DJ: Maestra Paonessa, welcome to our Journal.
AP: Thank you so much for this opportunity and your time.
1- For our readers who might get to know you for the first time, please tell us about yourself and what took you to the musical arena.
AP: Music has never been a hobby to me, it has always been something I knew I wanted to do. I remember my mother listening to CD's of Kathleen Battle and Kiri Te Kanawa when I was young, and even at the age of four I knew I wanted to be just like them-an opera singer. Im not sure if it was the beautiful ball gowns, the grace they had on stage or the romanticness of travel around the world performing from city to city, but what I remembered most was how they inspired me, and I hope I will be able to inspire people through music as they have inspired me.
I’ve spent my whole life growing up in Toronto- I love my city and believe the diversity in culture has helped shape me as an artist. I have been very fortunate to grow up in an artistic home as my father, Sam Paonessa, is a fine artist.
My parents have always supported me and I started studying music with the Royal Conservatory of Music as young girl and performed as a member of the Bach Children’s Chorus which toured across Canada.
I recently graduated from York University where I completed my BFA in Music, Classical Voice and was recently in California where I took part in the OperaWorks Emerging Artist Program. Last year I made my European debut with the Accademia Europea dell'Opera program in Amsterdam and am looking forward to future operatic opportunities. When I am not singing and studying I have a huge love for traveling in addition to my part time job as a floral designer.
I enjoy expressing my artistic passion through floral arranging at a shop in Toronto and love designing unique and high styled arrangements for the enjoyment of others.
2- Viewing your official pages, one can hear your cover songs in different languages, is this because of your classical operatic education or are you bilingual? They say the language of music is universal, do agree with that?
AP: Included in my classical training was diction in German, Italian, French and Latin. For each song I research the words, their meaning and use the International Phonetic Alphabet as a pronunciation guide so I can communicate the song as accurately as possible.
Although I am not fluent in languages apart from English, I am interested in learning languages particularly that of my heritage, Italian. One of my favorite quotes reads: "music is what emotion sounds like" (Author Unknown). I love this quote because I really believe music IS the sound of our emotion and thus believe music to be universal. Regardless of whether a translation is present, one can often feel the emotion of a song.
As an artist I strive to be authentic, interpreting the music so that others can feel with me; this is my goal when I sing, so as I cry the audience feels my pain, as I laugh the audience feels my joy and through the authenticity of my expression the audience will feel emotion regardless
3- How do you see the role of music in raising the bars of social awareness? Can music be a uniting tool for a good cause?
AP: I believe the power of music has the ability to heal, empower, unite and therefore be a huge influence in helping to raise social awareness. There are many examples of groups that have come together to raise money and awareness, such as Bandaid or Young Artists for Haiti when a crisis occurred.
Not only is music a universal language but I believe it has the ability to cross language barriers such as race and religion and thus an invaluable tool in uniting people for various causes. I believe everyone has a gift to share with the world and it is our responsibility to step up and share those gifts and do what we can to help one another in the world.
4- Is there any cause or charity that you and your art is supporting?
AP: In the past I have organized and performed in concerts that have helped raise money for various causes and organizations such as ‘ Un moto di Gioia’ ( A Moment of Joy) that raised funds for Hope Medical Clinic. More recently, 'I adore you' is project I am working on with WAALM and selected by Synergy studio to be added to their compilation CD, a collection of songs recorded by the studio and sold to raise money for a charity of their choice and will be released in the new year.
5- You contributed to WAALM's Podcast on "Arts for Peace", which was very well-received and we know that your segment made a difference and that there are a couple of projects lined up for you by WAALM. How do you see the role of non-profit organizations such as us in promoting independent and talented artists?
AP: It was a great honor to be a part of ‘Arts for Peace’ and I was very proud to be able to represent Canada among the countries involved in this project. I think what WAALM is doing a great thing in promoting artists and their talents in addition to helping them get involved in various humanitarian projects that otherwise would either be impossible financially to afford or be a part of as an individual.
It is a great honor to be able to work with such a prestigious group such as WAALM and without them gaining the support of fans and individuals from around the world would be impossible. I am so grateful to be a part of not only their projects, but projects that can make a different and use my talents for such great causes.
I enjoy helping the needy and there are so many great charities bringing awareness to different humanitarian issues. I look forward to future projects where I can use my voice to help others in any way possible and hope in my future career
I never lose sight of the influence I can make as an artist.
6- For those who wish to follow your activities, please tell us about your forthcoming projects or events and that how they can stay connect with you.
AP: I am very excited as I feel things are starting to simmer in my life. This Christmas I will be performing in a Christmas musical ‘ I’ll be Home for Christmas’. Wednesday’s between 4-6pm 106.5 KITC FM features classical crossover artists and occasionally plays my music on their website ; www.kitcfm.com
And in the new year I hope to be putting together my first CD which I am very excited about. To stay updated with everything I am doing you can follow me on twitter, Facebook or check my website:
DJ: Maestra Paonessa, thank you for attending this. We wish you all the best on your artistic career.
AP: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and for all your support.
- Listen to Alessandra's music: www.reverbnation.com/alessandrapaonessa
- WAALM's Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/waalmawards
- WAALM's Twitter: www.twitter.com/waalmawards
- Official Websites: www.waalm.com www.waalmdiplomacy.org