I have found that no matter what city you live in, their a vast amount of talent that prove to be more captivating than anything on main stream radio today. I have lived in New Jersey, Connecticut, Italy, and Nashville, and I have to say that even after my time in Nashville with the millions of amazing songwriters, and bands on every street corner and in every bar, no one city is more talented than the next. It’s all just different. And just to backup my (I would say, well-tested) theory, Frank Viele, the winner of the “live act of the year” award for the New England Music Awards, takes the time to answer a few questions about his musical journey and career, and introduce himself to all of you.
I asked if he could pin point the moment he first realized he wanted to be an artist.
“I don’t think it was a particular epiphany or light bulb that went off one day,” he said.
“It was a gradual thing. Music became a big part of my life during some rough times in my mid teens. I’ve done all of the day jobs ever since, and the one thing I’ve realized is that you only go around once and you should be happy for as much of that journey as possible. I am most happy when I’m writing, performing, or listening to music. So to me, the decision was just that. Making my music, and sharing it with others is the past path for me.”
Viele’s passion and happiness when performing his music is more than evident, and it probably what led to his victory in the “best live act of the year” category for the New England Awards this year. On the main page of his website you will find his niche, the tagline that personifies his music in the truest way,
“New Music with an Old Soul.”
The moment you take a listen to Viele’s music, you’ll realize that this couldn’t be more true. His passion for old soul music, combined with unique new Imagineers-like style, truly brings a vibe that is prolific, and essential for all music lovers to hear.
Who inspires you the most both musically and in your personal life?
“Musically, my inspirations have come from different artists at different times of my journey. Early on, it was Sam Cooke who showed me the power of a well written tune delivered with true soul. I then begin to discover artists like Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin, Paul Simon, and Jerry Garcia who taught the craft and power of telling a story through song and conveying it with subtle conviction.”
“In my personal life, my mother may very well be the most inspiring person in my life. Her sheer determination to achieve her goals and dreams combined with her undying support of my pursuit of my dreams surely is the driving force behind me and my passion for music.”
I have to say that I always ask this question expecting, but hoping to not get the oh-so-common, “My Mom.”
Viele’s touching description of what his mother’s determination and drive in her own life has meant to him is inspiring, and proving of why he is such a go-getter when it comes to his career. He has grown so much in a years time, musically and in his business and touring endeavors, it is clear to now see where his charisma comes from.
I asked, “how do you think your eclectic genre and style came about? Are there certain influences from music in your childhood, or while you were growing up that really sparked the soul in you?”
“I think my eclectic sounding music truly stems from my exposure to different music at different points in my life. I grew up on old soul music,” he said (and oh how evident it is). “Then my older brother came home from college his freshman year when I was still in grade school and brought with him all this music that was very new to me like the Dave Matthews Band, Phish, The Grateful Dead, Blues Traveler, and Jimi Hendrix. It opened me to a whole new world that offered a different approach to the music i grew up with. Over time, I would study these different artists and many more. Eventually I would listen back to my songs and recordings and begin to hear remnants of things that inspired me when I was first picking up the guitar long ago.”
His new album is coming out in the Fall, and I had to ask what it meant to him, with all of the amazing things happening for his career recently.
“This record is my first real album! When you are a young artist working with the minimal resources you have, the records you record are clocked in that you say to yourself, “I have 4 days worth of studio time to squeeze in as much recording as possible. Ready, set, go!” While this is certainly a way to test your skills, and a lot of times, great things can come out of that, for the new album, “Fall Your Way“, I had the ability to take my time,” Viele explained. “I worked with a phenomenal producer, Vic Steffens of Elm City Music and Horizon Music Group, and we crafted this record for 2 years. We looked at each song on an individual basis and brought in players of particular styles and vibes to complement each tune. So now, I was able to truly bring out the influences on these tunes that i mentioned earlier, and have them perfected and magnified by players the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Bill Holloman, and Tim Palmieri of Kung Fu. While there is a tremendous group of players performing with me on this album, what really shines in the songs, due to the time we put into the production of each, the careful attention we placed on the people performing for each track. I cannot wait to share it with everybody!”
Is there a song off of the album that is the most telling about your latest embarkment on this musical journey, or one that personally means the most to you?
“The song that means the most to me on this album may be a song called “Alexa”. It’s the first time on a record that I’ve ever put the vulnerable side of my music out there. It ended up being my producer’s favorite song on the record and I think it will give listeners out there a different perspective of who I am as an artist.”
I have to say that was my one critique when listening to Viele’s music, and for that being my only one, a lot good can be said about his music. I did feel that he didn’t allow himself to get as vulnerable and truthful with his own feelings as some artists of his style, and I believed that held a bit back from the passion that was readable in the music. I am ecstatic to hear however, that this new album in the Fall will be showing us that side of him. That relatable, vulnerable side that really allows the listener to relate.
What do you hope to achieve when someone listens to your music for the first time?
” When I was going through rough times in my life, I used to follow the Dave Matthews Band on the road, simply because it seemed like during that 3 hour concert, I was able to forget all of the craziness in my world and simply enjoy myself. It had a power to make my day better. I hope that my music does that for others. In my opinion, that is the true power of art…to better the days of those who encounter it in a simple way.”
I believe that is exactly what Frank Viele does for his listeners. Creates an escape; a world for the audience to get lost in, and forget about the tribulations they face in their every day life. His powerful voice, relaxing vibe, and eclectic style make for a journey in every song, and allow the listener to get lost in the story that Viele is telling. Do yourself a favor and check out his music linked below. You won’t be sorry. In fact, you’ll probably be very, very happy.