Interview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena
Singer, Composer, Pianist, Veronica Vitale is a full-bloodied Neapolitan who has brought her music from Italy to Germany and then the USA. And with it, a lot of unusual and intriguing concepts… Let’s find out more about her…
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Your professional career started in Germany. Could you tell us a bit about those years?
Veronica Vitale: I signed my first record deal in Frankfurt am Main back in 2010. Back then Italy’s Art and Culture fields were suffocated by the rising events of “Talent Shows” and by a non-meritocratic policy that pushed abroad the Italian Excellency. There was no other alternative for an Artist but to only follow certain compromises and specific TV channels, names, dynamics, and connections. I simply believed there are no shortcuts to what we love. I never wanted a soaring rise to fame, I wanted to build a silent ascent to legendary. I received my first music record deal after I was discovered on MySpace by some former A/R from Sony Music Entertainment who founded a new indie label group called “FBP Music Group”. “She turns pieces of shit into gold”- my former producers used to say. They offered me to be their leading recording artist, so I signed. This call was the first call of help God answered. I left my country with a deep desire to soon return and tell of a different path to victory, a clean honest one.
I was signed just a few months before Facebook took over any other social network. When I got there, I first had to deal with the anti-Italian stereotypes created mainly by Italian politicians and ministers. After that, I worked hard on the production of my debut album “Nel Mio Bosco Reale – Throughout my Royal Grove” fully in the Italian language, to transform into pop a language that was not English. Three months after the debut, I found myself on the top of the Amazon Chart, then the Hot 100 Deutschland Newcomers Chart, and represented Italy at the Musik Messe Event first, PRG LEA Live Entertainment Award, and then starring at the Buchmesse with Umberto Eco and volunteering to raise funds for the earthquake in Fukushima, Japan in the IFRC campaign with Lady Gaga and MTV and donate all income from the song “Il Cielo / Heaven” to the cause. I was the only Italian. And as much as I wanted to share this news with my country, Italy was distracted by hundreds of other things. I was seen as a permanent nobody. If you wanted to exist in Italy, you had to participate in talent shows. Common people have no idea as to why for an artist, some choices can be unhealthy. I am also the winner of the Critics “Gitarren Statt Knarren” Award 2014 in Winnenden, Germany with the track “Under The Sky of Another Dream” which features a guitar solo by Leon Hendrix, brother of Jimi Hendrix. I was reckless and daring and facing cold German business affairs; I never found the Italian South Side Warmth I grew up in.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: With your first album, “Nel mio bosco Reale”, You received the recognition of “International Artist” at Der Musikmesse International Press Award MIPA and was on the Amazon Deutschland TOP10 Chart, How would you describe your songs in that album?
Veronica Vitale: Italian Pop composed and designed for an international audience. Italian language of course, but the structure of the songs met the beginning of experimentation with electronic music. 2011 is when Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were established if you know what I mean. The very first years of digital experimentation. It was something new.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Before the success in Germany you participated in various contests. Which ones? How was that experience?
Veronica Vitale: As It goes for contests, I did all that a young Italian artist could possibly think of, such as Premio Mia Martini, Castrocaro Festival, but the dearest one to me was Fonopoli by Renato Zero. In 2006 my very first music composition was nationally published and released by an Italian Star. I was 16 years old. Anyway, please keep in mind that 80% of Italian Music Competitions for newcomers are blind alleys and dead ends.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: In December 2014 you received the Critics’ Award at the Winnenden, “Gitarren statt Knarren” of Winnenden, in Germany, an international contest for the remembrance of the victims of that city’s school massacre. What was the song and what was it about?
Veronica Vitale: It’s a music piece I composed in 40 minutes, recorded in 1 hour, and delivered right away as soon as I received the competition theme. It’s a cinematic vision. “Under the Sky of Another Dream” tells the tale of loss and separation and childhood innocence. It’s the story of parents losing their children as a result of war, violence, and terrorist attacks. It’s played out by 2 main roles but the language is an immersive first-person point of view handed over to the listener… a blurry Environment. There’s a child dreaming of a different world; placed “on the edge between reality and fantasy” where stars are mistaken for missile detonations, I honestly thought of all Children in Afghanistan. As the song goes on it’s clear there’s a child dying somewhere but the listeners don’t realize it yet just like the child himself, until the end of the song.
