Santa Clarita-based singer, performer, BMI-affiliated songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer Vince Falzone, whose hook-filled pop/rock songs and energetic live performances pull a diverse audience from teens to seniors, has just released "Out of Time," his seventh album of original material. He's going all-out to promote his latest effort.
And after a decade
of trial and error, he's become well-versed in the art of grass-roots
do-it-yourself promotion in the Santa Clarita Valley. He's now getting the word
on "Out of Time" to his fans with live shows, guest spots and airplay on KHTS
and his own TV show, and on the Internet via the Web and e-mail.
Among key "Out of Time" tracks is "Time in a Jar," produced for the album by Grammy-winner Pete Orta. "The song's about the things in life that contribute to one's character, like lost love, searching for answers from God, learning to deal with adversity," said Falzone, who draws from first-hand experiences for his songs.
"Time in a Jar" is a frequently requested song on Santa Clarita's KHTS-AM 1220, which includes a number of Falzone's other tracks on its playlist, and makes copies of his albums available at the station's Canyon Country studios.
KHTS also features Falzone live on the air every Friday at 5:10 p.m. in an interview segment called "A Day in the Life of Vince Falzone."
"Vince does a great job of relaying the challenges of making it in the [music] industry," said Carl Goldman, KHTS co-owner. "It's become a kind of weekly reality radio moment as we follow the steps he's taking."
In addition to spins on KHTS, tracks from "Out of Time" and Falzone's previous albums are getting play on local outlets SCV Music 99.1 FM and CalArts Radio KCIA 105.3 FM. On the Internet, his music is streaming on his own musicbyvince.com, scvmusic.com and CalArts' kcia.calarts.edu Web sites.
At musicbyvince.com, Falzone posts background info, news of upcoming shows and samples of his latest music. Falzone also sells his catalog online (either single MP3s or complete CDs), and uses e-mail extensively to alert fans to new music posts on his site, or new shows on his itinerary. At performances, he and/or his wife Lily sell his CDs and sign people up to his e-mail list.
also plays a 10 p.m. show Wednesday, July 6 at the Hard Rock Café at Universal
CityWalk in Universal City ($8 with flyer downloadable from musicbyvince.com).
Other local and L.A. performances are now being booked for the
It's no wonder local fans think Falzone is the hardest-working man in SCV showbiz.
The Florida-born artist has been working up to this for most of the past decade. He jettisoned a lucrative career as an engineer in the aerospace industry in 1995, and moved with his wife Lily from Houston, Tex., to Southern California so he could better pursue his true passion: a career in music.
The couple chose to live in Santa Clarita, which to a newcomer might appear close to the Hollywood-based biz at first. They soon learned the SCV is light years away, but loved the area and decided to stay.
Falzone's seven albums trace more than a decade of trial and error - which also included the last few years off to build a successful computer networking business, Ariey Pro, to pay the bills, and to start a family. The Falzones' daughter Abby was born in 2002. He continued writing, recording and performing, but the business became all-consuming and all but sidetracked him.
Until last year. "After four years' hiatus from performing and recording, and two years after our daughter Abby was born, it was time to gather myself and move on with my career," Falzone said. He built a home recording studio as he'd done back in Houston, and got back to work - hence the title of his sixth album, "Moving On." It was well-received locally, and convinced Falzone the time was right to sell his business and rededicate himself to his musical career.
With his new "Out of Time," Falzone shows he's a contender for the national arena. "I think 'Out of Time' is my best work to date, since it deals with the struggle of going back fully into music," he said. "This time I want to prove I belong, not with the mindset of hitting it bigger than the artists and bands I grew up with."
Falzone quips he's
been "cursed with the gift of musical creativity" since childhood. Growing up in
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., he started singing as a toddler. "I'd sing out the window
at the stars," he said.
Falzone discovered his musical muse in a sixth grade music class. The Beatles were his earliest inspiration, especially Paul McCartney. "He was a great songwriter with a great voice and played a lot of instruments," Falzone said. After listening to Macca's material, he added, "I wrote my first song on a swing with a plastic guitar, at age 7."
Falzone picked up a real guitar at age 12, during seventh grade, after his father, Vincent Paul Falzone (a general manager for the troubled Seaboard Coast Line Railroad), taught him some basic chords.
The youngster learned he had a natural ability to play by ear, and from then on Vince taught himself and took music courses throughout his high school years. Musical influences during this time included Led Zeppelin, Rush and AC/DC, who all combined hard rock with killer hooks.
Falzone is one of
the local stars on SCV-TV Channel 20, Santa Clarita's public access channel. "I
put together a 30-minute show called 'Studio Recording and Guitar Playing' which
talks about recording in a home studio, teaches some basic guitar skills and
includes a music video," he said. The program airs 8:30 p.m. Saturdays and
Falzone may have just about all the promotional possibilities in town already in play, but he's played the local media game long enough to know the SCV's limitations.
"For the most part, original artists still need to find a way to perform in Los Angeles at venues which encourage original material," he said.
Monday, June 6 at 7 p.m., Falzone's on the bill for a BMI Writers' Showcase at Ghengis Cohen, 740 N. Fairfax Avenue on the southern fringes of Hollywood. It's free. "This is a writer-in-the-round acoustic event," he said. "Four writers will be onstage at the same time, taking turns playing songs."
