Some know him for his appearances alongside the most prominent Italian and European Pop musicians, and others for his unmistakable protagonism in the scene of the new Jazz and Soul from the old continent, even of Acid Jazz, a sound that we considered, gave him the possibility to find his own personality: we mean Mario Biondi, the singer with a particularly low timbre born in Catania, Sicily, whom we interviewed from his living room in Parma to accompany our readersespecially in this time of isolation.
Of course there are a large number of fans who know Mario Biondi (49) for his low tone in clear reference to the soul stars of the 70’s like Barry White, Isaac Hayes or Teddy Pendergrass.
Before we get into the interview, a cordial 37 minute phone call, it is imperative to explain various artistic details and the natural talent de Mario Biondi.
If you doubt what unites Biondi with those mentioned is his low tone, talent due to his training natural of a long vocal tract, which enables them to reach their particular vocal depth. For them it was not an option, nor a sexy pose, it was a gift: it’s his style.
With these premises it was that with great curiosity we marked his house and with English punctuality he attended by giving us a deep good morning.
Without further prelude, but giving musical references and some anecdote from how much your hit is heard “Love is a Temple” in until a few months ago the trendy places of Mexico City, we asked…
F: Mario, we know that you started at the age of 12 in the church in Sicily, that you sang together with your father Stefano Biondi who was very well known in Italy at the end of the ’70s, how did you begin to develop the bass What characterizes you today and what in our opinion has led you to fame?
MB: Oh! I began to release my voice in ’99, I was about 28 years old and I sang on cruise ships a repertoire of pop, Italian, jazz, soul and other songs, and once I had to wait in a room with very strong air conditioning and I I was speechless. I told my bandmates that I couldn’t sing, although I tried and only got low notes (N. de la R .: out of nowhere, at which point he started singing the chorus to Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years” …). The musicians said it was good that he sang it that low, that they liked it a lot. It all began there, to which my personal doctor found the explanation: my vocal tract has no end (smiles), which makes it possible for me to naturally have this voice, which is not easy to find.
F: If we count that life expectancy today is 80 years, you are in more than half of your life, how did Mario (Renno in his document) become Mario Biondi?
MB: I grew up in a family where music was fundamental. We listened to Italian, American, jazz, blues music, everything. People treated me very well when I accompanied my father in his performances in parks and outdoor places in Sicily, my father was a popular singer. It was at 19 when I tried to try my luck outside of Catania and I began to feel like the owner of my life, gaining confidence by singing in pubs and bars, at that time I only had the equivalent of 100 dollars in lira in my pocket, it was a very beginning. hard. I attended the concerts of Fred Bongusto, Pepino Di Capri, Pino Daniele, and I even worked with some of them. In the beginning, in addition to enjoying those artists, I had my first mixtape with Al Jarreau, Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and I was influenced by all of them.
F: Being born Italian and having developed your career with artists from the Schema label, and especially the High Five Quintet, with whom you recorded your first album, and then your work with Bluey Maunick from Incógnito: we can say that Acid Jazz has marked your musical career In the same way as the songs of Soul, Blues and R&B of the 70’s?
MB: Of course, the first time I heard Incognito it was the song Colibrí, I loved its groove, its danceable stamp and incredible vocals, it was like listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, but modern, difficult to explain. And when I later found Bluey Maunick (the leader of the band) to record songs for my album Sun from 2013, it was like meeting a great brother, an amazing person with whom we have a great musical relationship.
F: There is great musical diversity in your repertoire and throughout your nine albums. Tell us what’s next in your career for when this pandemic ends that should keep you isolated at home.
MB: Right, we are here in Parma, and I have just finished recording my last album, which I cannot anticipate much about (he warns), but which music lovers, lovers of classical music, will love. They are songs with different bands. Personally I like to mix songs and styles, make a fusion of everything, that’s the cocktail of Mario. The new album is a mix, even of the 70’s Disco, Soul, Brazil, Jazz, all together. I have a lot of expectations on this album, as in every moment that I have released one of my albums each time. I think that the last one is always the best, I put everything in the recording and I am exhausted at the end.
F: And how do you test your songs, how do you choose the demos, and how do you reach the final product, the order of the songs and stuff?
MB: (He smiles) that is one of the funniest parts, I like to take one of my cars and go out on the road to hear the final result and so everything is taking shape.
With humility the singer and songwriter acknowledged having a small collection of vehicles in which he includes two Mercedes benz cabrio: a Pagoda SL500 from ’73 and a Spider from the ’70s (dixit). “I also have a five hundred of the year ’71, blue color and tobacco color upholstery that gave the singer Gigi D’Alessio, with which it is difficult for me at the moment of the pedals, but I like it more than the Porsche, they are too small for me, “said the singer.
“I’ve never been to Mexico, there is even a curious fact that I have two fans, who are a mother and son, who are Mexican and have followed me around the world for a while, London, Russia, and once they gave me a tequila cream, great, here I have it, ideal to stay at home and listen to a good list of songs, waiting for everything to pass and in September to be able to enjoy the launch of my new album and soon be able to be in Mexico, which they told me has an atmosphere Beautifull“, He concluded.
Farewell he left us a list of your favorite songs And the ones he enjoys when perhaps driving his ’70 Spider down the winding roads of his adopted Parma.