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BWW Interview: Anthony Nunziata of AMORE: THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS at 54 Below

BWW Interview: Anthony Nunziata of AMORE: THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS at 54 Below

Anthony Nunziata is one busy man. A glance at his tour calendar is always an indicator of his popularity on the concert circuit, a popularity that has been greatly earned through years of diligent work at his craft and at connecting with his public. Considered by many to be the possessor of one of the most beautiful voices, Mr. Nunziata is in perpetual motion, whether performing his solo shows or appearing alongside his brother, Will, with whom he has a longtime Brother Act - and when he is not on stage singing for his supper, Anthony Nunziata is hard at work writing new songs to sing. Anthony Nunziata is a music-making machine, which is why the month of February is going to be such a big one for him.

Only days ago, Anthony Nunziata released a new single, and in two weeks, on the same day, he will release his new cd, THE LOVE ALBUM, and open his new act AMORE: THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City. With only one day left before February 1st, I thought it would be a good idea to get on the phone with Anthony, as the countdown begins.

Thank goodness he picked up the phone...

This interview has been edited for space and content

Hello, this is Anthony.

Anthony, it's Stephen Mosher.

Stephen, how are you?

I'm well, thank you. Boy, you're working hard these days.

I'm trying! You know, every day I'm just grateful for what I do and knowing that it takes a lot of work

So, Anthony, it's not even February yet and you are going through some really exciting stuff right now.

I'm so excited to be releasing the album and doing two special concerts at Feinstein's/54 below on Valentine's day and February 15th!

So let's talk about the album. It's called The Love Album. How long have you been working on this CD?

I began the process about seven months ago with my longtime arranger and musical director, Tedd Firth, who came to my apartment, and we began to dive into songs that I've written, as well as classic songs that I have performed before, and many which I've never performed before. And after a couple of times together, working through arrangements and ideas, we came up with a list of about 15 songs, we recorded those 15 songs and then we went in and whittled it down to 10 songs for the album.

You are considered one of the great romantic singers on the circuit right now. Is that why you decided to do The Love Album?

I am a romantic person. I love love and I love deep diving into all the different aspects and hues and shades of love. My hope in creating this album was to create a romantic album, but also create an album where people can hopefully find themselves in the songs.

You said that you consider yourself a romantic person. Does that manifest itself in all of your music?

Wow, that's a good question. I try to bring empathy into my daily interactions with people. I'm fascinated with the human condition. I've always been interested in hearing people's stories and being a storyteller as a singer and as a songwriter. The subject of love is so fascinating, complicated, exciting, frustrating, and amazing. I tried connecting the songs together in the album for people... my goal is for people to feel something on a deeper level for themselves in listening to these songs and these amazing arrangement that I created with Tedd Firth, Eugene Gwozdz, and this amazing band.

You are releasing the album on what special day?

The album will officially release on Valentine's Day, February 14th,

Which is the day of your first concert at Feinstein's/54 Below?

That's right. Yes. Funny how things time out like that!

With careful planning! Are you going to sing all the songs from the album at 54 Below or are you going to be adding in some of your other hits?

I will be singing songs that I sing that people have requested, as well as songs that aren't on the album that I'll be debuting. It's going to be quite music-filled - I'm going to have my five-piece band with me. I want to take advantage of that opportunity to bring the audience through a journey through my album, as well as sing songs that have a very deep personal meaning to me. And hopefully, people will connect with the songs in their own special way.

You said that you'll be singing songs that are requested of you. Do you have an active fan base where people write to you and give you feedback about what they like about your music?

Yeah, we know there are certainly folks out there that travel around the country to see me perform a solo show, or see myself and my brother perform, and after concerts, I love the feedback that, I call them my friends, that my friends give me... what songs ended up touching them in a certain way, that they connected with in a certain way. I take that to heart because if people are showing up to listen to my music, to see me live, that's why I get to keep doing what I love to do. I take that very seriously, to listen, to connect, to hear their stories because then when I see them next, I love connecting with them on a personal level. 'Cause we're all in search of human connection, right? I know music is very personal for people. I take it to heart to honor the stories that people share with me of how certain songs have touched them.

How did you begin your journey from singer into singer-songwriter?

You know, melodies and lyrics have been running around in my head since I was a kid. My dad is a very creative man and very musical. He would create and still does, these impromptu improv'd musical jingles, wherever we travel. And that encouraged me to be free in coming up with songs and music and lyrics. It wasn't until the past seven years or so that I've moved into songwriting and digging deep. I've always loved to write, I've always loved music and the fact that I'm doing a lot of creating of music is so exciting... and collaboration is everything to me. I have an amazing team of collaborators that I work with and there are a few original songs on the album, and I'll certainly be doing some extra original songs for the Valentine's day weekend concerts.

