Pop Singer Is Returning To Feinstein’s By Popular Demand

February 11, 2022

 

Anthony Nunziata – Courtesy of Michael Kushner Photography. Used with permission.

Making his return appearance to Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael on Valentine’s Day, Monday, February 14, is Nashville-based singer and songwriter Anthony Nunziata in “Anthony Nunziata: An Italian Broadway Valentine’s Day!”

The Brooklyn-born tenor hs performed 400 + concerts over the past few years, headlining major performing arts venues, jazz halls and private events all around the world. Classically trained at Boston College, Nunziata is also a recording artist and actor. Most recently he co-headlined Carnegie Hall for two sold-out concerts with the New York Pops Symphony Orchestra and appeared in the Netflix film, “The Last Laugh,” opposite Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss.

Last week, I spoke with Nunziata, whose last appearance at Feinstein’s in Carmel was in December. We chatted by Zoom from his home in Nashville about his Valentine’s Day show and other topics. Below is an edited transcript of our online conversation and email communication.

How was your show at Feinstein’s last December?

It was amazing. It was my very first time performing in the area, and it was a sold-out crowd. I presented my Christmas show. What made that night so special was that I got two requests on my Instagram from people I have never met before. I got these messages just before I went on the stage. I was able to dedicate two songs to two separate families because I was so touched by their requests. One was an anniversary. One was the recent loss of a father and husband to the family in the audience. I felt the spirit of both love and loss in singing for these two groups of people. Felt the spirit of the room take over. Allow everyone in the audience to connect with these two disparate feelings. My goal in every performance is for it to feel like a collective musical and spiritual experience for everyone. I want you to feel more alive. More grateful. More connected to those you love.

What can the audience expect from your Valentine’s Day show?

It is going to be an evening of classic love songs, my original songs and a mixture of all the facets of love. I love writing songs about love. The audience will also get a first listen to brand-new songs I have not yet performed. It is sold out, but I am working with the club right now to get dates in a couple of months, so those who miss this one can see me perform in future shows.

Who is accompanying you?

Pianist David Duncan will be playing with me. Chris Lewis, the executive director of the Great American Songbook Foundation, gave me a list of names of local players and David was the first on the list. (Duncan is the pianist for the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and regularly accompanies Songbook Academy singers during the annual summer intensive.)

Who are your greatest music influences?

I have always been drawn to performers and artists who present themselves in a genuine and authentic way. Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, Lady Gaga, Adele, Frank Sinatra…to name just a few!

Who were your greatest influences in general?

My father, for one, has been singing to me since I was a baby. He would always encourage me to sing, to make up songs, to play, to be free when it comes to expressing myself. That has informed my love of improv on stage. So, every time I step on stage, the audience feels like they are always going to get an “in-the-moment, tailor-made” show just for them. Because it is!

Describe your fans.

Music lovers. People who love to have an enjoyable time. They love the classic songs, as well as my originals. Open to “feeling all the feelings” during my show. I enjoy taking audiences on a roller coaster of emotions. So, if you love to feel – laugh, sing, cry – and enjoy great music, my show is for you.

Anthony Nunziata – Courtesy of Michael Kushner Photography. Used with permission.

What does music mean to you?

Music gives voice to feelings people may have trouble expressing. Music gives the listener and audience permission to escape, to feel, to make a personal connection. Music is therapeutic. All at once, music allows us to have an intimate moment and a collective, shared moment during live concerts. Music is magic.

What does performing mean to you?

Performing live is life-affirming and brings me so much joy! In a matter of 90 minutes, to encourage people to feel all the feelings, to laugh, to cry – it is a beautiful thing. I proudly have been seeing a therapist for almost 25 years. I have collected so many tools to navigate, both emotionally and intellectually, how to not judge others and what they are going through. To approach my songwriting and performing with empathy. My hope is that my original music hits people in a deep way. Allows people to connect on a level that hopefully unearths secrets and emotions that can free them of pain. Free them of resentment or regret. Performing allows me to help free people to feel all the feelings.

How did you end up in Nashville?

I made the decision in the summer of 2020 to come here. I had visited right before the election at the end of October. I was here for a week, right in the middle of the second COVID wave, and decided to relocate from New York City. I still go back and forth. My parents are in Connecticut and my brother and his husband live in NYC, as well as a lot of my friends live there, but this is my new home.

How do you like Nashville?

I love it. I have made an excellent group of friends. I happen to be an extremely competitive pickleball player. Ever heard of pickleball? I am a tournament player. Here, there is a genre-less vibe that was actually a pleasant surprise coming here. In as much as country music is the blood of the creatives here, the writers I have worked with are so multi-faceted. At the end of the day, I am a bit genre-less too, if it is a good song and tells a delightful story.

Have you delved into country?

