Being recognized as one of the “Best Artists” for April on the music discovery platform Tradiio, Valerio Lysander and his tired, honest voice, captured listeners’ ears and overall human spirit, with his track “Realise.” Upon completion of his first album, Tidal Mental Head, Lysander’s desire to share more of his music became a need on both ends, and ultimately took a “faithful jump” into the unknown to continue his musical journey. Fusing stripped down, intimate pieces, with eccentric folk sounds, Lysander’s creative sculpture process holds nothing back.
Thanks to the lovely people of Tradiio, I was able to pick the mind of Lysander and discuss how he took the “faithful jump” by quitting his job, and the message he wishes to leave all who stumble across his music. With pure excitement embedded in his answers, Lysander’s passion is not only reflected in his ultimate product, but within the sincerity to inspire others to follow their own passion.
I read a post that you wrote on Facebook regarding a question you asked yourself, ‘How I could make music my job?’ and you recall how you decided the time came to move to London and work towards your dream- tell me about that deciding factor, and how you knew ‘this is the time?’
I moved to London in April 2013. At the time I was very musically active in Italy, and I was meeting many people involved in the Italian music business who were impressed by my music and suggested that I should move abroad to find a catalyst for it to become something important. That was the push I needed to take that plane.
So I did, with a guitar on my shoulder, found a full time job, bought a piano, started making my way in the music scene of London. After three years of this very tiring life, living frugally, working more than 35 hours per week in my job and working on my music in the little time I had left (with no time left for anything else!), I decided it was time to plunge completely into music and quit my job. I’ve been a full time musician for a couple of weeks now and it’s a quite exciting time for me.
If I did this when I first came it would have been overwhelming and I would have been unprepared. But after three years something told me I was ready for this and I just had to faithfully jump if I wanted to fly (as cheesy as it may sound!).
What drives you to create music? How did you get started on your musical path?
Music has always been part of my life and it has slowly grown into me. My parents are both musicians and singers and I have been surrounded by music since I was born, so I don’t really think there has been a precise moment in which I decided I was going to make music. It just came natural.
I studied guitar and piano, music theory and also had singing lessons for a while. With the foundations all this gave me, I started writing my own songs. It did take a while to write good ones, probably a few years, and I was very frustrated at the time, because I couldn’t come with anything interesting enough. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to songwriting, and have always been. Frustration was a fundamental part of the process, but I’ve learnt to overtake it and I’m quite happy with what I write now, so I guess it was worth the pain.
Did you ever think you would have the courage to leave things behind (in regards to moving to London) for music?
If you want to make music, London is a fundamental step on the path to success, at least in Europe. I’ve never thought I needed courage to do it, I just went with the flow.
If you really want something, fear becomes a small thing and courage comes natural.
My experience here has taught me that I was right. Also, this city is amazingly full of stimuli coming from all directions, cultures, feelings. It’s a continuous challenge, and to each challenge corresponds a reward and a little bit of myself that comes out, within and without music and I just can’t get enough.
You also attribute much of you working towards your dream through the help of Tradiio’s latest feature called Circles– from an Artists’ view point, and then as a music lovers’, do you feel that Circles is beneficial in telling your story?
The Tradiio Circle is a great idea. Music listeners are now used to receiving music without understanding and rewarding the process behind it. There are so many ways to experience music for free (legally or illegally), and people just got used to that, forgetting the big efforts that lie behind its production (years spent studying, money spent recording, time spent writing…). In the ocean of music we are bombarded with every day, it’s hard to settle for a particular artist or album and go deep into it, but the Tradiio Circle gives the opportunity to connect with the music we love and make it part of our lives.
People don’t want CDs, they don’t want MP3s, because they can just stream on Spotify or whatever. The Tradiio Circle gives them the opportunity to support their artist and get something more out of it, and gives the artists the possibility to see their efforts rewarded. Also, I really like the idea of creating a label made of listeners, who can advise and help the artists with suggestions, being part of the creation process themselves.
