Yesterday I posted the new track by pop singer Luigi Masi "Valentine", featuring up&comers The Elements. During the wee hours of this past morn, we sat down for a not-so-quick Skype, discussing everything from his music to sexuality and gender studies in Pop, fashion, nationality, crazy fans, former tour mates Sugababes and The Saturdays, his dad's money and a whole lot more beside.
Read what ensued below:
FOTP: Hey Luigi! what's up?
Luigi: Hey Fantini! I'm great thanks, just lounging around in bed sorting bits and bobs out. What a life I lead.
F: Haha. Bits and bobs sounds a bit suggestive, considering you've just come out the shower.
L: Haha you wish eh. My room is a complete mess. Not safe for anybody.
F: Moving on swiftly!
L: Yes let's. For the safety of your readers. And my reputation.
F: Your reputation precedes you. SO - new track, "Valentine", featuring The Elements. How did that collaboration come about?
L: Yes. Well, it's not the most exciting story to be honest. My label called me up like 3 weeks ago and were like "time to get writing no?" so they sent me some instrumentals. And one of them was from this new team, The Elements. Loved it. And so messed about with it et voila, Valentine came out. Just recorded it last week. And now it's out to my fans. The joys of modern recording.
F: Sweet stuff. Did you all go to the studio, or was it one of those virtual sessions with lots of emailing back-and-forth?
L: Yeah, they sent the rough instrumental and then I did my dodgy demo vocals on my phone haha. Sent that over and they messed around and switched up the backing to suit it bla bla. Then I went down to their studio to record vox. I've done virtual sessions, like through Skype before. Always jokes.
F: Haha, gotta have fun with whatever you do. You co-wrote the track as well?
L: Yes sir. They had a rough vibe going on, but I thought it was a bit cheesy so tossed half of it out and re-did the melodies and lyrics. I'm so picky with my lyrics. Honestly. I gotta be happy with every single line otherwise I won't sing it ha.
F: Are you the emotional, expressive kind? Do you shed tears as you create art to share with the world?
L: I don't really connect my personal life with my art. I keep them completely seperate. And I don't really do sad songs. So I've never really been touchy about anything. I definately do get a bit soppy though listening to some other artists, just not with my own stuff…
F: Artists such as?
L: The soppy stuff? Erm recently like, Dia Frampton, Christina Perri, Emile Sande, Lana del Rey.
F: No male artists?
L: I listen to a few male artists, but it seems only girls really do the kinda pop that I like to do myself.
F: It seems there's a general apathy towards men in Pop.
L: And yeah I guess, it's a bit of a touchy subject. I don't really care if it's a guy or girl to be honest, I just listen to the song. I'm not biased just because of who the artist is.
F: Everyone says that, but for every ten Pop girls doing it "right", it seems there's hardly one Pop guy doing it "right".
L: Well that's because for every ten pop guys doing it, only one actually does it right. Actually the stats are probably even lower. I consider myself as one of the 'right' ones haha.
F: Who else would you rank alongside yourself among those doing it "right"?
L: I can't even think of anyone really. I like Guy Sebastian and Stan Walker? Haha. That's like it really for guys who I listen to...
F: Sweet. When it comes to you yourself, it seems like you're Pop marmite: people either love you or hate you. What's the best bit of press or publicity you've had? Something that made you sit back and just feel awesome that it happened or was said about you?
L: Hahah thanks for putting it like that! I don't really read about myself or anything. I of course Googled myself back when I first started in 2008 but nowadays I [don't] really pay any attention to it. I just care what my fans think. Best moment I guess was when MTV playlisted the 'Strobelight' video even though it was never a single and just for clubs. But it was doing so well they put it on C-list hahah. Always a completely awesome moment seeing yourself on TV. Or the times my tracks were on the radio! Oh and when GloZell did a video about "Pick Up Line", that was pretty damn epic. Had friends texting me all OMG!
F: Fantastic stuff, for real. And on the other hand, what was the worst press you ever got (in your opinion)? Does it chill your tits when people start talking about your father and him financing all your music?
