Interview: Hometown Boy Anthony Nunziata Discusses His Café Carlyle Debut On May 12th

"If you wanna get something done, you gotta visualize it, manifest it, and get to work."

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + StageNew Yorker by birth, Nashville-ian by choice, singer-songwriter Anthony Nunziata is a music machine. The prolific creator of this writer's favorite album of original Christmas is constantly on the move - writing, touring, performing, and making music for a legion of fans that he has built up, around the country and around the world. Now, he is about to add some names to that list of fans, when he takes control of Manhattan's Upper East Side with his debut at the world-famous Café Carlyle. That room that has played host to legendary artists like Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch, and the man whose name is synonymous with the elegant eatery, Bobby Short, will now present Anthony, when he makes his Café Carlyle debut on May 12th. With a special program he and Musical Director Jeff Franzel have created, Nunziata will entertain for two nights at the Carlye's usual start time of 8:45 pm.

Just hours after the news broke about the native New Yorker's newest gig, Anthony and I got on the phone to talk about the thrill of the Hometown Boy Coming Home, his long association with brother WILL NUNZIATA, and a sport that has captured his heart, soul, and imagination.

See Anthony Nunziata at Café Carlyle on May 12th and 13th by reserving HERE.

This article has been edited for space and content.

Anthony Nunziata, welcome to Broadway World!

Hi, there's Stephen. It's great to speak with you.

We are, quite literally, speaking about two hours after it was announced publicly that you are making your Café Carlyle debut, right?

Yes, I am. I'm beyond thrilled and excited, and I'm so looking forward to creating a special concert to mark this moment.

How did it take so long for you to get to the Carlyle?

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + StageI'm grateful that it happened. This is how it went, Stephen. I got a call and the booker told me, "The Café Carlyle would like to invite you to perform at the club." And I said, "Wow, thank you." It was so formal and elegant, Stephen, I don't think I've ever received a call for a booking in such a formal and gracious way. I felt immediately honored, and also a flood of memories of me having attended the Carlyle, and to my knowledge of everyone I know who has played there. I don't get emotional. I don't get excited over a lot in my life. But I was so excited: once we were able to confirm it, I felt this presence, and I could see the faces of everybody in my life who has been a part of my journey up until this point. I do what I do, but in this life, no matter what it is, whether it's something that's public, or if you have a life or a career that's "out of the spotlight" - you need people in your life to support you, to care for you, to champion you. There have been countless people in my life that I believe have led me to this moment. I know I'm gonna be making my debut at the Café Carlyle only once. And I'm embracing all those feelings - I'm filled with excitement and gratitude.

Just a second ago, you said you are not an emotional person and yet you are a well-known and well-respected writer of love songs and performer of love songs. Let's talk about that duality.

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + StageI guess what I meant was, excitement has been something that I've been working on for a long time, to allow myself to feel joy and excitement when good things happen. But, in terms of my well of emotion, I could cry on a dime. I have a well of emotion to give, but sometimes, when it comes to this business, I have - and other performers, entertainers, or people in the business will maybe relate to developing a little bit of a wall of not getting too excited too soon about things until they actually happen. I've been working on that. But in terms of when I'm writing my songs or when I'm acting and living in my lyrics or songs, I try to bring my full self. But when it comes to my life, when it comes to the business point, I try not to get too emotional. But I allowed myself to feel proud and excited for this, for sure.

Just before we got on the phone, you were on the phone with Mama Nunz. How is she feeling about this news?

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + Stage
With Mom and Dad.

She is so excited. My parents are so excited. My brother is excited, my sister, my entire family. I think it's been two hours since the tickets went on sale, and I don't know if there's gonna be tickets available for the two nights after my family and friends get through! They are so excited for me. And I'm not being falsely gracious here. I do what I do and I'm gonna show up and do my thing - and we're creating a very special concert for this occasion.

This is a celebration of my journey, but it's everybody who's been a part of my life and who gets joy out of seeing me succeed. You know, for me, success is every performance - every chance I get to be with people, to connect with people, is an important moment. I think of my family, I think about my family who's gonna be there, and I think about my family who are no longer with us, and I'm gonna feel them with me because I know that this club represents generations of people who are passionate about the arts.

You've been living down in Nashville.


How is your southern accent coming along?

Oh, my Y'all? (Laughing) My y'all is there for good! Whether or not my family from Brooklyn and Staten Island... how they feel about it, we'll see at the Carlyle. (Laughing) I traverse freely and confidently between "y'all" and "youse." The "youse" is still there

You are a runner, are you finding some good trails to run out in the Nashville countryside?

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + Stage
With the Pickleball family.

I try to get out there. But pickleball has pretty much taken over my life when I'm not touring or writing. In fact, tomorrow morning I go to Naples, Florida to compete in the US Open Pickleball Championships for an entire week. So go figure.

This is a side of you that we didn't know about.

It is a huge passion of mine. I love the sport very much, I compete in it and I've also made some dear friends. I have some pickleball friends from Florida flying up to see me. Pickleball is embedded in my life now.

You are very close to your brother.