You had a rather successful self-penned Christmas song come out last year.

Yes. I wrote a song with Jim Brickman and Victoria Shaw called The Greatest Wish. We wrote the song in six hours on a steamy hot June afternoon in New York City. After we wrote this, I knew we had a special song on our hands. It's gotten amazing coverage. I loved working with Jim and Victoria. They are so wonderful to work with, I look forward to writing with them again soon.

So play with me for a second.

Okay.

You're a songwriter, you're writing a song, and you're thinking, "I don't want to keep this song for myself. I want to send this out into the world." Who do you want to get to record that song?

Wow, here we go. There's a song on my album that I love, it's one of my favorites, called "Will You Be My Everyday?" It's actually just released as a single a couple of days ago and I hear two sets of people singing it. I would love to hear Tim McGraw and Faith Hill sing it because it is a duet -- I would love for there to be a soulful R&B version sung by Ariana Grande and John Legend.

Nice.

I'm putting that out there, Stephen!

This is the place to do it. Okay... So what's the most romantic gesture you've ever made?

Wow.

I don't ask easy questions.

This is amazing. I'm gonna give you a clean answer. Most romantic gesture: writing a love song for someone

That's super romantic

And letting that person know that they are the inspiration behind that song.

They say that artists shouldn't wait for inspiration, that they should get up every day and work and create while waiting for inspiration to hit. Do you believe that?

Yes, absolutely. Ideas for titles, melodies, lyrical moments within a song come to me when I least expect it. When my mind is quiet is when I find that I'm most creative. I have, in the middle of the night, I have a notepad by my bed, I'll write down lyric ideas, I'll sing into my voice memo app melodies or full lyric ideas or I'll just improv a whole song, melodically, throwing out some lyrics in there. Or in the shower or when I go for a run, when I meditate or exercise or even when I'm playing tennis, it's when I'm not thinking about it that ideas, melodies, concepts will come up... and conversations with my friends! I can tell you that someone says something and I have a moment of inspiration, all of a sudden a melody will pop in my head. I don't know where it comes from, but I know when I feel connected to an idea or a melody or a lyric. When I have a session where I'm meeting a person at a time to write, I prepare myself for that session. I will often meditate or exercise before the session so I'm free and an open vessel and can bring everything to the table... my past experiences, tapping into the imagination 'cause songs STEM from a place of truth, especially when it's collaborative. Part of it comes from me, while I have collaborators who are tapping into their truth and experience. That's the beauty of creating art.

I once heard Carly Simon say that there's never a moment when there isn't some kind of song being created in her head. Is that the way it is with you?

Songs do come to my mind now. I literally have a pad next to me right now because as I'm talking with you, I never know what's going to come up. I will let you know if anything does come up ... melody ideas or the idea of knowing your situation but seeing it in a new way -- that's always spinning around in my head. I think a lot of that comes to having grown up with a dad who is in the advertising industry and he taught me, since I was a little kid, in writing, you gotta write the familiar in a new way. I really attribute a lot of that courageous thinking, the fearless thinking, the fearless writing, I attribute to my dad.

You travel a lot for concerts and appearances. Is your time away from work more active or restful?

I try my best to balance both sides. I enjoy the company of people, to have meaningful conversations with people. I'm the type of person who enjoys one-on-one conversation. Sometimes big gatherings are a little overwhelming for me. I don't do small talk very well. I really enjoy taking the time to connect with people on a real level and on a deep level, talking about things that inspire people, that make them tick in their "why?" statement in life -- that interests me. On the other hand, I also am, I think in my heart, an introverted person. I do enjoy having time to recharge. I know performing in front of people is a very social and extroverted activity and what brings me great comfort in what I do, is that no matter if I'm performing at a nightclub like 54 Below or in a concert hall I try my best to create a sense of intimacy with the audience because I don't know any other way than to do that. And that allows me to be as vulnerable as possible. I try to bring the sensibility of having an intimate one on one conversation with them to my songwriting and to my performance.

Anthony, I only have one question left for you: Do you have a Valentine this year?

Besides my mother? No, I don't.

Well, a boy's best Valentine is his mother.

Mama Nunz has volunteered to be my Valentine this year.

(Adoring audible sigh)

THE LOVE ALBUM will be available starting February 14th on most online platforms and specifically through Anthony Nunziata's website

AMORE: THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS plays Feinstein's/54 Below February 14th and 15th at 7 pm. For information and tickets please visit the 54 Below website

BWW Interview: Anthony Nunziata of AMORE: THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS at 54 Below

Photos of Anthony Nunziata by Michael Kushner


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