There comes a moment when a mother; which who could be any mother, turns up the radio and hears the news about the school shooting where her child goes. The chorus is a chant of hope for tomorrow and goes like this “The rain will wash away our pain, the sun will rise again, upon a day made of extraordinary things, a fairytale ruled by normality, a new mirror where everybody looks just beautiful, a hero born in any ordinary person, another time where the days are moving on” that leads to a dramatic ending made of denial dismay and disbelief which goes “Today at the radio they said, you were killed, my little child, but they lie, you just fell asleep, under the sky of another dream”. The Dream I talk about is a new world, a decent world, which failed today to protect us all.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: After going back and forth from Europe to the USA, you decided to move to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2015, and after a short while, you received the “Acts of Lovingkindness 2015” award. What is that about? What made you choose that city?
Veronica Vitale: It was an Award Given to all Public Figures and High Professionals who Gave Support to the City of Cincinnati and the Music Business. The Bootsy Collins Foundation planned the whole event. I consider Cincinnati like my own city, I even collected every particular sound of the city and used them in my music creation forging what I call “liquid music”. Cincy is the place where I began the production of my dearest album “Inside the Outsider” together with Bootsy Collins, Patrick Hamiton, Ouiwey Collins, Jess Lamb, and many others I deeply respect and admire. I found who I am in Seattle and Cincinnati.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You were also the first Italian woman to participate in a radio program aimed to help kids at the children’s hospital…
Veronica Vitale: October the 5th 2016, Cincinnati. I was urgently hospitalized for a sudden food allergy, I never suffered of anything like that. I was lost. My body was turning on me. 5 days in-and-out the Emergency Room groping in the dark, along with the risk of pulmonary thrombosis due to the mix of heavy medical treatments and severe backlash. Doctors got me out of a tight spot there. Together, we found out that I “became” deadly allergic to Chicken and all birds after eating some chicken break on board my flight. I never healed. It’s the second rarest allergy of the World. It happened without warning or notice but I was blessed as I faced death. The Children’s Hospital appears in this chapter of my life. While driving on the highway I spotted their logo, the same colors as the rainbow. I promised to myself to reach out and find out what that was about and I did. I planned the visit with my Crew 3 months Later, and we were welcomed by the staff. I proposed a collaboration with the Ryan Seacrest Studios and the WKID33 Network, a series of performances featuring Disney Songs in different languages to embrace universal brotherhood and unity.
Something interesting happened there tho, Together with the nurse, I recorded the sound of my heartbeat, and together with Chris Dickerson, I composed the song “Pulse of Light” for the album “Inside The Outsider”. I replaced the drum and used my heart as the leading beat. I Couldn’t do anything truer and more honest with my music than deliver my life to the listeners. It was a gift for my dad, He was there during the struggle.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: What was the motivation for forming the band “Funksquad” and what did you achieve with that band?
Veronica Vitale: FunkSquad is the band formed by Ouiwey Collins, my soul brother, which I joined back in 2013. Ouiwey and I Stand against Bullying and Abuse of Power. Ouiwey is the son of Funk Legend Bootsy Collins. Besides our tours, together we also support Autism of Rock.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: But that was not the only cause you fight for with your singing, is it?
Veronica Vitale: I was a victim of Bullying myself when I was 11 yrs old, and for all my life I was emotionally abused, that’s just one episode of hundred other fears I faced on my own. Today I stand for children’s rights and universal brotherhood, for indie artists and cultural diversity.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: What is the project “Inside the outsider” about?
Veronica Vitale: “Inside the Outsider” is not just an album but a concept, a genre-defying record, it literally means “Inside The One Who Thinks Out Of The Box”. It’s Made of a vast palette of sound experiments starting from AVANT-GARDE POP to lastly a new LIQUID New Music Genre I created over the years.
The Project will be released in 3 steps: ALBUM, BOOK, and DOCUMENTARY and holds concepts intentionally set in psychedelic environments, mysterious, otherwordly and dystopian scenarios, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, atmospheres belonging to the cyberpunk genre, which use the rules of anti-utopia to delineate worlds dominated by high-tech corporations, and for the sole purpose of awakening awareness, hope, and empathy towards the near future, humanity, the others, and a sustainable world. I co-produced this masterpiece with the American Film Director Patrick Hamilton. My Music and our entire production is to be considered “Motion Picture of Sounds”
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Can you talk about your single “World Travel”, please?
