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Italian musician Ferdinando Arnò is internationally renowned for his poise and poignancy as a producer and composer. He’s penned and produced radio hits for other artists, written and composed some of our most beloved TV jingles, and scored emotionally resonant incidental music for popular television shows. He’s now stepping out as a composer and bandleader with his own group, Common Mama. The sweetly winsome indie pop on the group’s debut, The Dance Is Random (quiet, please!), is already causing a stir with the leadoff single, “A New Kind Of Something,” netting a plum TV placement.
Viewers worldwide watching the commercial advertising the launch of the Acer Iconia Tab A500 tablet PC have responded to the track’s unique blend of immediacy, warmth, and soulfulness. “A New Kind Of Something” has had a staggering debut, garnering 45,000 cumulative youtube views and kicking off a vigorous “who is that band” viral buzz. Though this is a new project, Ferdinando Arnò’s music is already “household name” status. His music has appeared in A Time For Dancing, Letters To Juliet, Generazione Mille Euro, La Prima Cosa Bella, and on the television show One Tree Hill. In the advertising world he has composed, sourced, and cleared tracks for thousands of companies, including campaigns for such notables as BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Barilla, Mulino Bianco, Campari, Acer, SKY, Volkswagen, Vodafone, Saab, Ferrero, Fiat, Telecom, and Allianz. His music production laboratory "quiet, please!" handles close to 50% of Italy’s music related business. Many pieces composed or selected by Arnò have been featured at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. As a talent scout he discovered Malika Ayane, and he produced and composed her platinum-selling debut. He’s also collaborated with such legends as Andrea Bocelli and Ennio Morricone.
Arnò nurtured his richly diverse musicality while attending Berklee College of Music. The school’s rigorous pedagogy and network of world class musicians helped him hone his distinctive sensibilities and become a world class pianist. He graduated with a degree in jazz improvisation, and along the way worked with such jazz giants as Victor Bailey, Tommy Campbell, Branford Marsalis, and Jeff “Tain” Watts.
Common Mama happened purely by accident. “I felt the need to find a new avenue for a musical and lyrical message,” Arnò recalls. Inspiration struck while watching the final scene of the 1971 cult film Harold and Maude by Hal Ashby. Though the scene is synched up with a Cat Stevens track, Arnò was so moved by the intent and emotion behind the moment he scored his own music to it. “Musically I was trying to take a photograph of that instant two people meet,” he says. A few days later he was asked for a evoke a similar sentiment for an Acer Iconia Tab A500 tablet PC campaign. From the overwhelmingly favorable reception of his song, “A New Kind Of Something,” Common Mama inked a deal with EMI Brazil for its 5-song debut EP, The Dance Is Random.
The EP is both mesmerizing and comforting. The gorgeously tender “Downtown Strolling Downtown” features the singer Jon Kenzie’s sweetly weary vocals elegantly accompanied by a beautifully hypnotic piano performance. The track “Possibly Mine” showcases Common Mama in full bloom, with a richly dynamic band nimbly navigating the sense of wonder and awe inherent in the track with silken grace. The EP title track patiently unfolds with dynamics sensitive to the introspective nature of the song. “’This Dance is Random’ encapsulates the fragility of life. It’s the portrait of a delicate soul who can't deal with the present and bets all he has on the future,” Arnò explains.
Common Mama singer Jon Kenzie’s folksy vocals evoke Cat Stevens and Paolo Nutini, he has the optimum blend of sandpaper and satin to compliment Arnò’s shimmering indie pop compositions. Kenzie is a young British artist who began his career playing around London and is now the lead singer in Manchester’s Beggar Joe. “I saw Jon sing in the subway in London. I could hear his voice from ten feet away, it was so powerfully entrancing,” says Arnò. The band is augmented by a distinguished lineup of musicians whom prefer their anonymity. Arnò produced and mixed the EP in Milano and Manchester with additional mixing done by Tom Elmhirst (Amy Winehouse, Adele, Cee Lo Green, among others) at Electric Lady Studios in New York and Metropolis Studios in London.
Common Mama is a new creative adventure for a highly established music visionary, and Ferdinando Arnò is welcoming the exciting unpredictability of the journey with refreshing openness. “I think planning the path of Common Mama would be a mistake. I'd rather let the world define it by showing us the way,” he says pensively.