At 16, Falzone
bought a keyboard and began writing his own material. He also started piano and
vocal training, and became involved in performing at various events in and out
of school. "My most important influences in high school were Dr. Blosh, the
chorus instructor and Mr. Gladfelter, the jazz band director," Falzone said,
along with a friend, Ron Rolotolo, who also played guitar.
"My school was full of extremely talented guitar players, which brought out the best in my playing and song development," Falzone said. "I began recording in 10th grade with a producer named Steven Gains, who helped me develop my music production skills."
In his senior year, Falzone applied to the Berklee School of Music in Boston and was accepted. But his plan to attend got derailed with a little push from his father. "He contacted the school to find out what kind of a living I'd be able to make with a music degree," Falzone said. "Berkley made him no promises, only offered a few successful names. So the fear of not knowing if I would be able to make it on my own stopped me from going to Berkley."
Instead, Falzone went to a community college and started studying electrical engineering, trying to keep up with his music on the side.
"I auditioned for a music scholarship but was rejected because my studies were in the engineering field," he said. "When I went to a four-year college to earn my electrical engineering degree [BSEE], I took music classes on the side, like vocal jazz. But because I wasn't a music major, the music department didn't accept me as a serious musician."
Undaunted, Falzone continued writing, and composed all the material for his first album, "Who's That, while still in college. Degree in hand, Falzone took a job at the Kennedy Space Center's Lockheed Space Operations Center on Cape Canaveral, Fla.. He also began to build and perfect his first home recording studio, christening it Ariey Productions.
"During this time, my father become depressed due to family issues, and at his job, the railroad was down-sizing," Falzone said. He wrote the songs on his second album, "Forget Me Not," during his father's battle with depression. "He took his own life in Feb. 1993," Falzone said.
At a crossroads, Falzone soul-searched. He decided to get his musical career back on track. "Music was what I wanted. I want my material heard on the radio, to climb the charts, to be able to show the world my music belongs there."
After almost three years at Lockheed, Vince and Lily Falzone moved to Houston, where she had a job offer.
"I went to Texas with high hopes of doing music and nothing else," he said. "But since I didn't write country music or perform cover tunes, after a year of pounding on doors, I, too, became depressed. We decided to check out the California music scene, since it was closer to the sunny weather we'd been accustomed to in Florida."
After the couple relocated to Santa Clarita in '95, things looked promising at first. He landed a day job as a project engineer and kept working on his music after hours and weekends.
"During my first year here, I was on local radio [then KBET-AM] and had a front-page write-up in The Signal," he said. "Then put together a local public access TV show on SCV-TV called 'Studio Recording and Guitar Playing with Vince Falzone.' I felt fame was just around the corner."
Falzone was eager to quit his day job and focus on music full-time. But the industry was changing. "Rap and R&B were beginning to take over the music scene, so I wasn't getting the attention from the labels I had hoped," he said.
Meanwhile, the computer networking field was taking off. Falzone, who back in Houston had studied a set of tapes on how to build a business, decided to start his own. "Computers came easy to me, so I quit my job again and went into the computer field," founding Ariey Pro Computers, based in Valencia.
"This was a very fast-paced business, and there was as much work as we could handle," Falzone said. "I figured this would eventually allow me more time to do music, always hoping to make my music turn into something more, to make my father's name and life more than a memory."
Instead, Falzone was consumed by the business. "The demands were much more than I thought they'd be," he said. "And after so much work on my music with no result, I had no desire to do it anymore, so I quit writing and playing for three years."
During this period, Falzone said, "My wife wanted a child. We had come to California to do music, but that was no more. We ended up with our own business. Then we had our daughter Abby. And that made me ask myself which Vince Falzone I wanted my daughter to see - the engineer, the business-owner, or the musician."
The answer was clear, Falzone said. "I'm a musician first and foremost. So I convinced my wife to sell the [networking] business, and committed to music with all my passion. No more excuses. I have nothing to fear now. If I don't follow through this time, at least I can say I gave it my best effort."
Along with early influences like Paul McCartney, Falzone cites Sting as a later influence, along with contemporaries like the pop/rock band Maroon 5 and singer/songwriter John Mayer. Yet over the years, Falzone has developed his own sound that combines spare, offbeat rock hooks with melodic pop instrumentation and vocals.
"I think 'Out of Time' is my best material to date," Falzone said, "and with artists like John Mayer re-opening the door for singer/singwriters in the last couple of years, I feel there's a chance for my music to break through this time around."
Ultimately, that's Falzone's goal. "I want to get my material in the hands of the public, to perform and promote and sell my material," he said. "I want to build a following to allow me to perform at larger venues. To make people aware of who and what Vince Falzone is about, musically and personally. To prove I belong alongside the names of artists and songwriters I grew up following and learning from. And to inspire others to push beyond what they feel is possible, to set a level of respect for what musicians do and work so hard to achieve.
"For artists and songwriters who are into it for the love of music, and not the money, this is no joke," Falzone said. "Money may or may not come as a result of what we do with our art. It's the satisfaction of expressing ourselves and reaching others through music."
Falzone knows what he's up against. "Of all the things I've done with my life, this is by far the hardest course I have ever taken - which is why I call my talent both a blessing and a curse," he said. "We have no choice other than to pursue what God has given us."
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