Each conversation follows a rhythm. There are the exchange of the speaker's tempo, which includes pauses, the listener's attention range, and the pitch of the words to the tune this rich combination stimulates. When we connect with someone, the rhythm seems effortless as we are immersed in the flow together. Every so often, there is a special someone who manages to arrange a different kind of experience and the result changes us forever.
Let me take you through a journey of pop and rock musicians from my own region (Emilia Romagna) in Italy to illustrate. We are susceptible to the soundtrack of talk more than you think. Take note (pun intended).
Vasco Rossi grew up in Zocca, a town a stone's throw from Modena. In 1975, he was the founding DJ of Punto Radio. He was the first Italian rock musician to replace acoustic with electric guitars in the mid-eighties. But his greatest claim to fame and what still sells out at his concerts was the fact that his lyrics communicated the private inner feelings of every day life. His language is controversial, thought-provoking and ironic.
In a way, Vasco was the rock blogger way before blogs were even imagined -- authentic, truthful and instantly emotional. People went and still go to his concerts (sold out every single time) to recognize they belong together; they celebrate life, dreams, love, and join a real friend. His tour in 1993 sold 800,000 tickets. He broke new ground in 1998 when he inaugurated the Heinecken Jammin' Festival in Imola (famous for the Grand Prix), which today draws young fans from all over.
During his career he has authored 132 songs for himself and several for other singers. His latest original album, Buoni o Cattivi (good or bad), ends with a song that was chosen as soundtrack for Sergio Castellitto's Non ti Muovere; we shouldn't judge diversity, we should respect it, Vasco says.
My favorite Vasco song is Ogni Volta. The images "every time I make a mistake, every time I am so certain and every time it only seems that way, every time I think of something that has nothing to do with it [...] every time it wasn't me, every time I pretend I don't care, every time I cry afterwards, every time I am left holding my head and putting it all off 'til tomorrow." This is every day stuff we can all identify with.
I like Laura Pausini for the same reason: she is real. Laura is from a small town, Solarolo, in province of Ravenna, a coastal city (Adriatic side) famous for its mosaics that evoke the splendor of Bysanthium. Discovered in 1993, the year she won the San Remo Music Festival, Laura won a Grammy for the best Latin pop album, Escucha, the Spanish version of Resta in Ascolto.
I saw Laura perform in Modena last December and I was blown away. Her musical gift is an amazing voice and range. The passion she conveys to her audience is infectious. On stage, Laura is your next door neighbor, an artist and friend who is not afraid to show emotion and share. Who cannot identify with the story of her song Benedetta Passione, written by Vasco Rossi, "what if this were just an illusion, this passion that has carried me away with it for a moment; what if this were only a song written only to remember those moments in which you were mine..." Oh dear, anyone?
I discovered Nek a couple of years ago and knew immediatey he was a local musician -- his inflection and accent are from Sassuolo, at the foothills of Modena. Nek bares his soul while he focuses on relationships and confronts pain. Singer, composer and musician, Nek has sold more than 5 million albums in six short years. From Una Parte di Me, L'Inquietudine translates "when it's dark and I sit here, I let my mind roam free and so I glimpse the Universe and feel its sound; it looks like a poster with me in it. In those moments the calm I experience goes beyond things, beyond waiting, beyond me and beyond us. It penetrates my defenses, the fists I make when I feel restless."
Nek recorded Solo Tu with Laura Pausini, who he met at San Remo in 1993. His real name is Filippo Neviani.
What do all these artists have in common? They are storytellers who use their skill to tell us their take on the universal tensions of relationships, love, and life in their own voice. The entertainment part, the one that stays with us, is the emotional resonance we make ours.
As I said in another post, we all build our lives around stories. The degree of harmony we have with a story will determine our adopting it as our own and our changing it and us in the process.