MIKE SPONZA INTERVIEW
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
Excellent! The reviews are always positive, and the attention is growing. I like a lot the appreciation for the lyrics, the songwriting. We worked very hard on that, with Ian Siegal and Dana Gillespie, and it’s very rewarding to see that this is considered a strong element of the album.
What record/tape/cd/digital format music album inspired you to take up music?
Well, like many musicians of my generation, I’ve been exposed a lot to the music of the sixties when I was a boy. So, guitars, bands, rock’n’roll and all the related stuff. Mainly Beatles and Chuck Berry. I’ve discovered the blues around 13, and I’ve bought my first 33’s of Muddy Waters, John Mayall, John Lee Hooker…
What was the first LP/tape/CD you bought with your own money?
Beatles For Sale! Of course in vinyl. I was so proud – I must have been 10 years old. I still have that copy.
What is the main goal you wish to achieve through your music, and what do you hope people get out of your music?
It would be just great to make honest music. And with honest, I mean songs who reflect my state of mind, my times, the life I live.
I just hope that people enjoy my music, as entertainer and as songwriter.
What should people know about you?
That I’ve released many albums before this one, with different concepts and projects. I am searching. I am trying to do new things.
If you weren't a musician, what career path would you take?
Vintage cars mechanic or farmer, maybe both!
Actually I am also a music designer, and I work with the major Italian fashion brands around the world – I like a lot this side of the music business, I get in contact with many different styles and genres.
I was a lawyer many years ago, in a previous life… that was not for me.
What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
Trying to play good music is the hardest part. Succeding in this, it’s the best part.
I don’t mind about all the other aspects of the music profession: it’s not hard for me to travel, do business, etc. etc.
As long as everything is ok with the band, I focus only on music.
What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
I’ve always listened to many different music genres, and I think this comes out in what I do, but when I need to reset my compass, I listen to some classic Muddy Waters and B.B King recordings. They are the roots of my music.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
To focus on songwriting, on showmanship, on the control of their music rights. And practice daily.
True or false:
It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays ?
I would say “False”. I get inspirations when I’m off duty… Otherwise all the songs would be about driving, getting paid, sleeping in hotels…
True or false:
“Music is my first love”.
Partially true: music has been my first love.
Then I’ve met my wife and had three children.
So I would say: “After my family, music is my first love”.
The best and worst gig you ever played?
I try to play my best every concert, and I don’t like to remember bad moments: I use mistakes to grow.
I’ve done major festivals, and wonderful clubs too. Some others were not so great, but it’s part of the game.
Are there any songs you've done that you wish you hadn't ?
No, every song I play is rehearsed and shared with the band. If it comes out well, I put it on the show, otherwise it’s changed.
Today I play only my songs: I’m quite self-critic, so if I don’t like something, I don’t play it.
Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?
Sure, I would say “A whiter shade of pale”, “Got to get you into my life”, “It’s a man’s world” “A love supreme”… just some titles…
What does the next 6 months look like for you?
The album promotion is going on, and I’m working with the team to make something new happen after all these reviews and positive feedback.
Then there are 2 new album projects.
There are new shows in Europe to do.
I guess the right answer is “busy”!