Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
Former teen singing sensation and Plainview mother of two Lisa Matassa may often be credited with bringing the country music sound to Long Island- especially now that her EP, Me Time, will soon bring her very own “Long Island Country” style to local radio stations. However, on March 31, she brought a lot of Hollywood-style glamour to Long Island as well. The release party, which featured the premiere of the music video for the single I Don’t Feel Anything as well as a full live performance of the album by Matassa and a team of A-list musicians, brought more flash, excitement and star power to Carlyle at the Palace in Plainview than anyone- except maybe the organizers- had expected.
Still, the event never became “too Hollywood” for comfort; while the red-carpet photo shoot that began the evening, featuring Matassa in a glittering gold gown, may have looked more like a Los Angeles scene than a windy night in Plainview, when the singer posed on the red carpet with her children, it was clear this was still the story of a local mom achieving her dream.
Besides, all Matassa really wanted to do was sing. “The red carpet was really fun and stuff, but I was just really looking forward to hitting the stage and introducing my music to everyone that was there,” she said.
Still, friends and family were surprised by the scope of the affair. “This is overwhelming- I didn’t think it would be this glamorous,” said Steve Britton, a friend of Matassa’s husband Frank.
“I think it’s great that they’re bringing this genre of music to Long Island, and I wish my Aunt Lisa a lot of success,” said Chris Madden, Matassa’s nephew.
Janice Hurowitz, a long-time friend of Matassa’s- the two met when their children attended nursery school together- was also pleased with how the release party turned out. “Very exciting- it’s fun to see someone achieve her dream, and I’m very proud to be here!” she said.
While party-goers enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the video for I Don’t Feel Anything started to play on multiple screens throughout the party room. After the video concluded, Matassa and her band surprised the audience by launching into the live version of the song. The singer, now dressed for performing, went on to sing the other songs on her new album: Wouldn’t You Like to Know (written in Nashville), Me Time, Transparent and Kiss Me Quiet.
The band featured musicians Tony Bruno, Greg Smith, Jules Radino, Joey Sykes (co-writer of the Me Time single), Colin Smith, Mike Dimeo, Bobby Guy Graziose, and Simi Stone. These musicians, many of whom worked with Matassa on the Me Time EP, have performed with some of the best-known names in music including Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Bryan Adams, Enrique Iglesias, and Rihanna.
“I just was so blessed to have such a solid team of musicians performing with me,” said Matassa. “They were just incredible. We have such a great energy together, and it’s really where I’m most in my element.”
For Judy Allocco, Lisa’s mother, who remembers the way her daughter used to pretend that her hairbrush was a microphone, the evening was a long time coming. “I am so excited- her dream finally came true, and mine too!” she said. The singer’s mother reminisced about how she took her daughter as a young child to an opera teacher to teach her how to sing. After spending weeks just learning how to breathe properly, young Lisa got a little frustrated with the exercises at the time, said Allocco. However, it was clear to everyone at the party, from Matassa’s powerful vocal performance, that those lessons had paid off. “After a while she didn’t want to go anymore, but that’s why she can hold those notes,” she said.
The band wasn’t alone on stage; the evening was hosted by radio on-air personalities Phathead and Party Marty from WJVC “My Country” 96.1 FM, Long Island’s country station. While Matassa’s singles will receive play from the local station, with Nine North Records (based in Nashville, Tennessee) all set to promote the album to radio stations across the nation, the reach of her music will likely extend far beyond.
Matassa has a busy few months coming up; in addition to booking plenty of local shows nearby this summer, she’s embarking on a national promotional tour with her band to support Nine North Records’ attempt to get Me Time and I Don’t Feel Anything on the radio nationwide. While the promotional tour will mainly focus on country stations, the singer said that getting play on rock/pop stations is not out of the question.
Also, during the summer- when Alexa and Frankie are out of school- the singer said she plans to travel with her family in tow. In addition, she’d like to fit in another trip to Nashville, where she can collaborate with other songwriters on tracks for her next album.
Still, even with so many shows and events on the horizon, the singer isn’t taking her success for granted; of the release party, Matassa said “It was everything I had hoped for, and more.”
For more information about Matassa’s EP Me Time, and to see the video for I Don’t Feel Anything in high definition, visit the singer’s website at www.lisamatassa.com.