Xavier Toscano believes that pop music is the soundtrack to our lives. It etches powerful memories in our minds. When you hear a song from your past, it immediately takes you back. Faded, sepia-toned memories rush in with a colorful pop. Xavier’s music is influenced by Top 40 radio and video. He also blends his love of disco, rap, rock, reggae, and R&B with his dancing ability to create a dynamic stage show. Xavier has performed across the United States and Europe, and continues to entertain locally. He has a strong acting resume as well. In addition to local theater and film projects, he has recorded national commercials for Nextel, NASCAR, Sony PlayStation, and more. In a recent exclusive interview with Jamsphere, Xavier Toscano gave us some insights into his thoughts and work ethic.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
Xavier Toscano: I’ve been singing since 2008. I got started by working with a producer in the basement of his house making beats. And here I am now.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Xavier Toscano: The only real fair way to answer this is to say that I have always been influenced by top 40 Billboard. Sure, there are a lot of singers that I really like, but for the most part, I have always really enjoyed pop music of all kinds.
- Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
Xavier Toscano: I really like Ed Sheeran. I would love to work with Timbaland though. He would be the ultimate collaborator for me. I have always thought he’s a genius.
- Have you suffered any ‘resistance’ from within the industry, and if so how have you handled that, and how do you handle criticism and naysayers in general?
Xavier Toscano: I can’t really say that I have an industry horror story, even though I do get my fair share of rejection. As for “haters”, I don’t think about them. I move on, and use my energy wisely; I have set high goals for myself and don’t like wasting time wondering why someone does not like me.
- What are your thoughts on visual media and Youtube? Do think that video is an appropriate marketing tool for your music, and how do you produce your visual media?
Xavier Toscano: YouTube and visual media in general have become a necessity. Oftentimes, it may be the first way that someone is introduced to your music, so you can’t really avoid it. I work with different people to try and create the best possible videos. In this very competitive business, quality is how you stand out.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?
Xavier Toscano: Live, hands down! I LOVE performing for a live audience. Nothing feels better than that.
- Songwriting, music production and performance, which of these do you handle on your recordings and which do you outsource?
Xavier Toscano: I write all my lyrics, but I work with producers locally. Live performance is all me. I always sing live. 😉
8. What is your latest single or album release and where can fans find it?
Xavier Toscano: My latest video single release is “Apologies Wasted” and you can find it on my VEVO channel. www.vevo.com/artist/xavier-toscano
- Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a business thriving with newcomers and wannabes?
Xavier Toscano: I love what I do, and I feel like people can sense that. I also like to think that I come from a place where I don’t just do this for myself. But that I do it so that I can help people change their feelings, or take a different view on things. So that they feel like there is someone out there who they can connect with and we can come to terms with life in similar ways.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
Xavier Toscano: I think it’s almost impossible to put just one emotion… But if I had to put just one word to express to it, I think the word would have to be celebration. To celebrate life; the good, the bad, and in everything in between.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Xavier Toscano: Performing live, hands down!
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team or do you control everything by yourself?
Xavier Toscano: I get a lot of help, but ultimately I say what goes. Sometimes to the detriment of the team, but there is always a lesson learned. So, no matter what, we grow forward.
- How do you achieve your great sound? Do you work exclusively a private home recording environment or do you use a commercial sound studio too?
Xavier Toscano: I work with producers who are professional musicians and who have their s**t together! I will only work with people who I admire, period. I have worked in professional studios and sometimes in home studios, but one of the requirements is always that they work smart, not just hard.
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Xavier Toscano: I tend to fire quickly. Sometimes I cross the street before looking both ways so to speak. It was tough when I first started singing live because I had no training and sounded very bad. But in the end, that helped me gain a ton of confidence so it was not a bad move after all. I don’t know, I don’t really think there are bad moves (so long as you’re not seriously breaking the law), since you either get your desired result or a lesson that gets you closer. How can you not win?
- What are your thoughts on talent shows like The X-Factor and American Idol? Do you think they are a viable source of real talent and a good career choice?
Xavier Toscano: Since I don’t have first-hand experience with shows like that, I can’t really tell you. All I know is, they haven’t really given us idols or voices that we consistently latch on to. They seem to actually make the already famous more famous. So, I’m not sure they are really “the way to go”.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Xavier Toscano: I believe you have to make yourself accessible and the internet helps with that. But it is only one piece… You still have to search out other avenues with which to reach new listeners all the time. It in no way replaces performing live and that’s where you know who the good ones are.
- If someone has never heard your music, which 3 keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Xavier Toscano: Fresh, sincere, relatable.
- Where on your scale of preferences is acting, the theater and movies?
Xavier Toscano: Singing is hands down my favorite, and I will act and enjoy it while doing it, but I never pursue it. Acting gigs just sort of find me and I’m OK with that.
- As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or some other tangible milestone?
Xavier Toscano: Selling out a stadium. Performing for 50,000 people would probably feel like I have finally made it.
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Xavier Toscano: I would never put my family in silly situations on a reality show. I personally would be silly, but I would never ask my family to expose themselves in any way that would make them feel uncomfortable.