Rob Fusari: The Man Everyone Loves To Hate Comes Clean

Photo Credit: Cody Rasmussen
Photo: (c) Cody Rasmussen / The Producer-turned-Songwriter Covers Beatles, Bowie, and Gaga in His Latest Solo Gig

I just sat down with Rob Fusari, the man who produced Lady Gaga’s debut album, The Fame, as he reenters the spotlight singing a song co-written with one of the world’s most famous pop stars. Fans of Gaga’s early career sound will likely remember the Lennon-McCartney style tune called “Let Love Down”, which leaked online back in early 2010.

Mr. Fusari has revisited the song and added a new take on an old demo, this time from a man’s perspective.
He was candid and open, and discussed everything from working in the studio with Gaga, the theme behind two dozen demos with her, his growing up on Liberace, and, in a revealing moment — those recent Twitter outbursts.

Read along, and let’s take a trip behind the music with Rob, as he looks to the future, a new club tour, and his ongoing efforts to clear his name in the music industry.

How are you? 

I’ve been okay, I’ve been good, definitely trying to get back on track, things got a little crazy… Sometimes you’ve got to kind of, you know, hit rock bottom a little bit to start the wheels turning again in the right direction. I think that’s kind of what happened for me.

It’s been such a crazy ride. It’s been nutty. When I think about what’s happened over the course of the past, you know, five, six, seven years, it’s just been crazy. But it’s going in the right direction again. So that’s good.

Why did you choose “Let Love Down” to be your first solo single as Rob Fusari?

It’s a great question. You know, it all started, when I went back to the university that I graduated from, William Patterson University. They’d been asking me to come back and do some lecturing and potentially do a course on artist development. I went back for a lecture about six months ago, and there was a piano in the lecture room. Maybe about 150 people were there [in the room], and as I’m doing the lecture they asked me if I would play something, sing something on the piano. So, from just off the top of my head, that was the song that I chose to perform. Just because it’s always been really dear to me… You know, I never feel it got a release, from Gaga, so it wasn’t — you know, it’s funny, because some people are like, “I like hers better!” — but it was never a contest. It was just, my interpretation of a song that I had co-written. There was no motive in terms of, “Oh, I wanna do a Gaga co-write” or “I wanna piggyback off the Gaga theme”, it was honest. It was simply because I liked the song.

The day I played it at the university, people seemed to gravitate to it. I wasn’t even thinking about it, in terms of, you know, what the repercussions might be, or if people were gonna think I took her song, or … I wasn’t even thinking that. I’m thinking more — just pure and innocent. It’s just one of the songs that I’d written that I really dig, amongst other ones that I’ve written with her.

You know, she didn’t have a problem with me using Wonderful and some of the other songs, so this wasn’t a problem either. It seems to be, to me, more like, that some of her fans have more issues with it than her. Which I find a bit strange, but, it is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about that.

Most Gaga fans aren’t willing to really accept your art. At least from what I’ve read around online.

I think it’s even deeper than that. I don’t think they want to accept the fact that I created with her either. That’s the part I find strange. It’s fine that you don’t choose to accept me as a creative force. But what seems to be happening is a denial of the force that took place in 2006 as well. Which I find odd. For instance, with Let Love Down, it’s a 50/50 co-write. If you do the research, which it doesn’t seem like all the fans want to do, you find that under ASCAP or BMI or what have you, that it’s a fifty – fifty split. Those numbers are there for a reason, it’s a co-write. I think they don’t know [that]. What it seems to someone, looking from the outside in, is that, “Oh, he took her song.”

[They think]that it was her song. But it’s not that simple. And, it’s not to disrespect her — this is on the record, it’s not to disrespect her or to create waves, in any way, shape or form. I wanna put this to bed just as much as anyway else. Sure, have I said things that maybe I regret, in the heat of the moment? Sure. There is certainly an apology due from me on that level. But I want the truth just like everyone else.

There’s kinda an eight hundred pound gorrilla in the room, and that’s some of the stuff you are saying on Twitter… The last time I logged in, and saw some of your feeds, there was some stuff on there that’s cringeworthy.

