Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.

Category: Exclusive Interviews, positive celebrity 3

Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.


Mario Spinetti is a soloist musician and vocalist based out of New York City. He has traveled, lived a minimalist life and served others through the sound of his voice and actions. We had the opportunity to talk with him about his music, passions, and adventures. We started by learning a little about his upbringing:

“I was born in New York, raised sort of all over Europe … and I came back to New York when I was a teenager to study music here.”

Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.
Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.

The craft of soloist music and the American tradition of creating a sound out of one’s own efforts to speak to the hearts of people has been a big focus while performing in front of his audiences. When Mario Spinetti sings, it’s all about making people feel more connected, less different and less alone.

Spinetti’s sound is so different from what you might be expecting. He takes songs that we know and love and transforms them into something entirely different. He takes the same approach with every video, ensuring that he changes what we thought we knew into a deeper song, one that draws you in and keeps your interest piqued.

“For me … it’s important that the sound that I create with my voice — the sound itself — speaks to my humanity … and to the humanity that I perceive in the world.”

Spinetti went into more detail about his favorite musicians and why “beauty is complex.”

One of my favorite musicians was John Coltrane — he was a jazz musician — and he used to say … and I’m going to paraphrase it slightly, but he used to say that ‘It’s the musician’s responsibility — or the artist’s responsibility — to share the beauty that they perceive in the world, through the sound of their instrument.’ … And I think that beauty is complex, and beauty for me involves making people feel more comfortable with their existence … so, it often means presenting contradictions in the sound of my voice, and saying ‘Yeah, you think these two things are different, but they can coexist.’ … So, a lot of people will hear me and think ‘Is that a woman or a man?’ And I will say, ‘Yes!’ … A lot of people will say ‘Is that happy or is that sad?’ And I’ll say, ‘Yes!’ … ‘Are you black or are you white?’ (… Some people when they hear my singing, aren’t sure if they don’t see my image …) And I’ll say, ‘Yes!’ … because spiritually I was raised in large part on what would be traditionally called ‘white music’ … European tradition … but also largely with jazz music and with soul music, so that’s very much more … African-American tradition … So I feel equal parts both, and I try to express both, and I think if you live in America, you have such a cross-section of cultures and identities that it’s important to represent many things and to say, ‘Yes, these things can coexist … and they can be accepted as such.’ … It doesn’t have to be black and white … and that’s why I love the blues. I love the blues … the blues is essentially — I think — America’s great gift to the world … It’s one of its great gifts … technically it’s Afro-America’s great gift to the world … because it’s a whole system of complex emotions, that is neither happy nor sad, but both at the same time. And I think that’s great because I don’t know anybody that’s just 100% happy all the time, and I don’t know anybody that’s 100% sad all the time — no matter how close you are to the end … there’s that little bit of hope as long as you’re alive … And the blues, to me, is one of those great devices that speaks to that. So I try to incorporate those things and I try to present them in the sound of my singing, so they all exist as much as possible, at once, in the form of almost like a “pill” that you can take and say … ‘Yes, all these differences exist within me too.’ And you don’t have to feel so bad about it.
Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.

Isn’t that inspirational? The world is full of differences, but by expressing and appreciating those differences, we can all come closer together and make the world a more peaceful, beautiful place. Blues music one great example of using talents to express many emotions and help bring the world a little closer together.


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We talked a little about his Instagram videos, and how he uses the complexity of sound (his voice) to address human complexity. We also talked about the different emotions he incorporates into his music and how he makes it connect to people.

“I do try to present … a complexity with the sound, and to address human complexity with the sound of all those pieces … so … some of them will deal with sexuality as well … I’m of the firm belief that you can present something sensual and sexual and it can also feel spiritual and almost religious. So a lot of folks will listen to the music and say, ‘Oh, there’s almost a spiritual “church” or “angelic” quality to it, but at the same time it’s very “human” and “bodied”.’ I guess you could say …there’s a lot of sensuality and sexuality in some of those pieces as well. And again, to that I always say, ‘Yes!’ Because those two things personally exist with me to a large extent, and I know that it’s a massive issue for people who are spiritual thinkers, or religious people who also have to grapple with their sexuality … and they think it’s either/or… and … it can’t be both, but … what I try to do with my sound is to say ‘No, it can be both … there is divinity in sexuality, and there is probably sexuality in divinity … and I try to present that as well.”

