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12 Mar 2010

Please, Eltonites, get up, stand up to receive one of the greatest musicians of the world... the fabulous... Giorgio Aquilani!!!!!!!!!!!

I was invited to a Party Of The Century listening and I was really expected. That great list of stars joinin' Giorgio promise I was in front a very ambicious project. And I was not disappointed, not at all. So I invited him to be with us, tonight, explaining something more about the project. So welcome Giorgio, it's really an honour to have you here on allsongslist. I re-birth the section with "One Of Us With The Stars" because...Sometimes dreams come true! It’s your case, my friend.

How do you feel, Giorgio?

It's a weird feeling... it's like what you've been dreaming for a lifetime is becoming true and all of the sudden you find yourself in a dream you're not waking up from, because it's real. From the beginning of the project, till this very moment, I have never had any doubt and lived each single moment with passion and 100% enthusiasm! Yep, I am a positive man!

For sure. But how came up with the idea to create “Party Of The Century”, actually the most spectacular music record project ever happened?You reached out a wide range of musicians, friends and heroes, for the party: Steve Gadd (Al Jarreau, George Benson, Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker), Scott Page (Pink Floyd, Supertramp), Greg Phillinganes & Leland Sklar (Toto), because is a list of about 40 famous people. Obviously I have to mention John Mahon, Matt Still & Charlie Morgan (Elton John), My God, a constellation of stars, really. How do you managed to reunite those stars?

It's been a very natural process actually. At the beginning I had the idea of an album where, hopefully, could be feature few of my special music friends... But when I started to see the first 5/6 names together in the same line, the idea of the party started to spin around my mind. At that point I wanted to involve more of the stars I admired for such a long time and had to find a strong reason to take the risk and make the "asking" step. So I came out with an original concept for this album, the vision of a big mansion where to host and incredible music party! When planning a party, the most important thing to care about is the guest list... on the other side, when you're invited to a party, you gotta bring something in the house! so Everyone stepped in bringing a little part of what they could do better... With the passing of time, the thing became contagious and contagious, and here we are after two years with a record featuring the world's most influential music players!

Did you got all the people you were expecting?

I got much more than what I expected!!! Honestly I'd never think and hope to reach this far. Specially because 95% of those people, today, have turned to be precious friends.

And I am sure the recording process, “two years of intense work all around the world” in your own words, delivered nice and unforgettable moments. Any anecdotes you could share with us?

I remember having dinner together with my brother and guide Leland Sklar, it was 2008 new years eve in Los Angeles. During dinner we started to talk about the project and I confessed Leland how crazily happy I was to have John Mahon onboard, being an elton I was explaining that thing meant so much to me. Leland waited for me to finish and then he said: "Yes I know... John called me to ask who's this crazy Giorgio from Italy!!!" That was so so so cool to hear!

Hahahaha yes!!! Precisely, two of the tracks are duets: one with John Mahon, other with Bobby Kimball. How it was the experience to share a microphone with them? You are conscious that’s the first known duet of John Mahon, really. Why you decided to sing with him?

That's my biggest pride! Bobby and I have known each other for a very long time and we're like family. We always chatted about doing something together and I think Party Of The Century has been the best chance to bring our voices together in a song. Bobby has been a true mentor to me, he followed and improved my vocals being a fantastic trainer! Duetting with John has been a dream to me... I personally attended more than 45 Elton John shows and time after time I started to notice the great work John does on backing vocals. I was totally blwon out when I heard John's voice on the song Roy Rogers during Elton's 60th birthday show. So I went to his website and checked some of his samples and discovered he has such a black, warm and soulful incredible voice! I am 7th heaven about my collaboration with John and I am even happy to give you all the chance to make you discover this fantastic artist as a front man!

You have a lyric partner, Ivan Nossa. Which is the sequence in your composing team? I mean, who starts first, it comes the music or the lyrics? Also, you work together in the studio or like Elton & Bernie’s way, in two separate rooms?

