Carmen played many instruments as a child never being formally trained. His mother gave him a drum set for his 14th birthday and he was on his way to stage performances. After losing his father when he was ten, the passing of his mother when he was 19 really hit him hard and influenced the rest of his life. Remembering his mother's influence to do so, he began writing music at the piano and has not stopped since. He continues to learn multiple instruments and shares the stage on piano and guitar as he fronts his band singing his original music. Currently, Carmen has a 6 piece band including guitars, drums, keys and piano, horns and a multitude of hand instruments that come alive on stage. You may find him working solo or as a duo or trio for some shows where you can hear the unplugged version of his music on an intimate level. Only recently did Carmen begin studio recording after finding a veteran producer, Arty Skye in New York City who he is working with to complete his debut album for release in early 2013.
Carmen Magro - Lead Vocals/Piano/Guitar
Chuck Scarpello - Bass Guitar
Mark Burkert - Guitar
Dave Murphy - Drums
Steve Sauer - Keys/Synth/Vocals
Brian Fitzgerald - Violin / Vocals
Carmen's debut single 'America' was featured in a video produced and directed by Anthony Werhun with 23rd Letter films just released and now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zc-yrt8S7o. His 'America' video just won the Accolade Award of Merit, a prestigious award in the film industry.
Several of his singles are now being aired on internet radio stations in the US and England as his fans reach from the US to the Philippines to Canada and Europe. Carmen distributes his music under his own label "Carmen Rose Records" named after his father and mother who he thanks for leaving him with a humble nature he never ignores or takes for granted.
His single 'I Am Hope', just released was inspired by the amazing story of hope experienced by Olivia Scheinman and her amazing twin sister Hailey and their parents. Carmen hopes the proceeds from its sales can help the Scheinman's organization Livy's Hope (livyshope.com). Go to http://getconquer.com/carmenmagro to purchase his single.
Talk Philly: Carmen Magro Discusses His Inspirational Music
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Carmen Magro appeared live on a local CBS TV show called Talk Philly, based in Philadelphia PA. He w...Carmen Magro appeared live on a local CBS TV show called Talk Philly, based in Philadelphia PA. He was interviewed by Ukee Washington and shared his inspirations for his music. He performed live with friend musicians Brian Fitzgerald and Chuck Scarpello as they dedicated his song 'Miracle in Me' to Gabrielle Giffords remembering her incident nearly a year ago.
Come Alive with Carmen Magro
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Carmen Magro plays inspirational music. Much of this music translates from his inspirational story. ...Carmen Magro plays inspirational music. Much of this music translates from his inspirational story. He has an enthusiasm for life and a remarkable ability to turn life’s tragedies into something positive. This is what you’ll find when you listen to his debut EP Come Alive. It contains five songs filled with Carmen’s contagious, positive energy telling stories of the past and lessons learned while looking forward to the future.
The opening, title track “Come Alive” showcases Magro’s emotive vocal ability as it sets the theme for this collection. The song begins abruptly with a strong guitar riff but then settles into a sweet piano ballad encouraging the listener to hope, dream and look towards the future. ”I’ve been thinking of things I have not seen And they’re so beautiful…”
“Take Me Back” is an upbeat rocker that reminisces the joys of youth and being surrounded by the familiar friends and places of your childhood. It is specifically about Carmen’s memories of growing up in the Manyunk section of Philadelphia. Essentially, no one can take away your memories and we can take comfort in that.
The album ends with a pair of uplifting straight-up pop songs, the simple love song “Looking at Me”, and “Our World” another opportunity for Magro to inspire people to make good choices and do good things for each other; “It’s our world take the time to put up a fight for the things that you know will set us right”. A better life and a better world through choosing to do the right thing.
But by far, “America” is the most moving song on this CD, as well as the most obviously personal. Carmen was gracious enough to donate this song to be used as the theme song for our recent Wounded Warrior Benefit. On stage that night Carmen told the story of finding out why his father enlisted in the military at the start of World War II and with this back story, he paints vivid lyrical portraits of the American life for which his father felt was worth fighting.
