It is very exciting to experience the fusion of music from two nations, backgrounds and languages. This is also a great way to learn languages through music and get practice with a second language while creating your own art.
This can be seen in this week’s artist from the southeastern American city of Nashville, TN just a few mountain regions over from the Indie Italy headquarters in Charleston, SC. Stacy Randol reached out to us to share her newest single “Quando La Citta Dorme” written and sung in full Italian. Stacy studied music in Urbania and fell in love with the Italian language and culture and thought of it as a challenge to write “Quando La Citta Dorme.” I was very interested by her story and was excited to find out more.
Indie Italy: Stacey you are a talented singer-songwriter from Nashville, TN and you just wrote your latest song “Quando La Cittá Dorme” all in Italian. What led you to write in a language that’s spoken 3,000 miles away from where you are from?
Stacey Randol: Well I actually didn’t have any intention of writing a song in Italian… until I heard the melody. I co-wrote this song with Michael McBurnett. He had played the chorus melody for me on the guitar a couple months before we even wrote the song. And I knew we should eventually do something with it because the melody was so charming and timeless to hear. So we worked out the entire melody of the song and it was then I felt that English didn’t suite it. I studied Italian in college for a couple years and did an excursion in Urbania, Italy for a summer, so needless to say I have a special place in my heart for the beautiful language. So Italian it was! It was a challenge, really.
Indie Italy: What drew you to Urbania, Italy to study music and what do you remember most significantly about your summer living in Italy?
The university I attended, Millikin University in Decatur, IL, has a great Fine Arts program and they had this trip available for their music students. So I got to go study abroad for credits in music and language with close friends of mine from class. It was such an incredible and unforgettable experience. I was 20 then and it definitely opened my eyes in many ways. I fell in love with the beautiful countryside of Urbania, the food, the wine, the gelato, the art, the people, and the easy-going lifestyle (the town closed down around noon and shops didn’t reopen until 3PM…. allora, Americans work too much haha). Urbania was everything I dreamt a small Italian town would be –windows didn’t have glass (even the no AC part was actually enjoyable), cobblestones on every street, the clothes hanging on lines between buildings … everything just had an old-fashioned, romantic feeling to it. We also visited Rome for a week and spent a couple days in Venice and Verona, which was so lovely. The colors of Venice blew me away.
Indie Italy: What about the Italian language and culture of Italy inspired you years later to write your new single?
Stacy Randol: The memories of my time spent there have never left me. Pictures of Italy still line my walls. So needless to say, I think of that summer often! When I came back to the states, I proceeded taking Italian at Millikin. Mia professoressa, Francesca Tescione really intrigued my interest in pursuing the language. We are still friends to this day. When I go back and visit Illinois, I am always sure to pop in and see her. Her energy is contagious. Although it has been 6 years since I graduated, she keeps my Italian spirit alive!
Indie Italy: You thought of writing a song in Italian as a challenge, how challenging was the experience of writing “Quando La Cittá Dorme” and what does the song lyrically mean to you?
Stacy Randol: When the melody was set in stone, I knew it sounded foreign, romantic, and mysterious. I wanted it to be about a passionate dance right away. Sometimes when I write a song, it may not be that the lyrics are meaningful to me, but rather I feel like the melody of the song makes the decision of what the lyrics should be about. And this one lent itself to romantic lyrics that mysteriously danced in the night. Phrasing the song and gathering foreign words that would flow together was pretty challenging. It was just a trial and error process, which made me re-learn things I had forgotten. So that was refreshing.
Indie Italy: Who are the other artists involved in the production of “Quando La Cittá Dorme”?
Stacy Randol: Michael McBurnett and I wrote and produced the song together. We recorded it at his home studio. He engineered and mixed the song as well. He is all kinds of amazing. And his brother, Samuel played drums and percussion on the single. Those two are regulars on everything I do. Then we had our friend Travis Terrell come in to play strings on the track. And we were lucky enough to have Jeff Taylor (who has recorded with Paul Simon, Vince Gill, George Strait, Ricky Skaggs and more) play piano and accordion on the song. They definitely brought the song to life!
Indie Italy: How important is learning a new language through music to you?
Stacy Randol: Well it was really important in college — because it was expected. Now for me, it is more just for fun. While at Millikin, I was in the traveling University Choir. We sang many different texts / languages. It took a lot of practice and a lot of time, but it was all worth it. We had a great teacher / director, Dr. Brad Holmes. And it was because of him I got to experience music on a different level. Though we were singing unfamiliar languages to crowds, who didn’t speak the languages either, we were still able to communicate the text and message of each song so meaningfully. It was moving for both the choir and audience. Singing foreign masterpieces with 60 beautiful voices was indeed the most powerful thing I have ever been a part of.
Indie Italy:What would you say to a musician who is learning a language and wants to write/perform in a language that is not native to them?
Stacy Randol: I would say that (at first) it is easier to do if you are part of a larger group — a class or a choir perhaps. Thankfully, the reason I was able to communicate and pronounce the lyrics of this song correctly was because of my relationship with my Italian professor, Francesca. As a beginner, it’s nice to have a mentor or a teacher helping you get things right if you are going to release a song in a foreign language.
Indie Italy: What’s in the future for Stacey Randol, can we expect more songs written in Italian, and possibly a tour around Italy for you?
Stacy Randol: Oh I hope so, haha! That would be amazing to tour the country. But I would have to be making more monies for that. 😉 Right now I am working on writing my next album, which will most likely all be in English. But you never know! I like releasing off-the-wall singles, like this one, on their own. So perhaps in the future!