One of our favorite pieces was called “Flowers.” Mario Spinetti shared some background about the video and how it came to be.

“So … I’m always contemplating ways to bring people together, like I said, and the heritage of music of bringing people together is deep. And I explored folk

Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.
Mario Spinetti and

music at the time that I made that, and I found that old Pete Seeger song — it’s called ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’ — … It’s a brief piece. It was designed, essentially, for Instagram, because it’s 59 seconds long. And I also do like that challenge … you know how The Beatles and early pop bands had to sort of conform to the 3-minute or the 2-minute barrier that they had on radio? I kind of enjoy limitations like that, you know? It’s a creative task. So I said, ‘Okay. I have 59 seconds. I’ll do a verse and a chorus of this classic song that was designed to be a political rally anthem, to bring people together.” … And then I brought the idea to this beautiful dancer — Alyssa Marie Chang — and we walked around and we talked … and I said ‘Well, what represents peace and togetherness for you?’ And she immediately said, ‘Flowers! We have to incorporate flowers.’ … And so we created that work together … we went into that room and I sang a few verses on a loop … I recall doing maybe 8 or 9 consecutive takes, and we just took the middle one … like the fourth take, and said ‘That one was very truthful.’ That was the objective with that … and … for me, it’s always that … ‘What is a piece of music that can bring people together and make people feel less alone?’ And I guess that more recently I’d say that it’s evolved into the sound of my singing more than the actual song itself. That song itself speaks to the issue, but in the videos that would come after it — the more piano / vocal presented videos — it’s more about … ‘the pill’ that exists in the sound itself: the medicine of the sound, rather than the medicine of the lyric. … I’ve sort of navigated towards the sound, rather than lyric, more in recent months, because that’s a long biographical precedent for me … I grew up, with opera singers — my parents were both opera singers — and my great uncle, who was …my other mentor essentially … he was a jazz clarinetist and saxophonist … the reason I’m more tied into the sound rather than the lyric is because I actually didn’t ever understand the lyrics that my parents were saying, because they were singing in romance languages that I didn’t speak … So, I was always listening to the sound of their voice. ‘What does this sound like? ‘What is the feeling the sound is conveying?’ And then my uncle, he never had lyrics — he was an instrumentalist — so I always had to listen to the sound of what he was presenting, and think, ‘What is the meaning of this sound?’ And then I found it was useful because most people in the world don’t speak English … In the greater world, beyond our country. So, to create a sound, rather than a lyric, was always really important for me. And, of course, you can marry the two, but I think sound took the precedent. And it’s funny you should mention the “Flowers” video, because I believe it happened just very shortly after that, that I started really navigating more toward the sound, the sound.”



The video was powerful and we just wanted to see more.

“Yeah gosh, that video? Both my mom and I loved it. ‘Ohh no we want more,’ I like that limitation too cause you deliver a message in a short amount of time… that’s really like, powerful. You have comments on here, just people can’t get enough.”

Mario shared his thoughts on why short, limited videos are such a powerful concept, and why longer isn’t always better.Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.

“I think that in this day and age there’s such a preponderance and overwhelming amount of information presented to people that time is really of the essence, and brevity is very much of value now. I even like the challenge of Instagram stories… to put something of meaning into a 14.9 second clip essentially, it’s very hard! It’s like … one held note, sometimes … [or] a very short phrase of music, but I like the challenge because I know that people are very taxed as far as what they’re able to see, because they’re just overloaded.”

“And then, of course, in live shows. I do very extended versions of things because, you know, you have a captive audience, so you can really develop ideas.”

We asked if Mario had a favorite rendition and he shared a little about his motivation for becoming a musician and looked back on his numerous recordings.

