Let’s change the world around us—Interview with Francesco Lucarelli
Every artist takes inspiration from the world around, and, by transmuting that inspiration into an art form, becomes an inspiration for others. Art is finding something special in the ordinary and materializing that visualization in different forms , so that everybody can enjoy it—be it a sculpture created out of clay or a drawing made on a piece of paper.
We talked to Francesco Lucarelli, a musician from Italy, who has travelled extensively and has regaled his audience with inspiring tunes and melodious songs .Q1. Share your earliest memory of how you got attracted to music.
My parents used to play their records at home: singers like Nat King Cole or composers like Burt Bacharach were on the turntable every day.
When I was 4 or 5 years old, I got a portable record player, and I remember sitting on the floor and playing a bunch of singles of those times: Italian songs from the charts or themes from famous movies of the times, like ‘ Once Upon a Time in the West ’ by Ennio Morricone. So, I was surrounded by music since I was very young, but it was listening to ‘The Beatles’ on the Italian National Radio that really got me the music bug. I was probably 9 or 10, and after a couple of years, I began to buy albums and to play guitar.
Q2. How many hours did you practice and how difficult was it growing up with other obligations that a youngster has?
I remember I used to spend most of the winter nights sitting in the kitchen playing guitar in front of a Panasonic radio and cassette recorder.
It was a beautiful portable stereo-machine, which I used, to record my first songs. I recorded, listened to the recording and knew there was still a lot to do! I still have some of those audio-cassettes, and recently listened to a very early one: it was quite an experience! Definitely, it takes a lot of time if you want to craft your art and I’m still kind of a rookie on guitar if I compare myself to friends of mine who played brilliantly. But I’m more a song guy than a guitar guy, so I’m happy with my playing, although I would really like to have more time to play and play.
Practice makes perfect and there’s always something new to learn. Playing at night didn’t have much of an impact on my school obligations. Actually, I was organized enough to be able to do most of the things any youngster in the world would do, sport included. And it was mostly soccer for me.
Q3. You have travelled to many countries for performances, how does music help in connecting people rise above the limitation of language and culture?
I can tell you a story. In 2005, Zoltán Rátóti—a friend of mine, Big Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fan from Hungary and actor of the National Theatre in Budapest—invited me to go and play at a festival in his country, which he was managing at that time. They staged it in a big old barn in a beautiful national park.
At that time, I was mostly playing my Italian songs and a few covers of Neil Young with my friends Daniele Cialente, Gianluca Galletti and Giorgio De Caroli.
Imagine being on stage performing Italian songs to a Hungarian crowd. I decided to introduce each song with a little story in English to tell them what the song was all about. I’m pretty sure nobody could understand a word of the lyrics I was singing, but we could feel which songs they liked the most by the volume of applause at the end of every tune.
At the end of the show, it was great to mix with all those folks, trading stories and talking about music and other things. That’s what I like about music: it helps bring people together from different countries, cultures, religions, and of different ages. One beautiful song can talk to anybody.
Q4. What do you seek to achieve whenever you sit to create a new song?
Actually, it’s very rare that I sit trying to create a new song. For me, usually, it doesn’t work that way. At least, when I try that way, I often come up with crappy stuff, because I get to the point where my mind interferes with the free flow of thoughts.
I think it’s kind of a weakness in my writing because sometimes it’s good to sit down and reflect and put your thoughts in rhymes but I haven’t written many songs that way. Mostly, I wait for inspiration: a nice melody, a cool riff, or some words which can start a fire.
When it happens, I just follow a stream of consciousness and there are times when I’ve come up with a new song within minutes.
In this process, I’m always looking for a balance between lyrics and melody. So, when I have written something good enough that when I listen to it the next morning I still like it, then I work on it to make it better. The right balance between some beautiful images and possibly a fresh melody is what I aim to.
Q5. Share some interesting incidents where your music played a significant role in your or somebody else’s life.
I guess I don’t have a specific one. But I can tell that some of my songs helped me to get in touch with people around the world who otherwise I would have never met. I think this is really powerful.
Q6. What inspires you most to create music?
Anything that can touch my heart. Basically, I think love is what’s behind my music. Love in its greatest and deepest meaning: from what’s connecting my heart to my wife’s one, to what I feel for my friends, to the emotions that only Mother Nature can give us. And I really like to sing about Mother Earth, because we live in times when we talk a lot about the environment but we do less and less for it, year after year.
Q7. Any message for our readers?
I love this Planet. I think it’s an incredible gift to be able to experience our journey here. So, I hope we will all be able to make the most out of it, bringing our contribution – even a little daily one – so that others after us can enjoy it in the same way.
We do not have to change the whole world. We have to change the world around us and make it better. I think that would be a good start.