L: Yeah that rumour has got completely out of hand. Not quite sure where it sprung up from. If I was loaded I would sure as hell not be doing this (as much as I love it). I'd be off holidaying everywhere, flying first class everywhere, living it up in my multiple homes abroad, I'd probably have my own flat instead of still living at home and sharing a room with my bro! It's just stupid. The stupidest thing I've ever heard was I spent half a million working with Timbaland? Actually it was 'per track' making it sound like spent a few million. Some dumb chick spread that. First off I never worked with Timbaland. And second his rate isn't half a million per track ha. But yeah, some people are really stupid. They just jelly. I pay no mind really. As I said, I never discuss my personal life so I guess losers just fill in the blanks.
F: Oooh, burn! That said, studying where you've studied indicates you didn't exactly grow up in the hood fighting crackwhores for stale pieces of bread...
L: I can't go to good schools now without being accused? Haha. Nah my life is good. But those rumours and lies did affect me when I first started. I was never bullied at school or anything, never like even teased. So to suddently have random strangers online just spew abuse, it was a shock. It go so bad really that I went to Nepal for 2 months back in early 2010 just to learn to let go and ignore stuff like that. Now my only wish if for the negative people to get on with their own lifes and get the help they need, instead of trying to bring other people down. It's not healthy and makes me sad really.
F: True! Did you find enlightenment or whatever you were looking for in Nepal? Are you a spiritual guy?
L: I found a new energy within myself yes. A new outlook on life. I'm not overly spiritrual nah ha, but I can get deep.
F: Oooh. Speaking of Timbaland, you worked with his brother Sebastian on your new record, "His Name Is Luigi". You were also set to work with Richard X and Amelle from Sugababes. Did those collaborations pan out in the end, should fans look forward to hearing you and Amelle on a Richard X track?
L: Let's see. "His Name Is Luigi" was just a re-issue of my debut album really, putting on 2 newer tracks and all my club smashes. Yes I say smashes because they were. Haters gone hate, but I know you all went cray in the clubs when they came on. The charts don't lie. I wrote a song, this was years back now, in 2008 for Amelle and myself. It was called "Turn To The Left". I can still sing the chorus now, it was so very good. But we never recorded as her management didn't want her going in that direction, she ended up doing that Tinchy record instead. And I was meant to do a Richard X track, again in summer 2008, can't even remember what it was called. It was written by Hannah Robinson though. Was really dope.
F: Ha! Modest as ever.Would you still be interested in working with those two if given the chance in future?
L: Definitely, though I think Richard has like retired? Or something. He doesn't do music anymore really. And Amelle, I'm just so excited for her solo career! 'Rebel' is amazing and I'm sure everyone will love it. She's gonne kick ass.
F: He did Will Young's latest record...And yes, I have a great feeling about her solo stuff. Since you know the 'babes (well, one batch of them) personally, what's your take on all the Sugababes drama and line-up changes in the past few years? Have they strayed too far from what they were and cheapened their name? Or are they just 3 sexy girls having fun?
L: Oh there we go! I didn't even know Will Young had a new record ha. The drama was all overhyped. I got into the 'babes when Heidi joined. That was when I first heard of them, and they first smashed, so I have no idea who this other chick who was apparently in first is, and I have no idea what some peoples obsessions with her and that first group are. They flopped for a reason. They were bloody tragic. As soon as I saw Amelle taking over from Mutya I was like wahey, they can finally be superstars. And they were really on the path with 'About You Now'. I was SOOO HAPPYYY to have been invited to tour with them for that campaign's tour. Some of the best moments of my life happened then, so yeah.
Jade's a funny one though. I was at a show up north the day before the new new lineup was announced, and Jade was there! Performing her 'My Man' single as if nothing was happening. So hilarious thinking back to it. Then the next day, it was all casual like, "oh I'm actually a Sugababe now".
But she's amazing too. To be honest they just need to dump Heidi then they're sorted haha.
F: Haha, Christ Luigi!
L: Oh come on everybody's thinking it!
F: Did those best moments on the road include Keisha giving either of her band mates a good smack? Or smacking her lips, rolling her eyes, wiggling her finger in their face with her hand on her hips?
L: I don't know why eveyone hates on Keisha! Before I went on the road I was warned by a journalist about her. Made it sound like she was some Nazi SS officer. But she's so utterly sweet and lovely. I remember on the first day of the tour we bumped into each other in the corridor and she put out her hand and introduced herself and we chatted for a bit. Nothing but lovely memories of her. If anything it was Miss. Range you should be smacking. Didn't see her once on the tour, never spoke to her either. And when she did turn up it was separate from the other girls in her own car. Meowww.
