Sunday, December 16, 2018
Maurizio is an award-winning singer-songwriter currently living in his hometown of Troy, New York. He has played sold out shows at venues including the world-renowned Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York and opened major festival stages for artists such as Dar Williams.
Maurizio grew up listening to a wide variety of music, from his mother’s bedtime Italian folk and opera songs, to his older brother Dominic’s rock albums (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Beach Boys, among others). This early exposure to such a wide range of music informed him well for the venues he would play years down the road.
Over the course of almost three decades, Maurizio has performed in every type of venue imaginable, from the decorated to the unadorned. It is these varied venues and early childhood experiences that have given rise to Maurizio’s genre-breaking songs. On any given night, Maurizio will serve his audience well, drawing from a catalog that is as diverse as the venues he plays.
Maurizio’s voice shows vulnerability and relaxed tenor that quickly draws the listener in. His guitar-playing style fills a space that bustles with percussive backbeats and well-timed melodic interplay.
When writing a song, Maurizio explains: “I try to quiet down my mind and get to that place in my heart where I can just let my hand do the writing, as opposed to thinking about it too much. I then read what I have written as a revelation, as if somebody else had put down the words. “
In 2012, Maurizio teamed up with producer James Gascoyne to begin crafting his first proper studio album, Before the Crowd. Maurizio’s love and loyalty to family meant recording vocals late into the night after helping with the care of his mother, who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2008. The album is nothing short of a masterpiece and a true labor of love. Before the Crowd was released on September 26th, 2015 with a live performance at The Hangar in Troy, New York to celebrate its completion before a loyal fan base.
In a 2016 interview with Joel Patterson of Mountaintop Studios, Maurizio spoke about playing from the heart: “When I play a song I try my best to do just that; to be playful and trust what my instincts tell me. Some nights are great some not so great, but I try not to hold onto the highs or the lows. I have wrestled with stage anxiety all my life and have recently come to terms with the fact it’s my ego wanting things to be perfect, but perfection doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great performance. Focusing on playing perfect takes your mind away from the ultimate goal of putting forth a genuine performance. What we love many times are the imperfections, the stumbling and getting back up again. It’s real and it evokes emotion in the audience which is ultimately the job of any artist. “
About the album ('Before the Crowd')
Before the Crowd opens with Breathe, an ethereal sounding song that builds effortlessly, weaving beautiful, sparse piano and guitar interplay. The opening line ‘I went walking, along the river’s edge after the flood’ sets the tone of the entire album as a self-introspecting work. The majority of the album is in first person and serves well as a true to form confessional. To take a quote from Maurizio, “Many of the lyrics in the album may seem cliché but these are actual events that happened in my life. From being down to literally my last dime and walking along the river’s edge after my hometown of Troy, New York had experienced an historic flood.”
Radio Waves, the fourth track on the album, is a meditation about his sister Grace. While sifting through some of the beautiful artwork and other materials she had sent home from Africa where she was serving in the Peace Corps, he came upon a book entitled “The Study of Radio Waves”. The combination of curiosity and the longing to see his sister one more time somehow coalesced around this random book. It struck Maurizio: radio waves are invisible and all around us, just like memories and the feeling of love. We can't physically touch these things and yet their presence can be experienced all around us. The proof is in the music we hear on the radio, a memory triggered by a sweet autumn day, and the euphoria of being in love. Radio Waves begins, “I’m gonna study radio waves – get myself closer to the truth – nobody lives in a vacuum but maybe if I can get closer to the inner workings of the invisible, I can find love”.
My Sister Rose is the sixth track on the album. Although the song speaks directly to his sister, the message is universal: in breaking free of our limitations and accepting what we can't change. It's a call to squarely face our devils, find that elusive inner peace, and derive meaning in an impermanent life. The album as a whole would have been described as a confessional in a previous era and thematically wrestles with a yearning to go back, to try and regain what's been lost along the way. Ultimately the songs glow with a positive message: embrace the here and now.
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