“You know, it’s funny because I didn’t sing publicly for a really long time. I was a vocal developer for artists — I taught, primarily. And then two years ago, I said I wanted to sing again, and I needed to sing again because I understood at last what I was about as a person. And, of course, that’s developing always, but I really had a firm grasp of: ‘I want to offer a service to people with my sound — with my voice.’ And I said, ‘I’m going to start recording.’ And … since then, I think I’ve recorded almost 100 records … so I’m going to try to think back on the ones that resonate the most with me.”

Mario shared some of the songs he’s loved the most. He took us through a few that have been particularly meaningful to him.

“I know that doing Duke Ellington’s ‘Solitude’ was really special for me, because Duke Ellington is one of the most important figures in American Music … So to take on his work, and what I find to be one of his masterpieces, was an honor, and I like the way it turned out. I also liked taking on ‘Strange Fruit’ — the Billie Holiday classic, which I have [had] a lot of conversations about after the fact … That is a very African-American song. It’s not often touched by anybody who is not black, because it speaks so directly to a black issue, which was lynching.”

Due to the history of these songs, it might be considered a daring move for Mario to take them on, but he knew he could do them justice and deliver a powerful message.

“… [Yet], for a white male to take on that song, I didn’t think twice, because Billie Holiday was a spiritual hero of mine. Beyond color, beyond sexual identity she was just a spiritual hero of mine. So, I said ‘I’m going to take on this song.’ And so I sang it, and I didn’t think twice. And I just put it out there. And nobody gave me any grief about it. … And everybody that talked to me about it was shocked … ‘I can’t believe that people aren’t upset about it’, but it just kind of works, it’s just kind of natural. So, that I was really happy with … because I find that that’s one of the most important songs in the history of American music, and it’s almost always been exclusively for African-American artists and interpreters … So for me to take it on, and … to be accepted taking it on, was important and special for me.”

Mario breaks “normal” boundaries through his work, but isn’t that what art is about?! He adds a lot of emotion to his songs and makes it look easy. He has no fear of showing his identity through the music he creates.

“Those are the ones that jump out. They were early, but then a lot of the recent ones are really important to me because they speak to the fun of realizing a personal sound, like I spoke [about] earlier. In the last, I would say, 10 to 15 Instagram videos, I took pretty well-known songs … like ‘Kiss from Rose,’ by Seal … like ‘Angel,’ by Sarah McLachlan … “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 … Those are really special because they’re so well-known for what they are. And what I had the most fun with was taking them and filtering them through my identity in a very brazen and clear way … I held no punches and I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to take this thing that was in the major scale, which is essentially a diatonic European scale, and I’m going to now completely transform it through the blues scale.’ So, what it sounded like before … when it processes through me … it comes out the other side not sounding anything like what it did, but it’s still the song that you know … and that’s my favorite thing, as an interpreter of music. Because people have an expectation of the material, and then you process it through your identity. And then, on the other side it turns out to be so different that by people hearing the new version, they suddenly have a really clear sense of who you are, and what you represent, by virtue of the difference between the two.”

Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.Incredible!

Considering his amazing talents, we were a bit curious if Mario had considered trying out on a show like America’s Got Talent. Especially considering the wide variety of performers that try out on the show. His answer somewhat surprised us.

“Actually, everything we’ve been talking about is what I would consider metaphysics. It’s the sound, you know, the thing that I talked about with the sound, where certain sounds have certain meanings. And they extend beyond the physical … I can sing something and it can reach somebody in a spiritual way, in an emotional way. And it’s my responsibility to really understand the meaning of the sounds that I create, based on a history of the sounds that people have made, and the sounds that people have received. So, as a singer and interpreter, I find it’s important that I’m also a historian of sound. I have to understand the traditions that I’m embarking upon. And to be careful with the sounds that I choose, because they will have emotional effect on people who listen. And to be careful … and to be thoughtful and considerate, and that’s what I consider the metaphysical process of being a singer, being an interpreter: … taking something that was a major sound — a happy sound — … and making it a blues … All of a sudden, what was just plain old happy and pure-sounding has a complexity to it that it didn’t have before. Just that small change makes an emotional difference. And that’s kind of what I mean.”