Carmen is backed up, on stage and on recording, by an excellent and professional group of musicians including Mark Burkert, Rob DiSimone, Chuck Scarpello, Dave Murphy, and Steve Sauer. The only flaw in this CD may be that the production is slick and a bit over polished not truly doing justice to the fantastic sound this group of musicians achieves during live performances.
Upon listening to this collection of songs, it is apparent that Carmen Magro has been shaped by life experiences – some tragic, some jubilant, some commonplace – into an interesting person with a compelling story. He writes songs that are as contagious as his life loving attitude.
His friendly demeanor and ever present smile captivate an audience before he even sings a note.
In the BUZZ – Passion and a kind heart lead to success for Philly rocker Carmen Magro
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Like many local kids, Manayunk native Carmen Magro spent much of his youth playing in cover bands ar...Like many local kids, Manayunk native Carmen Magro spent much of his youth playing in cover bands around Philadelphia and at the Jersey Shore. And, like many, at a certain age Magro put his rock star dreams on the shelf and went straight. Even the grass he studied in college was legit–Magro received a degree in Agronomy from Penn State, specializing in turf management. By day, the 43-year-old married father of two (with number three due in October) works as a “green technology” consultant, developing methods that provide efficient, eco-friendly management systems for large spreads of grass, such as golf courses. However, his “free time” is increasingly spent managing a musical career that has begun to take shape like a well-tended green; Carmen Magro, musician, is back and on the verge of breaking out, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Magro drew much of his early inspiration from his parents, whom he lost at an early age. His father died when he was ten years old, and his mother succumbed to breast cancer eight years later. “When she was close to passing, she really tried to make me understand how much spirit I had inside of me to play my own music and sing,” he recalls. “When she passed away I remember walking home from the hospital, sitting down at our old piano, and playing my first song. I have focused on writing and performing my own music since.”
The multi-instrumentalist singer says he never really gave up music, just relegated it to hobby status for a long time. That began to change when he wrote a song about a young drunken-driving victim called “A Miracle In Me,” and performed it at a fund-raiser for the critically injured young man. Fifty CDs he had brought along to donate to the event sold out at $10 apiece. Encouraged, Magro began writing more and preparing his earlier songs for public presentation. He describes his genre as “country/rock crossover,” but the key word for him is “passionate”–“I paint a story with every song, and I want my music to be felt as much as heard.”
One of his new pieces, “America,” was inspired by his World War II veteran father, and became an anthem to those who have served. Magro sent a copy to long-time New York producer Arty Skye, who invited him to his Manhattan studio to record the song. Released as a single on iTunes, “America” led to a performance on CBS 3’s Talk Philly program, and an invitation to perform at a benefit concert for the Wounded Warrior Project in Harrisburg. His band’s strong performance there led to an invitation to perform at the “Rev it Up” Juvenile Diabetes benefit concert at Lehigh University’s 6000-seat Stabler Arena earlier this month, opening for “American Idol” finalists Crystal Bowersox and Eliott Yamin, both of whom are diabetic (unfortunately, this event was postponed).
Magro says that his personal favorite song is one called “Come Alive,” which was inspired by a dream in which he saw “an angel, or some guardian looking over me. I felt alive and knew she knew everything about me. I truly feel alive when I think of that vision.” Magro says his mother remains by far his biggest inspiration: “She told me that I have music in me and not to ever turn my back on it. I did for a while, but now I feel her more than ever. I have no worries, as I know she is always with me. I’m grateful for all she left in me, and I’ll always spend the rest of my life trying to make her proud.”
Magro and Skye have just pressed a six-song EP, which should become available later this month. Magro and his band–featuring Chuck Scarpello on bass, Mark Burkert and Rob DeSimone on guitars, Dave Murphy on drums, and Brianna Farr on saxophone and supporting vocals–will be performing at The Rusty Nail, Ardmore, PA, on 9/24; Hump Day at Mad River, Manayunk, PA on 9/28 (supporting Hydrocephalus Awareness Month); The Legendary Dobbs, Philadelphia, PA, on 10/14.
An Interview with Manayunk's Rising Star
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NewsWorks Contributor Darren Hunter recently sat down with Manayunk's own Carmen Magro to discuss hi...NewsWorks Contributor Darren Hunter recently sat down with Manayunk's own Carmen Magro to discuss his music and the release of his new video, "America."
