Jingle singer Lana Marie and songwriter/producer Anthony Casuccio form the Buffalo, NY duo A&L. The group met up with us and talked shop about jingles, Grammy's, why their new music video is a "hot mess" and more!
The Fan Connection (TFC): Hi! Pleased to meet you both! We appreciate you giving us some time today.
A&L: Thank you! We are glad to be here talking with The Fan Connection.
TFC: Let's start with introductions for new potential fans who've not heard of you before. Tell us a little about both of you.
A&L: Anthony: I am a 20-year music veteran, whose production work has been nominated for three Grammy awards, been featured in major music publications and topped the music charts. Lana: I am an award-winning vocalist who has been a long-time force on the WNY music scene. I have won over 30 Buffalo Music Awards for best rock singer, best acoustic duo, and best rock band. I am in the Hall of Achievements for best rock vocalist and best rock cover band. I now do a lot of recordings for jingles and am the singer for our project A&L with Anthony!
TFC: Use 7 words to describe your music, and what we could expect at a live show?
A&L: Fun, upbeat, funny, rehearsed, pop, guitar-driven, engaging. Our live shows are fun. Our music is upbeat and we aim to get people singing and moving.
TFC: Nice! How long have you been playing together and how did that come about?
A&L: We have been together about two years. Anthony: I met Lana when I was producing some jingles and I asked her to sing on a few. A year or two later, I wrote our first song "Get Me A Drink" and thought she would be perfect to sing on it. We did it for fun but received such a positive response that we just kept going. We are about to release our 4th single followed by an EP.
TFC: We get most of our information for interviews from our artists other social media pages. Yours lists A&L's hometown as Buffalo, NY. Are you both originally from there, and are you still based out of Buffalo?
A&L: Lana: Yes we are both here and very active in the regional music scene.
TFC: What's the music scene like in your area?
A&L: Lana: It can be a little cut-throat. It helps to know people. Anthony: Lana knows more about the scene then I do. I can compare it to other cities and I do feel that Buffalo has more opportunities for musicians to play out. A lot of clubs in other cities have been torn down to make room for better financially-suited buildings.
TFC: At what age did music become the biggest part of your life, and what were your inspirations for that?
A&L: Lana: In 9th grade I wrote my first song and had a friend in the musical with me play it on piano, and we got another standing ovation. I knew right there that’s what I wanted to do; entertain and sing. I loved being in the spot light and have not looked back. Anthony: For me it was hearing the The Beatles. I was hit by the songwriting and the fame. I thought it was so cool even though they had not written anything in 20 years. I became more interested in the technical aspects of recording and songwriting. That led me to getting into recording production. I have been fortunate to have worked on some amazing projects. But I have always worked on original music.
TFC: Since you've been together as an act, what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
A&L: Lana: For me, its time. I have very little time for each project that I’m involved in, and trying to balance my life with it is hard. But with A&L, Anthony is always on top of things so it always works out in the end. Anthony: I feel it is hard to get recognition in our home town. We are getting great reviews, charting elsewhere in the world...but when people know you and see you on a regular basis, they don’t take you as seriously as they should. We will change that however with our new single. Its going to help open things up.
"The shoot was fast and fun, we only took a few takes, and then the director grabs the needed people and filled in the scenes. It’s funny and really sells the idea of the song."
TFC: We actually hear that from other bands too...hometown recognition. Depending on the area, can be difficult. Ok...we watched the video for your song "Hot Mess" and we're not going to lie, it brought us back to some times at some places I would rather forget! (insert uncomfortable memories of dive bars EVERYWHERE here, LOL). Obviously, this song AND video combination was written and filmed to elicit those types of thoughts, memories (good OR bad, LOL), along with some laughter. You've got to explain to us where you found your actors for this one, and a little description of the video shoot. What was recording day like?
A&L: Lana: My sister was the “hot mess”. That was totally her years ago before she got married, LOL. Anthony: Lana had a contact at the bar where we shot the video. Most of those people were regulars there. Our drummer brought in a few friends and the other band members all made cameos. The shoot was fast and fun, we only took a few takes, and then the director grabs the needed people and filled in the scenes. It’s funny and really sells the idea of the song.
TFC: Anthony, some of your production work was nominated for Grammy awards. Can you tell us about that?
A&L: I have been very fortunate to have worked with some great people on some great projects. I had the pleasure of working on three albums that have been nominated for Grammy awards. Some of my other work has topped the charts as well as received RIAA gold record status. I love to be busy and always look forward to my musical projects.
TFC: Lana, you've been the voice for jingles on radio and TV. That's pretty exciting! Would we recognize them? Do tell!
A&L: They are jingles mostly played in Western NY, but they are very catchy and they are played on TV quite a bit before the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills game, so it is possible for others to hear them!
TFC: Fans are an integral part of your career as a musician. How have yours helped you to move closer to your goals as an act?
A&L: A&L has received a ton of support via social media. We both have been surprised at the positive response to our music videos. It is very cool to get a fan response when you post something. We feel that the fans have helped us spread our word and shared our music.
TFC: As you know, The Fan Connection is a social media/e-commerce platform geared strictly towards indie artists and fans. We have some incredible features rolling out in 2016. Some of them include a new music player with radio-like format, private chat rooms so you can chat with your fans, Fan Clubs and merch stores where YOU earn money, and live video streaming. Of the few we've mentioned, which ones do you think will be most beneficial to A&L and why?
A&L: We are in the process of putting together our first EP. We feel that the merch store would be ideal to sell our physical copies. It’s a great site that we can use to send out for a complete overview on our music and background information.
TFC: Thank you so much for your time today! We're looking forward to seeing you active on TFC!
A&L: Thank you. We appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and The Fan Connection.
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