We’ve known Dimitri Minucci for almost a decade, his apartment was very close to a bar that Chauncey used to DJ at and work the door on some nights. As creative people usually find inspiration at the strangest times, someone stationed at a bar nearby is the perfect compatriot to share new creations in the form of demo tracks and final cuts as well to add to Chauncey’s sets of course. The two became friends naturally but a few years passed in a city that is constantly changes as fast as the people that inhabit it. Dimitri and Chauncey recently reconnected and the timing was perfect because they are both awash in high volumes of creative output and as lusty for life as ever. Dimitri recently released a full length album for starters and Chauncey, if you read this blog at all, has a ton of crazy things going on in his head and around him more than ever. You can catch Dimitri live tonight at Housing Works Thrift Shop in Hell’s Kitchen as he performs a short, acoustic and intimate set to coincide with the store’s 2nd Annual Queer Works Event which features artwork, photography, sculptures and now music from local (and for the first time international) queer artists curated by Mr. Dandridge himself. Click here to RSVP
We are so thrilled and excited that you recently released “After All I’ve Done”, a long awaited full album of your songs, but our first question is what took you so long?
Great question. I didn’t start the process with the conscious decision that I was making an album. To be honest, it was at first a demo that consisted of a few songs. Part of the album was recorded with that intention of shopping the project for a record deal. At that time, boy bands were huge and I was a gay solo artist. No label knew what to do with me. Then life happened. So much in between the first half and the second half of the album, which is why I called the album what I did. Most debut albums are self titled but that just didn’t make sense in this case.
What is the hardest part about the process of writing a song all the way to recording that song?
The hardest part is definitely starting. Once I get the rhythm of the writing process, it flows effortlessly and I usually can’t sleep or focus on anything else until its done. So, to answer the question, finding the inspiration to write that first word or first note is definitely the hardest part.
We remember a few of the songs that made their way home onto the new album but they were completely different versions with drastically different production…how did these songs evolve into what they are today?
I guess I evolved. The most ironic part about my story is that I am so much more grounded and self-aware than when I was in my early 20′s. I didn’t know the first thing about myself, life or anything else for that matter – but I thought I knew it all. Certain songs were crucial in telling my story. I think what I am most proud of is that the album is an album in the sense that it is cohesive and tells a story.
Which comes first…the music or the lyrics?
In most cases, the music. Music evokes so much emotion that in most instances, I need the music to unearth the story I want to tell. Sometimes the music that presses the button is in a club or an instrumental track in a movie… Most of the album was conceived with music created by John Dagrazio, who co-wrote the entire album, short of 2 songs.
Do you draw from your own life experiences when conjuring up a song?
The entire album is very personal, so yes. Different artists draw off different life experiences, or emotions. My triggers are usually loss or pain. I think that pain is very educational to one’s understanding of their own responses to life and what really matters. Ironically, I am really happy guy and usually the life of the party, so it’s not indicative of who I am in large part, but it does describe the depth in which I feel, love and move on.
What incident in your life has proven to be the most powerful catalyst artistically?
Aside from songwriting and performing, do you dabble in any other of the many artistic mediums out there?
I am a trained dancer, actor and have been a professional make up artist for 20 years, so yes. I love the beauty in life. i am a Tuarus and ruled by Venus so it all makes sense.
Your shows are all about the music and the emotions and passion that are invoked when you perform without much visual fanfare…would you ever consider adding more theatrical visual elements to your show or is that not a direction you’d prefer?
Absolutely, I would love to. I was a theatre major and definitely have that muscle. I look forward to a bigger show with more bells and whistles.
How do you feel about musicians who are over the top in their public personas and on stage antics?
I think anyone who has their own perspective and opinion and chooses to describe it in their shows and stage & public personas is right where they need to be. Personal expression is such an important part of music today, as well as identifying oneself in such a multi-media world. If one doesn’t define themselves, someone else will do it for them, or even worse, they will just fade into the background. Differences are meant to be celebrated.
Your song “Paradise” was wildly revamped by Obra Primitiva into a tribal onslaught of a track and appears towards the end of your album…what made you decide to include those versions on your collection?
Dance music is such a huge part of my life and what I love so I wanted to be sure my audience understood that. Eddie Martinez, an International DJ and friend of mine just started his own label, Stimulus Recordings, and is releasing another track “Lucid” as a single with 5 remixes by different producers.
This Monday, June 18th at Housing Works Thrift Shop in Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll be treating customers to a live acoustic and intimate set for the store’s 2nd Annual Queer Works Art Event…any teasers from your set? We’re obviously looking very much forward to what you’ve put together for the occasion…
I will actual perform only 2 original songs. I wanted to share my voice with the audience since many of them will have not been exposed to me or the album before. I am sure you will love it
You’re also back at The Triad Thursday, June 21st, what can one expect from your live show?
Expect to laugh, to cry and to identify with the feelings. I will sing every song on the album plus a few covers. I will let you all decide.
Out of all of your songs…which are the hardest to perform live and which are the easiest and why?
The hardest is definitely the title track, Now After All I’ve Done because it is the most personal and I feel like my Mom is right there when I sing it, probably because she is.
The easiest? huh. Nowhere Without You. Probably because I get to stand up for myself in it. The song is about letting go. It’s very therapeutic.
What venue would be your dream to perform at?
Joe’s Pub, Radio City, Madison Square Garden.
If you could do a duet with any singer out there today…who would it be?
Madonna or Gaga, of course.
If you could write a song for any singer out there living or deceased, who would it be and what kind of song would it be?
Madonna or Gaga, of course.
Is there a song that got away?
No, I don’t think so. I guess if it got away and I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter.
Where can one find your music to purchase as well as keep up to date with all the things going on in your career?
To keep up to date, Facebook for sure. My website is in the works and will be dimitriminucci.com
The album is available on iTunes & Amazon, as well as at any of my live performances, if you like an actual CD.