By Harriet Kaplan
American Idol alum Stefano Langone gained massive national and global exposure as a finalist on Season 10 of the show where he won millions of fans with his soulful vocal style and self assured but likable and engaging personality. Following that time in the spotlight, the talented Langone has performed on various projects, made several television show appearances and wrote and recorded his own songs. In an e-mail interview with Black on the Canvas, Langone reflected his past accomplishments putting them into the realistic context and perspective as to where has he come in his musical career to date and how that played an important role in molding him as an artist now.
How was it for you to perform at the Miss U.S.A. Pageant? What was the experience like? How did you get involved with the event? What did you sing there?
Stefano: Performing for the Miss U.S.A Pageant was an incredible honor and a huge opportunity for me. Being in front of thousands and knowing millions are at home watching your every move was such an invigorating experience. It had been a few years since I performed on TV and American Idol, so this was really fun. It also helped being around 51 of the most beautiful smart young women in the U.S., so I wasn’t complaining at all. lol
Stefano: I got a call from my good friend and mentor Mr. Ray Chew about a week before the show. Ray is one of the top music directors in the world. After Idol, we not only kept in touch, but worked many times together. Ray has been a huge champion for me. I performed on his sold-out tribute to the Motown Show and Carnegie Hall, guest sang for Dancing with the Stars and spent countless hours in the studio with him. He has actually been doing The Miss U.S.A. Pageant for years. He called, and asked if I was available, and after he told me what it consisted of, I was all in.
Stefano: I sang “She’s a Bad Mama Jamma.” I performed a couple Pitbull songs including “Fun” “Time of Our Lives” and I also covered a song I actually did on Idol, “Just the Way you Are.”
Can you tell me what your fans can expect musically and lyrically on your new LP? Will it have the sexy and sultry sound of Lemon Squeeze? Why is the LP called Obsession? Is that a theme throughout? Who is producing the LP? How do you collaborate – what is your process? Do you come in with lyrics written or a demo?
Stefano: I think the fans should expect texture. The best way in showcasing what I do is mastering the less is more concept. As of right now, I don’t have a hard date for the LP. What I do know is this past year there have been so many changes and chapters. I’m glad I didn’t make the mistake of putting something out for the sake of it. I’m really looking forward to the second half of this year, finishing up this project and getting on the road. As far as the process goes, it varies. Sometimes I’ll already have concepts or lyrics going into a session, and sometimes we start from scratch. I’m working with my business partner DMadd who produced the last two indie records I released, but I’m also working with a plethora of new and established producers and song writers.
Will you tour in support of the LP when it’s released?
Stefano: Of course. One thing I take a lot of pride in is being able to perform live. I think this is a key component in my success in the future.
Would you say performing at The Vitello’s is a warmup for a tour?
Stefano: I definitely would. This show is something I’m really excited about, especially displaying my artistry from the piano, something few have seen but friends and family.
You are no longer on a label or have management through an agency. What is it like to be an independent artist and have your own management company? I mean specifically in terms of dealing with the business side and having to balance that with being creative. Is that a challenge for you?
Stefano: Being an independent artist is not easy. It takes a lot of mental strength and awareness living in LA and being in the music industry. Throw in having to learn how to do it all yourself is a whole different animal. But like I said, so many lessons, chapters and changes. The ups and downs and the shattered expectations over the last year and a half, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The appreciation I have now for people who want to help and be a part of my journey, what a blessing that is. It’s really shaped who I am as a person, its allowed me to focus on my true artistry. I’m so focused and prepared. Experience in knowledge, if you let it be.
What have you gained on your journey from being on American Idol alum when you first appeared on the show in 2011 until now? What has that road been like and what have you taken with you and learned?
Stefano: “Timing and who you know.” My dad drilled this into my skull, along with another million sayings since I was a young kid. The people I met and got to know and worked with, all the incredible producers, writers, my first record deal, the fans, the fact I’m even in LA, is all a testament to American Idol and what it did for me. Now, the progression from that, the obstacles, creating Stefano the artist and breaking away from Stefano from American Idol has been tough. But that was part of the game I knew about going in. I have something to do, something I haven’t done yet. And it starts with this show on Saturday. I never stopped working, I never stopped dreaming, and I stayed the course. Idol gave me the second part to that very important saying. And I finally feel, my timing is right. My time has come. Now its time to do my job. Thats all I can do.
Stefano Langone will headline at Vitello’s E Spot Lounge in Studio City on Saturday, July 18. Langone will be the latest Idol to go “Up Close and Personal” with Billboard’s Fred Bronson, who will interview the Idol on stage during his live performance. Langone’s show begins at 12 noon. Following the live show, fans will have a chance to meet-and-greet Langone in Vitello’s E Spot Lounge. With a new album, Obsession, about to be released, the popular singer will be performing his latest hits, including the just-released single “Lemon Squeeze,” in a Saturday afternoon intimate acoustic set. Tickets are available by calling Vitello’s at (818) 769-0905 between 3-6 pm Friday, or at their website: www.vitellosrestaurant.com/