Anto, the Voice of Music

Anto Thank you to Michela Zanarella, Click News  and ELFA Promotions for a great interview with Anto. Here’s an English translation, from the original Italian:
 “I think that music found me, not the other way around. What I did was just listen to her voice.” From these words we understand the high value you give to music. What does it represent to you?
I think I can associate the feeling I get from music with the feeling of falling madly and hopelessly in love. Suddenly you feel that everything you’re doing makes sense and you know how to complete a puzzle that was unfinished until that moment. You don’t know how to explain the intensity that manages to overwhelm you like a hurricane, you just know that you can’t stop loving her once her “look” has become a reflection of yourself.
 How did you become part of Summerline? Tell us about some particular episode that you experienced with the other band members.
Summerline met via our musical journies. In fact, everyone was already playing in other bands when we met. By chance or fate, I don’t know how to define it but we all knew exactly where we wanted our music to go. I think the best memory I could share was when we shot our first music video in Germany. I remember all the staff members, the way everything was perfectly organized (including the locations and how the director Robert Broellochs ran everything so smoothly, the team of people who looked after us so we always had everything we needed etc.), the bitter cold of southern Germany that cut to the bone and the small stove where at least our hands could find some comfort… I think it was one of the most challenging and intense days of my life, and definitely one of the most significant and memorable days of my life.
How did you transition to a solo career? What were the reasons that motivated you to make this choice?
After the breakup of the band due to problems with our producer and blows from the ruthless music business, it was hard for me to accept. But then I understood that music is who I am and the only way I wanted to follow, regardless of the circumstances.  I’m glad to say that the solo path is giving me the chance to know a lot of people who support me as I never could have imagined, even on the opposite side of the world, and to collaborate with the Canadian writer (and my best friend) Christine Noels, with whom I walk this path. In fact, we have many ideas in common and writing together is very easy despite the distance, and the lyrics are more personal than what I wrote with the band. All this ardor fires more and more my passion for music and gives me strength every day to believe and fight for what I love, and to not give in to “a life of quiet desperation” as Walt Whitman says.
From “Whisper My Name” to “Broken Pieces”, what connects these two recordings?
These two EPs are tied together by the desire to seek “their voices”. That is, Christine and I wanted to write about some of our experiences that hit us deeply and left their mark inside of us, mixing music and words together to create a mixture of love, passion, pain and disappointment within the framework of hope, which serves as the message that joins both EPs together. The desire to keep fighting and believing in spite of the world that we see outside our windows (which we can no longer perceive through the innocent eyes we had when we were young) allows us to believe that some magic really exists.
You’re appreciated by both fans and critics. What’s your relationship with your audience? How does the popularity affect your life?
What makes me truly happy and satisfied is the hope that I can leave an indelible mark in the hearts of my listeners. Phrases like “how is it that I can recognize myself perfectly in your songs?” or “your music touches me deeply,” contain exactly what I’m trying to transmit. Of course I also receive negative criticism but that’s okay. I’d worry if I didn’t receive some. It pushes me to dig deeper personally and achieve more artistically. I don’t think I have to worry about popularity – I worry about being sure I can reach the ears of many more people! So for now my life is pretty normal (although the word “normal” is always relative when I speak about myself!).
What “big” music artist would like to collaborate with?
I’ve always dreamed of working with Billie Joe Armstrong. Green Day is a band that has stayed with me for many years because of their music and because of him in particular. His energy and charisma has always fascinated and inspired me artistically and as a person.
Dreams, ambitions, plans for the future? 
The music industry continues to change day by day, so it’s really hard to predict what will happen in the future. Like almost all artists I have the aspiration to sign a major record deal, but as long as I have the chance to make music for the rest of my life, I know that in any case I will be satisfied.
I would like to thank Michela Zanarella for giving me this interview and for this new opportunity that I was offered to introduce me to all of you who are reading these lines. Thank you!  – Anto

March 20

This is going to be a particularly self-indulgent blog but at the moment let’s just embrace the idea that all expression is self-indulgent so why even try to draw lines. 🙂 As long as I don’t wander into self-pitying territory, I’ll call it a win.

There have been three ‘events’ that have been taking centre-stage in my life this week.

1) I’ve been sick this week. Some of you know I have fibromyalgia but I’ve also had a chest infection that left me desperate for oxygen for a few days. I’m feeling stronger tonight so hopefully I’ll be back to ‘fighting form’ soon.

2) Anto and I released another cover. He’s singing some more Goo Goo Dolls and as always, I’m very proud of him. Working together is a strange and wonderful combination of passion/love/job/partnership… It is a job (being his personal manager and of course writing together) that few people in my personal life take seriously or respect, but I’m more committed to it than any other work I’ve ever done. This is who I am. The fact that I love it and get to create and build something together with someone who loves me, is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

3) This is a bad week for my family. Twenty years ago tonight my brother was killed in a car accident. I know twenty years sounds like a long time to some of you, but his loss is always with us. Every year is a bit different. The week leading up to this day is full of other milestones like his birthday and my parents’ Anniversary. It’s also packed with other milestones that seem to haunt us – every March something disastrous seems to happen to our family! Except last year. Last year nothing horrible happened and this year, crossing my fingers, we’ve done okay. (My mother would likely disagree since I’ve been so sick. I’m sure she chalks emergency room visits up to the curse of March but..)

