MARC FRUTTERO is an Italian vocalist and songwriter. He is unknown for most of Italo Disco fans. BUT, Marc made in the 80's some very good Italo Disco songs who's never been or have been published in very small number of copies. Why is that so you will be able to read in following interview. His most known song is "Darkness" by Aquarius Project. This song and "I Wanna Live With You" you can listen on this site and on that way I am trying to promote Marc's good work and hoping his songs will soon find the way how to reach many Italo Disco fans. In that should help new singl "I Wanna Live With You" released for Flash Back Records. It's a vinyl record with 2 original songs that were not published in the 80s. Those songs have just edited now and pressed in Milan in April 2005.

Hi Marc and thank you for this interview. Marc Fruttero isn't well known name among Italo Disco fans, unfortunately. Who is Marc Fruttero?
Thanks to you too! Ok, I’m an Italian vocalist and a songwriter. I write different kinds of music, and Italodance is one of them. Music is the greater artistic love of my life, and maybe the field where I could express the best creativity.

Before we start, let's say to other fans who are reading this that your songs are not known among fans because you had big distribution problems in the 80's but we will talk about this matter a little bit later, ok? Tell me something about you, for the start.
Ok, no problem. Just to start, I can tell you something about my childhood: When I was a kid, my mother wanted me to take part in an Italian children’s competition called “Zecchino d’oro” (“Golden penny”, more or less), that took place in Bologna. Maybe it sounds funny, but she heard my voice many times, I was always singing…She probably insisted, but I was a reserved and shy child, therefore I didn’t want to sing on any TV show! I cannot really remember all my childhood, but I can remember that ‘thing’ quite well. Even later, I was not really interested in music so much and I stopped singing…. But my father wanted me to study piano. It was just when I was 13 years old, after seeing “Turandot” by Puccini, the famous opera, that I changed my mind and decided to have piano lessons. My first musical love was classical music. I was always listening to it. My first best-loved composer was not Just Puccini, but even Tchaikovsky and Chopin, that influenced my first solo piano compositions. Some of them were played for the first time in a school, in Saluzzo the small city where I was born. They were strongly influenced by Chopin and the romantic style, therefore my piano teacher told me it was time to write something with a more contemporary style. When I was 16 I started buying some Disco music, by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, the Bee Gees just to name a few…Then Pop like Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand Dionne Warwick etc. So I started writing songs too…

Tell me please when you decided your work would be music and could you tell me about your beginning?
It was 1983 when I thought about making my first record.

Is Italo Disco your first music you made or...? How come you decided to make italo songs?
No, Easy listening was my first pop style. For that first record, I decided to choose two of my slow songs, “Clara” and “Melodia”, and look for an arranger. A guy suggested starting with some dance music, but I didn’t follow his advice, and it was a mistake. I also wanted to sing my songs. To tell the truth I though my voice was not so good, but I cannot really explain why I felt I had to sing them. Even the arrangements for those two pop tracks were not really the best.
"Clara" & "Melodia"

When we recorded that 45 at New Phantom studio in Tortona, I noticed that the vocal result was much better than I thought, but I later understood that the arrangement was not really satisfying. “Clara” was played by some radio stations. Some of them were even big, but that song didn’t have any wide spread publicity. Very few copies of it reached any shops. I was not in contact with any important showman or influential politician. That’s extremely important in Italy. So it was very difficult to find any distribution. And I was not rich….

„Darkness“, „I Wanna Live With You“, „Crying For Love“ ( are great italo disco songs. Are they only italo songs or maybe „The Seafarers“, was italo as well?
Thanks so much! ..Yes, “The Seafarers” was even a danceable track, but rater more refined than ordinary Italodance.
„Darkness“ have been performed by Aquarius project. This song was pressed in small number of copies and it was lucky if we compare it with other songs, which not even see daylight. Can you tell me more about this song? Who was the Aquarius? What year did you make it, who wrote it etc.?
“Darkness” was written by myself in 1985, ‘cause I finally decided to make dance songs too. It’s wasn’t really for the money. I liked good dance music too, therefore recording disco or pop was rather the same for me. I met the drummer Sergio Cerutti and some other musicians, and we created the “Aquarius” project. At the beginning, the Aquarius had to be a real band, but later I noticed that we were forced to change/add different musicians for each song. So it became a project. We also asked jazz vocalist Francesca Oliveri to sing a duet song with me: “When The Snow Falls Down” had to be a dance track too, but we later transformed it in a pop song. Francesca had a powerful voice, and she really was the right singer I was looking for a duet. An unreleased dance mix of that song will be probably included in an album, in 2006 or even earlier.

