Let’s start from the very beginning: I was born in 1984, and I’m a fingerstyle guitarist from Bari. My story with the guitar and my passion for music started when I was nine, when my mother put a classical guitar underneath our Christmas tree. I was thunderstruck and spellbound by that wooden box with six strings on.
I started playing it by ear, trying to emulate Dire Straits Mike Knopfler’s solos, but with a classical guitar! Totally irresponsible, I’d say. It took me three years to find the resolution and enrol in a music school, thus starting a love affair with this amazing instrument.
I began to study following the strict rules that classical music imposes and that I still don’t disdain, since they shaped me through and through. But my love for the guitar knew no bounds and classical music was not enough for me.
As a teenager, since I was Knopfler’s huge fan, I approached the electric guitar and then, by chance, I found some “Blues Guitar Method” audio cassettes. That was my very first encounter with a real acoustic guitar, without overdubbing or tricks: sheer polyphony… thunderstruck again!
I completed my classical studies – yes, I kept playing the classical guitar – and I graduated with honours from the “Niccolò Piccinni” music academy in Bari. During my time as a student, I had many experiences and, parallelly to classical music; I also played the electric and the acoustic guitar, trying to be as much versatile as possible. I had my first “rock” experiences with some underground bands in Bari: the first one was called Insomniae, and it played covers of rock classics; later I became a member of Astrea, with whom I recorded an EP with the title “From Birth to Confusion”, in the New Metal style, that had a moderate success, despite its narrow circle, having its climax in our participation in several festivals, including the 2006 Sziget Sound Fest.
At the same time, I attended seminars and master classes in classical music with leading teachers, such as Eduardo Isaac, Flavio Cucchi, Lorenzo Micheli, Matteo Mela, and Aniello Desiderio. Later on, I became a member of the most important ensemble for classical guitars in the South of Italy: the Orchestra di chitarre De Falla, conducted by Maestro Pasquale Scarola.
With them, I performed at various festivals, in many regions and TV shows, also playing as a soloist. A beautiful experience that still occurs every now and then. But I must say that my real acoustic career started approximately when I attended master classes with worldwide famous musicians, that is Don Ross, Preston Reed, Doyle Dykes, and Tommy Emmanuel. This latter, the first acoustic guitarist I’d seen perform live back in 1997, was my model.
Fingerpicking/Fingerstyle has been at the source of everything since then: I completely dedicated myself to studying these techniques, with which I also “defiled” the classical orchestra, presenting the repertoire of this style’s greatest pioneers, such as Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Merle Travis, and many more.
In the last fifteen years, I’ve both started teaching guitar in several music schools and academies, and played in tribute bands of artists like Claudio Baglioni, Bon Jovi, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Michael Jackson – still performing – doing concerts all around Europe.
I’ve also founded the acoustic duo Cheek2Cheek with the extraordinary – please, let me say it – singer, friend and colleague Lorella Falcone, with whom I revive the ‘50s classics in a fingerstyle way.
I lent my guitar to the most diverse genres, becoming a recording session man. Among my many collaborations, I’ve also had the pleasure to open the concerts of esteemed musicians like Peter Cincotti, Fiordaliso, and Danilo Rea.
Music also brought me to Canada, a country rich in musical traditions and favourably disposed to listening to new proposals, where I cut my teeth playing in pubs, bars and private parties. Back to Italy, I kept on performing in competitions and festivals, but with an axe to grind: giving my music a shape and leaving a concrete proof of it. When I went overseas again, I got the inspiration and, in what I call my second home, I composed many pieces.
Soon my work took shape, and it materialized for good on 20th February 2018, the day of my recording birth with “Two Homes”, my debut album. Entirely self-produced, this record is a long and incredible trip around two continents (America and Europe): a trip made of personal feelings, memories, and emotions. Matching swing, folk and blues echoes and a palette of feelings ranging from joy to wistfulness, I translated the sweet-and-sour flavour of everyday experience and the pleasure of facing and sharing our life adventure into sounds.
The single Waterfalls, the opening track, was selected by Rob Poland, the founder of the illustrious record company Candyrat Records, and added on his YouTube channel, scoring thousands of views and likes.
In 2019, I was awarded the “2019 Emerging Guitarist” Prize at the XXVI Convention ADGPA and XIV Guitar International Rendez-vous, thus winning my participation to the important “Festival de la Guitare” in Issoudun, France. It was a magical experience that allowed me to keep on believing in the dream that every musician lives in their own way.
Playing for people is stirring for me, because every time I take on the stage, I try to do it at my best: this is what I want people to listen to. They often say: “Try as hard as you can because, even though you don’t get what you wish for, at least you’ll know you’ve done your best”.
One of the most beautiful things in music is that we’re all so diverse to be incomparable. Somehow every man must be happy with himself and with what he does. I think one of the secrets in life is to find what you’re gifted for… and do it!
Go your own way without being stopped by others’ opinions; if you play honestly and with your heart, the audience will appreciate it. If I’d ever thought, even for a moment, that my audience was there only to judge me, my dream would have been shattered many years ago. On the contrary, I simply feel that we’re sharing something.
There is no secret but sharing!
VISUAL IDENTITY PROJECT by AMUSART®
CONCEPT & ART DIRECTION:
Photo shooting: Jesús López B.
Stylist: Barbara Lo Faro