I apologize. I have a bit of a bipolar thing, that I deal with. And that doesn’t mean I have the right to say anything hurtful, or do anything hurtful. Because I don’t. I had no right to do that, I shouldn’t have done that. And that’s something I’m working on.

Look, I understand that her fans, technically, will never be my fans. I get that — I understand why. I respect that, I do. It’s not so much moving on with my career, it’s more moving on with my life. I’ve seen a bigger side of this whole thing. Gaga… being a huge chapter in my life – it was just another chapter. I am willing, and I want, to close that chapter out in a positive way, if I am able to. It’s not like we have to walk away being best friends, or friends, for that matter. But, I think we can walk away from it and say, “It was a very creative productive time. There shouldn’t be any harsh words or bad blood said.” And that goes for me. Obviously.
And you know, I’m working on it. Those things… It’s a sensitive subject. I think it needs to be brought on the record, I do. I’m okay with that. I think it needs to be brought to the forefront, I shouldn’t’ve said [those things]. There was no excuse for it.

When you said that stuff, what could have been going through your mind? I see it now, with you, as someone who was lashing out because they were hurting. Why else say that kind of stuff… Are you going to address it?

I’m sure you can imagine what goes on with the lawyers, the calls I get, the attorneys, and I get caught up in the moment. And I shouldn’t… I am emotional. But look, to cut to the chase: absolutely. I will go back. It should be deleted, I’m not proud of it. I’m not gonna stand behind it. And again, that’s on the record. I’m not gonna stand behind those statements. They shouldn’t be made…and whatever she is going through, with what’s happened in the past for her, if anything, I want to see her bring somebody to justice. Get the guy who those awful things happened with.

It’s not my place to interject in that, it’s really not. I am wrong, and I’m admitting to it. And not to make excuses for it, but I get caught up in the emotion of it all sometimes. And like you said, it does hurt. There is definitely [a time] — when people look at you a certain way, that you are not — you can’t imagine how it hurts.

It looks like, from an outside view, kinda like a character assasination. That kind of thing is very hard to prove wrong.

It is.

Even if it were true — which it’s not — I’m the type of person that would still stand up and be like, “Look, you know, I’m dealing with it.” And I would just say, “This is what happened, and people make mistakes.” But that’s not even the case. It’s like a double whammy. I’m being attacked, and ridiculed, and found guilty for something that I had nothing to do with — so it’s just really hard. Try to put yourself in that position.

Like, if the tables were turned. It could be anything. Let’s say you were at work, and somebody stole something, or something got lost, and everyone’s looking at you saying, “You stole it.” Everyone’s blaming you. And you KNOW you didn’t, in your heart. It’s hard to deal with that emotionally. It really is. It’s a first for me in that, in the level that it’s at. And of course you know, this is why you see sometimes, like, I’m like, “Aw, forget this!!” and I’ll go to Twitter, and I’m like, I’m so angry, and that’s not where I should be. It shouldn’t be coming out that way. I shouldn’t be dealing with it on Twitter. That is wrong.

Those need to be deleted. And again, it’s not just to try to win her fans over, the intention is to move on, to more positive things, for everyone. I’m sure she doesn’t need to deal with this stupid stuff. I don’t want to keep dealing with it. Everyone just needs to move on, to get on to the next chapter in a positive way. The only way that can happen… obviously, is if I stop. I have to stop this ridiculous behaviour, in terms of the Twitter stuff. So, that’s something I’m willing to do, and that I have to do. To move on.

I almost didn’t want to bring it up to you in this interview, because maybe it was part of the legal stuff you can’t talk about. 

I don’t even care about that stuff anymore. You have to understand something about me — I’m the type of person that if I screw up, if I do something, I’m willing to stand and say, “You know what, I screwed up.” I’m not the kind of person who is like, “Well, I did it ‘cuz of this, and the reason is…” I’m not even gonna do that here. Because I know when I do something and it’s wrong, and I know I have to stand and live with it and deal with it, and admit to it.

That’s something, with those Tweets, that I have to deal with.

I’m not gonna try to defend them, or make excuses for that. I’m not that kind of person.

