Joey Figgiani
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Joey Figgiani

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"A sound that oozes sweet melodies and rhythms with just enough bleakness to recall early Hank Williams and Springsteen's Nebraska album."
- The Source


Once Great Kills resident realized he had an inherent ability to play guitar, music's been his passion

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A self-taught pianist and guitarist, Joey Figgiani has a musical ear that's guided him on an amazing odyssey. His natural knack has enabled him to play several instruments without formal training -- much like famed musicians Paul McCartney and Bobby Darin. The Great Kills resident explains that during his high-school years at New Dorp, he took to writing original compositions and fine-tuned his vocal skills.

He describes his vocal style as a mix of many influences, ranging from Buddy Holly, Elvis and The Beatles, to Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and U2's Bono.

Now 35, Figgiani is a familiar face to many. As a youngster, he was featured in the former Jordache jeans print ads. As a child model for some five years, he appeared in several TV commercials. He still holds a Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) card.

Yet, Figgiani didn't let his avocation get in the way of a solid education. He earned a bachelor's degree, with high honors, in English, with a concentration in writing, from the College of Staten Island (CSI). He has taught art and music on the elementary-school level and tutored and instructed at CSI as well as at Kingborough Community College, Brooklyn. He is a writer, artist and photographer.

Figgiani has performed mainly in rock bands, but he has also entertained with big-band orchestras and has performed at weddings and supper clubs throughout the metropolitan area.

These days, he can often be seen performing on Staten Island and in Manhattan and New Jersey. But recently, he was out in California for three months, where he had a regular weekly spot in a club out there.

Back in October, he played with his cousin, John Tumminello at the Mid-Point Music Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also made a stop in Virginia and played several sets there.

Figgiani said that the highlight of his early career was singing in the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn., where Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Howlin' Wolf first got their start.

"To just stand there and sing into a microphone, knowing this was where Elvis made history so many years ago was just incredible," Figgiani explains. "The engineer let me sing my song, 'Three Year Century,' and we recorded it in one take."

Figgiani has performed free of charge at the Muddy Cup, Stapleton. He played a set that honored those lost in the Sept. 11 tragedy on the first anniversary of the disaster as part of the September Concert Series. This year, he continued the tradition and played a set at The Perking Latte, West Brighton, along with other artists. Figgiani's act has also been featured in Martini Red in Stapleton.

Last weekend, he played at the Sip 'n Surf Cafe, West Brighton. He'll appear tomorrow evening at 9 p.m. at Lillie's Brooklyn, where he will reprise the show on Jan. 28 during a benefit performance. Folks can also catch him at John & Joe Toto's Restaurant, Midland Beach, on Saturday at 10 p.m. and at Bridget's Public House, West Brighton, on Feb. 4 at 10:30 p.m.

Like they say, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Figgiani's dad, Paul (Sonny) plays saxophone and three out of the five Figgiani children are musically inclined. Proud mom Helen is very pleased about her children's stardom, to say the least.

You can check out Figgiani on his Web site at joeyfiggiani.net.
- Staten Island Advance


*Best Melody in Acoustic, week of 17 Jan 2005 for "Simple Life"
words and music by Joey Figgiani
copyright 2005

"An obviously seasoned performer."
- garageband.com


“a combination of Old Hollywood charm, rich vocals and sensitive, soulful songwriting"

- Kathleen Daly, Program Director, Marquette University Radio - Kathleen Daly


"Joey Figgiani is one of the best new singer-songwriters I have heard in the last 15 years. Following in the footsteps of Elvis Presley and Bruce Springsteen, Joey Figgiani will impress you with his depth and versatility, and his live shows are a must-see. Make no mistake: Joey Figgiani has a bright future in the music industry!" - Pat Wolfe, KDHX-FM, St. Louis - KDHX


Discography

The Brothers Figgiani - 2000
The High Seas - Volume 1 - 2002
"Under The Memphis Sun - The Sun Studio EP" - August 2005 (three minute records)
"The Place Between Moving and Standing Still" - January 2006 (three minute records)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"Phenomenal; an absolutely fantastic record." Vic The Bruiser, WBAI, NY

Recent Highlights:
- Recorded album at Sun Studio, Memphis
- Recorded with Elvis Presley's original band
- Weekly performances at Hard Rock Cafe, Nashville
- Live acoustic set and interview on KDHX, St. Louis
- Showcase performance at 2004 Midpoint Music Festival, Cincinnati
- Best Melody in Acoustic Category for original song, "Simple Life." - Garageband.com
- Headlined a benefit for Marquette Radio, Marquette University, Milwaukee

Joey is a member of the Americana Music Association and ASCAP.

