Brian Falduto is a professional actor and singer-songwriter with a history of work in Music, Film, TV, Stage, and Radio.
As an 11-year-old, he played Billy, a.k.a. “Fancy Pants” in the iconic movie “School of Rock”, and worked with Jack Black and Golden Globe winning director Richard Linklater. Continuing his career in acting, over the past couple of years, he has worked with renowned Theatre organizations.
However, he has a massive passion for singing and songwriting, too. Brian delivers heartfelt lyrics through infectious songs, such as “It’ll Do”, “In My Mind” and more. His debut acoustic EP “Love One Another” was released on June 13, 2017, charting in the US within 24 hours.
Now Brian has great plans, and he sat down with us to share them.
Congratulations on the release of your debut EP! What was it like finally releasing the album?
It’s been a fun summer so far following the EP release! People have been very kind and receptive towards my first attempts at getting music out there .. I’ve been given some great opportunities to connect with people through music and conversation.. The platforms to speak out about “Love One Another” have allowed me to supplement the music with dialogue about topics that mean a lot to me and I didn’t think I’d get to do that as much as I’m getting to and it’s been very exciting. It’s made me even more passionate about art and its influence. It’s one thing to create music with intent … but to then see it all sort of come to fruition, even if in a small way .. it’s just been cool :)
It was PRIDE month then – great timing, right?
Absolutely! The timing worked out great. I’d love to say it was our original intention to release the album during PRIDE month but the appropriateness of it all did kind of come as an afterthought .. as I geared up for the album, I was also gearing up for PRIDE month and I was like, “Oh wait. This is perfect. Let’s take this message and connect with this audience and connect it to my past.. all in one.”
How was the reaction to “Love One Another”?
It’s been great! The EP is an acoustic, initial presentation of my songs. I have a much bigger vision for these tunes, and other songs I’ve penned, that I hope to see happen down the road but I at least wanted to get these melodies and these lyrics out there so that I could begin to move forward with this as a base to build a music career off of, more or less. And that being said, the reaction has already exceeded expectations. I feel fortunate that something so stripped and raw and absent of extra bells and whistles has been gathering interest. The EP charted on iTunes in the US, England, and Norway.
Is there any song that you’re the proudest of?
“Turn That Song Back On.” It features the title lyric, “Love One Another.” It’s the song that’s most allowed me the opportunity to speak about love and how it’s affected me in negative ways, yes, but also how I believe it can heal. I think we all need to love one another. It’s the most simple solution in these dark times. Every morning, I wake up to a negative news story that could have been avoided if we had been loving one another. And if you listen to the song, I clearly state that I think we were, not too long ago, on a collectively progressive path towards loving one another. Nothing was perfect, no. But the energy of the world seemed pointed in that direction; certainly enough so that I finally felt comfortable enough to come out of the closet and be myself. I want us to turn that song back on. I don’t want the world to go back in the closet where people don’t feel like they can be who they want to be.
Could you tell us about the inspiration behind the songs?
Besides “Turn That Song Back On,” the rest of the songs revolve around past relationships and dating. So love is definitely the main topic and the inspiration for the entire EP but on tracks 1, 2, 3, and 5, love is discussed more so as something that can do damage. And it did to me. Love had wounded me and yet I know it is the only answer. That’s why it’s the most powerful thing in the world .. and just like with any kind of power, it comes with responsibility. It’s all about the balance.
How did you start as a songwriter?
I was working for a country music radio station at the time (a little under two years ago) .. so music was a big part of my life, particularly country music. I was going through a tough break-up and I found that music was one of the biggest outlets for me as far as getting through all the emotions I was feeling. But not all of the songs were saying exactly what I needed them to say because they weren’t exactly what I was going through. So I got the idea to try and write some of my own stuff and that’s when I sat down with my guitar and came up with “In My Mind.” It’s the 5th song on the EP .. it was recorded in a one-take studio session on electric guitar. It felt so satisfying to pour my heart out into a song .. and so I continued to do it! It was a therapeutic thing for a while; I wasn’t planning on sharing my music with anyone. But then I thought, “Hey maybe my songs can do for someone else what some songs have done for me.” And indeed, I have heard people say they’ve related to my lyrics and so I’m glad I shared!
Tell us about your songwriting process!
It always starts with a lyric and a melody for me. And then I find the guitar chords to match and then we jam it collectively to a finished state. I try not to force anything. Odds are, if the lyrics aren’t just coming to me, they won’t be good.
Who are your musical influences?
