‘Jonathan Cilia Faro’ An Opera Singer with a Modern Twist
by Elise Quevedo
There is something very special about someone who has the power to give you goosebumps with their voice and music ability. And that my friends, is Jonathan Cilia Faro.
It’s nearly 6 years ago since I first came across this talented and charismatic artist whom I knew from the moment I heard him sing live, that his voice would change people’s lives. So it is an honor and pleasure to be able to interview him now and share his story.
I grew up with a classical background. My mom loved piano music, so I started playing and singing at the age of 8. As I’ve grown up, I have of course learned to appreciate different styles of music; one day I’ll be listening to Mozart or Vivaldi, the next day to Bob Marley or some dance music. But classical will always have a soft spot in my heart. No matter what I do in life, music always plays a big role and I know that is something most people can relate to.
Music is inspiration, music is therapy, it can move people. Music is a big part of our lives and sometimes we don’t even realize how much of an impact it has on us and our culture. We all have those songs that when we close our eyes and truly listen, they can make us cry or feel happy.
Music is part of us from a very early age if we think about it. Parents sing to their children when they are still in the womb, we learn the alphabet through songs and I even remember when I started learning a new language as a child, songs would play a big part of that journey too.
And how do we celebrate? With music! At a wedding, birthday celebration, a party, a baseball game, even at fashion shows.
Music brings people together in a way not many other activities can. Whether it’s a small jam session at a park, a street performer or a concert in Madison Square Garden, people come together to celebrate the way music makes them feel. And Jonathan knows one thing or two about how to make people feel with his music.
So who is this Opera Pop Singer making waves?
Jonathan Cilia Faro was born in Sicily. He began studying music at the age of 9, learning both accordion and piano. This young musician flourished under the tutelage or famous dedicated teachers and was offered his first recording contract at 16. He moved to Milan to record his first album “Always close to me” which sold over 100,000 copies.
After taking a break to serve in the military, Jonathan recorded his second album “Renaissance”. That same year he began a worldwide gospel tour, which led him to his third album “Symphony”
Jonathan likes to call himself a citizen of the world, his next 2 albums “When Inspiration Becomes Music and From The Darkness to the Light” were recorded in Canada. Once back in Italy, the Italian Pop singer was at the demand of his growing fan base and Jonathan produced “Part of Me”.
After all that hard work, he decided to cut back on performances and devote his time to writing and arranging music. This resulted in 2 more albums, “If There is Life, There is Magic” and “A Plan That I’m Going”. A tour of Canada and the US soon followed.
Last year Jonathan appeared in the pages of the official book of the history of the city of Ragusa, Sicily. He also just completed recording a CD with Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Brooks, who has produced 6 Platinum and 18 Gold Albums. Jonathan also shot a video in Italy recently with Don Most ( many know him for his role on Happy Days), who is not just an actor but also a very talented singer.
As Jonathan says “ I don’t want to base myself today on what I’ve done. I want to show people what I can do using my own experiences, I have no wish to live off memories; it’s easy to impress someone with your past, but I want to show that if there is talent, love and respect for music, then things happen. “In God I Trust” is my philosophy of life, my faith… none of the rest counts. This is the new chapter of my life, join me to find out how it will end”
Before we find out what Jonathan has in store for us today, enjoy this video biography:
Jonathan, you began studying music at the age of 9, what was it that hooked you in?
Music was my escape from real life. Music gave me a feeling of peace and purpose. I liked the challenge of learning something new, I still do.
As a child I imagined that only I could learn the songs and play the notes. I believed it was my special gift, it set me apart from the other children that I knew.
What does music mean to you?
To me music means dreams, life, everything and everyone who touch my life are a part of my music. It is communication in a higher form.
There is something about music that is magical. Music has the power to change, to make people feel, to show ones real self. It is our soul.
You were only 16 when you got your first recording, What was it like to accomplish that at such a young age?, as back then we did not have all the talent shows and resources we have now to showcase young people’s talents.
At 16, I believed that my first success was a type of payback or justification for my sad lonely childhood.
A type of revenge on those who bullied me, laughed at me and tried their hardest to dissuade me from pursuing my dream. I showed myself that I could do anything. That I was indeed talented and that music was my future. I was on the right path.
I think you are a great role model for those who may have gone through something similar. It is us, as individuals, who have the power to turn anything that has happened to us into the driving force to make a success of something we love. So thank you for sharing that.
Can you tell us the story or inspiration behind your second album “Renaissance”?
After a dark period of my life when I was angry and rebellious, I could not find peace not even in my music. This album highlighted a time of reflection and self-acceptance, a time when I started to believe once again in something (a power) bigger then myself.
I felt the need to be re-born and to share my new ideas and new musical style. This was the beginning of my first crossover album.
What do you want the world to feel when they listen to your music?
In today’s chaotic world, my goal is to show people that music can heal, it can guide you, it can inspire positivity and love. Love for yourself and love for others.
What made you move to the USA?
I was looking for artistic freedom. I was tired of compromising myself to please and provide for others. In Italy the system is very corrupt and now the next chapter of my life is here in the USA, a country that I love and will be part of my creative journey.
Last year you did a show at Union Chapel in London, UK, what was it like to put that production together?
Union Chapel reminded me of 1999 when I produced my album “Re-Birth”. For me it was yet another new beginning another new chapter in my life.
The team I assembled for this project is made of the key people who will accompany me on my new “crossover” journey. Gary Wallis, Tom Brooks, Matteo Cifelli and Ben Trigg just to name a few.
Here you can enjoy part of that amazing show at Union Chapel:
You have now partnered up with some top players in the music industry. How important is it to have the right team around you?
No person no matter their talent can be successful without the right support. The people you surround yourself with are your family, your core.
Having people around me who understand the vision I have for my next music chapter is very important. As the saying goes, “there is no I in team”. Everyone I have chosen plays an integral part in what I am doing. And when you love what you do, it’s no longer work. It is passion shining through all of us in the team for something we believe in.
Jonathan, tell us about your partnership and work with beloved Happy Days actor Donny Most. Although a lot of people know him for that show, I know he is a very talented musician as well. What was it like to do the video in Italy with him?
Growing up in Italy I (just like many others) was a huge fan of Happy Days. When the opportunity arose to meet Donny and to get to know him and work with him, I made a childhood dream come true.
The Happy Days family was to me at that time in my life, my ideal “American” family. Shooting the video in Rome with Donny was a very special experience.
And the huge positive feedback we got from the Italian media was truly unexpected.
For those Italian readers out there here are a few Italian press links for you to enjoy: https://www.jonathancf.com/press
One of your producers is Grammy Award winner Tom Brooks, what made you choose him?
I was only 16 years old the first time I met Tom Brooks, 20 years later I re-connected with Tom when I came to the US. Our shared love of music and shared spirituality made him the natural choice to be one of my producers.
What would you say have been some of your most memorable moments in your career so far?
I cannot pin point any specific moments. Everything I have done in my career has been a stepping-stone to something else, sometimes something totally unexpected.
All the people I have met and experiences (both good and bad) have shaped me into the artist I am today. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to travel and see so much of our great world, to experience other cultures and to meet people from all walks of life.
You have a very accomplished career already, with albums & global tours. Apart from more albums & tours, do you have any dreams musically wise that you would like to accomplish?
One of my dreams is to produce a modern opera about the life of the great Mr. Mario Lanza, who was a pioneer of the Italian American genre of modern opera. I share his view that opera is for everyone.
That’s pretty amazing Jonathan, can’t wait to see that dream become a reality! Now how do you think technology and social media have affected the music industry in general? Do you see it as a positive tool in the industry?
In my opinion technology and social media in the hands of the wrong people becomes a weapon. It can be a double-edged sword. If used for its intended purpose technology can be a helpful tool however it can also remove human contact from our daily lives and that to me is a very negative thing.
Often people base their views and choices on what they think the social media society wants or accepts and that to me is fundamentally wrong. Likes, views, clicks, tweets, etc cannot and should not replace real human interaction.
From an artist point of view, I think social media can be a great help for those who may not have the resources, as if you have talent and people like your music they will share it with their friends, and their friends with theirs across the platforms. It is a way of reaching new audiences around the world in a faster way. I am always grateful for those who share my music
I hear there is a new album coming out soon, what can we expect from it?
My new album is a true crossover album with original songs for a new generation.
Here is a small preview of one of his new singles Passione
So what is next for Jonathan?
Planning a new tour and promoting my new album. It’s going to be an exciting year and there are some projects I’ll be sharing with everyone very soon. Best way to keep updated is through my social media channels or subscribing to my latest updates on my site.
Also getting to know my new city and of course continuing the hunt for a great cappuccino.
And to finish off we have a few questions I like to ask everyone to get to know you a little bit more.
What or who inspires you in life?
The life of many immigrant artist’s faith against the odd of this world to create the most incredible art in the world, DaVinci, Leonardo, Raffaello Giotto, Salieri, Monteverdi, then Puccini e Verdi etc…. my life is inspired by the past when no talent show was involved!
What does Jonathan enjoy doing on his spare time?
I love to work on my garden. I grow my own vegetables to make recipes in my beautiful kitchen, as you know I won an Italian cooking TV competition.
For those who speak Italian here is an old video clip from Jonathan in the cooking show
With all the experience and wisdom you have gathered so far in life, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Nothing come easy or for free, our dreams have a price, some time the price we have to pay is very expensive, but don’t take the short cut, usually the quick path is going to destroy your life for ever. Hard work always pays off.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
15 years ago before becoming a professional full time singer, I did any kind of work to pay my tuition, I worked at a bakery, as a truck driver, a waiter, I did the impossible to make my dream possible… people are always surprised when I tell them I was a bad ass of an Italian Military soldier!… unusual for an Opera Singer 😉
What country would you like to visit you have not been to as yet?
I am very fortunate that I have covered all the globe… but I would love to die in New Zealand.
And finally, what is the one item you cannot live without?
I cannot live without a Switzerland multi purpose knife.
Thank you very much Jonathan! I cannot wait for the live tour dates and the new album!
There you have it, an insight into the world of Opera Pop singer Jonathan Cilia Faro. If you have never heard him sing live I recommend you keep an eye on his next tour dates and book a ticket for an unforgettable experience!
Visit his new site www.jonathanciliafaro.com or follow him on his social channels:
Live, laugh, be bold, take risks & be super mega awesome
Elise Quevedo, aka The Digital Ghost Queen