Joey Figgiani embraced his creative talents after discovering a natural ear for music. He began playing drums at age 6, inspired by his late grandfather, Paul, a self-taught drummer, accordion player and pianist. Soon, Joey taught himself piano and eventually guitar. He also spent several years pursuing acting, earning his Screen Actor’s Guild card along the way. During high school he began to devote more time to music, writing songs and fine-tuning his voice after a single lesson. His heartfelt vocal style is reminiscent of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bobby Darin, The Beatles (music his dad, Paul, Jr. exposed him to) as well as, Lindsey Buckingham and U2’s Bono.

Such diverse musical taste has enabled Joey to grow into an extremely versatile performer. He has played in rock bands, wedding bands and even with a swing orchestra. Throughout the 90's, Joey played solo and with his band, Somebody, (featuring siblings, Teresa and Michael). Several years later, Joey played drums with Long Island band, "Snob Hill.” He later recorded three albums of dynamic original music in the avant-garde band "The High Seas" and was featured on New York radio station WBAI.

Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, Joey has since returned to stripped down arrangements and a style that enables him to showcase his voice. Performing as a solo artist, he spent a year residency at NYC’s "Psychic Cafe", where he shared the microphone with Columbia recording artist, Nellie McKay.

An avid admirer of Elvis' early work, Joey holds 50 Presley songs in his repertoire. With guitar in tow, a bus trip to Tennessee one summer led to his recording in the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, where Presley, Jerry-Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash got their start. “To stand there and sing into a microphone, knowing this was where Elvis made history was just incredible.” In one take, Joey recorded a moving version of his original song, "Three Year Century," wowing studio engineer, James Lott.

Joey recently returned to the Memphis studio to record “Under the Memphis Sun” (Three Minute Records, August 2005) which features 11 Elvis songs plus three written by Joey and a remake of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” the song The King never got to record. Joey also recorded several songs in Nashville where he was joined by Elvis’ legendary drummer, DJ Fontana, and backing vocalists, The Jordanaires. Joey celebrated the album’s release in Memphis during Elvis Week with performances at the Hard Rock Café and Graceland Crossing.

In addition to his following in New York, Joey has also developed a loyal fan base in Tennessee and Illinois and travels regularly to play shows in these and other states. He has donated his time to play The Staten Island Waterfront Festival and The September Concert Series in remembrance of September 11 several times. The Ottawa Times described Joey as "a talented crooner who belts out Elvis hits and other songs with a knack that would make the “King” himself proud.” Entertainment publication, The Source, has described Joey’s music as “a sound that oozes sweet melodies and rhythms with just enough bleakness to recall early Hank Williams and Springsteen’s “Nebraska.” Joey has even performed at the legendary music venue, "The Stone Pony" in Asbury Park, NJ, where a young Springsteen blazed his own path. “Singing on that stage was big for me. This is where Bruce has played so many times, and it's just a great place to soak up inspiration.”

That inspiration has led Joey to focus his time on songwriting and a forthcoming album, "The Place Between Moving and Standing Still" (Three Minute Records, Late 2005). The album feature’s Joey’s original songs including the fan favorite, "Simple Life," an ode to Joey's hard-working late grandfather, who eventually gave up his music to drive a truck for a living. In "Simple Life," Joey reflects on how hectic life has become; how we leave no time for creativity, and how we’re continually "trying to find a place between moving and standing still." With his drive, talent, and eclectic range Joey Figgiani’s career is on the move