Our latest Interview is with singer, songwriter and producer, Jerry Falzone. In this interview, learn how Jerry continues to improve his Songwriting abilities, and the moment when one of his songs completely changed his perspective on why he is a songwriter.
Q: Where do you call home?
Q: Where did you grow up?
Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
I have had so many elaborate set ups for writing music that at the moment it kind of makes me laugh. I had two different 16 track digital recorders in my home studio where I would come up with an idea, add keys, drum tracks, bass, harmony vocals, melody line, guitars, it was enough to almost think about releasing it then I would listen to it in the morning and realize it wasn’t that great of a song. I am about to put both studios up for sale on Craig’s List. I bought a Zoom digital recorder, no multi track at all. I sit down with my guitar. I play a song into it and if the song is a good song it will stand on its own, if it isn’t a good song no amount of studio trickery will change that.
Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I tried to learn some songs when I was fourteen years old that were beyond my ability to play so I started making up stuff that worked for me. I started looking into music books and found one by David Crosby that opened my ears to exotic sounding chords and different tunings that helped me expand the sound of what I wanted to do and the rest was just building on that.
Q: What books are you currently reading?
I’m slogging through a biography of Winston Churchill and I am enjoying a blog by Emma Lane who is a singer songwriter that I am working with as a producer.
Q: What album are you currently listening to?
I am currently working on my third CD, Liar’s Moon so I don’t listen to very much while I am in that process. However a friend of mine, Scott Regan just released his first CD, Autumn Moon. We did a gig together last week and he gave me a copy of it so I have been listening to that, it is really enjoyable. He is a great songwriter.
Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
I live my life. I believe that a writer of any kind is really someone who lives his life and reports on his experiences, emotions, reactions to everything that happens. My songs are rarely specific in nature but the emotions that are in the songs all come from someplace I have been emotionally.
Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
The starting point is the toughest for me. I have been involved in situations where I have been asked to write a song for a specific message at a church and that has always been the least challenging for me. You know, give me something to write about and I can knock that out for you in twenty minutes. But coming up with the initial idea, that takes some time and a lot of effort.
Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Sometimes an idea will come to me when I am walking my dogs, sometimes its late at night when I am alone in a room, sometimes its in the afternoon when I see my guitar looking lonely in a corner and I pick it up because it just seems to be calling to me. Sometimes its when I’m in the studio and someone else is laying down a track and I’m in the waiting room with my guitar. Sometimes I’m just talking to someone and an expression will come out of someone’s mouth and I start writing right then in my head. A song is a cool thing, it will rear its head when it wants to, very seldom when you are trying to coax it out.
Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
As I mentioned earlier I have written message songs for a church. I’ve never been one to write worship or praise songs as such but if a pastor had a message on something that he needed a set up for he might ask me to come up with a song. The first time that happened I was asked to come up with a song on family problems. I had one written and played it for the pastor. He said it was perfect and asked me to sing it in front of his congregation. Well, my head started to swell up and I said sure. At the time, I was not a performer as such, just a songwriter but I thought that it would be a great challenge. The day of the service, I was set up with great background singers, a bar stool, my favorite twelve string a spot light in a very dark, filled to capacity auditorium, probably about 450 people. The song started, I started singing and my ego kept getting more inflated. The background singers joined in on the chorus and now my ego was almost bursting. The song ended and the applause was as loud as anything I had ever heard in the church. As I left the stage, people were slapping me on the back telling me how great the song was, how much they enjoyed the performance and on and on. I was absolutely soaring at this point. As I was leaving the church some guy started walking up to me and I remember thinking, another fan. He walked up to me and said that he was going through a tough divorce and he wanted me to know that the song made him re-think some of his decisions. You could have knocked me over with a breath. I realized for one of the first times that the beauty of writing is in the effect that it can have on other people, not in what it can do to enhance your own view of yourself. It really changed my whole outlook on why I do what I do.
Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I surround myself with better musicians than I am, better singers than I am and better writers than I am. I strive to put on songwriter shows where I am the worst writer, singer, player on stage. That keeps me continually striving to better myself.
Q: What is your Songwriting process?
I don’t really have one. It can change from song to song. On my last CD my producer asked me to write in a 6/8 time signature, I did. The other day I was playing with a cut capo, got a real interesting sound out of a D chord and wrote a song around it. Sometimes I can write a song that becomes important to me in twenty minutes, sometimes I can labor over a song title for two years like I did for the title song of the CD I am recording right now. I really admire people who can say “It’s 10:00, time to write” but I’m not that person.
Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or Songwriters?
Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Liz Larin (a singer songwriter out of Detroit who I have been able to work with once in awhile).
Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Keep at it. If you can’t finish one song, go to the next. Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground. There is a song in everything you see and hear. I love the line about sculpting. How did you sculpt that beautiful giraffe out of stone….I just chipped away at everything that didn’t look like a giraffe. The song is there, just keep taking the stuff out of it that doesn’t sound like your song.
Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
A Top Album Pick in Billboard Magazine a long time ago, Jamming with Cheap Trick at the height of their career, Starting the Lake Shore Coffee House Series in Rochester, NY, Starting the Fandango at The Tango in Rochester NY (both Songwriting showcases that have been very well received in the area), releasing two (soon to be three CDs) helping other songwriters build an audience, co-producing the Mason Tyler CD and the Debbie Randyn CD and producing Beyond The Lyric, a local cable access TV show that is an interview performance show for songwriters.
Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
Anything that fosters a songwriting community helps every songwriter involved. It can help to build an audience, it can help to strengthen skills, it can help to promote venues that feature songwriters, it can help writers find other writers to work with. There are so many ways that Frettie can help but raising the awareness of what your community has to offer your city is key to helping writers find an audience.
Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I don’t. I used to use a lot of things, Master Writer being one but I have found that my best tool is my Johnny Cash Martin D-35 and My Martin HD-28 as well as my Zoom recorder.
Q: So what’s next for Jerry Falzone and where can readers find you online?
Finishing up Liar’s Moon. Working on a few more theater venues, one in Summit, NJ and one in Mont Claire, NJ. Establishing the Lake Shore Coffee House Series in a new venue, working with Emma Lane on her EP project. I guess I am always busy.
You can find me online at www.jerryfalzone.com I’m also on Facebook under Jerry Falzone and under Fandango at The Tango. You can also find me on Frettie.
Thanks Jerry for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and looking forward to connecting with you more on Frettie.
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Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.