Paul Federici has sort of a complicated relationship with music.
The St. Catharines-born singer-songwriter was a latecomer into the music scene, not even picking up a guitar for the first time until he was in university. After teaching himself how to play the six string, he started making his rounds at local open-mic nights. Following his first performance at a local university pub, he was offered a weekly gig there. “I was surprised, I only knew five or six songs at the time” said Federici. “Even then, I knew I’d rather be singing my own songs instead of someone else’s. I just didn’t think I was good enough, or that anyone would want to hear them.”
It was that self-doubt, combined with battling an anxiety disorder that saw Federici withdraw from the music scene and put down the guitar for over seven years. Instead, he focused on his studies earning a Master’s Degree in clinical social work. “I did what I thought was expected of me,” he said. “but I always felt like I was trying to force myself to be something I wasn’t.” Ironically, despite finding himself in the greatest opportunity of his young career, Federici had never been unhappier. “Emotionally I bottomed out, and became incredibly depressed – it was probably the lowest point of my life.” With things falling apart around him, Federici found him self turning to an old friend to try and cope – his acoustic guitar – and the songs came pouring out. “Music got me out of that rut and gave me hope. Everything about playing again felt right, it reminded me to follow my heart and take chances again.”
With that realization, Federici felt it was time to let his guard down and tend to some unfinished business by recording his first professional album. Teaming up with producer/engineer Michael Chambers (2011 Engineer of the Year award winner at the Hamilton Music Awards) at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, Federici released Relative Importance in January of 2012. Contrary to his fears of no one wanting to listen, the record instead climbed to #1 on CFBU 103.7FM Brock University Radio’s charts, and that summer CBC Radio began to play his songs while Federici took home a Niagara Music Award for Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year.
Critics raved about Relative Importance, drawing comparisons to former Denis Morris high school mate Dallas Green of City and Colour. Even Canada’s national music source Exclaim Magazine weighed in on the album writing: “I’m not sure if he’s quit his day job, but considering the honest quality of his music, chances are he will have that option soon.” And that’s exactly what Federici did – He walked away from his social work career determined to follow his heart and find a way to carve out a modest living making music. Embracing the DIY work ethic, Federici organized his own tour to support the record and within three months he had traveled across Ontario, Montreal and various parts of the United States playing shows and growing his audience. Along the way, he made a number of festival rosters like S.C.E.N.E. in Niagara, New Music Fest, and was invited to perform at a showcase during the Hamilton Music Awards while college and university radio stations across the country added Relative Importance to their rotations.
Paul Federici just released his follow up album Now and Then, also recorded with Michael Chambers at Catherine North Studios, on June 23rd 2013.
What others are saying about Paul Federici:
“The dulcet-toned singer-songwriter’s debut is a strikingly honest effort; all emotive vocals, melancholic pianos, haunting strings and alt-folk acoustic guitar. Comparisons to Dallas Green are inevitable, given the similarity of their vocal range, but Federici’s work deserves to be judged on its own merits — and rightly so, as it’s remarkably good.”
“His silky-smooth voice is something lacking in numerous artists today…and Paul hits home with his music and lyrics; singing from experience and the heart, his music is relatable and real.” (Brock University Press)
“Relative Importance is too good to miss.” (Greater Hamilton Musician)
“I’m not sure if he’s quit his day job, but considering the honest quality of his music chances are he will have that option soon.” (Exclaim Magazine)
“Paul Federici’s first release, has all of the highlights we might expect from a City and Colour record—a blend of emotive lyrics, vivid harmonies, authentic instrumentation—but Federici’s voice is an instrument of it’s own power. His singing possesses an ability to be soft-spoken and gripping at the same time. It’s, dare I say, beautiful.” (Sounds that Matter)
Paul Federici’s tracks