Carmen is the lead singer, guitarist and piano player for an area band that also includes local guys Chuck Scarpello (bass guitar), Rob DeSimone (guitar), and Dave Murphy (drums).
His story is uniquely Manayunk as his original concert was more than 20 years ago at Manayunk's Hillside Playground where he was a band mate of Scarpello's.
The latest video for "America" was filmed at Andorra's Houston Playground. Always one to keep it local, Magro is currently recording a new song entitled "Take Me Back" which is also about growing up in the local area. Carmen's story was so unique and inspirational that it seemed to lend itself to an interview.
1. When did you discover your music talent?
As a child I experimented with just about any instrument I could. We had an old accordion in the house that I played sometimes. I learned trumpet and played the reveille in the boy scouts and a church hymn for my mother's choir. I experimented with a recorder "flute" that I remember taking with me just about everywhere.
We had an old upright Cunningham piano in our house which my father used to play with one finger when I was very young, but I never really took interest in it despite my mother wanting me to.
My father passed away when I was 10 after having me late in his life. At 13, I developed this strong desire to play drums and begged my mother for a set. She refused to get me drums at first...but after I beat up on her pots and pans and Tupperware for awhile, she surprised me with a set of Pearl Drums for my 14th birthday.
I joined a band 2 weeks later and played drums in various cover bands in the Philadelphia and N.J. area. My desire and inspiration to write original music came later though. While in the cover band, my mother always encouraged me by giving me praise on drums but she would love for me to play what is in my heart, learn piano and sing music. She really felt I had it in me to do that.
2. What inspired you to write your own music?
At the age of 16, my mother developed the awful disease of breast cancer which she fought for three and a half years. Being a teenage boy in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Manayunk, I didn't really develop a "close" relationship with my mother early on. She was very lenient but strict...meaning she allowed me to do things I wanted to do but certainly kept strong discipline in our house. I could be away for days at a time as long as she knew where I was and what I was doing.
But I never really told her I loved her until a certain moment in our life. I had developed such an independency after my father passed away that I just kind of did my own thing. In addition, I got so used to her taking her pills every day and going through the ups and downs of cancer treatment that it became the norm in our home. It just seemed that it would go on forever like that.
One day, however I came home from school (I was commuting to Penn State Ogontz campus in Abington at the time) to see her at the hospital where she was for some tests. She wasn't in her room so I went to her doctor's office. I overheard her doctor talking with my aunt and uncle and it didn't sound good. I interrupted asking them why they haven't told us the truth about what was going on. It turned out that my mother was terminal at this point and she didn't want us worrying about her.
I can remember my vision getting very tunneled and my world simply coming crashing down. I had no idea it was that bad with her disease. I kept this to myself, but when she came home from this visit I sat down with her and told her I know what is happening and how sick she is. She broke down in tears and just put her arms around me. She told me she never had any worries about me and that she knows I have a special talent in me that she hopes I learn to use. It was the first time I truly told my mother that I loved her. She lived only 17 days longer after that point.
The day she died I walked home from Memorial Hospital in Roxborough and wrote my first song. I learned that I could play what was in my head on the piano and that it was my original music. It truly felt like a gift...one I had been ignorant to for too long. I began to write music and play piano as much as I could as I learned everything by ear.
3. Why break out now with your music?
I don't know the real answer to that question except that my music is the result of many things that have happened in my life...stories I hear from others, things that have happened to me and people that inspire me...just strong feelings I have for life itself.
I believe that I can't sing a tune if I don't truly feel the passion behind the story in the song. There is no way I could have written the music I do now at any point in my past...and I have dozens and dozens of songs all with a passionate story behind them.
A couple of years ago, I followed a story of a young man who had stopped for a moment to give someone directions at an intersection near Penn State University in State College PA. He was traumatically injured after being hit by a drunk driver where another gentleman was killed. He was not expected to live but had been moved to Bryn Mawr Rehab hospital.