I think, from a certain extent, I can see where if I were standing in your shoes, it would be very difficult to be in your position.

Some days, you feel like the whole world is against you. I’m no different than anybody else out there. It’s like the problem is, when anybody else tweets, they don’t have a bunch of people looking at it. So I have more of a responsibility in that way, so I have to take that responsibility.

You just said that her fans are probably never gonna be your fans. I think that’s kinda a shame, considering all the early works you did with her.

I think if they knew how great that Stef and I worked together, creatively, they would understand. But maybe it’s not the right time for them to understand it. And that’s okay. But again, it’s like, there’s no motive behind Let Love Down. I was actually kinda shocked to see some of the comments. I was like, “Yeah, oh well..” But then what am I gonna do? I can’t let it get it to me that way either. It’s just a song that I loved, it’s my take, my interpretation of it. That’s all it is. I’m not looking to [make it] better than hers, or looking to beat the superstar. It’s not that at all. I think people are misinterpreting.

I did a very simple, low budget video because it’s just something that I wanted to do. It was a vision that I had, and I just wanted to do it. I think it’s getting blown out of proportion a little bit. Of course her vocal is better. She’s a way better singer than me. Are you kidding me? (laughs) I can’t hold a candle to her vocally. I would never even try to. That’s nuts. I’m not that crazy!

That’s really what it is. In it’s simplest form. But again, I think it’s time for me to go back my twitter, just erase those things, and make a statement, say, you know, “look, these shouldn’t’ve been tweeted.” and my apologies. I mean, I’m just trying to figure it out like everyone else. That’s really the bottom line.

It’s like, you’re not gonna change people’s minds over night. And the tweets don’t help, and all that, so I think it’s time to start turning it around.  And I think, at some point, some people might understand it, and they might look at it from another side and say, “Maybe I can understand why he’s a bit frustrated from everything that’s happened here.” You know what, look, it never really comes the way you want it in life. For any of us. But I guess, everybody deals with it differently. I’m not saying, with what I’ve done, you know, with some of the tweets, was the right way to deal with it. I have to deal with it. And I am dealing with it. What I’m saying to you, is partly dealing with it. What also is dealing with it — is not doing it again. And i get that, too. I’m not gonna sit here and apologize, and say, “Well, you know, I promise I’m gonna be better” — and then keep doing it. I can’t do that either. I gotta, really — when those moments hit — and I’m like, “Aw, man, this is one of those days,” I gotta go somewhere else with that energy. Maybe write a song or something. And just take it somewhere else.

Anything that isn’t public!

I think what I’ve found, with her fans, is that, like any fans, they just want to be heard. They have a voice, they want to be heard. It’s no different, we are the same. I think people want to be heard. And people need to listen… And if they could just try to listen. Like you’re listening to me. When you listen [to people], things change. Things open up.

I think people think I’m on this other island, and that “He’s in his own world, he can say whatever he wants.” I don’t think that at all. I am no better or no worse than anybody. We are all in the same boat here, trying to figure it out.

What was it like recording the original Don’t Let Love Down with Gaga, there was a whole Beatles vibe, right?

I gave another interview about this last week, to a similar question, you know, there was a definitely a bittersweet thing that happened during the recording and the sessions that evolved “Let Love Down.” I called it somewhat of a foreshadowing, of the relationship creatively with myself and her. I think we both knew, while we were making that record, that things were kind of shaky in terms of our creative relationship. It was almost like we knew. We had this very explosive kind of creative relationship. We also had a very volatile relationship on the personal side, as well. So it kind of felt like these very bittersweet moments, because it felt like the record was kind of talking about us. The lyric. We knew that, but we never said that. But you could feel it in the air. You could feel something just wasn’t going to last. And not in a negative way. I just think we knew. It’s like, the bigger the rainstorm, the bigger the sunshine. We had this incredible sunlight, and just this crazy energy when we wrote it. It was going to also come with a lot of rain, and turmoil, in a lot of ways.

I think that that record is indicative of the forshadowing, of, “Wow. This has been amazing. But we both know that this won’t last.”

