty lyrics.
Through this the Song “NON TOCCARMI IL CULO DAI” was born and was immediately
imitated by SALVI with “C’E DA SPOSTARE UNA MACCHINA”.
In only a few months Roberto released about 10 records of that kind. The success was so great, that he sold 200’000 copies of it. A huge number for the Italian market…!
1988 ROBYX started a new project, which was foreseen to become a great international
success: “ICE MC”. The origin of this project was a little bit bizarre: Roberto composed a song for himself, which was also sung by him. Subsequently, he decided to eliminate the lyrics of the verse and replace them with RAP. To do this, he invited IAN CAMPBELL, a British boy - , Origin from Jamaica , as a RAPPER, who had been working as a Disco dancer before. In that way Roberto composed the Song “EASY”, which became a big hit all over Europe.
Even though he sang all the vocal parts, apart from RAP, Roberto decided to not actively appear in the group. The group was then called “ICE MC”.
In addition the Singles “SCREAM” and “CINEMA” became big hits as well as the Album, in which these two songs were included. The demand of “ICE MC” started to rise all over the world so that the group decided to go on tour. During Ian travelled, doing shows and promoting his Image, Roberto took care of the organization as well as of composing new records. ROBYX put all his energy into the ICE MC project, since he could call this project his own.
Around 1990 ROBYX produced only a few records, apart from those of ICE MC. The most
significant are: “PIANONEGRO” by Pianonegro, “PARTY CHILDREN” by Wareband Feat.
Tad Robinson, “VOCALIZE” by Scatt.
In 1990 ROBYX met by chance the group “DOUBLE YOU” and a thrilling collaboration began, which led them to the Single “PLEASE DON’T GO”.
Also on this occasion, Roberto’s intuition proved him right, when he launched a new style called “COVERMANIA”, later on followed and copied by many others in Europe.
The release of the song “PLEASE DON’T GO”, became an instant hit, being one of those songs that climbs the charts without the help of any particular publicity. In England this piece was noticed by a DANCE LABEL, known as NETWORK. They applied for the licence for being able to release the song in the United Kingdom. ROBYX answer was negative, because another company in that country already owned the permission. Even so, this doesn’t prevent NETWORK to copy “PLEASE DON’T GO” .
The copy was sung by the English Group “KWS” and it reached the top of the English Charts, thanks to the distributor’s incorrect behaviour. (He was the publisher for both Group’s Versions, DOUBLE YOU and KWS, supporting only the latter).
Later on, “DWA” won a legal case against NETWORK, who were ordered to pay damages.It was impossible to assess the fine, considering “KWS’s success in the United Kingdom as well as in the United States. However, DOUBLE YOU triumphed in the rest of the world.
After that, ROBYX produced other big successes, whereas the Group “KWS” and the DANCE LABEL NETWORK disappeared from the market.
At that time also “KC” the composer of “PLEASE DON’T GO” was interested in ROBYX.
One day he decided to visit Italy to record an Album, which has been produced by ROBYX.
Between 1992-93 Roberto moved to new headquarters and with his new studio, he
inaugurated an endless series of successes, such as those by “ICE MC” and “CORONA”.It was also in the new studio that he created the unique sound “DWA” , which has been copied by many other Labels in the following years.
The first hit was “THE RHYTHM OF THE NIGHT” by “CORONA”. In this song ROBYX gave some suggestions to the producer Francesco Bontempi and only from the second Single “BABY-BABY” onwards Roberto became a very important part of the project, making mixes and actively contributing in the creation of all the songs.
With other new records by “ICE MC”, “THINK ABOUT THE WAY” and “IT’S RAINY DAY”, Roberto was working to find a new sound. The famous tone of the “KICK DRUM” and “THE MOVEMENT OF BASS”, which characterised the EURODANCE, were used for the first time in these songs.
In a few years, ROBYX catapulted among the most important producers, selling with “ICE MC” and “CORONA” more than 6 million Singles and 2 million Albums all over the world.
End 1995 ROBYX decided to reorganise his activity. He began with the conversion of new and suitable furnished offices and redone his artistic staff as well.
It was during this time that there were some difference of opinion with IAN CAMPBELL, the RAPPER of the ICE MC project, who without telling anybody signed an agreement with another manager, ignoring the contract with ROBYX., which was still valid. The reason he gave was, that he wanted to change his Style.
This disagreement arose, because Ian wanted to use the name “ICE MC”, which is a registered trademark of ROBYX’s company. Roberto was for a long time the singer of the project as well as the composer of all songs. In addition he played all the instruments on all the records he composed.
Ian signed an agreement with a German Label called “POLYDOR” and Roberto was forced to break off all relations with both the artists, who where continuing to use with without rights the name “ICE MC” with “POLYDOR”.
POLYDOR later released a new record without ROBYX. The production was a big flop, bringing such an important project to the end.
1996 ROBYX produced only two Singles by ALEXIA, the vocalist of ICE MC’s greatest Hits. This time success was assured and the singer embarked upon a successful solo career, which took place in Spring 1997, when her first Album was released.
In the meantime the new studios were ready and ROBYX moved in, to start with new projects, to be released in Spring 1997.