Q&A with Edoardo Santoni – 2005 NJA Finalist

When did you start singing and why? For example, was there a ‘moment’ when singing came to you as a calling or vocation?
I started singing in primary school and got the ‘bug’ for it when I was about 10 and I played Oliver in a school musical. During that show I had my first ‘moment’ singing solo on stage to a packed theatre singing ‘Where Is Love’. Singing has really chosen m—as clichéd as that sounds. My father’s a singer and music has always been around and inside of me and if I don’t get it out I get sad and frustrated so I sing to be vital and happy!

Which musicians (singers or otherwise) have been your greatest influences? What about them stood or stands out for you?

There’s not enough time or room to list them all but the main ones include….Bill Evans, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Betty Carter, Bobby Mc Ferrin, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Sting, Jeff Buckley, David Gray, Bjork. There are many musical qualities that I love about all of these artists but the main thing is that thing is that they all have their own ‘voice’. They’ve accessed that part of themselves that’s unique to them, that timeless quality that speaks direct to the heart and spirit.

What do you look for in a rhythm section?
Fire, Fun, Flexibility to be spontaneous, to cross musical styles, not playing too loud (ah drummers). Passion, the vision to strive to create something that sounds whole, not just ‘backing’. To work with the singer to communicate and inspire an audience! It also helps to work with people who are more advanced than you. It’s a great way to be stretched and elevated! Scary but fun … like falling in love, that’s what a good band feels like … but hey sometimes you have your blow up’s and break up’s but somehow you end up with the ones you love the most!

What are your favourite lyrics, and why?
Mmmmmm … Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Hejira’ from the album ‘Hejira’ … there’s a lyric… “you know it never has been easy, wether you do or you do not reside, wether you travel the breadth of extremities or stick to some straighter line” …her lyrics read as poetry in their own right and are full of vivid imagery and passionate/personal insights. She’s my favourite all-round artist – poet, painter, singer songwriter etc.

What are you listening to now?
My brother’s band ‘Blue King Brown’, the Sunday’s ‘Static and Silence, David Gray and a Miles Davis CD collection of classic ballads that I got for $2 in ‘Vinnies. It’s one of those rare compilations that’s actually well considered.

What do you hope to get out of the Wang competition?
To inspire and be inspired. Develop a deeper awareness of musicianship. Have fun. Meet fellow singers and musicians and to be inspired by their talent and passion to help me keep seeking and creating my own musical truth. Hey and winning the $6,000 would be helpful and recording an album with ABC, that would be a great privilege!

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