After reading how his family had been devastated by the tragedy, it inspired me to write a song called A Miracle in Me which I recorded at home and sent to the family as a gift. They later thanked me and invited me to meet their son at the hospital. I did and it was truly moving. He gave me a fist pump which was cool but he pretty much lost many functional abilities which is truly sad.
His family asked me to perform my song for a charity event they were having to raise some money to build an addition on their house to bring him home. Until this point, I had never performed any of my original music in public. I played my song at the event and it was very well received. I brought 50 CD's with me that I made at home and they all sold for $10 each. All of the money went toward the family fund raising efforts and it felt good to help. But I think this moment made me realize that people enjoyed hearing my music. So I began really organizing my originals and writing as many as I could.
4. What inspired your debut single "America"?
I was thinking about a story my uncle told me about my father. He had come to visit my mother when she was very sick and not expected to live much longer. He tried comforting me asking me how I was holding up and I remember telling him that I'm really disappointed that I never really knew my father well and that now, just when I am getting close to my mother, I'm losing her.
He said "let me tell you something about your father...and never forget how much your mother loves you." He went on to tell me this story about how my father only wanted to have a family some day and wouldn't marry anyone until he found the right woman. He waited until well into his 40's.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed, my father told my uncle that he wants to fight in this war because someday he wants to have a son and that he will never want to raise a family in a world of terror. He joined the war within a week of Pearl Harbor being bombed...in fact, many of his friends and family all joined the war for the same cause. I felt that I could put that story into a song and do all of the servicemen and women that have fought for this country, past and present, honor by telling the story like my uncle told it to me.
It is truly a special song to me and it feels great to sing it knowing that I can carry my father with me and a great vision of him. He waited a long time to find and marry my mother and although I didn't know him long, he has done more for me than any father can ever ask to do for his son.
5. How did America get recognized?
I searched for a professional producer that would accept unsolicited demo material and who may specialize in artist development. I found a gentleman named Arty Skye in New York City who has produced many artists including Madonna, Alicia Keys and Philadelphia native Will Smith. I sent my CD express mail and the next day I received a response from Arty. He asked to meet me in person and I took the ride to New York the next day.
In our "discovery" meeting, he told me he likes what he hears and that "it is rare anymore that you find an artist that has passion, can write it into an original song and perform it as well without losing any of that passion...I believe you have this talent and I'd like to work with you." He was especially interested in America. So in October 2010, we recorded it. I continue to work with Arty on an extended play CD of my work, due for release by the end of this summer.
6. Do you have a political position?
This is a question I believe my mother told me to always try to avoid as it may only turn up criticism I don't know that I have a position one way or another as far as positions go. But I do know this. We have a country that is built on the premise that we are to live free, make choices at will and be able to express ourselves without suppression from terror or any other anti-productive action. That is worth defending and fighting for without a doubt in my opinion...whether it means defending our home, our family or the land and materials that are dear to us. I look at the dreams that shine in a child's eyes...and we should do everything in our power to insure those dreams never die or that fear overpowers them.
7. How did you form your band?
As fate would have it, early last fall a friend of mine who I had not seen in several years (Chuck Scarpello)...and who was a bass player in a band I was in as a drummer earlier in my life contacted me after getting my phone number from someone else. He was trying to get a message to me that a bunch of people from my old neighborhood in Manayunk were getting together for a "reunion" event and he thought I may want to attend it.
He went on to ask me how things are going and what I've been up to. I remember telling him that I don't know where the last decade has gone but I'm writing music and getting ready to record in New York City. He asked me to send him some tunes I did. After I sent them to him, he called me up and asked me where I have been...he could not stop giving me positive comments. So we contacted the guitarist from the same teenage band and decided to perform out at some open mic events. My music was very well received.
We later added another guitarist through a friendly relationship and a drummer who was an in-law relative of my bass player. Since then I have friends from past and present all contributing in some way to help get my music out there. It is amazing to me that I am receiving so much support and positive feedback wishing me well. It's a really nice feeling.
Ironically, we have only rehearsed a handful of times yet I have had the opportunity to perform live on CBS 3's Talk Philly show, been the highlight band at an Armed Forces Day performance in Harrisburg and now been slated to open for a national artist, Crystal Bowersox (former American Idol runner up) at a big show on September 10th at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem PA where I will perform a set prior to Crystal and also a special performance of my debut single America in a 9/11 ten year anniversary tribute.