So the bottom line in all this is that I’m particularly grateful to the people who are by my side in this moment. My natural reaction is to focus on who isn’t there for me – and admittedly I’ve done that. I get frustrated that I don’t see support from people who I wish would support me. When I’m excited about stuff I’ve written, stuff that I’ve been working hard on and no one in my personal life bothers to check it out, it depresses me. I know this is a common complaint amongst creative types but sometimes it really does get me down.

And now I’m getting to the end of the post and I don’t even remember why I started writing… I think it has to do with the day. I wish I could write something brilliant for my brother, I wish I could touch people with my writing more, I wish I could make Anto’s and my dreams come true faster, I wish I could’ve spent more time with my son this week rather than being cooped up in this bedroom…

Guess I wandered across the line into self-pity… 

So time to dust myself off and get back into fighting mode. Tonight will be a long night but tomorrow I know I’ll feel stronger.

PS – To those people who ARE there for me, I love you and I never take you for granted. You are the reason I believe in everything good. 

Interview with the German Support page

The past few days have been a hurricane of emotions and activity. My partner and I released a new EP on January 1st called, “Broken Pieces”. The work that goes into an EP and its release always surprises me. And at the end of that exhaustion is the nervous moment when you release your children out into the cold world for judgement. To use a tired cliche, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. Well a day after the release, our rollercoaster took a nasty turn and we made the hard decision to ‘un-release’ the newest single and video. It’s been a rough few days.

Amid the whirlwind however, the administrator of Anto’s German Support page on Facebook, Franzi Trebert, did an interview with both Anto and I about our writing process. I wanted to post it in the hopes that my fellow writers might find it interesting. Continue reading

Lyrical Stress

I haven’t touched the novel in weeks…maybe longer. (Much longer). I’ve been working on lyrics and as the stresses of  ‘normal’ life increase exponentially, so have the pressures of writing lyrics to a deadline. The minutes slip away as the studio date draws near.

But finally, my partner in rhyme and I finished writing the lyrics for the final song tonight. It goes without saying that I’m not completely in love with every word but that’s part of the neurotic leanings of a writer. I can’t use enough superlatives to explain how much I love writing these songs together, but I’ll ponder and worry and rewrite until the final moments before recording. Every song needs to be vetted and I know I’ll hate each one of them before the process is over. And then I’ll fall in love with them all over again…

I kick myself because I’m not Shakespeare, but these are pop songs – and considering that one of the top songs right now (I song I might admit to liking *cough*) includes the lyrics, “Boom, boom, boom. Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon…”, maybe I should let go of my neurotic self-flagellation.

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The better half of this dynamic duo…

Late Night Freud and the First Glimmers of a New Idea

It’s too late at night to ponder too deeply… my head is heavy and my thoughts are muddled. A thought just occurred to me though and I can’t believe I didn’t figure this out before now.

My writing has changed over the past couple of years. I attributed my change in focus to many things – mainly the fact that I acquired an amazing writing partner. Almost everything I write now is a shared labour of love and we get so caught up in ‘our’ stuff, that the latest novel keeps getting pushed to the side. Inspiration pours out of me in the form of poems and lyrics now and it’s a very different mindset and process than when I write a novel.

When I write the novels, I sit by myself and step into a world that’s of my creation – but not mine. It’s pure fantasy.

When I write songs and poems, I write with and for my partner, about a world that’s ours. It’s our reality.

Continue reading

To the Wordsmiths – and the other people who write

Being a wordsmith is born of passion – the need to put pen to paper is as innate and as necessary as breathing. Motivations obviously differ between writers but the drive to create and express is a point of solidarity.

The artistry of writing is as unique and varied as the authors. Ability aside, there are fundamental differences in the way they approach their work.

Some writers sweat blood over the structure of the story. Plotlines, story arcs and character development are orchestrated with precision tuning. Evolving and refining the craft is part of the thrill.

Some writers get lost in the struggle between the rigidity of grammar and form, and having a singular voice that resounds with creativity. There is a constant battle between the ‘proper’ way and the path that leads somewhere new. Continue reading

My Partner in Rhyme

I’ve never been a team player.

Oh, I work well with others – I share my toys and encourage everyone, and I’m really good at being in charge – but I’d much rather work alone. Too independent, too impatient and frankly, too resistant to authority, I hate being part of the crowd. Even as a child I’d do anything to avoid the dreaded group projects at school. “Pick a partner” was the battle-cry of sadists posing as teachers.

So imagine my surprise to find out that there’s one person in this world with whom I can write. Write! Personal and deeply introspective, the process of writing has no rules or universal truths. It’s as individual as each writer – even from project to project the process can change dramatically. So then how is it possible that I can not only write with someone else but revel in the joy of it…

I write with my best friend.

We don’t always write together; I have my novels and whatever else sparks my imagination, while he has his songs and stories, his poetry… But there are times when we come together to work on something and it surpasses anything else I’ve ever done as a writer. Suddenly, there’s joy in finding the right combination of words. There’s excitement when we realize at the same moment that a sentence is perfect. There’s a bond in creating something together. We know each other so deeply, know how the other one thinks, how the other one sees the world… I think we create something together that neither one of us could create on our own.  

I’m still not a team player. I couldn’t duplicate this experience with anyone else – nor do I want to try. There’s a trust and love that doesn’t exist anywhere but inside of us and it’s that bond that allows us to go beyond building worlds. It’s about creating something intimate. It’s about what exists between us… Maybe that’s the magic…