‘I will take my time, it’s healthier that way’

Emanuele Conte (21) is in The Netherlands for half a year to do an IBCoM Bachelor. Meanwhile he’s quite busy playing guitar and recording an album.

text Gert van der Ende photography Michel de Groot

It must have been ten years ago that his parents stimulated Emanuele Conte to play the guitar, although they never played an instrument themselves. “But my father has a great musical ear, he is very into music like that of Carole King and Whitney Houston.” Though he was more or less forced into it, he started to enjoy the instrument pretty soon. And even being barely twelve years old he already took up writing his own songs and lyrics. Though he found his first teacher quite boring, the second one was great: “His name was Claudio Olimpio. With him I started to explore the blues. A few years later I began with integrating the blues into my own music.” This resulted among other things into the rather sexually tinted Love me Baby Blues, a song he performed last month in the Erasmus Pavilion. At first, Conte wrote his lyrics in English, which resulted in a first album with thirteen tracks called ‘Hope to Fly’. For this purpose he rented a studio for two hours. His music then can be best described as folk-rock, inspired by musicians as Tracy Chapman, Cat Stevens and most of all the in 1998 deceased Italian Singer/Songwriter Lucio Battisti. “The best musician in the world, ever!”, according to the very enthusiastic Conte.

After studying the blues for some time, Conte switched to the jazz but discovered that this ‘wasn’t his stuff’. Meanwhile, he had been to two summer music classes in Boston, at the Berklee College of Music. “An amazing experience”, Conte still thinks. It resulted in a second (8-track) album called ‘La Carezze del Vento’. By this time he was seventeen years old and half the songs were written in Italian. Later he made a second (5-track) version under the same title, now in cooperation with a real producer. Two years ago he even won some kind of national singer-songwriter contest after which he travelled all over Italy to give concerts, mostly just on the streets. But the biggest step in his musical career Conte made last summer when he met his current producer Enrico Bollero. Conte: “Also a singer-songwriter and a freaking amazing guy. He’s 60 years old and inspires me a lot; he’s a great mentor.” The cooperation resulted in ‘Spazio Nuovo’, after having spent a week in a studio in Montova, near Verona.

Conte is determined to have a professional musical career, preferably in his own space, where he can make music with others and is able to combine it with other art forms. “Though I’m gonna develop myself as a musician in a way that will take time, I think it’s healthier that way. So maybe in the beginning I will need another job, but that’s fine with me.”

Emanuele Conte – Perpetual beta

Spazio Nuovo (live at Le Vagabond, Nieuwe Binnenweg)