I'm very excited about this. It is a dream come true to just have the opportunity to perform on a big stage professionally and I am hoping that doors are opening to do it for a living.
8. How did the making of your "America" video come about?
Again...I think this is my mother working her magic and sharing some grace. I feel the message that "America" carries and the one I tried to insure gets instilled in the music is one of inspiration and gratitude for all of the sacrifices that have been made to give us the America we love.
If we can put aside every complaint and every blinder that gets in the way of recognizing what a great country we have, we can all benefit from sharing the beauty that surrounds us. I have 2 young daughters and a third child on the way. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about what kind of world they will grow up in...and how will I make that world better.
I am blessed to have my wife Michele who I love dearly and who supports every bit of this dream of mine. I believe that music can move the world and I'd love the opportunity to do that.
Anthony Werhun of 23rd Letter Films did my song "America" much justice in capturing that message and its inspirational story in the video...and I cannot thank him enough for doing that.
After I performed the Harrisburg Armed Forces Day concert which helped to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project, the coordinator of the entire event relayed my performance with my band to a company called 320 Productions in Allentown, Pa. which was organizing the Sept. 10 event. He told them that he may have found the artist they are looking for. I'm happy I received the call from them to do the show in September...and I don't take any of it for granted. I just hope that people recognize me as a humble artist who loves to share his passion through music.
9. Where does Carmen Magro go from here?
A lot has happened in a short period of time...but it feels like it is a lifetime in the making. God willing, I hope to be able to make a living performing my music for fans near and far. It is truly a desire of mine that comes from well within my soul.
There is not a single performance I have done where I don't literally sing my heart out...I don't know any other way to do it. I'm grateful that I have a band of musicians who all want to do what it takes to help me succeed...and who believe in my music and the messages they carry.
I am recording a single titled Take Me Back right now which is a story about growing up in Manayunk. It gets the crowd going every time and people, young and not so young, really know how to relate to it. I have another song titled Our World which relays a message that this world should not be taken for granted and that we all have to contribute to insure we pave the right path into the future.
My children understand the power of music and what it can do to help one person or many. They are both very musically inclined which is really cool with me. Where I wanna go from here is anywhere music can take me. I've had a dream of being able to perform on a grand piano on the David Letterman or Ellen Degeneres show....although Saturday Night Live, the Today Show, Jimmy Fallon or any of those shows would probably be very cool! I welcome any opportunity to perform...anywhere, anytime. I only hope that the world gives me the opportunity to do it.
Carmen Magro is living proof you don't need to go further than Manayunk to find people to be inspired by. You can find Carmen on Facebook where he provides information on his local shows and new musical releases. You may just end up in his next video!
Manayunk Singer/Songwriter Breaking Out
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For Philadelphia singer, songwriter and piano player Carmen Magro, the last few months have been a w...For Philadelphia singer, songwriter and piano player Carmen Magro, the last few months have been a whirlwind of excitement.
Having been a relative unknown musician just six months ago, Magro has suddenly found himself working with a professional music producer, putting out a well-received single on iTunes and performing his own original music live for a television audience.
Now, at age 43, Magro – who grew up and spent 28 years living in Manayunk – finally sees his musical career as going down the path it should have been taking years ago.
His first single, “America,” part of a 5-song E.P. due out later this spring, is an homage to American troops fighting abroad. It was released on iTunes last November, and since then has been helping Magro gain some mainstream attention. The song was responsible for getting him an appearance on CBS3’s “Talk Philly” show earlier this month, where he performed the song.
“Things have just really been moving along so fast these last few months, that it’s been a little overwhelming,” said Magro, who currently lives in Center City. “But, it’s been a long time coming as far as my music goes. And my song ‘America’ is really what got it all going.”
Magro, who will perform an hour-long set this Thursday night at the Grape Room in Manayunk (105 Grape Street), said that although music has always been a part of his life, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that he started to truly share his songs with others.
“I had a lot of music in me, but I just never let it out to other people,” said Magro, who grew up playing drums in a few rock cover bands in high school. “I’m finally just starting to let it all out and I have a lot of stuff I’ve written.”