Very true. Art is a growing process, regardless of what type of are you create. It becomes particularly important to “know your truth” before you put it out for the world to see, because the “truth” you put out sets expectations that will have a lasting impact on your future, and the impact of those you influence by sharing your talents. Not that talent shows are bad, but it’s important not to rush into television, but rather to take the time needed to prepare first.

“The shows themselves are fabulous. It’s just… don’t rush into those shows. I do think they are great, and I have always considered them, and I guess that’s my feeling about them. I do have very positive feelings about those shows.”

Remembering who you are from day one is likely to help you progress positively from any reality show, even if you don’t win. At least you go into the show knowing who you are and what you want to represent with the added experience.Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.

Mario Spinetti has such an understanding of who he is as a soloist, and how he uses his voice. It would be such a thrill to see him in competition. We think he would do a phenomenal job. We told him so.

“Thank you I appreciate that.”

Throughout the interview, Spinetti taught us a lot about the “metaphysics” of sound. Intrigued and wanting to know more, we asked him what that means to him.

“Actually, everything we’ve been talking about is what I would consider metaphysics. It’s the sound, you know, the thing that I talked about with the sound, where certain sounds have certain meanings. And they extend beyond the physical. I can sing and it can reach somebody in a spiritual way, in an emotional way. It’s my responsibility to really understand the meaning of the sounds that I create, based on a history of the sounds that people have made, and the sounds that people have received. So, as a singer and interpreter, I find it’s important that I’m also a historian of sound. I have to understand the traditions that I’m building upon. And I have to be careful with those sounds that I choose because they will have an emotional effect on the people who will listen. I have to be careful and thoughtful and considerate. That’s what I consider the metaphysical process of being a singer, being an interpreter. Taking something that was a major sound, a happy sound and making it a blues sound. All of a sudden, what was plain old happy and pure sounding now has a complexity to it that it didn’t have before. Just that small change makes an emotional difference. And that’s what I mean.”

Again, there’s just so much beauty to his art. And it has such a unique effect on each different listener. Mario has a beautiful and well-controlled vocal range. We inquired about how high he can comfortably go.

“I’ve never measured my range. I don’t think about it. Believe it or not, and I know that sounds crazy, because I think everybody sort of monitors those things, but I think I wake up every day feeling a little different, and the range is a little different, and I keep really well-conditioned, as best as I can — I practice every single day for several hours — but I still acknowledge that the body is an organic instrument and it changes. So, to measure it one day to the next, it’s sort of immaterial to me. It’s more about ‘What am I saying with this range?’ … We mentioned Billie Holiday earlier. She was known for having a very short vocal range. But … every year she was voted [by] Downbeat magazine — which was sort of like the big magazine [at the time] — she was voted the greatest vocalist in America, every year, except for one year where Ella Fitzgerald beat her … a little competition from Ella …”

We talked a little about the differences between both singers’ voices.

Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.“… It’s funny, because they’re very different singers. Ella is more of a gigantic range. She can do everything. She sings so beautifully in tune, and it’s like the most beautiful instrument you ever heard. And Billie Holiday is frail and limited range. And it’s sometimes not in tune … but it’s always swinging and it’s always real.”

Spinetti’s vocal range comes from a combination of both his mother and father, as well as his instincts.

