“The best show you can ever be a part of—watching or playing—is one you get entirely lost in,” notes vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Marcio Novelli. “Any song I’m really happy with or that ends up going somewhere is one I lost myself in while writing. There’s nothing fabricated. It’s entirely genuine and has the strength to take you right out of your environment.”
Novelli should know. Jesting that he is often so transfixed in the moment his audiences must assist in reciting lyrics, this jovial audience participation is hard proof that the Hamilton native’s music has an entrancing might unto itself.
Still, it’s no wonder his proponents know every syllable. With a diehard honesty and earnestness that anyone with a pulse can relate to, each line of his debut full-length pop/rock album It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason (Veracious Records) carries a matchless weight and intensity.
At that, with accomplishments including seeing documentary film Walking Proof (which chronicles the making of It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason and marks Novelli’s directorial debut) winning Best Long Form Video at the 2014 Independent Music Awards, previous EP Break Me winning Best Pop/Rock Recording Of The Year at the 2009 Hamilton Music Awards, frequent spins on internet powerhouse idobi Radio, Top 10 placement on campus radio, over one million plays on YouTube, a live webcast dubbed The Marcio Novelli Show bringing in several hundred thousand viewers and the Bridge The Atlantic vodcast he recently co-founded & co-hosts, Novelli’s word is spreading fast.
Still, it has been a long, steady road. Spurred into creativity by the powers of music as a toddler, Novelli was readily penning original tunes by the age of 13. Having accomplished a number of instruments since that time, his abilities as a musician only serve to bolster an inimitable style urged on by very diverse influences. Mastering his craft by self-teaching favoured songs and ingesting a commonality of powerful songwriting, the solo artist is humble about his untainted approach.
“I want people to hear my name but not assume what I may sound like,” he winks. “There’s an openness to that which lets all variety of people explore and discover. If you’re tied to a genre too easily, it limits potential.”
In regards to It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason, potential is one of Novelli’s least worries. Overseeing writing, arrangement, composition and production while also taking care of vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, keyboards, programming, strings and percussion, virtually every aspect of its ten songs blossoms. Furthermore, thanks to the enduring skills of producer Jim Wirt (Incubus, Jack’s Mannequin) and engineer Nick Blagona (Green Day, The Police), It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason is a pristine document brimming with intent, ability and promise.
Moreover, the album hones in on Novelli’s personal thematic drive, namely the impact of humans and humanity, with several motifs including that of water as a representation of one’s own emotional state. With many different musical colours on the album, each composition stands alone while also complimenting each song around it with Novelli’s powerful vocal deliveries and thoughtful lyrics being the glue that holds each anthem, ballad and lullaby together.
From opener “Siren Song,” which encompasses relationships and seduction over the ages borrowing imagery from Homer’s The Odyssey alluding to the appeal of those who are already taken, followed by “Holding On,” a song that expresses a feeling of loneliness more so than an idea, through to upbeat rocker “Doctor, Please,” a piece influenced by the sense of urgency for solving emotional ailments—and featuring Alexisonfire bassist Chris Steele—each track is self-aware, honed and muscular while still insightful, personal and subtle.
Such sage observation is only strengthened by the likes of dynamic “Remember Love,” a sentimental reminder of the importance in bringing back love’s original passionate romance as it deepens and becomes more profound, and “S.A.D.,” a fast, energetic summer-feeling song intended for the winter when sufferers need to shake off the dark blues straight onto “This Song Is Not For You,” a lighthearted tongue-in-cheek assertion of no longer wanting to write songs based on being wronged in fear of life imitating art.
“Eyes Wide Shut,” is one of the oldest songs on the album and sees Novelli stripped bare emotionally and musically setting the mood for the sheer honesty found in “Recover,” an apologetic confession that asks forgiveness and implies the value of learning from one’s mistakes and acoustic balled “In the Mourning,” denoting a message of accepting loss and letting go inspired by a third trimester miscarriage Novelli’s wife endured which sparked the couple to focus on a positive action leading to the making of It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason.
It is no coincidence that the carefully selected song order would end with “Walking Proof,” the album’s tenth and final track, which addresses the importance of not giving up on one’s dreams leaving the listener with a sense of hope that anything is possible. “For Chelsea,” a track included only on the physical version of the album, begins to play after three minutes of silence and serves as an epilogue to the album’s story. Written for Novelli’s wife and performed on their wedding day, the song is a tribute and promise of love for a lifetime.
Furthermore, the whole process of recording the album in just two weeks was captured in the very candid award-winning documentary Walking Proof and allows for a deeper look into the artist’s life. Premiering at Reel Indie Film Festival in Toronto to glowing 5 star reviews, it has since gone on to win an Independent Music Award and screen at multiple film festivals including Hamilton Film Festival. Walking Proof can be found included with the physical CD/DVD version of It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason.
Unabashedly stark, endearingly sincere and virulently appealing, It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason is both enlightened and enlightening, cultivated yet primal and poised to maintain Novelli’s history of adoring fans joyously contributing to the live experience while taking his words to heart.
“When people hear my music, I want them to enjoy some aspect of mystery. My intentions with this album are to offer up substance through music. I hope people can learn something. What I’m doing is incredibly personal,” he concludes earnestly. “I want them to know that music has been my therapy for years; how I work through life. I can’t get over something until I’ve written a song about it. By trying to make a positive from a negative—like with It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason—maybe people can draw from it and make a positive impact on their life.”