FYIG Chats With School of Rock Actor-Turned-Singer Brian Falduto

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Brian Falduto. I’m an Actor, a Songwriter, and also an LGBT Advocate & Life Coach. I currently live in NYC and I’ve never missed an episode of Survivor in 37 seasons.

You played the role of Billy aka Fancy Pants in School of Rock alongside Jack Black. What was that experience like?

Crazy, fun, life-changing. A uniquely professional involvement at such a young age. Jack is great, very kind. I’m honored to call him a friend. If I’m being honest, my favorite part about the experience was the food. There was food available … everywhere. All the time. I gained like 25 lbs filming that movie. My mom gained like 30.

Did you ever expect the movie to be such a success? I still hear people talking about it to this day.

No. I do feel like we all knew we were involved in something special though. It’s a weird feeling to try to describe but I think everyone in the film would agree. The energy and the environment on set was one of .. importance? I don’t know if that’s the right word but it was just clear from the get-go that we were doing something cool. Sure, a lot of that was me just knowing I was in a major motion picture as a child, but it was bigger than that. Even so, I never expected to be answering questions about it all fifteen years later. This is beyond my imagination at the time.

Did performing in that movie ignite your desire to have your own music career someday?

I wouldn’t say that School of Rock directly impacted my aspirations as a musician. If anything, I was introduced to such talented persons at such a young age that it was almost intimidating. I was acutely aware of what the competition was like. SOR is about more than music though. It’s about recognizing that you are special and that you deserve to shine. It created a spotlight for me as someone who was unique; someone who stood out. For a while, I backed away from the attention this brought me and I’ve opened up about that a lot recently. But I think my character in the film would be proud of grown-up me. I now know that I am worthy of presenting myself and my story to the world. It’s a great feeling.

As far as artistry, it is what I just described. Being brave enough to share yourself with the world through creative outlets. I’ve come a long way in my ability to do that authentically and I’m proud of that.

How would you describe your musical style?

I like to say that my songs tell stories. They’re lyric-driven and they come from the heart. I accompany my lyrics with fairly pop-country derived melody lines as that’s the genre where a lot of my favorite artists and influences reside.

You came out with your debut EP Love One Another in 2017. How have you grown as an artist since then?

I’ve grown as an artist since last week when my studio album came out, haha. So to answer your question with less sass, yes – I’ve grown a lot. I learn from every step I take towards my goals.

You have a new album out called Stage Two. What can audiences expect from this album?

The album contains 7 new tracks. They range in format from ballad to bop to duet but they all contain pretty catchy melodies and heartfelt melodies. I think the album doesn’t really sound like anything else that’s out there right now and that’s cool in my opinion. For one, there are no elements added other than vocals and instruments giving it an earnest and an almost raw folk vibe. It’s also got a bit of a country throwback vibe without losing the influence of what’s on pop radio today. Not to mention, it’s essentially gay country music so I feel like I’m bringing something new to the game in that respect. There’s only a handful of people that I know of at the moment who are trying to break the boundaries of the country music genre so I’m happy to be part of that movement.

The title Stage Two holds a lot of significance. Tell us about that.

The album is named after a book on gay psychology by Alan Downs titled The Velvet Rage. He describes the gay man’s life as occurring in three stages: stage one, shame; stage two, compensating for shame; and stage three, authenticity. All of the songs on this album were written during a time in my life that I felt was very depictive of Stage Two. I was very disconnected with myself and I was constantly seeking the approval of others, often in the form of the addictive and toxic relationships that carry a theme throughout the album. I don’t believe Down’s research is the be all and the end all on the psychological issues facing the LGBT community but his book was very eye-opening for me at the time that I read it simply because of where I was at in my journey when I digested it all. I wanted to use this album to direct anyone to his work in case it could do for them what it did to me.

The first single off the album is called Rainy Day. It’s a single about some of the darkest moments in that phase of your life. What led to you choosing this as the lead single?

I felt that if I was going to go “all out” with this title and this theme, the single needed to be reflective of that. “Rainy Day” was written from a place of desperation. I was so involved in a turbulent relationship that I lost control of how I felt and what I said and what I did. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I handed all that control over to someone because I didn’t believe that I was worthy of love. As gay men, we are told while growing up that there is something wrong with us. We come to believe that we don’t deserve certain things and when someone offers you validation, you take it.

I look back on my Stage Two relationships with gratitude because they were so destructive that they forced me to step back and take a look at myself. This was needed because it forced me to develop a more loving relationship with myself, which is key for living an authentic life well lived – stage three!

In addition to your music career, you’re also an International Coach Federation certified life coach. You’re developing your own Love Life program. What’s that all about and what led you to pursue this program?

This album is cool for me because by connecting it to my passions for self-care, I’ve sort of combined my two career lanes into one. As a Life Coach, I work with primarily LGBT clients to help them overcome the shame of growing up closeted. My business is based on the assumption that what I’ve gone through is not unique to me. So many of the generalizations that compose the gay community’s reputation stem from lives designed to compensate for the past. But we don’t need to prove anything! We just need to change the story that we are telling ourselves about ourselves. We are already perfect and we are enough as we are. That is the truth that I hope my clients walk away from our partnership believing.

What’s next for your career?

I’m not entirely sure but I am always #workingonadream. I am currently trying to promote the album and I’m also mobilizing to go back to Los Angeles for the coming Pilot Season. In comparison to my past, I feel as though I’m at an unparalleled point in my work as an Actor so I’m hoping to bring that to the table this audition season and perhaps try my hand at some TV/Film roles again. It’s been a while, but I think I’m ready to make my return. 🙂

What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters as well as people who may be struggling with confidence?

I’ve come to believe that confidence, and particularly healthy self-esteem, are the most essential and fundamental psychological human needs. Low self-esteem is not an incurable disease but healing damaged self-esteem is a full-time commitment that you need to make to yourself. Once I began my journey towards developing that supportive relationship with myself, I discovered that there are literally resources everywhere. I actually find it impressive that I didn’t discover them sooner. I encourage those struggling to just start taking the first steps: talk to someone, write it down, read a book. The rest will come.

Confidence is very important for artistry as well. Otherwise, you’re just constantly seeking the validation of others. Your work as a Singer-Songwriter needs to give you fulfillment. Stop waiting around for permission to do what you know you are capable of doing or to go after what you know you deserve. There were a million reasons why I could have not made this album but I just did it. And now, here I am speaking to you about it. Just do what makes you happy.

Let the readers know where to find you online.

1.)  www.brianfalduto.com

2.)  Subscribe to my YouTube channel!

3.)  Like me on Facebook.

4.)  Follow me on Instagram.

5.)  And obviously all digital streaming music platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) …