Give it up for the Capital Region's newest rising solo female star, Margo Macero. Not only is she the bassist for our very own Frank Palangi, but she is also focusing her career on coming out as a solo artist. I recently spoke with Margo about her current projects and future aspirations and she needs your support in getting her name out there. She's young, talented and motivated to become the "next big thing." Read on to find out more about Margo and what she's all about.
How did you get paired up with Frank Palangi? How has it been working and playing with him?
Word got around that Frank was looking for a bassist. He is a talented, professional and focused artist which attracted me to his project the most. I am versatile musician even though my roots are electric guitar and vocals but I can't agree more that bass guitar is pure hip. The energy in his music really allowed me to play the bass aggressively and dig into different styles of music. Since I met Frank we've also booked duo shows together where we feature both of our original music. It works out so well because we both put a lot of time and hard work into our own careers as independent artists as well. Working and performing with Frank is just as much beneficial as it is fun because we can be ourselves and critique creative ideas without hesitation.
When did you start songwriting/performing? What is your musical niche?
I wrote my first song at 12 years old. I called it "The Midnight Sun." I dug up an old recorder that's been in my musical family for years. That same year I also began performing with my father in local venues, learning every possible Beatles and Melissa Etheridge song I came across. My musical niche is actually the blues and jazz. My great uncle, Teo Macero, was a Columbia record producer who produced one of the best selling jazz albums of all time, "Kind Of Blue" by Miles Davis. Anytime I felt out of place the blues always hit home for me. Those are two solid areas of music that I could always call home.
Who would you most compare your musical style to? Who is your biggest idol?
I have many idols but I'd have to say Melissa Etheridge. When I was young my aunt died and left me a bunch of mixed tapes of her music and live recordings. Her energy, attitude, raspy voice and musical delivery grabbed my attention. Also, because she's a woman with her guitar. When she hit the industry there weren't too many like her- she had her own voice. The biggest thing I admire about her is the way she sings her songs- you can tell instantly that they come directly from her heart- pure passion.
Do you want to continue working with Frank or do you eventually want to go the
solo route? Why?
Frank and I are actually both solo artists which is why it works out so well. If he has important shows coming up that he needs a band for, I'm there. If I need a guitar player for a music festival, he's there. It goes both ways. Sometimes we might have shows that clash on the same day but we work through that. Our musical styles are totally different so we both get a piece of a different crowd. When one of us gets the opportunity to get signed to a label, we both understand that we may have to go separate ways because we both work so hard at our own projects. Until then we will be out and about making new records and promoting shows.
What childhood memory contributes to your music the most?
When I was growing up my dad played drums almost every day. I asked him for a rockin' airplane and a guitar when I was six. I guess I indicated to him that I wanted to go on tour but I don't think I was ready at that point. My first instrument was actually the drums. Gene Krupa also played at my grandfathers bar but I was too little to remember. My dad remembers that like yesterday though. I learned so much about music from him and he's a wonderful jazz drummer. For the past 21 year's I've been listening to him dig out old Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich recordings- the good stuff.
What is the reaction of your family/friends/town to your music? Do they come out to support you at shows?
They love it. They support my music because it's audible and attracts a very wide range of audiences. The difference between this project and other bands or groups is that we put on a good show. I'm naturally a performer and everything comes right from my gut. Music is where I can resort to when everything else fails. I put all of my soul into it because to me it's the only thing I have. I've learned that when musicians truly do put themselves out there and sing in honesty and passion, you gain more respect that way. You've really got to dig down deep. The more shows I play the more people I notice that follow me. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am.
What do you hope to achieve in the future, musically and non-musically?
My goal is to keep making records- good records. You can capture time through music and that's what I love about it. 50 years later I can listen to my original song, "Colors In The Sky" and that whole time period will come back to me. I've had dreams about opening for super bowls and playing at the Grammy's and I think it's safe to say those are some of my goals. I would love to sing with Melissa Etheridge or Emily Armstrong some day as well. My mind is always set on that. Non-musically, before you do anything you have to love yourself. I think everyone can relate. For years to come I will be stretching that fact and exercising the concepts of being truthful to yourself and other people. I hope to reach out to a lot of people in the future. I've always had a funny feeling about inspiring others to do good- this will always be my intention.
Who is your favorite band? What aspects of that union do you try to exemplify in your own musical relationships?
It's a cross between three. I can't choose between them because they all bring something special. I'd have to say Aerosmith, TOTO and Van Halen. Joe Perry's and Steven Tyler's relationship in songwriting I've studied for years now. I have to say Steven Tyler's vocals really bring it home for me. I've never heard anything like it. I incorporate his style of vocal expression and songwriting a lot. Then you have TOTO who wrote unbelievable hip tunes like "Pamela," "Africa" and "Rosanna." I am absolutely in love with how tight those guys are- they can really play. There is call and response everywhere. They keep it interesting. They have a huge influence on my songwriting. Then you have Van Halen. Every time I listen to them I learn something new, especially about the guitar player. I used to watch Eddie Van Halen's solos over and over and over- they never got old to me. They never will. He's one of the guitar players I admire the most. He could say so much even when he played so little. He could also take off and go crazy during guitar solos if he wanted to. That's something I've always wanted to do. You have the best of both worlds that way.
I rest up the vocal chords. Sometimes I sing five times a week at four and half hours a night. There's days where my fingers split wide open from guitar playing. I recently started using superglue on my finger nails because they are getting ripped apart. It feels good though because I know I'm working. When I can't play or sing another note, I usually throw in [my favorite move of all time,] Crossroads- that all relates back to Robert Johnson. I love the guitar duel at the end with Steve Vai. It blows my mind every time. The blues licks in that movie are so groovy.
What kind of image do you want to portray with your music? Do you want to be an image for young girls to look up to as you did?
I want to be a positive icon in women's music. There's not too many girls out there that sing and play electric lead guitar. I'd like to break into that industry and influence women to take music to the next level. Above everything I would like to be a musical influence that reaches out to not just women but every type of audience. Music is a language and we all can relate to it.