Niagara Artist Spotlight: Robert Alfieri
By David DeRocco
Social media and music sharing platforms have made it easier for aspiring musical artists to promote their songs and grow an audience without the help of a record label. That’s good news for Robert Alfieri, a 17-year-old St. Catharines-based vocalist and musician who is hoping to turn on-line success into a long-term career. It’s a dream the young artist grew into after falling in love with rock and roll.
“Music has run in my family for a really long time,” said Alfieri. “When I was a young boy my parents did what parents do, they put me in sports. I played soccer, I played basketball, I did all that stuff. Then one day when I was eight years old I was listening to people playing classic rock and I thought, yeah, I have to start playing guitar. It all kind of snowballed from there.”
Alfieri is hoping to emulate the career path blazed by fellow-Canadians Justin Bieber and Sean Mendes, marketing his original songs, videos and cover tunes through online music sharing portals and his own YouTube channel. Rather than follow the time-worn routine of endless gigging to reach new audiences, Alfieri’s initial goal is to establish as much on-line buzz around his music as possible before trying to launch a recording career with a label deal.
“I’m an indie artist, and I don’t have a manager or record label,” said Alfieri, whose YouTube channel includes his covers of songs by Ed Sheeran and Justin Timberlake. “They both like to look at numbers and social media followers when looking to sign artists. I like the way Sean Mendes built his career. His career path is awesome where it is now. I think it’s amazing someone can literally go from sitting in their basement making music to selling out the biggest arenas in the world.”
To accomplish that initial goal, Alfieri continues to write and record music, including his soon-to-be-released new original song and accompanying video, “Our Life.” The new track reflects the ongoing evolution of his sound, which continues to bend and take shape as new influences find their way into the music he’s making.
“I’ve gone through a lot of different styles of music,” said Alfieri, who first picked up a guitar at age nine and continues to hone his piano skills. “I grew up on Led Zeppelin and great classic rock. I love that music. But as I grew up I really learned to love big band and jazz music, like Frank Sinatra and more recently Michael Buble. Even Justin Timberlake, when you go see his live shows, he gives a big band vibe when he’s performing. Right now, with my piano and guitar playing, my style is more like an Ed Sheeran. My path forward is more Sean Mendes and Ed Sheeran.”
Given the youthfulness of his years and experience, does Alfieri think he’s ready to tackle the style of emotional love song regularly delivered by Sheeran and Mendes?
“I’ve never had my heart broken before, but I have had girlfriends,” laughs Alfieri. “I’ve not found the love of my life yet, I definitely have a long way to go. But singing about love, love is such a powerful emotion. There’s so much to talk about when it comes to love. There are literally thousands of songs on the radio about it. There’s always a little more to talk about when it comes to love.”
To support the release of his new song, Alfieri will be taking to the stage, including performances at Sherkston Shores September 2nd and St. Catharines Market Square September 15th. Look for the new video and past productions on his Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChrzw5-ulwrjCet8gmcZBbg.