“So, the question about range is less important to me than what I am saying with it. For me personally, the high notes that you hear, that goes back to just a weird phenomenon with me. My mom is a spinto soprano and my dad is a dramatic tenor. It’s a very high male voice. I am essentially an alto. I’m right in between the two. So, you could call it a genetic cross of the two, but really, when I realized at age 14 or 15 that that was a strong part of my voice, I had this instinct to hold it up. I learned this from two separate people later in life. One of my favorite educators of Jazz music, and music in general and life in general, is a man named Winton Marsalas. He’s a genius of music and beautiful educator. I heard him once say ‘Hold up that thing that makes you, you… at all costs… hold it up.’ I think I understood that when I was young… that this part of my voice was me. It was just a strong and easy part for me to sing from. Another person that I admired growing up was an art director named Diana Reland, who was the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine for many years. And she was known for taking models and musicians who had strange features… long necks, big noses, big lips… and focusing on them. She was the only art director that did that. Everybody else was hiding things. ‘Oh this person’s neck is long, hide it. This person’s nose is big, don’t show them in profile.’ She was the one that said ‘No, let’s take Barbra Streisand and let’s put her straight in profile and let’s present her like Queen Nefertiti.’ She made Barbra, in part, an icon because Barbra was going to be an icon anyways. She helped because she presented her with her truth in a very unabashed way. She did that with Mick Jagger and Cher. And she did that in general with all the models she ever worked with. And I thought that was great. That always inspired me to just say ‘Hey, you know it’s important to who you are and idiosyncrasies of who you are.’ Regardless of idiosyncrasies… their large nose or their long neck… they understand that yes, they can still be beautiful, even though they may not fit in with society’s standard of normative.

Spinetti loves bringing out the best of imperfection. But we think his voice sounds pretty dang perfect as it is.

“This part of my voice, it always was there, and I said ‘Okay then, I’m going to embrace this, even though it’s not normal … doesn’t matter to me.’”

We think it’s beautiful. High or low, his voice sounds great.

Mario Spinetti just did his first full-length show. He explained the process and the amazing talent that showed up to the show in New York.

“I just did my very first full-length show in New York. It was on [July] 12th [2018] … It went really well. It was basically what you see on [my] Instagram … it had such an incredible array of talent … There were … probably a dozen featured artists. From company dancers — one dancer flew in from Nederlands Dans Theater to perform. One flew in from the West Coast. She was a former ballerina from San Francisco Ballet. We had a beautiful dancer from Juilliard. We had a beautiful dancer from Pace Commercial Dance, which is another amazing dance program in the city. And we had some independent artists featured — [to musicians] — we had two soloists from the Traditional Chinese Music Ensemble here in New York … all that stuff that you see on the page, where I try to present artists and to collaborate with artists, it was there, and it was live, and it turned out just as I had expected. It was really great. I was so happy with it … and the venue loved it … so they are talking about the next date that I’ll be there, and I’ve been talking about it on my stories on Instagram, but it’s going to be in early September. I’ll do another one of those shows [on September 13th].”

Everything about the show was artistic, including where it was performed.

“It’s a small room. It’s an art gallery and that was part of what I wanted to do — it was to make it an intimate affair, but we sold out! I don’t remember what the exact number was, but we were at full capacity. So I was grateful for that.”

When it comes to charity, Mario Spinetti goes above and beyond.

“I don’t have a [favorite] charity, but I do believe in charitable efforts. For many years, I essentially was a practicing Jain, which is … an old Eastern religion — it’s considered by many to be the oldest world religion. And what it champions is just sort of a real charitable mindset, that acknowledges the interconnection of people and beings. So when I was practicing that fully, I couldn’t eat until I had fed somebody, I couldn’t drink until I had given somebody water. It was very extreme. I gave [away] a lot of my possessions. I had just two changes of clothes that I’d wash by hand. I really went in, and it was some of the most rewarding moments of my life, without question. So as far as charities go, I think my favorite experience with it, having donated to charities and having just gone about charitable acts on my own, is the latter. I think going out on the street, finding somebody that is hungry, and giving to them, or making a friend, making them feel, like I’ve said throughout this conversation … like they’re not different, is the best thing I ever did … I had this change of clothes, not to be too graphic, but people who live on the street, they live in dirt a lot — it’s not a clean existence — but I didn’t want to be separate from them, so I would wear a change of clothes that was very washable, and I would go out and I would feed them and I would talk with them. And a lot of times they just wanted a hug …they just wanted to be hugged, so I just [said], ‘Okay, I’m going to give you a hug.’ You know? ‘I have clothes that I can wash, I’m going to be close to you, I’m going to be in this.’ … Just thinking about it makes me want to cry, because it was some of the best stuff, and I was dirt broke at the time, and I had nothing and I was alone. And it was still some of the best times of life. And so I think that that speaks a lot to the power of giving. And to the joy that the giver receives.”