I’m so bad at this question because I love so many artists. Obviously, country music. But I don’t limit myself to that at all. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Phillip Phillips, Jo Dee Messina, Kacey Musgraves, Shania Twain, Zac Brown Band, George Strait, Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts …
What message would you like to share through your songs?
Oh, I think I touched on this too early. HA. I want everyone to love one another .. and know that it’s ok to feel things and feel crazy because of love. How do you think music has been being made for so long? We all feel this stuff. I want to be one of the people who says what I’m feeling through music so that other people don’t feel crazy when they feel that way too. Because no one talks about how they feel anymore and you’re uncool if you appear needy or if you make a bigger deal out of a relationship than it is .. but then Adele sings a song about exactly how we all feel and we’re like, “YES.” Music allows us to express our heightened fears and anxieties in ways that would be uncool otherwise. I want to use my songs to share what I’ve been through because I know other people have been through the exact same thing.
What do you like the most about songwriting?
I like connecting with people. The biggest compliment I can receive from someone after a sharing a song of mine with him or her is that they related to it. In some ways, my songs have made me feel less alone and less crazy because I’ve put things out there that may have felt foolish while writing them down but everybody gets it.
And what is the best thing about being a singer?
Haha, nothing. I’ve been working at being a good singer my whole life. I used to be a boy soprano and now I’m the lowest of low as far as bass’ go. In other words, it hasn’t always come naturally to me and there’s been rough patches figuring it all out. I am happy with the sound I’ve developed for myself. It’s a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll, and a little bit Demi Lovato .. haha. I’ve been compared to Glenn Yarbrough and I don’t hate it. I do love the fun reactions to my low voice. The last time a lot of people heard from me, I was the high-pitched Fancy Pants. So I love shocking them with a complete turnaround.
Are you planning to move back into acting one day?
Oh, I’m still acting! I took a teensy break to focus on the EP but I’m back at the auditioning scene recently. I was in the Off-Broadway production of The Extraordinary Fall of the Four-Legged Womanat the Soho Playhouse this past Fall 2016.
Speaking of acting, it’s been over ten years since “School of Rock” hit our screens. Did the movie have a massive impact on your life?
Absolutely. It’s been a part of my life in some way at some point pretty much every week since 2003. Not every day. But it finds me still from time to time. In high school, I wanted to escape it but a very accepting college atmosphere and career intentions following have encouraged me to just embrace it.
Tell us about the moment you realized you were gay.
Hahaha, oh gosh. I don’t know honestly. I had some pretty complicated mentalities about it all over the course of me growing up. My denial was pretty strong. I think I even convinced myself for a while! I can tell you the moment I could no longer keep it inside was when I was in love or getting there and just so incredibly happy with that part of my life that I didn’t want to keep it a secret anymore. I wanted to share it with my friends and family. I’ve got plenty of fun coming out stories from that year.
What did you do to ignore negative comments?
Um.. I didn’t. I took it all to heart and I tried to change. I wish I was the stronger man I am today but I wasn’t. A lot of times I pretended to not hear it. That’s why I want to keep working as an artist (and also just as a person) to try and make sure other people never go as long as I did feeling like there’s something wrong with them.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life?
What a tough question! You’re not kidding around, I love it. Um, getting over my break-up was pretty tough. Another difficult time in my life was quitting a full time job to pursue my artistic passions. Getting up the courage to chase your dreams without a safety net can be scary. Often my biggest obstacle is myself. Self-doubt and such. I get more confident with every passing life experience though :) Recently I couldn’t remember where I parked my car and I walked around the city looking for it for about an hour so that was a difficult time in my life as well.
What are your plans for the future?
I am working hard to get more involved with two of my passions: LGBTQ advocacy and also, entertaining the elderly.. not kidding! I’ve recently been performing at a lot of nursing homes lately. This started because of my Grandma. She’s my biggest fan but recently she’s been unable to make it to my shows. So the band and I brought the show to her! We performed for her and the residents at her facility. It was one of my favorite performances I’ve ever given. It was so rewarding for us and it made their day to have inter-generational interaction as we sang oldies and standards with them. I am soon launching an entertainment program at S.A.G.E. (Advocacy and Services for GLBT Elders); which will be a nice combination of my passions. Long-term, I’d love to get involve with an organization like Queer/Art or GLAAD. In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing and performing and collaborating with other musicians. And I’ll be sure to let you know when the next acting project comes ‘round.
Thank you so much for the interview! Do you have a message to our readers at CelebMix?
Thank YOU! To the readers, please follow @BrianFalduto on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, you name it .. or subscribe to my website, www.brianfalduto.com. Check out my music, come to a show sometime, let me know what you think. Let’s connect. I love meeting new people. Also, Love. One. Another. <3
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