F: Ouch! From what I've heard, she did seem to be a major mover in Keisha's departure from the group.
L: Yeah it was a bit awkward wasn't it. As Amelle and Heidi said they'd quit the group if their management didn't kick out Keisha. And then initally they stalled a bit and Amelle left. But then they 'saw sense' (I say that even though I don't really mean it, well I don't agree or disagree really, nothing to do with me) and reinstated her and kicked Keisha out. Then Jade was just so happening to look for new management at the time. Such good timing.
We might have had some awful replacement like that Vanessa Brown woman. My god imagine that.
F: HAHAHA. So you at least are a fan of revolving-door-babes. What is it about Mutya and Heidi that held them back?
L: Yeh I don't care. It's bloody pop music. Y U TAKE IT SO SERIOUSLY.
F: Pop music is serious business. Tell me who you stan for and I'll tell you who you are.
L: You mean during Sugababes 2.0? Yeah it was because Keisha wanted to go all sexy and international and world superstar. And they had Mutya on the team. Honestly. Can you imagine that? I'm sure she's lovely, actually I know she's wicked and kind, but really. That 'Easy' video would have had me running for my sheets. They had to grow and get Amelle.
And ha, I don't 'stan' for anyone. Way above that.
F: Haha, well of course, you're the one who gets stanned for.
L: Aww, I do have awesome fans yes that is true. Love them all so much!
F: Is it a bit creepy dealing with fans? Adult men posting how they love you on your Facebook page and things like that?
L: Err so far not really… I have normal fans? Ha. The strangest thing, and it's not even strange to be honest, is this guy who posts every few months on my Facebook or Twitter "WE SHOULD DATE". I'm flattered and everything but no, haha. So we'll see. Maybe I'll get a stalker in the next year or something.
F: Hahaha! Well, you can't fault his consistency.
L: Guess so. Reminds me of the awful time I tried to chat up Kesha.
F: CHRIST. How did that go? "Hey Quiche, you wanna freak in the morning a freak in the evening, a freak like Luigi?"
L: Ke-dollar sign-ha! Not Keisha. My god. Hahahaha.
F: Aaaah. Was there any actual sexual chemistry there? She looks a bit filthy at times. Peeing in sinks and all that.
L: Rofl she called me CUTE. And I asked [her] out to dinner, and she said she'd love to and would get back to me with her diary… Never heard back.
I did get quite upset.
F: Did you cry?
L: A tear or two. But she's such a babe. Love her I do.
F: You like em sleazy and crazy?
L: Haha she's not like that in real life! Well. She is. But she tidies up nicely too!
F: Haha. Alright, I'll take your word for it. Where did y'all meet? Was she urinating whilst you spoke? (I hear she's prone to do that..)
L: Oh dear, let's just change topic...
F: Let's. As a young man, just entering your 20s, is it harder dealing with attention from male fans than from girl fans?
L: It's a new world yeah. Attention is cute. Always flattered when the guys come up to me or ask me out or whatever, I mean, hey, who wouldn't be - someone's into you, wahey! So I don't mind at all really.
I say it like it happens all the time, haha, no like 5 times in my life total. Haha. But it's the thought that counts!
F: There's the general assumption that all guys in Pop MUST be secretly gay or bisexual, no matter how manly they might be. Why do you think that is?
L: To be honest, I don't want to go too deep into it, because I totally could as I had to do a term of gender studies (yawn) last semester. And I don't want to generalise or offend anyone. But I think it's down them, you know those actually sprouting crap like that, having to rationalise their own desires and what not. If they aren't completely secure in themselves, and so just think everyone else isn't as well.
F: You're on fire with these answers, haha. Do you categorically deny finding guys attractive at all? Not even a teensy weensy little bit?
L: Haha no. Of course I can tell a hot guy from a not hot one. Like girls can tell another hot girl from a fug one.
F: An Amelle from a Mutya, for example.
L: Indeed! Perfect example.
F: Who's your celebrity man crush then?
L: Oh are we assuming I have one then. Ermmm. I like Darren Criss. He's awesome. So talented.
F: He is! Sings like a mofo I think most people have one, nowadays. A man/boy crush or a lady/girl crush.
L: Yeh I'm sure. It's been kinda 'in' to have one the past few years.
