Have you ever asked yourself why you do all this? If not, I'll start telling you about me.
Ever since I started to make music and delved into this endless world, I couldn’t help but keep asking myself what art is, what spaces and dimensions I could explore through music and, in other words, why I was doing it. The pursuit of my why led to travel, study, research and question almost anything I thought I knew and I was told. I feel like sharing part of this journey, as I’m sure many artists walk the same road.
Believe it or not, even though I began doing music when I was only 8, I never said “I wanna be famous” till I got 26/27. I genuinely enjoyed learning, playing, singing, studying and improving with my band(s) or solo, for the pure sake of doing it. I spent countless hours practicing, molesting my parents with awful compositions and screams that would make ears bleed and I did all that for years. Furthermore, you might find it hard to believe, I didn’t even consider myself an artist. I just couldn’t use that word on me.
Although I knew since back in the day that music would have always been part of my life, again, I never even considered the option of becoming a full time music artist. My mantra was exactly “work is something serious, music is just a hobby that’ll remain so”. Honestly, I don’t remember the moment in which I realized I couldn’t get music out of my head and I could no longer stand to leave it a moment in between my “official” tasks. But that’s not important: looking back, what really matters to me is that I realize how important it was to focus on the need of transcending, creating, improving and mastering the techniques which finally would lead me to a sense of fulfillment. That is the common thread that’s always been there.
Internet came as I was 12/13 but in my house was accessible only 30 minutes a day: do you remember when you had to unplug the fixed phone to connect? I drove my parents crazy both because by doing so they couldn’t use the phone, but that was nothing compared to the bill that came in at the end of the month! It already was a noisy world but for a regular kid born in a small town in northern Italy, I was still very much protected from the inhuman inputs and stimulations we’re exposed to nowadays, 24/7. No social media freed my day from the constant need to receive external validation and let my kid’s mind wander free to sing, write, compose. For as bad as me or my compositions sounded, I was really doing it for me.
I remember playing over and over again an Iron Maiden live concert I had on a tape (I think it was an ‘88 or ‘89 tour), listening day and night to music on tape (CDs came quite late at home) so I had little to no contact with the “superstar” life of an idol. All I could hear (and rarely see) was how wonderful they mastered their talent while they were on stage. I admired their ability to create, to sustain it and to perform it at incredibly high levels, sometimes even flawlessly. I struggled to hopelessly try to get closer to their abilities but it was pretty clear (at least to me) that if I had ever had the chance to perform, my skills and my self-judgment as an artist should have been flawless too. I could have never born the shame of being famous and exposed for something I wasn’t even good at.
Is this to tell that back in the day it was “better”? Well, let’s put it this way: do you remember when in school there was the hottest girl/boy everyone wanted? I’m sure your school had one too. Unless you weren’t the one (I wasn’t), how could you tell if what you wanted was to be with him/her because you truly liked him/her, or just because of the attention and prestige that it would have implied?
Translating this to today’s world: how can you know if you’re doing this because of the attention draw, the social projections, the exposure and the chance to rub it in someone else’s face or for an authentic drive? Well, for sure no one can tell you whether you’re doing it for the “right or wrong” reasons. Although our deeds reveal our true goals, I’d never claim I know the “why” of an artist.
For sure, after many years of questioning and investigations, I can tell you about mine. Some things I’m about to write may sound bold or superb; I don’t mean to steer your judgment away from that, if that’s the feeling you’ll get. I can only care about being authentic and speak my truth.
Ever since I was a kid, I always stood out as a leader. I was nearly 5 years old when you could start noticing how kids genuinely gathered around me and spontaneously handed me the “scepter” of the leader. That always ran smoothly, since I never was that kind of bossy kid who self imposes and bullies others. This natural behavior and pattern led to a very big crisis for me, as I turned 12/13. The outcome caused by those overwhelming expectations, the pressure of being the golden boy and the weight of “always doing the right thing” cast me into a spiral of darkness that had physical and mental repercussions on me. I won’t go deeper into this now; I’ll just say my response was to try to zero myself, annihilate myself and practically disappear from any radar.
My early 20s started to connect me with music and music learning at a higher professional level. The bands I had and the vocal coach (and only mentor I’ve ever had) at that time were A-class so I quickly began to make contact with how deep the rabbit hole of art and music was, when you're doing it fully. Still, I was completely doing it for the sake of seeing and hearing myself at best. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t even considering myself an artist.
Approaching my 30s the situation had turned upside down: I realized that my entire life music had always been there and that I always created music and connected with sound to experience life and existence. In layman’s terms: it was time to make music my profession because that was the only way I could dedicate to it 24/7.
When you reach that goal of turning a passion into a profession, many interesting things happen: some things lose that sense of magic, some others acquire it but one thing is for sure: when you truly walk your path and where you belong, your soul, mind, energy and vibration rise and expand like never before. You find resources you wouldn't think you have, see different colors, taste different tastes and your senses grow sharper. With such an amount of information, I figure one ends up choosing between two things: you either pursue the “I want it all for myself” or the “I want it all to give it back”. I surprised myself when I realized music wasn’t my goal; it was the channel through which I can give something back to people.
So far so good, you might say. In a way, we all give something back to the world, whether it’s good or bad. So, after I discovered music wasn’t the goal but a tool (it was a huuuge discovery for me even if it doesn’t sound so) I started digging deeper and deeper to understand WHAT it was that I could give back.
Like doing a puzzle, I began putting together all the pieces of those natural qualities that accompanied throughout my entire life and made me both laugh and cry. I have the natural gift of making people feel safe and understood, while they’re around me. I have the gift of seeing through words and scouting that sparkle of art and creativity that’s within each of us, even when it's hidden the the carrier him/herself. By having pushed myself doing things against all odds and that I never thought I could do, it’s natural to feed people’s inspiration and grow that sparkly into a fire. 'Cause I know the pain and struggles of walking the walk.
These aspects were narrowing more and more the road to my why, carving and shaping my vision at best. The last “piece” of the puzzle was falling into a crazy love with sound itself, not just music. I have been studying the properties and applications of sound for years and I haven’t stopped marveling day after day. Sound itself connects with the depth of our subconscious and taps into the unknown, all the time. It provides and extracts information, tunes with ourselves or lets us realize where there’s a blockage or limitation. It connects different dimensions of our self and is able to help us reprogram our chip. It heals… ohh it does. Not just in romantic ways but rather practical and documented ones. Music is one way of disposing of sound. It's not the only one.
It took me 35 years to know my why…. so here it is (the extended version). Life happens FOR us, not TO us. Overcoming fear and pain to find who we really are is a lifetime journey. It takes a lot of energy and determination, but it requires a lot more to live a life unbalanced, incoherent, meaningless. Music and sound are the tools I want to master to keep dialoguing with my and people’s conscious and subconscious, growing sparkles to fires, turning fears into fuel, leading creativity and art to be a reason to live. I want to help artists shake away society's restraints and false idols, as well as connect with non-music people to boost their confidence to pursue whatever dream they have. All this implies dramatic changes, leaving safe havens to uncharted lands, traumatic ruptures with our patterns and past behaviors. I can lead and inspire people through that because I accepted the gift I have and elevated it by devoting totally to sound and music.
The short version could be summarized like this: as I’ll be gone, I wanna know I have contributed to making the world a place where people build their lives on dreams, passions and true calls. As well, I’d like to make the world a place where real Artists feel it’s worth it, because they do make a difference.