Which studio have you recorded your songs in? In any famous perhaps?
We recorded “When The Snow Falls Down” and “Darkness” at Mini rec , Giava and Blue record, in Turin and around it. But we mixed them in Milan at Airport studio, the same place were some Italo artists recorded their hits. But my “Darkness” was not really going to become a hit…at least in the 80s…

Marc, you introduced yourself as vocalist and songwriter. You didn't write all your songs by yourself so I would like to know who was with you at the time when you were making your italo songs? Could you introduce people who were around you? As far as I know there was: Marco Remigi, Gregory Santo Arena....
Yes, for example Castellano and Gilio were the first arrangers of “Darkness”. They also made another maxi-single for Disco Magic. But later, Mauro Gallo, known as Tommy Bow, finished the work. Mauro was involved in many Italo projects. If I’m not mistaken he also arranged songs for Albert One. He was extremely fast when he created his arrangements. Almost unbelievable, he also arranged “Crying For Love” in about 20 minutes! Marco Remigi made one work for Disco Magic before arranging “I Wanna Live With You” , but that work, called Scorta, and my song, were the only dance tracks he made. He’s a jazz musician now. He lives in Bergamo, near Milan, the same place where I recorded “I Wanna Live With You” and where I’ve lived for years. Gregory Santo Arena is a friend of mine, and a professional writer (Californian, with an Italian origin). He wrote tales like ”A Lady in the meads” , published in 2004 by Raw Edge, and the poem “Caliban”, in the magazine Decanto, October 2005. He also wanted to suggest lyrics for one of my tracks, so he helped me to write “Crying for Love”.

I wanted to ask you who or what is your inspiration and I could see on „I Wanna Live With You“ cover that Marco Panarese inspired your lyrics. Can you tell me more about that please?
Even Marco Panarese was another friend that wanted to write lyrics for one of my tracks. But he didn’t really know English. So he explained what he wanted to say, and I created the English words instead of him. Arena and Panarese both live in Bergamo.

Are your songs dedicated to someone? And what was your guide in creating songs?
There’s not really a dedication for each song. Just this new maxi-single for FlashBack records is dedicated to Paul Hazelaar now, a very kind Dutch Italofan that introduced me to Kimmo Salo, the Finnish owner of that label. That vinyl record is also dedicated to Mikaela, Salo’s beautiful girlfriend. I could also say that my dance and pop music was also quite influenced by many American and British productions. You can hear it, when I sing, I’m maybe more close to Rick Astley rather than Miko Mission.

You have interesting vocals. Some friends asked me, when I told them about your songs, whom is your voice similar to? I told them that it’s specific and the vocals are very nice . Have you learned singing anywhere?
Thanks again for your compliments, yes, I just started to learn singing after I recorded “Clara”. My voice still needed a better technique. My teacher was always Francesca Oliveri, but I did not study for a long time. But my voice troubled me quite a lot because it was considered to be too ‘different’. Many Italian producers told me I was ‘not commercial’, therefore they didn’t like it. They wanted me to forget my own voice color, and start imitating some other famous singers, much more commercial ones. The mentality is still like that, even now more than before. From the 40s until the 80s, having a very good vocal performance was often considered to be really important, in America as in England or Australia. And for some actual productions, or maybe not just some, it is still rather important even now. I wasn’t really like that in Italy, unfortunately….and it’s not much better even now.

OK Marc, let's talk now about your problems with distribution of your songs? And could you tell me on which door your knocked at that time? For example have you knocked on Discomagic?
Oh God, I knocked on many doors, but my main mistake was not to go abroad. Perhaps because I couldn’t…I will never forget what the artistic manager of a well known Italian label told me in 1986: “You come here and talk about music…we are not interested in music, this is just a business”. I later signed a modest contract with a small label, but that record was impossible to find in almost any shop.

In that time, as it is today, Deejays had a big role. Have you tried with some of them to present your songs and in that way start with distribution?
If I knew any important DJ I wouldn’t have any distribution problem… One time, a DJ from a big Milan radio station said he could launch our record, but he wanted a lot of money for that, so we were forced to refuse that opportunity..

Those fans who were lucky to hear your song(s), including me, particularly I mean on „Darkness“, like your songs pretty much. It is strange that no one showed interest in publishing and it's hard to understand in some way. Maybe you weren’t in the right place at the right time?! Can you tell me your feeling in that time, I guess you were pretty disappointed?
Yes for sure…I was! but I could expect it; A guy that worked for the Italian TV said I immediately had to leave the field of records, ‘cause it was really too difficult… I was stubborn, and I didn’t want to give it up. If I went to Germany, England, America or wherever, I would surely find a producer or a label willing to help me. Many Italian artists went abroad and became famous ‘cause Italian labels were not interested in what they did at the beginning. It’s normal in my country. In England, or some other foreign countries, it’s not really important to ‘know someone’. Just now, that I’ve started trying to find labels abroad, I’ve met very enthusiastic producers like Kimmo Salo (FlashBack) and Martin Verlaan (Mart Mix Music).