F: I think it's just part of an overall shift in our generation's perception of things.
L: God we're getting deep here.
F: You like getting deep, you said so yourself. The deeper the better right? Hahah.
L: You're lucky you're talking to me during term term. I'm so academically turned on it's not funny.
F: Haha. I know the feeling - lectures just started. So where does a dapper boy like Luigi Masi like to shop? What's your favourite store and main fashion influences?
L: I'm so lame. I love America. And wish I went to an American high school or an international school haha. So all my stuff is like Abercrombie, Gant, love love American Eagle jeans, etc. I don't do high street stores here in the UK really. Like some of my friends looking like mannequins just escaping from Topman. Just not on really.I don't own a pair of khaki pants for the record. So I can talk.
F: Me neither. They're so...y'know, khaki.
L: Exactly. It's like urgh. What are you doing to yourself.
F: Are we talking about Mutya again? haha
L: I'm sure we could find a way to link every comment to Mutya somehow.
F: True. You mention America, somewhat nostalgically, in a male Marina and the Diamondsesque way perhaps. If you could choose, would your life take place in Glee, or on Friends?
L: Glee. I wouldn't be Darren/Blaine though. I'd rather be Sam.
F: Do you frequently burst into song during your average day?
L: Ha no. No no no. Far from it.
F: Which one's Sam?
L: The blond guy. Do you not watch it? Haha. Trouty mouth!
F: AH. Chord Overstreet?
L: Oh yeah that's his name ha. Yeah him. In the show I mean.
F: Ah yeah, he's got pipes.
L: Everyone does.
F: I mean, PIPES! You know. Like, Mariah has pipes. Britney does not. She has pipes, but not..pipes.
L: Oh. Sorry, it's like quarter past 3. Oh Mariah, what happened to her? She was meant to guest-star in Glee. Never happened.
F:: She probably had babies to birth. Look forward to her on X-Factor, if that's true. Talking of mixed raced pop stars, what are you? English, Brazilian, Italian?
L: I'm. Well. It gets confusing. So I just say I'm international. But. I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My dad's side is half Italian/Brazilain and them my mum's side is half Danish/Swedish. And then I grew up here in London from when I was like 4 years old. I've had a Danish passport all my life though.
F: Who would you fight for in a war?
L: Nobody? Haha what?!
Oh, fight FOR.
F: Haha, what did you think I meant?
L: Yeah England, Denmark and Brazil.
Who would I fight. I was like whaaaattttt.
F: You can't fight for everybody though. Haha. To close off what's been an excellent chat, who would you most like to fight in the nude? Mud can be involved if you wish.
L: Hahaha, let's just close off the chat without answering that.
F: Hahaha. "Oh dear" doesn't even begin to...yeah.
F: Just before we go - The Saturdays. You toured with them, were frenemies with them. Wanted to throw that out there now they're flopping and not really doing much. I believe you gave them some choice advice back in the day?
L: I don't really want to go into it to be honest. I was quite hurt. I really liked the girls. Especially Una and Vanessa. They were awesome. But yeah, they messed up when they released 'Work' and it's all been downhill since then. Oh well. Nothing to do with me!
F: Nothing to do with the charts either.
L: Haha. Yes quite.
F: They're all bloody gorgeous though.
L: And yes quite to that as well.
F: The friendship went sour because of "Work"? Or did you mean their career?
L: Both haha.
F: Hahah. Oh Luigi.
Finally - what can we look forward to from you in 2012. Any final words or notices for the fans?
L: Once I'm done with class, my label got me some really exciting sessions over in LA and Philly. Going to be such a jam. And then hopefully work out some release, like proper mainstream release finally for 2013. Will be releasing more surprise tracks throughout the year though. Can't keep them waiting on me forever!
F: True that!
So..Thank you for taking the time and for sharing a lil bit of your world with me. Look forward to watching your career as a singer and songwriter progress through the next year and for many more years to come.
L: Thank you for having an interest and the time! All the best x
Be sure to check out his official website LuigiMasi.com, "like" him on his official Facebook page and follow the self-styled King Masi on his official twitter @LuigiMasi for all the latest news and updates on him and his music.
In case you missed it, here's "Valentine" - Luigi's hot new track which has amassed over 50,000 plays and exploded his Twitter follower count in just under three days.