Why is being personal with your listeners important to you?
It depends on what you mean by personal. With my music, I try to be general in the way that I would like everybody to find a bit of themselves in it. But also, I want to be personal because I want to touch souls, I want my music to be useful. I believe we are on this earth with a purpose, one of continuous improvement towards a better version of ourselves. Through being personal, I want to connect with people, show them that I am a human like them, and share a real message of goodness and humanness.
I have also always been interested in psychology and philosophy and I like digging deep into myself and exploring the different layers of my mind and soul, and I try to put that into my music, which talks about different feelings, minds, humans, persons.
Tidal Mental Head was a very diverse collection of sounds, and personal, that I adore and truly got to see your range as an artist, and led me to the saying “with the right music you can either forget everything or remember everything.” What was trying to be remembered or forgotten from your stance on Tidal Mental Head?
I am a very forgetful person, so I never TRY to forget, rather the contrary! In fact, my songwriting can at times assume the purpose of a diary I keep for my memory. As you said, Tidal Mental Head is a collection of the different people I (and everybody else) can be. As it was my first record, I tried to do that to show people what I could do.
In it there is the struggle of overcoming my battles and the will of reaching my dreams (The Prince), the feeling of limitedness having only one life (or at least the one we’re aware of) gives when it comes to making choices and choosing what person you want to be but also the realisation that we ARE and can happily be different people in one (Cotton), the fear of the future and past, with a tad of paranoia (I Need Air), loving friendship (Risia (You Are So Sweet)), broken hearts and new hopes (Realise) and the awareness that any pain comes with a precious purpose of improvement (Rain).
Will future releases be as personal?
The main purpose of my songwriting is to process my feelings and explore my inner self. So I can safely say that my music will always and definitely be personal. That doesn’t mean that all my songs are deep or extremely serious. I do have silly or lighter songs, but I find that those ones also reveal very honest and intimate part of myself or humans in general.
What can you tell me about your upcoming music, if any in the works?
I’ve actually started recording some tracks for my new full album and I’m going to the studio next week to start a few more. The tracklist will include around 12 songs, so it will take a while to complete it, but the plan is to release one single at the beginning of Summer and one in Autumn, followed by the album at the end of the year.
For now, two acoustic sessions videos that I recorded a couple of weeks ago will be released very soon. The two songs haven’t been released before so they will give a sample of what you will find in the new album.
What is your main goal as a musician?
I’ve always thought, when I was and am listening to my favourite artists, that I would like to give people the same joy I feel with them. I want to create beauty and positiveness. But if you need a countable goal, let’s say that when I have sung at the Royal Albert Hall I will have to find a new one.
What do you want listeners to obtain after hearing your music?
I want them to be joyful, positive, to experience and enjoy the present more and believe in themselves more. I want them to dream and think everything is possible, that everything comes for a reason, that happiness is a real, achievable thing that lies within ourselves. I also want them to learn new words, new chords, new notes, new ways they can express themselves, to promote diversity, love and peace.
I don’t know if my music can do all that, but that is definitely what drives me to write and the main reason I have started walking on this path.
With everything you know now, what would you tell Valerio Lysander 3 years ago?
I would say, well done, you’ve made the right choice to leave your old life behind and embark on this great adventure. I am so grateful to the person I was three years ago. He was a brave dreamer and he was rightfully so.
I could suggest to him to be a bit braver, to go out of his comfort zone a bit more, to believe in himself a bit more, and not to lose focus following temporary pleasures. But I also know that what we live comes at the right time and we learn from everything. Everything I went through, I had to and made me what I am now, still learning, still fighting to improve and better myself, but also quite proud of what I am.
Discover more of Valerio Lysander and be sure to follow his journey, and support him through Tradiio Circles.
You can subscribe with anything to support Lysander directly and get exclusive content only through Tradiio.