It’s really a very beautiful song. Like the other songs, like Oh Well, or Wonderful.

Right. It’s in that same batch. You know, “Let Love Down” was kind of the last one that we did in that style. I think we both knew it was one of those tracks that wasn’t really going to make the record, that wasn’t really fitting the direction. But it was one of those things we had to do anyway. It’s strange, you know as an artist, and as a writer, and as a producer, that what you are doing is not exactly in a direction that you are supposed to be going in, that’s going to gel with everything else. But you still have to do it. It has to come out and be tangible at some point. And that was one of those records.

You have to see it through to it’s fruition.

Exactly.

It’s almost like you have to say something, in life, to write it down, just to get it out. And then you can let it go.

We never did [put it on the album], it was just like a one take vocal on her part, but we were both, it was kind of like, we both were loving the record, but we never talked about it, or went back to it, we just kind of let it be and let it live for what it was. And it was over.

It’s nice to hear a different gender singing it, it’s nice to hear a man’s take on it.

Yeah, that’s it! It’s just a different take. I love her version. I would give anything if they would release that version. I know it obviously didn’t fit The Fame. But it definitely fit more like with Speechless and that whole direction that she writes in.

I wasn’t trying to offend anybody, or step on anybody’s toes with it, with [my] record. If anything, I think it’s misconstrued in a lot of ways. It was kind of just a Youtube release, and it is what it is. I just really liked the song. Like some of the other songs we did, I really liked the song.

You were saying that there were about 20 or 25 Beatles tracks. And when I say Beatles, I mean, influenced by the Beatles. And, obviously, I know you can’t release the tracks, but, can you give us an idea of what some of the other themes were, was it love, was it life?

It was more like an “All You Need Is Love” sentiment in the lyrics. But there were also songs that we did that were kind of trippy. That had very trippy, kind of far out lyrics. It was definitely a time of experiments. And she is a great artist to do that with, because she has such an interesting way of phrasing and interpreting lyrics. So it would run the gamut lyrically and conceptually, with the songs. It was kind of “anything goes”. It was a time of, “Just try it”, and whatever comes to mind. There were no constraints. It was such a wonderful creative [thing] to do with someone like her. It was very fulfilling. Because you don’t get to do that a lot as a writer or a producer. In my shoes, you have to stick with what the label wants, or an artist has only a certain thing that they can do, or want to do. She was open to so many different things. This whole Beatles – early part, of the project was incredible.

And that’s the other thing, there are a bunch of tracks we started, that I would never ever release, or put out. That should say something, that I’m not a total jerk, in terms of like, “Oh, I’m just gonna release all of these unfinished verses and choruses of songs”. There’s dozens of them. But I would never put those out without consent. I would never record those. Or be like, “Aw yeah, I’m gonna use that”! That’s what somebody who is malicious would do.

They would say, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna take these tracks and finish ’em, I don’t care that I don’t have her consent, or that they aren’t finished’. I wouldn’t do that.

I knew that [with] Let Love Down, obviously, she kinda had a version out there, so, okay, that’s okay I guess. It’s a different thing. But again, to circle back to your question, it was just so many different, very interesting lyrics and song concepts that we were playing around with at that time.

Thanks for that insight. I kind of doubt at this point we will get that same creative insight from Gaga herself because she doesn’t really want to talk about the old days too much. Which is fine, but it’s great to hear about them.

And I get why she doesn’t. And I respect that.

It’s nice, really as students of the art, and the musical progression and journey of this woman, to hear what your take was on working with her and what the vibe was like. The fact that you guys did all these cool trippy songs is really exciting. It makes me want to know what they sounded like.

Its tough as a fan… On the one hand, everyone is crazy with desire to hear the unreleased music from her past. But, on the other hand, many of us understand that if it’s going to be done, it needs to be done the right way, respecting Gaga’s wishes.

I read on Twitter, once or twice, you threatened to leak those unreleased songs.

Yeah, but I wouldn’t do that… My bark is louder than my bite. I wouldn’t do it… it was just me barking.

You would get serious backlash.

Of course. But it was not the right thing to do.