Veronica Vitale: I strongly wanted my video and my song placed in a Dystopian-like Environment. (Dystopia is translated as “not-good place”) A Post-apocalyptic mood in which the Earth’s technological civilization is collapsing or has collapsed, left with only scattered elements of life which are entirely dependent on “the machine,” a god-like mechanical entity that has supplanted all free will. I wanted to honor the Integral Theory of Everything by Ervin Laszlo and Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution. After all, my story just like the best fairytales is about the same thing: “Transformation” and “Change”. The chorus calls for freedom for every man and human being, for every living creature, and the kids all over the lands. I must admit that there are some unspoken hot topics in my verses, such as anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, depression, and loneliness. Here You Can Check out My Favorite Trailer “Born to Be Happy”
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: “Diario di Bordo’ (The Captain’s Log) is a very ambitious and interesting project. Could you recount the concept behind it and the goal this marvelous project has?
Veronica Vitale: I’ve been writing my “Diario Di Bordo” for a decade now. When I lost Myspace I didn’t like the idea to be on a nonsense social media like Facebook. Unfortunately, my industry wants to see numbers and engagement and if you don’t join, they’ll do it on your behalf. So I tried to find my own route. I created an organized diary out of my Facebook wall. If you need to see my path, how did I start, how did I make it, who did I meet… all you gotta do is to “Scroll Down”.
My story is quite unbelievable, but Facebook helped me to provide photos, facts, videos, and a timeline to share my truth. I am a woman, I am Uncompromised, I didn’t fold, which means there are gonna be enemies waiting at the finish line trying to tear me down. Of course, haters are gonna hate and critics are going to criticize, no matter what! However – I wanted to be able to at least provide a story supported by precise and factual evidence to guarantee my word.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You just recorded “Hymn to humanity”. Did you write that song? What were you trying to confer to the listener?
Veronica Vitale: Hymn to Humanity is a Prayer composed during the first months of lockdown and Covid-19 Pandemic. The original solo performance is in English, Italian and Hebrew, all together. The World Choir Version, collected over 250 artists all over the world and 1 citizen from every country, each one performed in their native language. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan stood together singing the same chant. Even the Chief of the Warriors Tribe that protects the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador joined me. I wanted to tell about the sorrow of those dying in hospitals in North Italy, and “play” the coming darkness wrapping around us all, my piano speaks of conflict & resolution, darkness & light.
It’s the tale of humankind waiting in the shadow of the night for daybreak. My Prayer is an Anthem for Hope and Universal Brotherhood. It also recalls our oldest history from Genesis 1:3, in the beginning, there was nothing. Nothing but the silence of infinite darkness. But the breath of the Creator fluttered against the face of the void, whispering “Let there be light.” And light was, and it was good. Hymn to Humanity reached 500.000 Streams Overall on Facebook and Instagram in 1 month and was performed as a web sensation ‘til the other day. I received a video of 40 African voices in Nigeria singing together my Hymn to Humanity. It’s Breathtakingly!
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You also founded Artist United…
Veronica Vitale: Artist United is a Non-Profit International Organization that’s aimed to bring artists, both professional and enthusiastic music creators from all over the World, together in a message of Peace and Universal Brotherhood. A community where artists support each other actively. Here We Are All Together as One.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You have advanced degrees in the Sciences. How did you choose singing instead?
Veronica Vitale: Actually, I’ve never chosen one over the other. I chose both. I follow through on everything I start. My studies, especially my third degree in System’s Sciences and Quantum Consciousness built the bridge between Art and Science, and a better understanding of world societies and life itself. The Music Anthology “Prismatic Dojo” for instance, is a deep study of frequencies, electromagnetic field; some of them has been researched and explored by genetic biochemists. Frequencies is the oldest language of the universe.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Singer, composer, producer, and so much more… What activity keeps you busy the most?
Veronica Vitale: The overall of all these things. The Real Artist is a Whole, not just a part of these things.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Any special dream?
Veronica Vitale: Old Saying Goes “don’t say your wish out loud”
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
Veronica Vitale: The Making of the Docufilm about my Life. We are thinking to release it on Amazon Prime Tv Series by the end of the year.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: If you could meet a person from the past or the present, anyone, who would that person be, and what would you like to ask them?
Veronica Vitale: Monk Saint Padre Pio, to ask him how he recognized and defeated the Devil. Then Domenico Modugno or Freddy Mercury. I would ask how they dealt with the weight of people’s critics, with loneliness, and the frustration of knowing they were creating something “visionary” that would become popular and survive their death. A “Success” they wouldn’t have fully enjoyed – I mean … You work so hard on something that people don’t understand at the moment, but that one thing becomes a priceless masterpiece decades after you die. That’s a very scary thought for me. Happiness looks like a blurry canvas to me. I’m scared to never know how it really feels to be serene and happy.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: A message for our readers?
Veronica Vitale: “The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort.”