October 5, 2022
Nothing but Love Songs, Anthony Nunziata Promises for Boston Concert
John Amodeo READ TIME: 9 MIN.
"The start of the pandemic brought into focus what was pulling at me, and that was finding a new creative environment," which explains what prompted Anthony Nunziata, the Manhattan-based Italian-American singer, songwriter, and recording artist to relocate to Nashville nearly two years ago. Having already collaborated with Nashville-based songwriters on some of his original songs, Nunziata just knew that Nashville held promise for him. He adds, "All these connections from Nashville were coming into focus, and the stars were aligning."
While songwriting has increasingly become part of his creative life, singing in concert before live audiences remains his mainstay, with his concert touring schedule busier than ever... impressive for someone who has performed more than 400 concerts in the past decade alone. Speaking with EDGE from Nashville, he had just returned from two sold-out engagements at Feinstein's at the Hotel Carmichael (outside of Indianapolis) before flying out to Seattle prior to our interview. But Nunziata seems to be forever going places: The next day he was heading out to perform on an Alaskan cruise. He also is coming to the Boston area when he brings his show, "Love Songs from Broadway and Beyond," to Waltham's Reagle Theatre, Saturday, October 8.
Many will recognize Nunziata as one-half of the Nunziata brothers, a singing team with his identical twin brother Will. Performing in Boston will be a bit of a homecoming for Nunziata. The brothers attended Boston College, where they began their professional duet singing career as paired soloists with the BC choir for a special annual benefit concert with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. As a team, the Nunziata brothers played intimate nightclubs to Carnegie Hall, delighting audiences with their mellifluous crooning, playful banter, and rich material. Ever supportive of one another, they also have championed each other's individual interests, Will with his directing of film, stage, and cabaret, and Anthony with his songwriting. Anthony's relocation to Nashville marks the opening of a new chapter in his career, which he shares with EDGE as he explores family, songwriting, and what it means to sing.
EDGE: You've been dubbed America's new romantic singing sensation, and your concert is all love songs. What is it about handsome Italian singers and love songs? Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Andrea Bocelli. Is the gravitational pull inevitable?
Anthony Nunziata: First, thank you for putting me in such esteemed company. Those are some of my heroes. As long as I've been singing, I've been drawn to lyrics that dive deep into the human soul, and the depth of human emotion. Love is a small word with such an expansive meaning. Having been through and experienced many facets of love itself, I feel ever more ready to dive into the lyrics of the great composers of our time, and to share with the audience some of my original songs that dive into the many facets of love. My goal is for people to connect with the songs in some way, and to move people in some way.
EDGE: Your show "Love Songs from Broadway and Beyond" sounds like it could be a live version of your solo recording "The Love Album," released in 2020. Is there any overlap there?
Anthony Nunziata: Yes. There will be a lot of the songs off "The Love Album" in the concert. I'm adding some of my favorite Broadway songs, and the "...Beyond" part includes some of my favorite classics from Italian arias like "O Solo Mio," and some of my original songs.
EDGE: Will you mix it up at all with new material?
Anthony Nunziata: Yes. There will be brand new original songs that I haven't performed in concert that will be sung in the Boston program. Also, there will be songs I haven't sung in a very long time. I'm excited that there will be a young student choir from Waltham who will join me, as part of community education outreach and something I regularly do and that I'm proud of.
EDGE: You and Will have done a Sherman Brothers show in the past. Will any of the Sherman Brothers songs be in the show?
Anthony Nunziata: Now that you've posed that question, I will add a song that the Sherman Brothers said was Walt Disney's favorite Sherman Brothers song.
EDGE: Who will your music director be for this show?
Anthony Nunziata: We just got confirmation that I will be working with Bethany Aiken [a Boston Conservatory staff accompanist and Musical Director for the Greater Boston Stage Company for the past nine years]. I'm excited to be working with her.
EDGE: During the pandemic, you moved to Nashville, where so many of your songwriting collaborators live. What prompted the move, and what direction is that taking your career?
Anthony Nunziata: It has expanded opportunities for me to write with and for other artists. In the past two years I've released a Christmas album, a few singles, and a new album of original songs that I will release in 2023. It's such an inspiring place.