This might sound very familiar to you. Ivan lives near Milan and is such a special lyric writer! A true storyteller, he knows how to build a world in a 3 minutes song. He composes lyrics first and send them down when he has a good amount... just like 10/15. I print them and always have them on my piano, so that when I play and feel like inspired I go through them and start composing. I think we only worked together once on a song, and that was called "Blue Turtle Blues".

It's familiar, yes, hahaha. From the album, I love “Nenna's Last Symphony”, it’s a sad story. I like the lines “Once she took my hand suddenly, To teach me how to face eternity”. What’s the story behind this song?

It's a tough story. Ivan wrote that lyric when his nanny passed away. He loved her so much and asked me if he could include such theme on a lyric. I said yes of course but I didn't want him to expect a slow ballad, full of tears and pain. That person thought Ivan how to live and how to be a better person, so I wanted the song to be more of a joyful ode, uptempo anthem... and I think it's one of the best played songs in the record.

Other songs to remark, the uptempo "2 Hearts In A Tattoo", the tender "One Emotional Moment". Which is your favourite song from the album? And which song’s gonna be the first single?

I am a romantic guy, if it was for me... I would always write ballads. My favorite track in the album is "One Emotional Moment", which I personally think to be the best song I have written till now. It's hard to pick up a single from this record, since every song is a different world. "2 Hearts in a Tattoo" might be a very good single, even "Black Coffee and a Friend"... Anyhow, it's not important, since the hook in this album it's not the single, but it's its incredible story... everyone will pick their preferred track to broadcast!

Why you chose “Friends”, as the Elton’s cover?

First of all because I think it's the song that better express the mood and atmosphere that's all about Party Of The Century. In fact it's a record made by friends, for friends... it's a human thing, not a business major plan. And then... well I personally needed to pay tribute to my hero.

“The Party Of The Century” is going to be released worldwide on March 25th 2010 and it will be available on iTunes for digital downloads and on CDBABY.COM for physical distribution. What this physical release will contain?

This is going to be very special. You will easily download the record from iTunes, but in case you still love to get the concrete thing you will get much more than a little plastic round. The release comes out in a wonderful synthetic leather box containing the CD, A 52 pages book, a special DVD that features studios sessions and the POTC documentary made of interviews to the artists telling the story of potc and their involvement, plus a collector's gadget !

“Party” is not your first work, that will be your second album. First one was released in 2006, and consisted of 11 tracks (in english language) for an indipendent album named “”. That was a great album with beatiful songs like “The Silver Cloud”, and my favourite “Lady Rose”. Also, “The End Of My Road” was nominated for best pop song at 17th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards. That’s a treasure. Outside this business, it seems so difficult for a prime artist to publish his first work. Was that your case? For sure the awards might help.

It's been hard... I mean every time you do something and you wanna do that good, it's hard. Specially when you move the first steps! Unfortunately you don't have to deal only with music, you start learning things about people who make music business a very dangerous place to walk around. So, my first album it's been harder to put together and didn't bring any incredible result even though it's full of fantastic tracks, but it taught me how to move in music world... which is very much, I kinda paid the entrance ticket!

But first success was a single named “What You Do”. The track toured the world radio stations conquering all the fans of the famous irish band: The Corrs, to whom it was dedicated. It seems a “Thank you” to the band. Did you feel, someway, in debit with them?

The Corrs have been a huge influence when I was a teenager and when I got emotions, I always have to find a way to return back all my love... It's a pity they're not around anymore, they added very important details to my music growth.

At what age you decide you wanted to be a musician, Giorgio? And what were your musical influences?

I was born into music... started to play piano when I was about 5 years old. And well, I never thought I wanted to be a musician, I always knew I were a musician. My first music love and biggest influence is Elton John, he's my main reference. Then I listen to all good music from all eras just like: Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, TOTO, Supertramp, Queen, Robbie Williams, Mika, James Blunt and many others.

