An eclectic mix of dreamy pop and electronic sounds – with Italian singer Max De Lorenzis you never know what you get. It’s like a bucket list with endless bullet points that he has to cross out one by one.
Originally from the city Brindisi of the Apulian region, he early on followed his passion for music singing in various clubs in Northern Italy, where he lives, and continued dividing his routes in life, either in martial arts or in criminology, and still finding a balance between those professions. Since he was five, Max actively trained to become a Taekwondo master and eventually reached the status of a teacher, gaining the black belt for the combat sport. Moreover, having interest in crime studies motivated him to dig into that direction, and eventually graduated and specialized in Investive Criminology.
Max enjoys the variety though never forgot his love for music and used YouTube as a platform to make himself known. Since 2010, he released cover versions from artists like Nelly Furtado, Anna Oxa, Madonna, and Duffy, and showcased his presence at venues where his positive energy on stage made great impressions, especially when he showed the audience his interactive side during his live gigs performing Nelly Furtado’s “Say It Right” and “Manos al Aire”. With a subtle direction into the music scene, motivated by artistic freedom without restrictions, and even though having great chances on Italy’s X Factor in Rome in 2014, he felt his artistic qualities were limited and left the show to rather start music from scratch.
Max’s approach comes from within, and rather takes own steps into his hands. His recent single releases are considered the base of what’s to come, with lyrical depth and experimental sound effects – first with “River in the Sky”, an electronic ballad with soul veins, followed by dreamy “Something Beautiful”, which thereafter concludes with “Whole Lot Of Love” that uses playful effects to bring in different flavors. The songs are inspired by Welsh singer Duffy, and with tens of thousand streams in a short time of being released, he attracts attention by turning up his vocal range that’s been compared to Albanian singer Anna Oxa. While also a fan of Whitesnake, Max picked up several elements of his favorite artists that eventually shaped his own unique style, and continues his streak in variation by planning to release an Italian-language album thereafter.
Below, Max speaks with The Urban Twist about his singles, music, inspirations, his experience at X Factor Italy, his versatility, and his future plans.
First and foremost, as you’re singing for many years, what inspired you to become a singer and eventually release your own music?
I was a somewhat strange child, I was a lonely child and this Max was a somewhat particular child, but not a loner because he did not care for the rest of the world but because he constantly tried to observe his birth, this place of his. He had this sense of rebellion, which isn’t a piercing or a tattoo. I think there are several children like that. Even nowadays they rebel against patterns or conditions. Let’s say it seemed a bit foreign to me. I was not yet in this world so I was trying to live the sound already at that age. I colored my days, sang and colored something that I didn’t see around me so there was never a split between me and the music. I started at the age of 6-7 years old at some parties in my area singing songs from the golden age of music even though in those days there was just nothing inherent in technology that could give you an extra boost to get yourself to know the public but it was a more direct and sincere relationship. At first I started to make myself known on YouTube by singing songs by Nelly Furtado, Madonna, Anna Oxa and Taylor Swift but last year, in the period of the pandemic I decided to publish something more intimate, pure and sincere.
In your YouTube channel, you created a lot of covers. Is there one in particular that you like singing the most?
It’s a very interesting question but the truth is that retracing my covers is like retracing my personal growth. I never chose the songs at random but they all had a chronological sense where they all reflected the period in which I was living. I started doing covers when I had never studied singing and never had a teacher who could help me get my vocal out and have an attitude. I have always been fascinated by female voices but above all versatile. I remember that I lowered the tones in order to sing some songs at all costs, see “Perfume” by Britney Spears or “Spirit Indestructible” by Nelly Furtado. Now my vocal range is that of a light lyric tenor. I simply started from scratch, also receiving a lot of criticism for my delicate and at times a little feminine voice. At first, I was disappointed but a question that I have always asked myself is: why can’t a male be able to get to touch those notes? It will be a gift, it will be a deep search within me but the beauty of growth is this. It is constantly evolving. If you go back from my first video published on my channel and get to the last one there is all this. When I learned to have a vocal setting I could have deleted my old videos but I never did because I want to be an example for all the singers who feel a failure at first. The voice is ultimately a mystery and the limits, as far as I’m concerned, do not exist. Mathematics is a limit.
Moreover, you also share your stage presence by interacting with the audience, for example when you performed Nelly Furtado’s “Say It Right”. Many artists say they feel at home when being on stage. Is it the same for you, too?
Oh my god, when I look at that performance now I smile. It was actually my first live performance with a real band. I had just turned 18 and I was a guy who already knew his stuff. I had very clear ideas. I will have been one of the first in my city to perform like that. I like to entertain the audience using theatricality as well. I felt like I was doing a world tour, haha. If you look carefully at each of my performances posted on my channel you see that I was always changing appearance. I’ve always been a chameleon on stage. I like to play with my body. Many of my old colleagues looked at me fascinated by my way of doing. Even my singing teacher. Everything came naturally. I’m not planning anything. Being on stage allows me to really bring out who is the real Max.
Back in 2014 you also auditioned for the X Factor in Italy but decided to not continue. How was the experience for you and what was the reason for you to leave?
It was a very inspiring experience for me. I remember that my parents were against it but I insisted that I be taken to Rome to do the audition. I was there from 6:00 am until 5:00 pm. There were a lot of people who came from all over Italy. Great talents. I passed the first few selections but part of me felt that this was not my place. I don’t like following rules that limit your artistic creativity. There was a heated discussion with some of the organizers. They insisted on letting me stay but I’m stubborn. I followed my instincts. They told me I was missing a big chance but I turned my back and went to the McDonalds, haha. Sorry, but I was hungry after a day of fasting. I no longer had the strength to hear complaints. What a hothead I was…
In 2020 you released your first two singles “River in the Sky” and “Something Beautiful”. In contrast, “River in the Sky” sounds thoughtful and a bit sad, while “Something Beautiful” has more of a hopeful and euphoric feel. Could you describe what the songs mean and what you wanted to deliver?