And who knows. Maybe someday she will have a change of heart, and want all that stuff put out there. “The Gaga Snippet Album” or something, where it’s like all these, a hundred verses, choruses, ideas that she had started… you never know. Maybe she will have a change of heart. You never know.

I hope she does!

Honestly I think that it would be pretty amazing. I’ve never seen an artist do it, put out a snippets album, or all these ideas. Like, the Beatles kind of did it, with The Anthology, but that was it. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen anything like it. Where they put out some of the ideas as they were progressing. There’s a lot of interesting ideas that were in there. You never know, some people might go, “Wow, this is incredible!”. But it would have to come from her.

Are you gonna drop an album as Rob Fusari?

Yes. It wasn’t something I was planning on doing, I had planned to take on another pseudonym, with a whole new direction, a whole new project. This whole thing, like I said, it came about with this university lecture. And, it’s funny — this is what came up at the lecture. It just kind of turned into, “Why haven’t you ever put out a record as Rob Fusari?” And I just sat there, kind of a little bit stumped, in front of the people. And I kinda veered off, into, “Well, my next project is an entirely different direction, but it’s going to be called by another name, it’s not gonna be Rob Fusari.” But they got me thinking about the Rob Fusari thing. But I’ve recorded a bunch of things that are going to probably be released as Rob Fusari. So yes.

I read you once had a band called Cary Nokey. Do you still play in the band, or did you disband it?

It hasn’t disbanded. It is time for, like, as I said, a few moments ago, it is time for the next phase of it though, which probably isn’t Cary Nokey. It’s a pseudoname, it’s not gonna be a straight dance thing. You know what it is — there are are so many different sides. It’s a positive and a negative for me. This kind of came up a few days ago with somebody. In my career, it’s been very tricky, because I don’t have this one thing that I do. If you think about most producers, writers — they have a sound. They have this one kind of thing that you recognize as their sound. Their signature. I don’t have that. It works for me and against me. It works for me in that it keeps me very creative, and ever changing. Where it hasn’t worked for me, is you don’t necessarily hear a song, or a production, and go, “Oh hey, that’s Rob Fusari!”

Because I have so many different sides that I want to explore. I guess, just growing up, my parents listening to Sinatra, Liberace. My brother listened to disco. My other brother listened to progressive. There’s a bunch of things I want to do, to explore. It’s just another phase of Cary Nokey that’s coming. The Rob Fusari thing will be one direction. And the next thing will be an entirely different direction. It’s everchanging.

It kind of keeps me creative and it keeps me interested in myself. And interested in continuing. I don’t get bored. And that’s one thing I’m eternally grateful for, in that, somehow, as the day changes the direction, the creative part also changes the direction. It’s never gonna be the same. So I don’t want to call it just one thing anymore.
It’s not a commercial success thing either. Because that’s not what you do when you are looking to gain commercial success. If I ever have any significant success as a recording artist, it will immediately change anyway. I would never keep it there.

Kind of like “adapt or die.”

Absolutely. Especially in today’s environment. You have to. And that goes for any artist. You don’t have to change your name, or change the direction completely, but you do [have to change somewhat].
And the good artists you see do this. Like Gaga was very successful at doing this. She kept changing. And you keep showing these different sides of who you are.

Much like the original Material Girl continued to evolve — Madonna.

Exactly.

What’s a typical day like for Rob Fusari?

Love the great question! That’s just a great question. You know, to answer it in the most honest form I can… more so than ever, I feel what’s happening is — I become more of like a vessel, if you will. I feel somewhat as though I’m a shell for something else. It’s kind of like when I try to control the day, and make it a certain thing, it falls off the rails. When I just let it be, it some how takes on it’s own life. I’m not trying to sound strange with you, but it’s hard to explain. I have to let go of the wheel in a sense. I realize that I’m here as a vessel for something else.

I can’t even sit here and say, “Well, I’m gonna write a song today”, or “I’m gonna produce today”. I can’t do it. I try to do that, and it doesn’t work. But when I just let something happen, without being part of the decision, it happens. It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve fought this for so many years, and I’ve just started to realize how to let go.