Part of that was because of the hectic pace of life, he said. After leaving Manayunk in the mid ‘90s, Magro earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy – the study of plants and soil – from Penn State University. Over the years, he has worked in various parts of the country, including for a Wilmington, Del., country club, and eventually going back to State College, Pa., to take a position on the faculty of Penn State University.
Today, Magro is employed full time as an agronomist for a King of Prussia company, UgMO Technologies, where he does research and consultation in the field of turf management.
Even so, making music full time still remains Magro’s true goal.
“It’s a lot of work, but I try my best to juggle it all as best I can,” said Magro. “If I had my way, I’d be doing the music a lot more than I am. But the reality is that the music is not paying all my bills just yet. My ultimate goal is to still get a record deal.”
“It’s actually costing me more than I’m making from it right now,” said Magro, who counted studio time and publishing costs as expenses he puts out of his own pocket. “But I’m hoping to change all that, with all the attention the single has gotten.”
Although Magro said he has a number of fond memories of growing up on Smick Street – attending Roman Catholic High School, working at Roma’s Pizza, playing 21st Ward baseball as a kid – other events from that period of his life were the true shaping forces, ones which eventually affected his musical ambitions and became the inspiration for his songs.
The death of his father, Carmelo Magro, in 1978, when Carmen was 10, was one of the more painful things of his childhood, he said, and has remained a big inspiration in his music.
In his song “America,” Magro is essentially looking for answers about his father, who signed up to serve in World War II the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed.
It wasn’t long after his father’s death that Magro took up the drums, which he continued to play in various rock cover bands throughout high school. Magro said the band played various bars and clubs in Philadelphia and at the New Jersey shore.
Another blow in his life came in 1987, when Carmen suddenly lost his mother, Rose, to breast cancer when he was 19, an event that essentially put his life playing music on hold.
“It really changed my whole life,” said Magro of his mother’s passing. “And I really just stopped playing in the band and doing anything musically.”
And although Magro took up piano around this time to keep a promise to his mother, much of the music Magro would write over the years was primarily kept for himself.
“It was really just a closet hobby of mine for a long time,” said Magro. “I was writing a lot of stuff, but just keeping it for myself.”
It wasn’t until just a few years ago that Magro started to finally share some of the music he had written. While working on the faculty of Penn State, Magro said one incident in particular helped bring about getting his music out to a bigger audience.
In late 2006, a 20-year-old Penn State student, Aaron Stidd, was hit by a drunk driver and suffered devastating brain and bodily injuries, although he somehow survived. Magro said hearing about the story inspired him to write a song and send it to Stidd’s family to show his support for them in their difficult time.
“I wrote this song called ‘A Miracle in Me,’ because it was a miracle this kid was even alive, and I thought maybe the family would like to hear it,” said Magro.
Through a friend that worked in the rehabilitation facility where Stidd was recovering, Magro was able to pass along a copy of the song that was inspired by his story.
“His family was so happy that I sent them the song,” said Magro. “And I eventually got a chance to meet Aaron and play the song at a charity event for him.”
Magro said the response he got from doing the 2008 charity event is what led him to look into taking his music more seriously.
After searching around, Magro came across and eventually contacted a Brooklyn, New York-based production company, SkyeLab Music Group, led by accomplished music producer Arty Skye. Skye – who has 14 gold and platinum records to his name and who has worked with top-name artists such as Madonna, Will Smith, Santana and Public Enemy – saw something he liked in Magro’s music and the two began working together last fall to put together the upcoming E.P.
When Magro takes the stage Thursday night, he’ll be performing with a backing band made up of other musicians from the area, including a friend of his from back growing up in Manayunk, Chuck Scarpello, who plays bass and who Magro actually played with all those years ago in one of the cover bands. He’ll also be joined by Rob DiSimone on guitar and David Murphy on drums.
“So far, it’s just been a wild ride,” said Magro. “I just hope that it keeps on going."
Looking at Me
One Fine Day
Slow Your Road
A Miracle in Me
Anywhere but Here
I Am Hope
Take Me Back
There are no upcoming dates at this time.