Musicality is something that whether we have it or we don’t. There’s no other way. Fortunately for us, we’ve been crossing our path with many talented people who have this intrinsic musicality and Louis DeFelice is one of them.
Louis was born in Columbia, South Carolina. His influences were good since the beginning at a young age, listening to Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel and later singer-songwriters such as Damien Rice. So, folk was his bigger influence, but his life wasn’t supposed to be lived as a musician as he was a ballet dancer all his teen years until he was 19 years old. And was in ballet, as a dancer, that his musicality started being noticed. The rhythm, the sensibility, the tempo, and all the emotion, are characteristics of someone who breathes music and DeFelice has it all.
The truth is, that Louis plays the guitar and banjo also since he was very young, always showing a desire for writing music while in high school and college. That was also the time when he discovered his passion for music was as big (or even bigger) than his passion for dancing. Thankfully for us, he chose music and started recording his own music.
Take Me By My Words is his first ever album released in 2016. An LP that joined Louis’ creations with Edward Lidow’s ideas for arrangements as well as the latter matured edition techniques. The songs are a mix between experimentalism and the ex-ballet dancer’s finger-picking skills for guitar and banjo, so the result is classicism fighting modernism. His voice was already his joker, remembering a bit Nizlopi’s style. He immediately shaped his taste and will to keep writing music, so a year after he put out his sophomore LP Tin Stars. A 12-track highly emotional album, where Louis showed maturation and higher complexity with the introduction of many different instruments bringing to his music a sense of pop. Held once again by Ed Lidow.
A year later he came out with Morning Airs, and just like before, he showed himself more and more matured. This time, DeFelice sings about new feelings of love, like loss, grief and heartache, as we can notice on the first track I Am Not Well; performing with a little help from his (new) friends Hersh Gupta on the sax, Catherine Cerise on the viola and Jerilyn McLean on the mandolin and vocals. This full-length is also the first time he challenged himself to work on both the edition, the mixing and the production all by himself.
Louis DeFelice’s creativity seems to have no limits so he’s putting out a record every year, so far, and is noticeable the way the songs are increasingly complex, dynamic and structured. In fact, there’s a huge difference between Tin Stars and Morning Airs, and that showcases how Louis is growing as a composer and songwriter.
He started 2019 with new big plans and the first sneak peek is Spinning You Around, the first single for his fourth and upcoming album, Songs For A Pseudonym, coming out in early May. This is a beautiful jazzy ballad and it seems that Louis is changing his style once again, as his voice sounds more hoarse and soulful. The finger-picking was replaced by a soft and smooth piano and the rhythm of his guitar was placed by slow-dancing drums and he’s making a duet with Hersh’s saxophone the whole song, taking it to a full-body composition, like the ones that fulfill the room.
The lyrics are not as romantic as we might all have wished, but still, this is a pure love song. The plot twist is just that this is sort of a friend zoned song. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful love letter we wished we’ve written. “There’s something about your skin, I’m fantasizing about coming in when you’re cooking, and spinning you around”- the whole song is a struggle between two different feelings and a probable misinterpretation of it: love and friendship are toughly fighting as he speaks out loud “Baby I’m falling in love” and right away he says “we thought we were not a good fit”, or “would we do better as more than friendly?” and he goes on and on until the end, finally revealing “but I don’t know what to do”.
DeFelice felt like he needed to do more about this song and theme where friendship and love can be together and be part of a sweet song. So he decided to shoot a video to accompany the track. Inviting three couples of his own friends, he asked them about how they’ve met and how their friendship completes their love for each other. The result is an amateur video, as sweet as it can be, raw and pure and naïve, just like the feelings he’s singing about.
As we’ve written in the beginning, musicality is something that blesses only a few. And Spinning You Around is a poetic and gorgeous example of that. A month from now Louis will be releasing his second single of his forthcoming album and the expectations are continuously high. Not only for the second single but for what the LP will bring: a turn around on the way Louis writes, the songs are more modern and kind of indie-pop, never forgetting his country-folk roots. Overall it’s more fresh and festive right from the beginning. After all, we’re thankful that Louis DeFelice decided to become a musician instead of a ballet dancer.