Retta Rizzo was born to rock and she utilizes the gifts God has given her. A unique vocal ability, her faith, sense of style and self thrusts her to center stage. Want to find out more? Check out the interview below...
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Retta. Tell us a bit about yourself, your name, age, where you’re from and an interesting fact if you like.
My name is Loretta, but I go by Retta. I'll be 43 years old this July but I don't feel like it. I'm an adult combination of Punky Brewster, Pippi Longstocking and Cyndi Lauper. Music is my dreams but it wouldn't be possible without my husband, family and friends encouraging me. I grew up listening to a wide variety of artists from different genres. Eagle's, Dory Previn, Mama's & The Papa's, Janis Joplin, Bette Midler, Pat Benatar ... all among those who drove me to follow my dreams. Hmm ... an interesting fact about me? I guess the most interesting thing about me is that I have always danced to the beat of my own drum. I'm a non-conformist as far as society goes. I am Christian woman with purple hair, tattoos & piercings; singing about the stuff we're supposed to sweep under the rug.
Is there a story behind your name, Retta?
Well, it's actually the nickname I grew up with. When I started talking and saying my name, I couldn't pronounce the first two letters, so instead of Loretta, I became Retta.
How long have you been singing?
I think I sang before I was even able to talk LOL.
What first got you interested in becoming a singer?
Growing up, I was surrounded by people in the entertainment industry. Chris Lemmon, Bette Midler, Gene Simmons and many others, all used to go in to my family's restaurant. One of my favorite memories is of Chris Lemonn singing "My Funny Valentine" to me. I remember how special it made me feel and thinking that I wanted to make other people feel like that. To this day I love that song!
What/who inspires your music?
Life and the people in it become inspiration for me at one time or another. I never know when it's going to hit me. Inspiration has come in the form of a status message on MySpace, the look in a child's eye at a grocery store, and the sound of my son's breathing when he sleeps. I've just taught myself to be ready and watching, because most of the time inspiration is masked.
Do you see being a recording artist as a career, or as a hobby?
Both, really. I am one of the blessed who love what they do.
What are you trying to do with your music?
I want to be the artist who sings about the elephant in the room. I think singing about real life issues, that go farther and deeper than sex and physical beauty are important. People need to know that there are people out there that can relate to what they are going through and have survived what ever it is. We need to be part of the healing.
Do you want to help your community?
Absolutely. I help where ever I can, as does my entire family.
Are you trying to get rich?
Money helps pay the bills but my measure of sucess is when someone cries and is touched by one of my lyrics, or when they are transported back to a specific time, because my song reminded them of a special day.
What is your goal for your music?
I hope that the music I write and the lyrics I sing will touch the hearts of many, helping them through a hard time, giving them a smile or a shoulder so to speak.
Have you ever performed live?
I have, many times.
How did it feel performing live?
It's an amazing feeling each time. The adrenaline works both for me & against me. After a few really nervous minutes on stage, I get really pumped. At the end of the day, I'm wiped out.
Do you have any kind of management, publishing or distribution team behind you? If so what are their responsibilities?
Yes, I do. They have a variety of responsibilities from getting the web site issues taken care of to promotion and press releases to getting the best distribution deal possible.
What are some accomplishments that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
Besides having the greatest kids in the world, my proudest moment would have to be landing a co-starring role opposite Lucille Ball when I was a little girl.
Have you ever made any contact with major artists or other high positioned people in the music industry and do you keep in contact with them?
I grew up in Hollywood and was raised in one of the most famous restaurants in Southern California. I was always meeting major artists and actors. Working in the industry from an early age also put me in contact with quite a few high positioned people. I am still in contact with a few; some on a personal level and others in a professional capacity.
What one tip would you give to other aspiring recording artists?
Don't ever quit! Nothing worth having comes easy and the trials that come with chasing dreams is not only educational but each step prepares you for the next.
What do you see is in the future for the music industry?
I see great changes for the industry; it seems like we (as a society) are finally looking at the talent of artists instead of their weight or looks. Looks should not be a requirement in the talent department.
How do you think it will evolve/change?
With TV shows like "The Voice", I think there will be more artists coming out of the woodwork, who are extremely talented but have been by-passed through the years due to not fitting the cookie-cutter image the industry pushes. It's their time to shine!
Do you feel like the internet is helping you as an artist?
Definitely, especially social networking. Our fans are at our finger tips, we can check stats and sales, build campaigns and with a click of a button, make most changes in any area, including music composition. I can sit at my desk and have a writing session with someone half-way across the United States. The internet opens up so many huge and unique opportunities.
How do you think social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have affected the music industry?
I think social networks are a great way to not only keep in touch with fans but also reach out to those who may have never heard the music before.
Where can we hear your music online?
You can find it on my website http://www.rettarizzo.com It can be purchased through I-tunes, Google Music, Amazon and quite a few other big sellers.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I have a few different things going on right now. I've been asked to compose the music and write lyrics for a new recording artist so that's a priority for me right now, along with working on my own up-coming CD.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
I'd like to have a Grammy or three on my shelf as well as co-writing with some bigger names. I've always been told that if I'm going to dream, dream big!
Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
Of course, shout outs to my husband, kids, friends and fans. They are the ones who make my dreams possible.
Thanks again Retta Rizzo, for doing this interview.