I have written a few songs that are about to be released by different artists. I just put a teaser out on Facebook and Instagram. There is this new girl group called “The Daisy Dukes” that is releasing, just in time for the Super Bowl, a song I wrote called “A Girl Who Loves Football.” It is a pop anthem. I have songs that are being listened to by some of the top people in country. I am writing and producing songs for myself at a rapid pace. I have 15 to 20 songs that I am going to be releasing as singles or another EP or album.

Are you a workaholic?

It is so much a part of my lifeblood. I have been managing what I do, whether it was with my brother or myself, since I was 19 years old.

Anthony Nunziata – Courtesy of Michael Kushner Photography. Used with permission.

Tell me about your background.

I originally went to school for broadcast journalism. In fact, I interned at ABC’s “20/20.” My grandfather, you might have heard of him, was longtime NBC television announcer Bill Windell. He was David Letterman’s announcer for 15 years. He was also the announcer for “Tic Tac Toe,” “To Tell the Truth,” “Truth or Consequences,” and even Jack Parr. So, broadcasting is in my blood, but for me, it is about storytelling. So, what it comes down to, for me, is to author stories, whether they are inspired fully or even partially from something that comes from within me, I’m telling someone’s story. As an actor and a singer, I love the classics. I love singing these songs, creating these little theatrical moments when I sing classics, but when I get to sing songs that I had a hand in writing, there is nothing better.

When did you know you wanted to be an entertainer?

My brother and I went to Boston College. Every year, the Boston Pops, led by Keith Lockhart, visits Boston College for their fall fundraiser. I was a 19-year-old sophomore. Our school’s choral director, John Finney, arranged for my brother Will and me to sing “Our Time” from “Merrily We Roll Along” by Stephen Sondheim. There we were on the jumbotron, singing with the Boston Pops, and Keith Lockhart gives this beautiful introduction about us, saying, “I have had thousands of performances around the world, and this is the first time I have ever had soloists who are identical twins. Please welcome Anthony and Will Nunziata!” It gave me chills. It happened to be the anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. I speak about her in a lot of my shows. She was my dad’s mom. Singing that song with the orchestra, I felt prepared and confident, as an artist and businessman. Singing with the Boston Pops, I no longer felt the impetus to audition. I had to create my own destiny. I wanted to be an artist. Mind you, I studied acting and won a Kennedy Center student award as a director. I was doing well, but I wanted to be an artist. So, it was a defining moment for me.

Here is one of my favorite interview questions of late. How has the pandemic impacted you?

It has made me more grateful for my life, my family and my friends and just put into focus, “What are my God given gifts?” “What am I passionate about?” I really homed in on what it is I want to accomplish. I am blessed to have made a living doing what I love before the pandemic, but now, even more so, I am more committed to not just doing it, but doing it for the right reason.

Were you locked down in NYC prior to moving to Nashville?

Yes. So, I started in my studio apartment in NYC in Hell’s Kitchen and the back of my apartment faced Mount Sinai Hospital. And I could look into the windows of the hospital rooms and within a couple of weeks, all the shades were closed. I have always been pretty connected with myself about what I value in my life, but that experience put everything into much more perspective.

Sounds like you are a reflective person.

I am a pretty soulful person. I meditate often. I constantly have just instrumental music in my ears or around my apartment because for me, it calms my anxiety quite a bit, but it also allows me to creatively get into a flow. My parents have always noted that I have been like a little old man ever since I was a kid, I always hung around adults my entire life. My best friends and mentors are older than me. Age is just a number. What interests me in life is getting to know people in the deepest way possible, if I can.

What are your goals?

I just want to continue to perform live in concert and in symphony halls and spread my music around the world. My goal is to create intimate and hopefully heartfelt experiences for audience members where people feel everything. If I can make you laugh, make you cry, just make you feel more alive, I will be fulfilled.

 

 

 

 

photo: Josh Humble

About Tom

Journalist, producer, director, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, arts administrator, TV contributor, actor, model, writer and lyricist, Tom Alvarez has had an extensive career in media and the fine arts and continues to be an enthusiastic and devoted fan of both. His passion and unique background grant him insight, access and perspective to cover, promote and review the arts in Indianapolis, Central Indiana and beyond. Follow him on social media @tomalvarezartswriter and @tomalvarez1.

Alvarez has been writing about theatre, dance, music, cinema and visual arts for 40 years. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Star, NUVO, Indianapolis Monthly, Arts Indiana, Unite Magazine, Dance Magazine, NOTE Magazine, and Examiner.com, among many other print and online platforms. A former contributor to Across Indiana on WFYI-TV, he currently has a regular performing arts segment on WISH-TV’s Life. Style. Live!

A principal of Klein & Alvarez Productions, LLC, Alvarez co-created “Calder, The Musical” and is the managing director of Magic Thread Cabaret. As an actor-model, he has appeared in numerous TV and print ads and is represented by the Helen Wells Agency and Heyman Talent Artists Agency.

On the Aisle Team

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