And you know what? Some days, actually nothing will happen. And I’ve learned to be okay with that. Which I never was [before]. I was so driven, and so wanting to be in control of my life and what would happen, that I had to force it. Those songs, or those projects I did in those forced moments would never see the light of day. But something happened — and again, “Let Love Down” is part of this — there was no plan. Like there was no plan to even record “Let Love Down” . It was just one day, I went with it — and it appears. The thing that really is consistant with that is, any record I’ve done that has had anything of worth or value has been created in that way. It was like, “Oh, where did that come from?” or “Oh, how did that happen?” I can’t even explain it. It’s kind of outside of me in a strange way. I know if you take this without really thinking about it, it could sound a bit strange. But, you have to understand, it’s a bit strange to me!

I think it’s all part of your creative evolution.

I guess. I guess it is! Again, this is coming from someone who’s very driven, and very motivated. I sometimes have to wait, and see, where this is going. I can’t wake up any more and say, “Today I’m going to do this”. I can’t do it. Because it doesn’t work. I have to wait for it. And it’s like, accepting it is part of the creativity of it all. I’m not trying to sound like this wierd, creative soul. It is what it is. I can’t make plans. I can’t plan a day. There’s that saying, too, that God laughs as man makes plans. It’s kind of in that as well. Because when I look at some of these things that have happened for me, in my career and in my life, I look back in amazement, like, “That, technically, shoulda never happened”. The number one records, the meeting Stefani Germanotta. It seems like it was all part of something bigger.

And the more I let go of trying to control it, the more pure it becomes.
Going back to where we started with the conversation, is the idea of karma.

The tweets, and all that junk, was not good karma. When I’m not in that place, good things happen. Like, those days when I sent stupid tweets like that, it’s a wreck. The week then turns out to be a wreck. And then the month is a wreck. It’s all part of that. It’s all part of what I’m saying. You can’t break these cycles with negative stuff. I think that, I’m working on that, and that it’s a work in progress. I gotta stop the negative. Because, if anyone, if you just let yourself let it be, and let it come, and let the universe speak to you — it will.
You just have to wait. And that’s the hard part.

Every time I see your name in the news, it seems to be some other legal mess. It’s too bad that stuff is shadowing your art.

I’m trying my best trying to settle with that, so that that can go away and we can be done with that. And everybody can just move on from this. It’s just time to move on. If at some point, Gaga wants to come around and say, “By the way, it wasn’t him”, then that’s great. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t. I have to live with that. And I’ll live with it.

But it’s like… it’s gotta end, in terms of this craziness. There’s no reason for this. It’s not doing anybody any good.

I appreciate that [Gaga’s fans] are standing behind her. I would want them to stand behind me the same way if they were my fans. At the end of the day, it’s really about the music. There really is nothing else here. They want to look at the things about rape, the things about Lina Morgana, the things about stealing songs — none of that is here. It’s not here. It doesn’t exist. It’s all being, like, portrayed in the wrong way. Bubbling up for the wrong reasons.

This is just about music. And it’s gotta come back to the pure essence of what this really is. The only thing that’s really worth anything here and that has any truth to it — is the music.

All that other stuff… I’ll read something on Lina, or I’ll read something else – and go like, “What is this?? This is crazy.”

People who have a lot of time on their hands, and a lot of jumps to conclusions.

Exactly. And it’s easy to hate. And look, I’ll take that — but I’m not gonna retaliaiate. I’m just not gonna do it, I’m not gonna sink to a low level. I can’t do that.

When you were working with her, what was Gaga’s take on artists like Bowie, The Beatles, and Prince? Did she have that musical familiarity when you crafted The Fame with her?

Gaga has incredible instincts when it comes to approaching her inspirations. Somehow, she had a solid base of the iconic artists and [knew] how to pull them into her music and her artistry. If there was an artist she wasn’t familiar with, you can bet on the fact she was gonna do her homework, and come back with the tools and knowledge to pull from.