Did you meet any famous Italo Disco artist in the 80's? And did you think you might work with any of them?
Yes, I met some, but I cannot say it was really a fantastic experience. But more recently, just a few months ago, I met P.Lion in Bergamo. I knew many of his nice songs well, but I hadn’t met him personally before. Then…Yes, it would be nice to work with some more Italo artists. By the way I’ve just recorded a new song, always 80s style, always for FlashBack records. That track, called “If You’re Feeling Blue”, was written by the Dyva and arranged by L.A.Messina. It will be probably included in another vinyl maxi and even in a CD album.

No matter almost 20 years have gone by, and you still want to publish and distribute your 80's songs so much. What is the force giving you the strength and will? And how come you decided to start your project this year?
You know…music is like a drug…you need it, there’s something like an internal voice that always says “You must go on…you must go on”, I strongly feel it inside. I don’t do this just for money. It’s the great passion for music that burns in my soul that gives the energy to move everything. I put love in what I do, but…it’s sometimes hard, especially when some other people, thinking just about money, create strong barriers against my projects…I started again in 2004 ‘cause, searching through the Internet, I found a possibility to include my track “Miracle Of Love” in a Kid Antrim Music compilation, just for broadcasting in the States. At the same time I met Kimmo Salo, that is really an honest and smart producer. He really helped me. He was really happy and proud to have another chance to press some unreleased material!

So far as I know at the moment, your song „Darkness“ should be on new edition of Italo Disco Souvenirs published by Martmix ( Can you tell me more about those efforts? It is known, for most people I hope, that Italo Disco Souvenirs series are made to promote rare and hard to find italo disco songs. Perhaps Martmix could introduce, on his compilation, some other songs as well?
As I told you before, Martin Verlaan (Mart Mix Music), will even include a remastered “Darkness” in his next CD compilation, called Italo Souvenirs Volume 2, and maybe even “I wanna Live With You” will appear again on one of those CDs. I hope it will be possible to collaborate once again with Martmix, even in the near future. It’s too early to say something for sure now.

You know, many italo fans asking italo producers to make new song in old sounds but they know if they make songs in that style the selling won't be good for their profit. So, what happened to you is good in some way for us italo fans because, if songs will be released and I truly believe they will one day, we will be able to enjoy in totally new italo disco songs made in the 80's style. I hope you are realizing how happy we could be!??
Yes, you’re right. I suppose there are not so many labels willing to release new records or CDs with an 80s Italo style. Anyway I’m really glad to see there are still quite many people that can appreciate 80s-dance music even now. I also have to say Kimmo Salo is not really a businessman that makes his records for money. He wants to release his vinyl or CDs just for those people that truly appreciate the 80s. Yes, abroad it’s still possible to meet producers like him. Perhaps not so many…but it’s possible. Martin Verlaan is also one of them.

Are you ready to adopt your songs to a modern style if this is the request from the record or the Distribution Company for further selling?
Yes, of course, I also like the contemporary style, but when it’s not too commercial. I don’t really love Techno or House music…Even now, a Dutch remix producer is recording a modern version of “Darkness”. I hope it will be released.

Who is your favorite Italo Disco artist? And if you can tell me your favorite italo song(s)?
That’s a difficult question…I like so many tracks. There were (or there are..)some beautiful voices, among them: Mike Francis, Spagna, Raf, Mario Real, even Savage. I’m ashamed to say that I unfortunately know just two or three songs by Savage: “Don’t cry tonight” is one of them, and it’s a beautiful one indeed! Easy but not banal. I have to confess, at that time, I did not have much money, so I really wanted to buy a lot of records but I couldn’t. Therefore I lost many opportunities to know more songs, even in the fields of Italodisco. But I must confess I also heard some terrible tracks…really too commercial. Not everything was so good.

You have mentioned to me that you like to listen and sing Jazz and Swing. Also, you made some songs in that style. Maybe a few words about that?
Sure, but I still have to find a Jazz label for those works…It’s much easier to have chances in the field of dance music, but for the other kinds of music it’s much more complicated. I have the same problem for my classical piano pieces. “Why” , arranged by Bruno Sorba and “Smokes and perfumes”, by Giulio Gallarate, are two tracks that have a jazz feeling. Maybe, in future it will be possible to publish them too…

What is your goal Marc? And plans for near future?
As I said before…to go on. To release everything I can, many kinds of music, at least as much as possible… I’m versatile. I lost many important years, and I really would like to continue making music.

Just to finish Marc, do you have anything important to say that I haven't asked you? I am sure we only scratched the surface of your interesting music story with this interview. I hope we will stay in touch and present your work on my site and enjoy it!
I suppose I haven’t much more to say for now. You asked everything that was essential, and you did it very well!

Thank you very much for this interview Marc and wish you luck in your near future and after.
Thanks again Zeljko! You too

Read also: Marc Fruttero_2nd interview

© Zeljko Vujkovic - June 2005