Apart from those own albums, you have won other music awards: the celebrated Gondola d'Oro prize as upcoming international pop figure, for example. And got reputation writing for musical and audiobooks. Also, you got the idea to wrote the music for IV TOTO, a fans anthem release. Why these project was born?

It's all about my needing to express myself through music. I have a normal life and I have a job, and always had music here, at my side... I always let music interact with my dreams and sometimes go further than where a normal hobby usually leads to. But that's the greatest part of it... improvisation. SO basically everything I do, I want it to be an event... something special to celebrate music and all the people I love.

In 2005, you participated on the international music challenge organized for Elton John’s Captain Fantastic 30th Birthday, consisting in compose and sing “Dogs In The Kitchen”, lyric written by Bernie Taupin and never turned into song by Elton John. And you won: 692 votes. How it was the work with a lyric penned by Taupin? Did you feel any pressure to “replace” Elton in the composition team?

That's been such an experience!! when I decided to participate I was going through an intense working period. The track got written and recorded in less than 4 hours during the night... Winning the competition, well, it's been a dream! I was even meant to get some kind of prize, but never got anything... never mind, I am happy anyway!

When did you become an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton's music and what moves you to buy his music?

The ball started rolling with "Can You Feel The Love Tonight". I was so so so in love with that track and the owner of my village's cinema used to put on the love songs album before the shows. I remember going to the cinema with a friend of mine telling: "Giorgio hear, this is Elton John... I always cry when I hear his songs, they're so emotional". And I always made fool of him... then after few weeks of the same scene I went to this friend of mine asking him to lend me the cd of that person who made him cry all the time... and I cried too!

Nie!!! Apart from music, which are your interests? What you like to do with your off time?

I am a very active person, have a lot of passions and basically love to share them all with people around me. I love motorbike travelling... I am lucky owner of an Harley Davidson, I travelled even to France with that! I love photography, I love cinema and hanging out with friends. I am a little guy full of positivity who needs to share every smile with who's around. I love buying things for my house and Ferrari is my religion.

Oh, finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList, where I tried to find the best of his songs ever?

1. Indian Sunset
2. Talking Old Soldiers
3. This Song Has No Title
4. Burn Down The Mission
5. Believe

gee... it's so hard to pick up just 5 !

Thanks, I know hehe. Any dream to fullfill, Giorgio?

More than this??? Well if I will ever receive a message from Elton about Party Of The Century or just a thought about the Friends cover I... well... you cannot even imagine how much, such little gesture, would mean to me! Anyway I am a dreamer, many of my dreams turned real and many other wont'... but even those ones at least made me dream! That's my attitude!

Thank you very much, Giorgio. It was so nice for me doing this interview. I am sure eltonites loved it. Precisely, would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to other eltonites?

Yes I would just love to thank everyone who succeeded in reading till this point! ahahah... jokes apart, I would love to hear from you and your thoughts about Party Of The Century.

Hahahaha I love that album and that will be a success, I am sure about it. Well, as a surprise to you my friend, I have here two well-known people by you. They are great artists and they would love to collaborate on the week dedicated to you, with his words:

John Mahon, musician: "Giorgio, I really enjoyed working with you on the POTC project. You were very professional and prepared which always makes things more enjoyable. It was fun to sing the song Poem To Life that we did as a duet. And of course the caliber of musician was outstanding - YOU included. POTC was a fun session to do and gave me a chance to meet some new and interesting talented people. Best of luck G!!!"

Ludovica Iuè, backing vocalist: “I think that Giorgio is an amazing artist and a beautiful person, friendly, kind. Even if he's young, he has a great voice and his music makes to dream people. It was a pleasure, for me, to make the backing vocals on his new album Party Of the Century... I think that it will be a real success... it has the right sounds, wonderful lyrics and a lot of amazing artist that worked on it.”

Thank you very much John. Thank you very much Ludovica. Well, just reminding you that on Sunday we will have here in Allsongslist the partner of Giorgio: Ivan Nossa, the lyric writter. For now, I will go to listen again the album, just for having a good time. Enjoy!!!

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