EDGE: In Oct 2019, Broadway's Future Songbook Series presented an evening of your songs at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, featuring singers Marissa Rosen, Caroline Cohen, and Marieann Meringolo. What it was alike to have three great singers performing your material at Lincoln Center?
Anthony Nunziata: It's humbling, exciting, and thrilling to have friends who happen to be some of the best singers and actors, with a capital "A," bring my work to life, and bring their light to it. This unlocked for me the possibility of having other people in mind when I'm writing a new song, rather than just myself. Now I can give it off to other artists who can sing my work. I'm excited to write with other artists and for them. This includes Jackie Evancho, the Daisy Dukez – a brand new female group, like the Pussy Cat Dolls meets Dolly Parton – Garret Clayton ("Hairspray, Live!," "King Cobra"), and Blessing Offor. I wrote a song for him that will be on my next album.
EDGE: Of all the songs you've written, the one that puts a lump in my throat is "The Gift is You." You and Will wrote it for your mother, who you had just learned had breast cancer. How is your mom?
Anthony Nunziata: She's well. She gets her checkups, and she's in remission.
EDGE: How did you come to write this?
Anthony Nunziata: It was one of the first songs I ever wrote, with my brother Will, and we premiered it as a duet in our Carnegie Hall concert. I can remember we were going to a gig, and my Mom stopping us on the sidewalk and telling us that she had breast cancer. When I went into that session with Will, the inspiration came pouring out that our mom was a gift, and we wrote it in that session, one session. A couple of months later, we got the call that we would be co-headlining at Carnegie Hall and we were asked what would be the one song we would have to sing and Will and I both chose "The Gift is You."
EDGE: Your latest solo recording is "Together for Christmas." Will you be performing any songs from that?
Anthony Nunziata: I will. Two songs. One that is sort of a spiritual non-holiday, and the other that is a straight up Christmas song. I love singing these songs all year round, even in summer [laughs], because it captures a spirit that can be carried throughout the year.
EDGE: I think "The Greatest Wish" is my favorite, which you wrote with Jim Brickman and Victoria Shaw. What was that collaboration like?
Anthony Nunziata: I met Victoria Shaw some years ago at a holiday show at Desmond Child's NY apartment, and we just vibed. A year or two after that, the summer before the pandemic, I emailed Victoria and told her I was beginning to write some Christmas songs, and would she want to collaborate. She said, "Yes, and Jim Brickman will be in town, and we could work with him." Before you know it, we were in Victoria's NYC apartment, and I was jumping back and forth between the couch where Victoria's doing lyrics, and then to Jim at the piano, and we wrote the song in five hours, and nothing changed after that. It will be part of this concert in Boston.
EDGE: You've always been athletic – running, swimming, tennis – but lately I see you on Facebook with your pickleball game. Is that how you let loose these days?
Anthony Nunziata: I take that sport very seriously. I play professional tournaments when I'm able to. It's a competitive sport. It keeps me in shape. It has opened up an entire community to me that is beyond fulfilling. There is camaraderie, community. There are professional pickle ball players who I train with. Sometimes, I'm playing pickle ball in the in the morning with these trainers, I leave for rehearsal that afternoon, then these folks will come to my show that same evening.
My body is my instrument, I exercise every day. I have spa music playing at home. I try to be in a state of rest mentally, I have healthy relationships with my family and friends. All of that contributes to me being physically and emotionally available when I hit the stage to do my job.
EDGE: What is up next for you?
Anthony Nunziata: I'm gearing up for my 2023-24 touring schedule for holiday concerts and pops concerts. This coming year is the busiest touring schedule I've ever had. For whatever reason, people are connecting with what I'm putting out there. It really moves me to know that I'm doing something that moves other people. That is my "why" statement.
Anthony Nunziata will perform "Love Songs from Broadway and Beyond" on Saturday, October 8, 2022, 7:30 PM at the Reagle Theatre, 617 Lexington St., Waltham, MA 02452. Tickets: $45-$55. To purchase tickets, visit: https://www.reaglemusictheatre.org/anthony-nunziata
Watch Anthony Nunziata perform "Somewhere":
John Amodeo is a free lance writer living in the Boston streetcar suburb of Dorchester with his husband of 23 years. He has covered cabaret for Bay Windows and Theatermania.com, and is the Boston correspondent for Cabaret Scenes Magazine.