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Check Out Anthony Taddeo’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Taddeo. 

Hi Anthony, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to share some of what I do with your audience! I was involved in a bunch of different activities when I was a kid, but at the center of all of my passions has always been music and rhythm. When it was time to decide what career path I wanted to focus on I chose to pursue music because I felt there was a longevity in it that really enticed me. Fast forward many years, I now have an undergraduate degree in performance from the Newschool for Jazz in NYC; I’ve had the opportunity to perform all over the world, spent some time in Italy, graduated with a graduate degree in composition, moved to Cleveland, have two beautiful children and have recently begun leading my ow band! That’s me in a nutshell.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One of the hardest moments of my career was actually right at the very beginning of it when I applied for music college. I started to take music seriously a little later in life than most, but I had fallen in love with music, in particular jazz, and wanted to study it in NYC. I applied to 5 colleges and was rejected by all of them! In many cases, I didn’t even get past the pre-screen. This was a real wake-up call for me because I had in my mind that this is what I was going to do with my life and then it seemed like the rug was pulled out from under me. I realized that there was a decision that I had to make. Either I was going to have to do something drastic or rethink my career choice. I chose to do something drastic! My teacher at the time (Jamey Haddad) told me about a practicing ritual in India that involved 40 days of practicing your instrument for 10 hours a day. Initially, when he told me about that ritual, I thought it was insane, but after receiving all of these rejection letters, I began to realize that it was exactly the type of drastic response that was needed if I wanted to pursue my dreams of a career in music. Later that summer my grandma fell and broke her hip. It meant that she was going to have to stay with my parents for a minimum of 6 weeks to recover and that her house was going to be empty for at least 40 days! I knew that this was the opportunity I needed, so I moved all of my gear over to her house, came up with a detailed plan of how I was going to practice 10 hours a day without causing myself any pain, tendonitis, or other injuries. I sought out the advice of many of my peers, and then when the time was right, I jumped into it! It was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my life. There were moments that I couldn’t stand to hear myself play anymore, there were moments that I was so lonely and depressed and there were also incredible moments of clarity and self-growth. Immediately finishing the 40 days I called the Newschool (my preferred school) and told them the background story followed by another request to audition. They granted that request and not only was I invited to NYC for a live audition, but I was accepted as a “high-level transfer student” and was given a sizeable amount of scholarship! That experience has forever shaped my career and has informed everything that I do. It taught me that if I work hard enough, I can make almost anything happen.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
At the moment what I’m most proud of is a new group that I lead called “Alla Boara”. The point of this group is pointing back to my roots as an Italian-American (my dad is from Italy) and trying to bring new life and recognition to the folk music of Italy. A lot of it is still fairly unknown and way underappreciated. I hope that this group can help bring some attention back to it!

The majority of the work that I do is sideman work. That means that when people need a drummer/percussionist/background vocalist, they call me! (Or at least… I hope they do haha) I’ve been doing that kind of work the longest, and it’s how I make the majority of my living. I love this kind of work because I meet so many different people and get to work on all different kinds of music! For me, music is a means to relationships and I am so honored to share life with the people that hire me to play their music.

I think what sets me apart from other drummers is my use of textures and melody with the drums. I’m fascinated by those two things, and I love whenever I can add new textures to my repertoire.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I think one thing that I walked away with is that there is absolutely no substitute for live music! I hope that we all come away from the pandemic with a renewed sense of wonder of what goes into a live performance, the feeling of being together in a room and sharing a communal, artistic experience.

Another fascinating thing about the pandemic is that it made us all pause and reflect on what we were doing with our lives. It gave us the opportunity to get off of our individual “hamster wheels” and reflect on what is really important to us.

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Image Credits
Emily Flory
Derek Snyder

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