Calling on the Divine: Carlo Capobianco’s Debut Album Forgives You
Carlo Capobianco sits tall in his chair across from me. Long strings of jewels hang around his neck, these ornaments all a backdrop to a single gold cross.
Carlo’s debut album “Pray To You,” available April 20th, is a deliciously ‘80s-inspired LP produced and engineered alongside Adam Fuhr of House of Wonders.
With the 8-track album, Carlo hopes to shine a light on what modern pop music can be. To him, it’s much more than the earworms from the top 40s, all perfectly constructed to be chopped into a dozen trendy TikTok audios.
“Pop music is pop culture,” the artist says. It’s a luxurious realm that mortals can only gawk at. It invites drama and obsession—lust, greed, envy, oh my! It’s something that can be (and is) worshiped.
“Pray To You” invites you to glorify, to confess, to plead. No quiet whispers at the dinner table or knelt beside your bed. Carlo wants drama at full volume. Tantrums, mouths agape, faces twisted in anguish — like some 15th-century tableau.
Carlo has worshiped pop music and its theatricality since he was young — idolizing Prince, Madonna, and Cher, and performing Pussycat Dolls choreo during gym class. Though he wasn’t always able to channel this energy on stage.
“My first show, I was so shy. I was quivering on stage at The Handsome Daughter. I was so afraid of what people thought. Then the next couple of shows came and I just exploded on stage.”
Carlo says he admires Begonia and Boy Golden for the personas they’ve created for themselves. Carlo’s own persona is just as much for the audience as it is for himself.
“Being on stage and teasing the audience, doing the dances…I feel like it's really about reaching for stars. Even if I live in Winnipeg, I can be a pop star.”
This on-stage character is just a part of what the singer calls “The World of Carlo Capobianco.” A world of bleeding hearts and flashing lights. Glitz, glam, gargantuan emotion. A world producer Adam Fuhr encouraged.
Before collaborating with House of Wonders, Carlo had bounced from studio to studio, where various overly-confident producers totally botched the original music he brought to them.
“There was no character to it. No one really listened to what I wanted the record to be, and so I had a whole bunch of demos I didn't know what to do with. Adam listened to me and understood my inspiration. He has a way of making music sound iconic.”
With luscious melodies, seductive vocals, and a believably retro sound, the album does everything except play it safe. Rich with religious motifs, the tracks touch on lust, broken relationships, and the objectification of queer bodies.
“[Writing these songs], I was subconsciously talking to God or the universe, whatever you want to call it. I was just reaching out and saying that I sinned, I was being a bad boy, people were treating me badly…but I was also finding love, and I was finding acceptance within all of it. It’s my own little bible of a record.”
The record follows the pop star as he asks for guidance and understanding, while he’s painted as neither the hero nor the villain of a messy and too-relatable love story. Despite the heavy themes, it’s music you can dance to. A record that lifts the weight from your own shoulders as it plays. One that leaves you feeling free and forgiven, after all.
Catch Carlo's album release show on April 20th, presented by Real Love Winnipeg. Get your tickets.