Creating a new musical genre is a feat to which few musicians can lay a genuine claim. But when the talents of a pop diva were merged with one of Australia’s leading operatic tenors, a new category of ‘Orchestral/Pop’ was born and with it, an exciting one-of-a-kind musical act with a truly epic new album.
Factor in that they are brother and sister, and it's easy to see why La Spina occupies such a unique place in the international recording arena.
After forging successful musical careers independently over the past decade, Anna-Maria and Rosario La Spina have come together for their first album, ALWAYS YOU.
Co-written and co-produced by Anna-Maria with her musical arrangements made in partnership with a Hollywood-based film composer, this debut album is emotionally overwhelming and of cinematic proportions. One listener described it as being “like the Empire State Building in music!”
Backed by the 65-piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and a support band that toured with Savage Garden, the two sibling-singers have melded their natural pop and operatic flairs to create an epic sound, taking their Orchestral/Pop genre to a whole new level.
For Anna-Maria La Spina, who co-wrote many of the tracks and who many years earlier encouraged her bricklaying brother to pursue an operatic career, “this has been a lifelong dream. Some of the songs were conceived as dramatic stadium showpieces and yet there are other tracks where the melody and lyrics will lead you into a beautifully emotional, intimate moment all the while incorporating our contrasting vocal styles.”
"This album is a collection of stories signifying hope and love,” she says of the powerful musical arrangements which also include her own arrangements of the songs ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ and ‘The Prayer’, as well as a no-holds-barred cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Run to the Hills’.
But what makes this album so unique is that nine of its twelve songs are originals – so powerful and immediate is their impact that they sound as if you might have heard them before. Their messages are potent.
“I think the listener can identify with most of the story-lines in each song,” says Rosario.
The title track ‘Always You’, sung in both English and Italian is a poignant ballad of love and loss, ‘Vivere’ talks about living with no regret and being the best you can be, while ‘Everyday’ has a conclusion of such driving power bringing the Orchestra and live band together seamlessly. The lilting melody of ‘Love Holds The Answer’ is a kind of musical oasis in a world of heightened emotions. The deeply moving ‘You And I’ comes straight out of the La Spina family experience.
Despite a three-and-a-half year difference in age, the siblings, who were born and bred in a Sicilian-Australian household in the suburbs of Brisbane, have embarked on starkly different musical journeys. Anna-Maria went on to sing at Madison Square Garden and Hyde Park in the UK with Savage Garden and worked alongside superstars Meatloaf, Ozzy Osbourne and Slash, while Rosario who has been described by a former Opera Australia executive as “the Australian Pavarotti”, has appeared at that shrine of opera houses, La Scala in Milan, in the company of Plácido Domingo.
With its staggering vocals and monumental orchestral climaxes, ALWAYS YOU is an album that has clearly been made with passion, utter commitment, and a unique simpatico between its performers, born not just out of sibling understanding, but also unrivalled musical talent.