"Are you nervous?". I'm standing backstage with two journalists in Bergen, Norway, just about to begin the biggest show of my life, opening for Joe Cocker in front of a sold out arena crowd. "Yes, but I love it".
The show coincided with the release of my second album, which like my first, was being well received by critics and fans alike.
The show also marked a turning point in my career, from here on in, I would take full control over every creative decision regarding every aspect of my music, including recording my own albums, making my own videos and photos, even designing this website you are looking at. An independent artist in the true sense of the word.
It was a momentous and strange day for me, for as a boy I had idolized Joe Cocker.
Also on that same day, a pre recorded interview and performance was being broadcast on national radio to over two million people in Italy. It felt like a platform to launch from. But first, some backstory.
I was born in Rome. My father was an Italian musician, and my mother was a young English girl, still in her teens. They were also unwed, making me officially a love child. Music really was in my blood.
I began writing songs at 11, after meeting my father for the first time in nine years. As stupid as this sounds, when I met him, he told me he was about to record an album. Me, in my little naive mind, began to think that maybe I could write him some songs to record. As unbelievable as it sounds, that's where it all started for me. I have literally never stopped writing songs since that day.
Fast forward many years. After many bands, many songs written badly, and many dark and grimy shows in pubs all over Birmingham UK where i grew up as a teenager, I got to record my first album.
It was a surreal experience. Here was I, still naive about most aspects of the music business, standing next to Tchad Blake at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studio, making an album with Jerry Marotta on drums, Tchad producing, and drinking tea with Peter Gabriel.
That first album spawned two radio songs, and nearly half the songs from the album would later be covered by other artists, who would go on to have much more success with them than me. This started my "other" career, as a songwriter for other artists.
It was never my intention to write for other people, but after hearing the first artist cover a song of mine, I was so moved, I actively began writing for others. To date I've had songs on three top 5 intentional albums by other artists, including a no 1 in Italy and a top 5 in Asia.
After the Joe Cocker show, I also fell in love with big shows. The thrill of standing backstage and watching people as they come in is immense and I truly enjoy it. Since then I have been lucky enough to work with Livenation and opened for artists such as Arcade Fire, Lionel Richie, Jackson Browne, The Script and The Dixie Chicks. I also opened Norwegian Wood music festival last year on the main stage. Amazing and emotional.
It is sometimes overwhelming being an independent artist. It often feels like the work never ends.
Once a song is written, then begins the work of recording it by myself. After that begins the work of designing the artwork, then filming the video. And so on, and on..
But I couldn't be anything other, and I genuinely enjoy the creative control. I run my own label, and make all the decisions.
Do I get nervous? Yes, but I love it .
If you've read all the way down to here, thank you. Thank you also for taking the time to check out my site. If you fancy it, you can take a listen to my music, just click the Spotify button, first button in the menu below.
"And I lost myself in the curls of her hair.
Those valleys of promises that whisper into the air".
Taken from the song "I Dreamt I MAde Love To Regina Spektor.