Interview: Fabrizio Sotti
Thu, 18 Apr 2013 07:57:49
"My music is inspired by my life and feelings," says Fabrizio Sotti. "Most of what I do musically is a necessity of expression. After twenty years of doing this, you keep getting better at expressing those emotions and saying what you're trying to say. For a guitarist, I can write a song, but I can't sing. It's much easier to express if you sing. With a guitar, you leave a lot to the imagination."
His new album, Right Now out May 14, will definitely pique your imagination's interest immediately. If you're not familiar with him, Sotti is a virtuoso guitarist on par with the likes of John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, and he continues challenging himself. Right Now enlists a myriad of international vocal powerhouses from Melanie Fiona to Zucchero to re-imagine some classic tunes. The album also offers some incredible new originals as well. For guitar aficionados and pop music fans alike, Right Now is a must. It's got the requisite technical virtuosity, but it's couple with a heavenly melodic sensibility. In other words, it's pure musical bliss.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Fabrizio Sotti talks Right Now and more.
When did the whole vision for the album become clear to you?
That's a good question. When I started to conceive this project, I was trying to really find a sound for my jazz guitar material. I wanted it to be an easier compass in terms of rhythm and instrumentation. It's a really crazy sound. There are a couple of factors for that. One, of course, is the band. Even though we do a lot of different arrangements, the main sound is there. There's nothing programmed so it's pretty organic. I found a way to improvise and still keep that jazz element. You can hear the songs are pop tunes, but the harmonies are very jazzy. I kept that pretty consistent throughout the whole album. Even though there are different types of music and singers, it came out like one piece of work.
The instrumentation is still intricate, but the songs are melodic.
Yeah, it's interesting. In the past four or five years, the Latin influence is really coming out much more in playing. Combining to my jazz vocabulary, my Latin, Brazilian, and flamenco influences come out with age. With this album, I wasn't calculating what I was playing. I was trying to make the best music possible without overthinking what I was doing. It's really spontaneous for what it is.
There's something for everybody essentially.
There are going to be a lot of different listeners who will take separate experiences from this album. If you're into jazz, you can still hear enough interesting jazz parts melodically and harmonically. For the person who's not into jazz, I found a way to play that so it's easy to the ear. It's a different vibe. It took me a while to do that. I really had to find a sound in this experiment I was doing. I found a particular way to communicate.
Do you feel like you leave a piece of yourself on the covers?
Usually when I play with other people, I try to get into the music and the style of playing. I found it interesting that the Latin vibe was coming out in my playing lately. It also showed in the last album, Another Country. That was a very Latin record, which was totally unexpected for me.
What's the story behind "Once In a Blue Moon"?
It's actually a song I wrote many years ago. I tried to record the song with a couple of different singers. I've kept it to myself for the past eighteen or twenty years. It was a tune I wrote when I was in love with an older woman for the first time [Laughs]. It was a first love. You think you've found a treasure. You think you've found something really special, and these beautiful lyrics came out. Thank God, I wrote it quick enough before I realized it wasn't true. At least I got the tune out of it.
Where did "While the Sun Is Rising Come From"?
It was included on my album Through My Eyes, but I decided to do a different version of it here. I thought it was the perfect transition on a certain point of Right Now. I wrote it many years ago on a day when I was on the road in Italy. We were staying at a really pretty place in the mountains. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. For some reason, I couldn't sleep in the morning so I started to watch the sun rising. I got that excitement of a beautiful summer day coming up. I captured the emotion behind it.
What's your primary guitar?
My main guitars are usually Marchione semi-hollow body. They're used for when I play straight ahead jazz and anything that requires an electric guitar. There's a little bit of an acoustic sound to the semi-hollow body. Then, I use a couple of Spanish guitars. One is made by Manny Rodriguez, and one is also made by Marchione. Those are the main instruments I play. I used a lot of guitars on this album. I used acoustic guitars, six-string guitars, 12-string guitars, and more. I've got a mini-orchestra of guitars on this album [Laughs].
What was your first guitar?
It was an Italian classical guitar called Eko. It was very cheap, and it was made in Italy. My mom gave it to me when I was 9-years-old. We moved from one apartment to the other, and we didn't have the piano I used to play. Piano was my first instrument. She gave me a guitar, and I looked at it like a mini-piano.
When did you get into Jimi Hendrix?
I first heard Jimi Hendrix when I was 10- or 11-years-old. An aunt of mine gave me a Jimi Hendrix cassette tape for Christmas. That changed my life. I'd never heard a lot of electric guitar up to that point. His way of using the guitar interested me so much. When I heard him and then Wes Montgomery, everything was different. I was playing mainly classical music, a whole new world opened for me.
For more with Fabrizio watch the below!
Have you heard him yet?