JBB Exclusive: Michael Longoria (@LONGORIASINGS) Shares Insights on His BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK Album!May 7th, 2016
As we reported earlier this week, former JERSEY BOYS star and member of The Midtown Men, Michael Longoria released his fantastic solo album, BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK, along with concerts at Joe’s Pub!
BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK is a masterpiece! If I may quote a line from JERSEY BOYS, “I LOVE THIS RECORD!” So happy to report that Michael’s debut album is available on Itunes!
We are so excited to share Michael’s JBB Exclusive interview and his many insights about his debut solo album!
Jersey Boys Blog: Great to catch up with you, Michael! Congratulations on your solo album, BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK!It’s truly fantastic, with a great new take on some of the best Broadway songs of all time! Tell us about how this album project began. As a kid growing up, was it always your biggest dream to record a solo album?
Michael Longoria: It has always been a dream of mine to be on the radio with a solo album! This is a dream that I never want to wake from. In July, I started to work with Grammy Award winner John McDaniel on Broadway songs that I grew up listening to. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the project was creating itself. I knew I wanted to do a Broadway album, but had no idea it would take on such an emotional and personal message. I started to relate more to the songs that reminded me of HOME. Since I couldn’t physically go there, I wondered if I could travel there musically. I grew up singing Mariachi music, so my Latin version The Sound of Music really colors that side of me. The songs became representations of milestones in my life story, Maria from West Side Story represents the moment that the light bulb went of in a 10-year-old Michael’s head. Suddenly, I saw myself in the actors in the movie of a Broadway show called West Side Story. The Impossible Dream represents the moment a seventeen-year-old got on a plane after acceptance to NYU and claimed his destiny, boarding pass in hand. For my Jersey Boys song, I recorded my all time favorite, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, to represent the moment I took on the starring role in the Broadway show. Tell Me On a Sunday, for the moment I came home from a Saturday night show at Jersey Boys and got a late phone call from my mother. My grandmother, who I was extremely close to, had been ill so I knew the call was about her. I didn’t listen to the message until the following morning, a Sunday. The message from my mother simply said , “Michael, Grandma Juanita is gone.” Once the songs chose themselves, I realized that I had created an autobiographic journey using Broadway classics to tell my story.
JBB: Wow, Michael, I love hearing how you told your story through so many great Broadway classics! What about the recording process? How did you go about choosing your arranger & producer? What about that amazing band?
ML: I had previously worked with my recording engineer, Chip Fabrizi, when I co-produced THE MIDTOWN MEN: SIXTIES HITS album. We spent so much duo time on that project that we were looking for something else to do together. When I had the idea for a Latin-infused Broadway pop solo album, he suggested that I reach out to three music producers, one of which was Grammy Award winner Jeffrey Lesser. I figured that wouldn’t happen; Lesser has worked with Barbara Streisand and produced several Broadway cast recordings for Jason Robert Brown. I was so pleased to learn that Jeffrey connected to the piece and made time to co-produce and mix BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK. I brought on Jesse Vargas and Neil Douglas Reilly to orchestrate John McDaniel’s arrangements. The band was chosen by John McDaniel and Jesse Vargas chose the players for the orchestra. All of Broadway’s BEST musicians who have played in the most iconic musicals past and present. I felt so blessed hearing them play arrangements and orchestrations created for my voice.
JBB: What about the songs? With so many great, timeless Broadway songs, how did you narrow it down to 13 tracks?
ML: I wanted to do 15 or more tracks but we settled on 12 with the 13th being a bonus track…an all-SPANISH version of The Sound Of Music (SONIDO MUSICAL).
JBB: Your awesome voice and the arrangements are spectacular! Right now, my two favorites right now are your renditions of Maria & The Impossible Dream! Do you have one or two special favorites tracks & why?
ML: Thank you! I love those two as well, my current two favorite tracks, which changes daily, are As If We Never Said Goodbye and Over the Rainbow. The Sunset Boulevard song because it represents someone coming back into a life they had taken a break from. I’ve been singing 60s’ music for my entire Broadway career and beyond. My true passion has always been classic Broadway songs, because they taught me how to dream. The Wizard of Oz song because I have always felt connected to Judy Garland’s journey as a child singer and as someone wanting to do nothing else but sing. So many have covered that song but I wanted to make my own version that would live on.
JBB: You’ve done so many great things so far, Michael–You’ve been on Broadway in Hairspray & JERSEY BOYS–and currently performing and recording with The Midtown Men! How did all of your previous & current entertainment experiences prepare you for this solo recording?
ML: This recording dream has been a long time coming. Every note I sing on this record has been influenced by artists I’ve listen to, portrayed, or played with on stage. All of my life I’ve been preparing for this moment. To stand alone and share my heart with the world in song.
JBB: If you could sum it up for JBB readers, Michael: What does BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK mean to you?
ML: BROADWAY BRICK BY BRICK is a sonic journey home. It tells the story of a little Mariachi boy who chased an impossible dream and found himself in the Big Apple. I wanted a recording time capsule for my voice as well. One that is just me as I am and sound today in my truest form of expression. This album accomplishes that for me while telling the story of how I got from the Barrio to Broadway through music.
The album is now available on ITunes!