“River in the Sky” is a melancholy ballad where you feel broken by all this chaos that surrounds you, you don’t feel understood and listened to. You are near a river, alone immersed in your thoughts and you hope that at that moment someone will arrive who hugs you from behind and makes you feel loved. I released this song during the pandemic period in the summer. I was feeling broken and I think it would have been very useful for people. The sounds are acoustic and if you happen to hear them in the car in the evening, near the sea, it cradles you like a mother does with her baby… I’ll tell you an anecdote that many do not know: in reality, this was not the final recording of the song, the voice is heard in some places a little exaggerated and even a little annoying. While I was recording it, I was in the throes of panic attacks. At first, you may not like the way I sing it but listening to it a second time you feel how true it is from start to finish. During the recording I was shaking and afraid of passing out because I was very stressed at the time but my engineer hugged me from behind throughout the recording to make me relax and feel comfortable. Sometimes I think about it and I would have liked to release the final recording where the voice was warmer and more pleasant but it all happens for a reason. “Something Beautiful” is the other side of the coin. It means that something beautiful is about to arrive.
In your recent release “Whole Lot Of Love” you played around with electronic sounds. What inspired you to go in a different direction? And also, did you do everything from scratch (including writing and producing)?
“Whole Lot Of Love” is “Something Beautiful”s answer. It is that something beautiful that has finally arrived after this dark period. I wanted to create something more dance and I let myself be carried away by the sounds of Daft Punk. Actually this is a cover of the Legend film that I wanted to give my interpretation. At the moment it has received a positive impact and I am very happy with that.
You are planning to release an Italian-language album. Will your LP have a similar feel like your English singles or is it going to be a whole different project? And when can we expect the album?
These first three songs were simply a separate project but above all to give strong support to singer Duffy. Her story touched me a lot and it saddens my heart to think that in all these years she has suffered so much. It is a gift given to people and to her as a reminder that we are all waiting for her return and that people have not forgotten her. I hope to meet her one day and tell her in person how much esteem and respect I feel for her. A great woman.
Now I’m working on the new album with a very talented young musician named Nicola Bruno. When I came to the creation of this album, I felt like an animal in a cage. Thanks to him, I returned to playing my old keyboard and the simplicity of emotions in their natural state. Of course I needed to let off steam on a few things. So my feeling was that of an animal being released from the cage and having to express not one but many different emotions. All the emotions that life is made of. The truth is that everything I do, even writing songs, always comes from a continuous collaboration. I appreciate the input of other people, I look for it. I can’t work alone. I like having my “accomplice”; my shoulder. I like the linearity. I have a melody, some words and I sing them. Hopefully they come from the heart or from a thousand different emotions. Let’s say that everything is more direct. When you work with new people, you always have to find common ground and then figure out how to move. When I work with Nicola, something magical happens. It takes me to very deep places. His tormented soul brings out the anguished part that is in me. He is a mad scientist. It is very easy to get carried away because Nicola puts so much passion into what he does. He is very eloquent but he is truly a mad scientist. Sometimes it is a challenge but I work with him following a very specific method. The fruit of our collaborations is truly special. I have more pieces of work and I don’t know, maybe when I die, I’ll leave it in my will for people to understand. I’m already well under way. I’ll take things slow. It will come out when it is perfect.
Outside of music, you graduated in Criminology and you’re also a Taekwondo black belt. That’s an awesome mix! What inspired you to follow your professions and do you already know what kind of direction you’d like to go later on?
Wow, thank you! I’ve always been a very versatile person. I like to do and learn many things. I’ve never focused on just one. It is as if you have a garden and over time you fill it with many seeds, you will see that these seeds will become beautiful plants where you can benefit greatly in your life. They are a mix of things. This year I celebrated my 20 years of Taekwondo career and it was very exciting to relive certain moments. Who would have thought? Who would have thought that I would have graduated and specialized in criminology? Many times in my life I have felt called “failure” but I am of the opinion that if one believes in what he does, he is already a winner. Now the peaks I would like to reach are many but the journey consists precisely in getting close to the answer. The education you gain is your journey. Go on your way, trying to get to the heart of things, and understand their nature. As you strive to find that something intangible and seemingly impossible to obtain, the answer to the questions “what is the meaning of life”? or “what is the meaning of love and happiness”? and “why are we here”? – while you try to understand all this, you create an exceptional education. You learn to become a human being. Sometimes you have to say “I don’t have all the answers, but I know I’m evolving. I know that I am learning and growing ”. And that’s what we can hope for. What must be avoided is stasis. We must never stop evolving, wanting to ask the next question, wanting to take risks… you must never stand still because that is death. It is essential to move and move forward. Maybe in ten miles, or in ten years you won’t have the answers but you will probably have accumulated experience. You will have a glimpse of the answer you seek.
Last but not least, do you have any other dreams you like to follow, and maybe some other tricks up your sleeve that we don’t know about? 😉
Someday I’ll write a book. A beautiful mysterious book. I’ve been thinking about it for a while but I still haven’t accumulated that experience that I need to tell what I want to tell. Those who know how to wait always take the most beautiful things :).
You can follow Max De Lorenzis on: