My grandma played the mandolin, my grandad acoustic guitar and my dad the accordion. My mum is always singing. I grew up listening to Italian music. I particularly remember the memorable melodies of Sicilian Salvatore Adamo. In my childhood I watched Japanese animations. My favourite was Candy Candy. The melodies of Takeo Watanabe are still in my memory like a wonderful day.
My parents realised I was musical, so I was sent to recorder lessons and music theory before starting primary school.
My first memory of popular music is Save a Prayer by Duran Duran. Which keyboard player, growing up in the 80s, was not fascinated by the Yamaha DX7’ sounds of Nick Rhodes?
My sister had started high school and piano lessons there. My parents bought us a gorgeous German piano, Fritz Khula which, to this date, the name still makes me laugh as ‘culo’, in Italian, means ‘arse’! There you go, I was destined to kick arse with my music...is it how it is?? Haha
I started putting my fingers on these keys...nice, much harder than the electric ones I had been playing. It was not difficult for me to hear a tune and reproduce it on the piano, so my parents sent me to private piano lessons. I was 9 years old. When my teacher, Tiziana Tomacello, would introduce a brand new piece to me and I could play it well first time, overjoyed, she would give me a smacking big kiss on the cheek!
It came my turn to go to high school and start the piano lessons there with teacher Laura Pozzaglio. Here I was classically trained. My favourite classical composers to date are the romantics, especially Chopin and Debussy.
Thanks to teacher Marazza, who kindly donated me some books, I started discovering other styles of playing, such as jazz, blues and pop. During these young years, I started composing inspired by film music, especially Ennio Morricone.
In my teens, I started listening to the radio. I discovered that I liked retro music. To date, my favourite bands of all time are still The Doors (for their unique fusion of classical, jazz, Jim Morrison's dark lyrics and theatrical passion) and Supertramp (for their rock/pop piano playing style and amazing arrangements). The latter has influenced a lot my rock/pop style of playing.
Whilst studying to be a primary school teacher, as my dissertation was on the causes of criminality in young age, I trained in a juvenile prison for 6 months. Here I assisted the music teacher, and got in my first tribute band playing Dire Straits music, rather complicated and fully enjoyable.
I turned 18, distracted by a good looking English boy band, I co-formed ‘The Sweet Beat’, a Take That tribute band, with some fine harmonies. We were lucky to be able to jam with Take That whilst they were on promotion in Italy, and staying at the grand Vista Palace Hotel in Montecarlo. They liked us that much that they paid for us to stay another night, and filmed a documentary directed by Andy Peters for 'The Ozone'. You could say that that was possibly, to date, my biggest moment of fame...
Always fascinated by the sound of the English language, and fed up with the job crisis that had hit Italy at the time, I took off, with a suitcase, and headed for London. There I felt like a needle in a pile of hay, and left after a week. A year later I tried again, but this time I went to Manchester, as an au-pair. It was 1995. I never moved back to Italy, sorry mamma e papa’!
What did I not experience in that first year there though! ...That story is coming in a form of a book at some point, so keep your eyes open!
I became interested in music production.In 2002, I graduated in BA (Hons) Popular Music & Recording at Salford University, specialising in composition. Here I took jazz piano lessons, and started experimenting mixing classical elements with jazz chords. My favourite jazz pianist to date is Bill Evans.
I had never written lyrics until I had to produce a portfolio for my major elective at University. I cannot say that words came poetically flowing down to me. I boil this down to not reading much, though I like the odd mag – being a girl!
During this time I listened to all sorts, and found inspiration from Radiohead to the Beach Boys, to Air and Bjork. Pianist singer-songwriters whose work I respect include Carol King, Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill, Tori Amos, Vanessa Carlton, Rufus Waiwright, Ben Folds and Aqualung. Singing wise, the biggest influence of mine is the greatest Alanis Morissette.
