Header Photo By: Mikhail torich
From being a songwriter, Grammy award winning songwriter/producer, Billboard magazine’s top 10 songwriter from around the world, multi-platinum music producer, music executive, and now solo artist, Rob Fusari is definitely one to look out for.
Since writing at the young age of 22, Fusari has worked with many legendary artists such as Adam Lambert, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Backstreet Boys, and Lady Gaga. He has also written hits such as Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious,” Will Smith’s “Wild Wild West,” “Adam Lambert’s “Fever,” and Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”
CelebMix recently caught up with Rob to talk more about his latest single as a solo artist, how he ended up meeting with Adam Lambert, touring, the music industry, and more.
After being behind the scenes in the music industry, you’re finally starting a solo career! How does that feel for you? What are you looking forward to the most about it?
Fusari: Performing has changed my life inside the way I approach songwriting and production. There is something to be said about getting the immediate reaction from an audience. You are able to identify what works and what people react and don’t react to.
It’s a great way to test new material and new ideas. I have a new found respect for performing artists after being on the road for a significant stretch of time. It’s not all fun and games and parties. On the Ru Paul Drag race tour, we would finish the set and get right back on the road heading to the next city. It can certainly start to wear on you and your health if you’re not careful. I took that part for granted and thought I could just wing it. Not true.
This whole thing started out of a necessity to get back to the music that is in me. For so many years I had made the records that record labels wanted to make. I really needed to find myself again and the only way that I could do that was to start recording the songs myself. I am looking forward to exploring some different directions musically. The beauty of it is that I don’t have to stay inside the box anymore. The music can go wherever it needs to go.
Your latest song “Don’t Let Love Down” just came out April 8th, can you tell us a little bit about what the song means to you?
Fusari: The song was written in 2006 with Lady Gaga, who was known as Stefanie Germanatto at the time. It was part of a body of work that came from her and I experimenting in a rock n’ roll Beatles-esque direction.
When we started changing the direction for the Gaga project, most of the songs kind of were left behind. I felt it was time to revisit some of that music for my project.
The song contains various layers as it relates to myself and the project. There is a wider connotation that can apply across the board as a sign of the times and how it seems we have lost our way as far as becoming the “All You Need is Love” generation.
I may not go as far to say, “All We Need Is Love,” but I do believe if the sentiment starts there, it can only wind up in positive result. I think people are more on edge and more frustrated than they have been in recent memory. The message for “Don’t Let Love Down” is just… don’t give up. I think when you let love or let someone down, you’re actually letting yourself down.
The lyric also seems to foreshadow a creative relationship that could not survive for a long period of time. Although it was magic, Lady Gaga and I only were going to have a very short time to do what we needed to do. “Don’t Let Love Down” speaks to us in the knowing that with the immense sunshine we would be left to deal with the hurricane that would eventually come.
Have you worked on any other songs yet for your solo career? If so, what are some of your favorites and why?
Fusari: I have recorded and written about 15-20 songs for the project, and it keeps coming around to this Beatles influence that I think just needs to flush out. It’s fulfilling because it comes back to where and how I started years ago. I love dance music but I was really a product of artists like the Beatles, Prince, ELO, Bowie, and etc.
It was what came naturally to me. I could sit at the piano and write a song a day. In addition, I’ve always tried to steer away from the masses that seem to convolute and dilute the flavor of the month genre of the year. Dance music has gotten so big that it’s hard to tell the forest from the trees for me. Every DJ is using the same tricks, same sounds, same formula. Music has been too loyal to me to not stretch and explore what else lies within my soul.
We know you’ve worked with tons of musicians, one being Adam Lambert. How was it like working with him, and would you like to work with him again?
Fusari: It was strange because I wrote the song “Fever” with Lady Gaga. It was another song we had recorded for her record but the record label didn’t think it was right for her. Her version was really killer. I had no idea Adam Lambert was recording the song until a few weeks prior to release. Apparently Gaga went into the studio with him and cut the vocal. She didn’t want to invite me (he sad sadly.)
The record could have been a lot stronger if I was able to contribute my services (he said jokingly.) I did link up with him a few years ago and it was really good hanging out with him. He’s the real deal. I am a fan for sure.
You have a show coming up April 27th at The Cutting Room in New York City. Out of the original material and hits you’ll be performing, what songs are you looking forward to perform the most and why?
Fusari: I really love performing Destiny Childs “No, No, No.” I do a mash up of Sly Stones “Family Affair” and I sing the lyrics over that. It has a funky Prince-like vibe. It’s just a blast. I’m also doing a medley of songs that I stringed together to feel like a conversation between John Lennon and Julian Lennon (conversation between a father and son.) It’s pretty emotional I just hope I can get through it without a complete breakdown. Lucky I’m not wearing a lot of make up for the show, or that could be a complete disaster.
We heard your performance will include a backing band full of students from William Paterson University. What was it like working with students who want a future in the music industry? Why did you decide to have them be a part of it?
Fusari: I wish someone had done something like that for me when I was breaking into production/writing. It seems so intimidating when you look from outside in. I think once you get in the thick of it, you really are able to decipher if it’s something you really want and can handle. Without the hands on moments it’s just too vague and intangible to make decisions and be able to figure out how and where you really fit in. Or if you even fit in at all.
Do you see yourself touring anytime in the future? If so, what do you think you’d love the most about it? If not, why?
Fusari: After touring with Macy Gray and RuPaul’s Drag Race, I understand and respect the touring part of the puzzle. I took it for granted last time. I was prepared musically and creatively, but I did not prepare myself emotionally or physically for life on the road.
I do plan on touring soon again but this time I have to treat it very carefully. It’s the kind of thing that if you abuse it and take it for granted it can knock you right off the tracks.
Not everyone in the music industry has something nice to say, but what is one of the most rewarding thing you’ve been told while in the industry? (If any, or from multiple people.)
Fusari: I recently recorded 3 songs on one of my all-time favorite acts, ABC. I had grown up studying and enjoying their records, such as“Look of Love” “Poison Arrow,” and etc. Getting to write and work with Martin Fry from the band was beyond words.
Shortly after working with Martin he told me that he stopped writing and recording new music which I found so puzzling because he is so incredibly talented. Martin like myself had become a bit taken back with the business of the music which more than not can be so heartless and downright horrible. Martin explained to me that us collaborating rejuvenated his passion for the music.
Since then he signed a new record deal and wrote and recorded a brand new album. So as you can imagine, that made my day.
Do you have any advice for people who look up to you and want to pursue a career in the music industry?
Fusari: You have to ask yourself ‘why are you doing it?’ If the answer is because you have no choice and that it is the only essence of life and breath for you, then go for it and never surrender. People will tell you it’s not good enough, it’s too this, it’s too that, change this, change that. My advice is don’t change a thing! Trust your instincts. People don’t know, and that includes the label, A&R people, the label presidents, and etc. They will act like they know but trust me, they have no idea.
If people could only know one thing about you, what would you want the fans to know about Rob Fusari and why?
Fusari: Don’t always believe the things you hear. There is always a truth behind all of it that is not what meets the eye. It’s a business of smoke and mirrors and everyone has a lot of that these days going on. The more entertainment people talk, the less I tend to listen.
Want to take a glimpse of Fusari along with WPU’s Student Backing Band, and help support WPU scholarships all at the same time?
Rob Fusari will be performing his newest single “Don’t Let Love Down” for the first time ever live at The Cutting Room in New York City (April 27th at 9 p.m.) along with a tribute to The Beatles and hit songs he wrote. Profits go to WPU scholarships.
For tickets and more information on the event, click HERE.
Check out “Don’t Let Love Down” below: