At times, Gaudi’s traveling must leave him wondering what continent he’s on. Enjoying a successful 30+ year career, this sought-after producer, composer, singer-songwriter and performer has 13 original albums and hundreds of productions and remixes to his credit. Gaudi has performed across the globe including the Pyramids in Egypt and Rome’s Coliseum, and I met with this fascinating artist at the FloydFest, in Floyd, Virginia in July of 2013. Travel was our topic, and he shared how valuable travel had been for him.
“The best and most direct way to learn things and gain experience doesn’t come from studying books, but from traveling”.
Gaudi looks serious, possibly even a bit intimidating, but he is actually an animated storyteller with a warm sense of humor. He was joined onstage and at our interview by frequent guest vocalist Danny Ladwa. The pair had delighted audiences the night before with a winning blend of reggae-inspired electronica-world dance jam. Ladwa described how even as heavy rain increased, the crowd thickened throughout the set and both men agreed they had “crushed it”. Whatever you call this type of music, it calls people to the dance floor, making Gaudi no stranger to the mushrooming music festival circuit. In the US, he enjoys a strong West Coast presence, and internationally he’s played some of the best festivals including the UK’s Glastonbury, Italy’s Reggae Sunsplash, Portugal’s Boom Festival, Canada’s Shambala, Brasil’s Universo Paralello and Skol, and the Vancouver Jazz Festival. This artist has worked with, and played for a staggering amount of people.
“I love music, I love to explore every corner of music” Gaudi said.
This natural curiosity has lead him through an evolving career emphasizing music composition, production and performance. Emerging in the 80’s playing keyboards in various bands in his native Italy, Gaudi was a pillar in the reggae scene. He wrote and produced the first ragamuffin album in the Italian language, starting a career that quickly earned him Best New Artist of the year (1991 in Italy). Gaudi went on to tour with some of Reggae’s greatest including the Wailers, Maxi Priest, Yellowman, Sister Carol, Ziggy Marley and Jimmy Cliff while building a strong reputation in production. In the 90’s he moved to London, where he still lives and started playing an early electronic instrument called the Theremin, which remains central in his live performances. I asked if there was anything musical he cannot do, and he laughed and pointed out that while he admits he is accomplished in all things music, the world is full of millions of other skills.
Gaudi had recently celebrated his 50th birthday and said he could not feel better. He attributes this to having learned how to direct his energy on what matters. He no longer spreads himself too thin, and these days travel is more mindfully scheduled to allow ample home time. Gaudi’s face lit up when he described the joy of becoming a parent to daughter Eloise, nearly six. He shared how funny it is to see his own headstrong tendencies in her and how as a child, he wanted to do the opposite his father suggested. Because of this, Gaudi has purposely not pushed music towards his daughter, preferring to wait until she is naturally curious. “Spending time with my daughter is what makes me feel most alive” he said.
Gaudi himself does not come from a musical or even artistic family. I asked him about his formative years and he described being “quite bored” as he learned classically based piano, including having his teacher balance cups on his hands while he played! He feels a classical foundation was difficult but ideal for learning to read, write and compose music, and once he mastered the basics he was free to unleash his natural punk preference. From there, Gaudi music has expanded and continues to evolve, always with a strong appreciation for reggae. One of Gaudi’s career highlights is a 2003 remix featuring Bob Marley’s vocals from Soul Shake Down Party. Another remix with posthumous vocals is possibly Gaudi’s biggest commercial success. “Dub Qawwali” with renouned Pakistani Musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s earned Gaudi a nomination for the BBC’s World Music Awards in 2008, and reached no.2 in iTunes US Chart, no.4 in the UK and was the no.1 in Amazon.com’s Electronic Music offerings.
In addition to touring and studio work, these days you might find him working as a vocal coach and composer for television shows including The X Factor and The Voice, where several of Gaudi’s teams have gone on to win. Follow Gaudi on Facebook to see where in the world he is- you just might be lucky enough to catch him!
Note: This interview took place in July 2013. He’s still traveling the globe and 2014 tour stops include the UK, Japan, Turkey, Hungary, Isreal, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia and more!