I remember when we were working on a song that called for a very Robert Smith “The Cure” type of vocal approach. It seemed, at the time, a bit of a struggle to nail the right vocal take. We kept at it for several hours but it just wasn’t coming together. Well, she must have gone home that night and studied “The Cure”, because she came in the next day and nailed the vocal in one take. She had taken just the right amount of inspiration from Smith to put the magic on it.

You have a gig coming up on May 24th, called “Bowie VS The Beatles”. I’ve read in other interviews where you’ve spoken of your Beatles influence before — but where does Bowie fit in for you? What was it about Bowie, and his persona, that spoke to you, as an influence?

Some artists play the part. But the real genius is when the part plays the artist. Bowie didn’t chose to become Ziggy Stardust in his early part of his career… Ziggy Stardust chose Bowie… It’s apparent that even Bowie, was overwhelmed by what lived and breathed in him. He spoke about Ziggy Stardust in third person, as yet another being — Major Tom — so that he could find an outlet to speak of the whirlwind of creative energy that consumed his soul. This is other worldly! Most artists today think if they find a cool name to go by, or a unique style, that they are that persona. But they are waiting for that thing, that Bowie consistently had running through his veins. Innovation. No boundaries. A pioneer for all those who wanted to be who they are. He was the spokesperson for all those who needed to find a sense of belonging. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger. He was and will always be the president and creator of that world.

Where did the concept of mashing up The Beatles and Bowie come from?

There are so many creative options when it comes to interpreting the music of both artists, that the possibilities seem endless. I’m taking a bit more of a trippy approach with this show in terms of song choices.
For instance, I’m doing songs like “Ashes to Ashes” and “Heroes”. But then, keeping a strong message throughout with songs like “Under Pressure “ and “ Don’t Let Me Down.” Obviously, the inspiration of “Don’t Let Me Down” onto “Don’t Let Love Down “ is screamingly obvious, so I’m going to mash up those songs. I look forward to doing more shows around some of the greats like Fleetwood Mac, ELO, and Journey … but the top two are certainly Beatles and Bowie. They just are so huge inside of my musical world that it’s an obvious choice.

How do you want to be viewed as an artist? What’s going to be your legacy?

That’s a really great question. (pauses)
I think if the words “pure” and “real” are used anywhere in the description. It’s kind of like I always tell people, I don’t even consider myself a singer. I’m more of a storyteller. It’s telling a story, in a kind of classic rock, Springsteen-esque way. Although the songs are pop, they are more story-driven. Even the Cary Nokey stuff. Pop songs — but there is a more journalistic [side] to them. Stories taken from my journal, were lyrics that were actually used. It was really telling the story of who I was and what happened. As a story teller in a pop setting. If you think about it, I’m not a pop artist. I don’t fit any of the earmarks of “pop artist”.

You seem like more of a hook artist. Paparazzi, with Lady Gaga, Bootylicious and No No No with Beyonce, Wild Wild West, with Will Smith…

Definitely! Although, if you think about it, the hook is what hooks somebody in to listen to the lyrics. I always know for me when I listen to a song, if the hook catches me on the second listen, I’ll really start listening to lyrics. If they got me with the hook. Like, I’ll go, “What are they saying here?”

So it’s really about storytelling aspect of it… to be remembered as an artist that went for it. “He went for it. He owned it.” Whether I loved it, or hated it.

“He wasn’t trying to be something he wasn’t. He went for it.”

I could live with that.

You can catch Rob Fusari at the Bitter End here in New York City on May 24th, 2016.

Tickets are on sale at the door for $10.

Can’t make it to NYC? Catch the livestream of the show at TheBitterEnd.com


Edit on June 1st, 2016, by Zach Harvey:

What does “Don’t Let Love Down” mean to YOU?

Show us a video of your best EMO face while playing the hook of the song for a chance to win an autographed copy of Rob Fusari’s independent release of “Don’t Let Love Down”! This features a one-of-a-kind hand drawn cover, and 3 tracks off of Rob’s upcoming indie release.

Tweet it to @RobFusari with the hashtag #DLLD for your chance to win!

The CD will be mailed to you worldwide, at no cost to you.

Keep populating love!

-ZH

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