RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW NEW YORK ARTIST ANTHONY MASCIA
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I felt compelled to write music before I felt compelled to sing. It all started with poetry and storytelling, and then melodies over time started to come to me. Never in my life have I felt so understood; in many ways, having a creative outlet saved me. I decided, though, if anyone was going to tell my story it would have to be myself, so I dove head first into singing and recording and taught myself everything I know thus far. I’m 27 years old, and in my entire life music has been the only thing that’s made me feel fulfilled as an individual.
Introduce yourself and tell us about your musical history.
I was born and raised in East Meadow, NY about 45 minutes outside NYC in suburbia. Currently, I live in Keene, NH which has been quite a change of pace. I was very active in choir and musical theatre growing up throughout elementary and middle school, and I vividly remember applying to high schools locally and deciding it was time to get serious and leave all of that behind for my studies. So, I latched onto medicine and decided to go down that path, getting my bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. John’s University in Queens, NY.
I took the MCAT 2x, applied to nearly 20 medical schools in and out of the USA, and felt less and less fulfilled with every application I sent out. To make a very long story short, I took a gap year to continue to study for the MCAT, and instead of studying during that time, I was writing and recording what would become my debut EP – Genesis. Once I realized how happy music made me, and how distant I was from medicine, I told all my friends and family that this was my plan, and this is what I would be pursuing for the rest of my life. I haven’t looked back since. I had my ah-ha moment when I was accepted to St. George’s University in Grenada and felt absolutely nothing; no excitement, no relief, no joy. I knew I had to make a change.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
I would be boldface lying if I said it isn’t extremely difficult, and I have my moments where I want to throw in the towel, but the reward for me is all in the work and the art. Whether it’s trying to expand my social media following, submitting to Spotify playlists and radio shows, writing indie blogs, or trying to book gigs, I go to bed every night with the hope of hearing back from someone in the morning, but with the mindset that I won’t and I have to keep going. That’s how I discipline myself and keep myself in check. I put my head down, I write, I work on my craft, I release quality products that I stand by, and I push forward.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
I would never have the confidence to write about what I do now if it weren’t for what material I released previously. The upcoming album that I’m working on, Ambassador, Vol. 2 , talks about love, self-love, loss, heartbreak, infidelity and dependency, my personal journey with coming out, and so much more. Knowing that I’m diving head first into these topics that I would’ve been petrified to even glaze over a couple of years back proves to me that my songwriting has developed leads and bounds. When I write a song, I read it back from start to finish like a poem. If it doesn’t make sense to me and tell a cohesive story, then I didn’t do my job to the best of my ability. The lyrics should be able to stand alone.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I think the biggest thing is not being afraid to reach out continually and share your music. Whether it’s to friends and family or to complete strangers, take the leap to get your music out there. What’s the worst they can say? Or will they even say anything? Is a lack of response enough to stop you? It shouldn’t be. This entire industry is practically founded on rejection. One man’s rejection is another’s opportunity.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I think my worst experience to date on stage was playing a song that had a 1 minute long instrumental intro. It’s a beautiful, lush string section with gritty guitars and drums that I could get lost in with headphones, but on stage it was just awkward. I hadn’t really thought of that part prior, and when the song started and I realized I had no choreography to go along with it, I stood there frozen in time for what felt like the longest minute of my life. Once the singing kicked in, I’m happy to report all was ok again.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think what makes me stand out as an artist is that my focus is on the feeling the music evokes and the story the lyrics tell. Every song I put out is designed to create a distinct mood and tell a story from a certain time in my life, past present or future. I don’t write with the intent of making a hit. I’m not focused on popular trends happening in music today. I’m not catering to TikTok and making sure my songs are 2 minutes or less. Will that hold me back? Probably. But I would rather create art I can stand by for years to come then try to make a hit just to break into the industry.
What artists, past or present, have influenced you the most? Do you have a preferred genre of music you listen to?
That’s a loaded question for sure. My taste in music ranges really dramatically, but pop music is definitely my happy place. My favorite artist is Lana Del Rey. She was the artist that taught me what it’s like to really “feel” music. I put my headphones on when I listen to her, close my eyes, and I am immersed in a new world of sound. Her songwriting also never fails to impress me, not to mention she doesn’t make music for charts but for the art of it, so that’s super inspiring. When I need inspiration and to get amped up, I watch live performances from Madonna back in the 90’s. Her stage presence was unparalleled, and just watching her makes me feel I can conquer the world. Same with Britney in the 2000’s, with unbelievable talent and stage presence. If you scroll through my Apple Music library, you will find anything from the artists I just mentioned to The Beatles, Elton John, The Eagles, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Shania Twain, Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin. I’m all over the map. It’s safe to say I plan to reinvent myself over the years when I release new music; no genre is off-limits.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
My new single – Daybreak – is without a doubt my favorite song I’ve released to date. Sonically it’s pretty different from my prior work, but I always try to have one song on my record that’s really classic sounding, and this would be that. It has a bit of a California retro feeling to it that I find really comforting, and it’s written in a very diaristic way, like a spoken word narrative. I love the flow of the song and I’m super proud of the message. It’s a literal love letter to myself.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune.
The song takes place in the present day. I’ve had some major changes take place in my life the past couple of years – I came out and entered a serious relationship with my current partner, I quit my jobs back home in NY and started a new career amidst moving to NH, and I stopped pursuing medicine to pursue music full time. This song is a reflection of all of that. When I wake up in the morning my alarm goes off at 5:30 every day. I sit in the same spot in the kitchen with my coffee and look out the window. My reflection stares back at me, and I wrote this song from the viewpoint of looking into the eyes of my own reflection, and thinking about everything I’ve overcome to get to this point. At the end of the day, I’ve gained and lost so many things, but I will never sacrifice myself, the love I
have for myself, or my worth ever again The chorus sums that up by saying “I’ll be taking that long road home, back to the arms of the guy I’ve always known, and I will never allow my worth to be misconstrued, I’ve got nothing to prove, I know myself and at the end of the day you need me and boy, I need you.”
What was the recording process like?
Surprisingly, simple on this track. This was the first track I’ve written that I wasn’t nervous to record. I felt really confident about the lyrics, melody, and production; all of it really. We did a couple of takes and I knew it was there. The outro of the song was actually improvised on the spot in the studio. Originally, the song had a really long, extended outro that we ended up scrapping, so I said let’s not overthink things, let me just feel the music and see what comes to mind. We hit record and the final version you hear on Daybreak is the take we took in the studio that day. The stars aligned on this track.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
The biggest learning curve was embracing the idea that simplicity isn’t always a bad thing. On this song and the entire upcoming album, I challenged myself to not have everything be so overdone. My previous albums featured a lot of vocals layers and bombastic productivity, which is fine, but I think some of that was rooted in a lack of confidence with my voice and singing itself. On this record, I I felt way more comfortable with my vocals and even asked for the volume of them to be turned up quite a few times in the track. Some of my favorite moments on this record are the most simple and intimate ones.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Honestly, no, and that is the first time I can say that for any song I’ve ever recorded. Hopefully, it won’t be the last.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I want to thank anyone that has listened to my music and for taking a chance on me and believing in me. I encourage everyone to listen with an open mind. The amount of time, effort, and money that goes into making music are astronomical and hard to comprehend at times, so I encourage you as a listener to think of that when you hear someone’s music for the first time and try to write them off after 30 seconds. I hope that this is just the beginning of what’s in store for the upcoming year.
Thanks for doing us today folks, send this back on a word document and ill get it all ready for you.