We think that’s amazing. Living a minimalist life can have a profound impact on a person. Giving up the luxuries we’re used to, and learning to be grateful for all the little things, can really change your perspective. It can help give you opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those who are at their lowest. It can also create a lot more love, care, and respect within you.

“So I believe in the importance of seeking … really trying to find, ‘What is that gift that I have?’ Because giving is very important, to me at least. And so I was giving my time and my effort and my body, essentially. I was cooking and feeding people and going out, but it wasn’t my gift. It was a gift, but my gift, I realized, was that I have to be singing.”

Beautifully said!

“So I believe in the importance of seeking … really trying to find, ‘What is that gift that I have?’ Because giving is very important, to me at least. And so I was giving my time and my effort and my body, essentially. I was cooking and feeding people and going out, but it wasn’t my gift. It was a gift, but my gift, I realized, was that I have to be singing.”

Spinetti changed his whole life, gave up nearly everything, spent his time learning, becoming a man who is filled with love, compassion and a gift that he now shares with the world. Through his life journey, he has developed so much as a person.

“… I think it’s [in the] Old Testament where God goes to Moses and Moses is wondering what he can do, essentially confronted by God … ‘How can I serve you? … great God.’ And God says,‘Just look at what’s in your hand.’ … And Moses figured out that it was his staff that God was talking about, and realized, ‘Oh, it’s my role in life to shepherd the people … and to shepherd [the] people to safety and to do God’s will through [my] gift.’”

Amen to that! We all have a gift. We must seek, find and utilize it to bless the lives of other people.

“I think the process of figuring one’s gift out, and then pursuing that gift is [important, and] has been important to me. So that’s what I would qualify as my favorite form of charity.”

Many people set out to try making the world a better place, whether through political, philosophical, or other means. Those things can all have an impact. Mario shared some powerful insights on his views of what can be done to better the world.

Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Mario Spinetti shares what makes his music so incredible.
Mario Spinetti!

“My advice, generally … to make the world a better place, is to realize that the world is interconnected in ways that we don’t even understand… in ways that are yet revealing themselves. And so the way that we treat each other is the way that we treat ourselves, literally … Einstein is one of my favorite people, and he believed that separateness was what he called a “delusion”. He said it’s a delusion of our consciousness that people are separate. We really aren’t. He really believed that. He said this is all an illusion … We’re talking on this phone right now, you and I… we’re actually connected by threads that we can’t understand, we can’t perceive, they’re beyond our senses. And I believe that is true. 100%. I do. And so I think if people acted accordingly, the whole world would be different.”

Mario Spinetti asked an honest question. One that really shows the whole reason why the world would be different with those changes.

“Why would we ever hurt somebody that we knew was connected to us? You know? If I knew that I was connected to my ‘enemy,’ wouldn’t I want them to feel better? Your emotions are my emotions, your body is my body.”

We shouldn’t be looking at the color of someone’s skin, or their religion, and trying to find differences to justify separating ourselves. We should be looking at our connections, what we share in common with other people.

“So that’s the advice that I would give. I would say to people: ‘Look for the connections, rather than the differences.’ … And if you’re going to look at the differences, celebrate the differences, as though we’re all connected … We’re a connected being that has manifested differently because of where we grew up [and] … how we were treated, but we are still connected to each other, so … please act accordingly … that would be my advice.”

We truly wish to see more people like Mario in the world. We can all do our part to make the world a better, more united place.

“It’s a challenge — when the whole world is telling you that you’re separate — it’s a challenge to remember that you’re connected.”

But we can. We can seek connection, understanding, and commonality.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Mario Spinetti. He just released a new song called “Beautiful Boy,” check it out below! And Be sure to check out his Instagram and YouTube if you want to hear more!

What did you guys think of Mario Spinetti? Pretty talented, huh?  Sound off in the comments below.

Blessed be.



Mario Spinetti – A Star Is Born “Shallow” (cover w lyrics)


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