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Interview: ALEX BAUDO

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Melbourne based singer songwriter Alex Baudo has just released his sixth album. This self-titled album features a combination of original compositions as well as some covers of songs by other Australian singer/songwriters and a blend of both English and Italian interpretations. “The idea behind this CD,” he explains, “is to introduce Alex the interpreter, more so than the songwriter, even though I’ve got some original songs on there.” The aim, he adds, is to release the album internationally and to push the Australian side, given that this has been his home for so many years. Alex was born in Rome and has lived in Italy, Canada, and Australia. He admires the work of many Australian songwriters and says “In my opinion I think they’re some of the best in the world. So we picked them very carefully. We had quite a long list and picking these songs of course you’ve got to make sure they’re o.k. for your voice and make sure they’re not going to be totally different to what you’re into musically and what your style is.”

Alex says he has been a fan of James Reyne’s work, particularly his solo recordings, for a while so he chose to include one of the singer’s tunes on the album. ‘Slave’ is the album’s opening track. It is a combination of both English and Italian lyrics. “The lyric of the song is pretty close to the original English version so we tried to keep the theme pretty much the same so we didn’t go into some weird cosmic thing where the chorus was in English and the verses were in Italian and they had two different meanings. We actually did an English version of that as well. We were going to put it on the CD but we did a survey and I spoke to James himself and he thought it didn’t really suit. It didn’t have the same impact as the Italian version so we left it at that and that was the first one that we started working on and it was actually easy to put together. And the whole thing about these songs these Australian covers, is that because we are pitching it to other markets around the world, if you happen to be sitting in a café in Europe listening to ‘Slave’ by James Reyne or ‘Saturday Night’ by Cold Chisel or whatever, you wouldn’t have a clue what those songs might be unless you were an Australian of course being overseas. And the beauty of doing that was to introduce it to a new audience.”

“And then the next one came along which was the Dragon tune, ‘Blue Blue’ which was off their Bondi Road album and we did that in Italian as well. The songs are not really totally Italian, they’re bi-lingual in a way except for ‘Man of Colours’, the Iva Davies song. We decided to put that one on as well because a lot of people asked us to and we kept the lyric content pretty close to the original.”

But other songs, like Richard Clapton’s ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ and Cold Chisel’s ‘Saturday Night’, he admits, would have been a bit hard to translate into Italian. “‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, of course, is such an Australian story so we just left it pretty much the way it was and the same with ‘Saturday Night’ which was of course a Don Walker song which was made famous by the Chisels but we gave it a bit of a weird kind of jazzy vibe towards the end.”

The album also features some original tracks. “I’ve had those songs for quite a while,” he tells me. “And there’s one that’s been in the can for ages, a song called ‘Waves’, which I wrote with Joe Creighton and Eric McCusker and Jake Mason a while ago.” And Alex’s song-writing covers a diverse range of topics. ‘Only You Can Guide Me’ is a song that touches on the sensitive subject of euthanasia while ‘You’re a Liar’ is, he explains, “Kind of like a hypothetical love story between a gangster and an opera singer.”

Joined by some great Australian musicians including Joe Creighton, Roger McLachlan, Michael Oliphant and Ian Moss, Alex recorded the album at his brother Ric’s ‘Pilgrimage Studios’, in Ballarat. Ric Formosa is also a musician and composer and he also produced the album. Music and entertaining has always featured strongly in the singer’s family. Alex says that his biological father is like an Italian institution. “He’s the number one TV host there, has been for about forty-four years now and my Formosa father was a jazz musician and broadcaster for the ABC and the CBC in Canada and in Italy.”

The CD was launched recently at a small gig in Melbourne with Alex on vocals accompanied by Michael Oliphant on piano and that is how he plans to present the songs in future shows. “Rather than working around the logistics of using a full band,” he explains. “It’s more sparse this way and far more challenging too. You’ve just got a voice and a piano. You’ve just to make sure people are listening and paying attention.”

by Sharyn Hamey


Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2017.  All rights reserved


Alex Baudo’s CD is available now through iTunes and major record outlets. 

To purchase a copy from JB Hi-Fi, click on the link below




For a small taste of Alex Baudo’s album, listen to ‘Slave’  here 

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