After graduating, I started writing pop songs with a view to get a publishing deal. I do not sing on these recordings, Every Step of the Way, Gotta Loosen Up and Aries (Ode to Jimbo).
In the same year I entered the UK Song-writing Competition in the Jazz category, and I got to the finals with If I Remember.
I started taking singing lessons. I was 27 years old. I was not borne with the pipes. I have to work really hard to keep a certain vocal standard. Fed up of moving from flat to flat, after pissing off flatmates with those screechy vocal exercises, I moved to Cornwall in January 2006 to find peace, and never moved back North.
Here I concentrated on composing, away from distractions. I remember having to audition for a spot at my first gig, as I did not have a demo to showcase my talent. Whilst living in Penzance, I played live at the Acorn Theatre, I had my music played on Pirate FM, and collaborated with Hepzibahbroom (formerly Zoe Pollock/Young, who composed and performed Sunshine On A Rainy Day), composing and playing the piano part on her song Love Delights Us.
During this magic time, I recorded my first EP ‘Bittersweet’ at the Vip Lounge with producer Dare Mason.
I adored Cornwall, but struggled financially there, so in 2007 I moved to Dorset with a friend, and played live in the Bournemouth area to promote my EP Bittersweet.
Bittersweet was reviewed on the Bournemouth Daily Echo by Sarah Cartlidge, who wrote:
"Singer songwriter Consuelo with a collection of six, piano-led songs are unadorned and uncomplicated but commanding and touch on her classical background, as well as her love of pop and melodic rock, glossed with her strong Italian accent, which sounds particularly pronounced on tracks I Told You that I Love You and Keep It 4 Yourself. Bittersweet makes for imaginative and atmospheric listening”.
Whilst living in Dorset I recorded EP2, a collection of acoustic piano and vocal songs, with Gareth Matthews, which was reviewed in the same newspaper by Sara Cartlidge who wrote:
"Italian-borne singer-songwriter Consuelo delivers another passionate and affecting EP, following on from Bittersweet in 2007. The classically trained pianist is emotionally charged during atmospheric opener See the Light, before showcasing a gentler side lyrically and musically in Short but Intense, proving that she's completely at ease veering from edgy to soft and melodic in a heartbeat".
In 2011 I re-recorded Almost Isn't Good Enough with a fuller production, with producer Joe Grouse, mastered by Dick Beetham of 360mastering. It was an amazing experience to see one of my songs come to life with real instruments and quirky loops. Joe was a real inspiration to work with. It was extremely kind of him to offer his talents to me for free on belief.
In the same year, I signed a publishing deal with Sky Rocket Records as Consuelo Scivoletto (Consu). Any of the songs on their website are available for licensing in any media. If interested, please contact my publisher Doris Brendel.
2012 was a happy year as I met who, in 2013, became my husband, and moved to his home county, Devon. I have not played live for a while. Sadly I suffer from acute stage nerves when playing solo but, do not despair, from time to time I'll upload exclusive videos of me performing in my room (better than nothing...haha!)
As well as sung material, I compose film music / TV themes. A dear friend, Chris Savill, has mastered Cornwall for me all the way from Australia. Chris and I became friends through Sound on Sound magazine. Chris introduced me the magic county that Cornwall is, and I will always be grateful to him for that. I miss Cornwall. I composed my best songs there. My husband and I will hopefully move there one day, I will be ‘the piano player’ again and, who knows, might find musicians to play live with and start gigging again.
Production is not my forte, that is why most of my sung records are just piano and vocals, and my instrumentals just piano. Such minimalist arrangement is easy to record from a bedroom. It is not my creativity that stops here, it is where my funds do! I am open to collaborating with other musicians, composers, arranger, orchestrator and lyricists. I would also welcome other artists covering my work and make remixes of it.
I do not often blow my trumpet, but I believe in my talent. People say that my melodies are haunting and my piano parts unique. My dream is to make a living out of my music. Hopefully one day this will come true.