This week’s Mic Drop features Livia Gazzolo, a sophomore English major and jazz studies minor. Gazzolo does not step down when things get tough. When her school’s small choir died out, she didn’t throw in the towel. Rather than giving up on singing, she did some research, presented it to her school’s administration and gave them an ultimatum: bring in someone to teach her or she would find a different school to continue her music studies. The school listened and Gazzolo pursued her love for singing.
Michaela Daly: What is your mode of musical expression? How did you get into music?
Livia Gazzolo: I did take guitar for four years and right now I’m taking jazz piano and vocal jazz. I always liked singing, I would always make up songs when I was at home, when my mom wasn’t there. My parents tried to get me into various instruments. I learned small things on the violin and such and then I got into guitar, but I haven’t played in a while. I play classical guitar. In high school, I joined the choir, but there wasn’t much of a music program. So the choir consisted of four people. We met in one of my teacher’s houses and we sang and did little Christmas concerts. But then, it kind of died out. My voice instructor for that wanted me to meet her mom, who was also a voice teacher, so that was kind of my first introduction to the possibility of taking voice. I always felt kind of out of place because I didn’t feel like I could sing with everybody else, so when she asked me to sing by myself I felt more free and comfortable.
MD: So do you prefer to sing by yourself as opposed to in a group?
LG: It depends, but yes. I enjoy the ensemble that I’m in now, but I enjoy performing by myself.
MD: Do you have any favorite genres or pieces of music that you like to perform most?
LG: Well, I perform at my dad’s restaurant in Michigan and I have an accompanist whose mother wrote the song “The Way you Look Tonight.” He’s from New York and his name is David Long and his mom is Dorothy Fields, I believe. She wrote that and a few other classic jazz standards. I’ve been playing with him for a long time and we usually do “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Summertime.”
MD: Who inspires you and your music?
LG: Ella Fitzgerald is one of my big inspirations. I’ve learned a lot from her and a lot of different singers. I like Chet Baker, Miles Davis… there’s so many. But Ella is definitely up there.
MD: How often do you practice?
LG: I do try to do it everyday, but in different ways, I guess. I don’t always make it to practice at a piano, but I’ll try and go through my songs and perfect them as I’m doing the dishes and things like that. I’ve had some creepy experiences in Pfeiffer, but I usually practice there.
MD: What is your focus right now? Do you have an ongoing projects?
LG: Well I’m actually looking at a few articles that I’ve written and I’m going to try reading them with piano accompaniment and then taking sections and doing jazz improvisation. I’m integrating my writing and music. I love writing and just reflecting, meditating in a way, and then being able to get a point across that can be applicable to anybody. I really enjoy doing that. I have a few different song ideas I’ve come up with, too. I’ll be in my room and come up with something and then apply it to chords, so I have a few things in the works, but that is my bigger project I’m looking into.
MD: I hate this question, but do you have any idea of what you’d like to do after college?
LG: Well I would really like to travel more. I have kind of an abstract idea of where I want to be. I’d like to travel, maybe do journalism and find whatever work I can. Find places I can perform, live simply for a while. Just kind of embracing different cultures’ music as much as I can. I’d like to write.
Don’t forget to tune in this Thursday at 8 p.m. on the Chronicle/NCClinked.