The two of you grew up working together in the business, performing together, and there came a moment when he began to pursue directing, and you began to pursue the singer/songwriter track. Did you guys sit down and have a staff meeting to make this decision to separate and go in opposite directions, professionally?

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + Stage
Anthony and Will at Disneyland.

We knew, privately, for a while that this is what we wanted, individually, and we were supportive of each other from day one because, at the end of the day, it was about what each of us wanted and wanted to accomplish in this life. So, in our mid-twenties, we thought that continuing to perform together would be great - he's a great singer and actor, a funny guy - we knew that that would be a great way for both of our names to continue to get out there. There was also a lot of behind-the-scenes things that we didn't make public, about Will's directing projects or my songwriting and beginning to do solo performances and concerts.

Will and I really look at it as we are still each other's best friends, and that's the most important thing. We're also each other's collaborators on everything. I read and listen to every show that he's working on, every script that he writes for film, and I toss him over my set list and what I'm planning on doing, and he gets his input. So it's like we went our "separate" ways, but we look at it as we just went the ways that we, as individuals, were meant to be going. We're probably more involved than ever in each other's life, both personally and professionally, on our path now.

You've been touring quite a lot.

There were 42 concerts in about four months, from November/December through March.

That's a lot of travel - what's your secret to staying well-rested and strong for all your shows?

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + Stage
With nephew Patrick.

I try to get as much sleep as possible, and always drinking water. I don't smoke. I drink occasionally. I think I have a good balance in my life. I run my business, so I'm up every day doing the hustle, and I love it. I love the game of it all. I stay healthy knowing what I'm doing is very rooted in who I am, in wanting to connect to people, to make people feel, cry, laugh, whatever it is. I continue to keep my voice healthy by doing exercises every day, pickleball, working out in some fashion, every day, and balance. I have very dear friends, both in the business and outside of the business, who keep me very grounded. I'm grateful for that healthy lifestyle that I have.

Do you have a meditation practice or something that you've subscribed to? Or is it just the healthy living that keeps you balanced?

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + Stage
With Annie and Patrick.

I do meditate regularly. Some of them are guided meditations, wherever I'm working out. I have this go-to meditation music that I found, that I have playing, either in my ears or in any space that I'm in. So, that is the ambient noise that is always going on, even when I'm driving or traveling.

Did you have to get used to driving everywhere when you moved out of the city and down to Nashville?

I love driving. I've always loved driving. It's my first time ever owning a car, but I've always rented cars while traveling with Will, all those years. I've always been a driver.

Now that you're a car owner, do you know how to change a flat?

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + Stage
The Twins with Annie and Mama.

I hear that there's a site called YouTube that, eventually, I can maybe get some guidance on doing that if, if that ever happens. (Laughing) Absolutely not. But I do have a button on my car that says roadside assistance!

The Carlyle gig happened a little quickly. Do you have the bones of the show, or are you building from the ground up?

I immediately dove into it, like I do any sort of assignments that I get. This has a little bit more of a timeliness to it, so I lived and breathed different versions of the show, meaning me, literally, going through this show in my head as it's happening, pretending that I'm on stage at the Carlyle. I'm sort of visualizing, manifesting how this is gonna go in this space with people in there. I came to a set list that I'm very excited and comfortable with, and, like I mentioned before, my brother was a good collaborator in helping me decide.

And how's the songwriting going?

It has picked up quite a bit. Touring sort of slowed down a little bit - I still have plans to do a full-length album of original songs. I want to get that out by the end of the year. I've got four new Christmas holiday songs that have been written that I want to get out, either as an EP or maybe a few singles. I have so many great collaborators that I'm writing with.

Anthony, it sounds like all your dreams are coming true.

10 Videos That Get Us Quaking About SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY! Starring Nicolas King At Chelsea Table + Stage
The Twins with Dad.

I just think about the little awkward kid who was so shy... to say that he, now, is getting the opportunity to share a little bit of my soul, a little bit of my spirit with others... I'm proud of the work that I've done, musically, on myself in life. That work is ongoing and all I can say is if you believe in whatever it is that you want to do, you gotta make it happen yourself. And if you're lucky, you're gonna have people along the way who believe in you, sometimes more than you believe in yourself. But if you wanna get something done, you gotta visualize it, manifest it, and get to work. No one's gonna work harder than you. I learned that from my parents. I learned it from my brother, my sister. These people - I got lucky. I got so gosh darn lucky, Stephen, with the family thing. I'm not bullshitting you. I learn from my family every day. My sister is the greatest mother to my two nephews, and she and her husband are amazing. My brother and his husband, Joseph, who's like my best friend, and my parents... I mean, I got lucky. But because I got lucky, I have a responsibility to do the best I can do, to give whatever I can give, as long as I'm here, to make people feel less alone.

Anthony, congratulations on the new gig. I'm really happy for you. Have fun at The Carlyle.

Thank you, Stephen.

Catch Anthony Nunziata at the Café Carlyle May 12th and 13th at 8:45 pm both nights. The Café Carlyle website can be accessed HERE.

Visit the Anthony Nunziata website HERE.


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