Musical Mastermind — Joey Niceforo

With the release of his debut solo album, Priceless, Joey Niceforo speaks with City Life, telling us about the life-long journey that led to this moment.

Deciding on a career is one of the toughest choices people have to make, but for Joey Niceforo, the choice was easy. When he was 16 years old, he was introduced to opera and fell in love. Niceforo became dedicated to music, and it has paid off.

April 13 marked the release of his debut solo album, Priceless, which has been a resounding success. Thinking back on that day, he recounts his disbelief: “I was told I wasn’t probably going to be on the charts because it’s my first album, and they usually don’t do well. But we finished the day at No. 3 on iTunes pop, behind Elton John and Pentatonix. And that, to me, was so surreal that it’s stuff like that that drives me.”

Niceforo has had to overcome various obstacles throughout his career to reach this point, one of those being his own insecurities, which were present from the beginning. When he first started taking singing lessons in his teens, he was so shy that his sister was actually the one paying for his lessons, so that he wouldn’t have to tell his parents.

“We finished the day at No.3 on iTunes pop, behind Elton John and Pentatonix. And that, to me, was so surreal that it’s stuff like that that drives me”

When it came time to go to university, Niceforo was wracked with worries. What if his parents didn’t understand his passion for music? “I totally thought my parents were gonna say, ‘Don’t do the music route; it’s too hard. Go and get something that’s more secure.’” But he had no reason to be worried. His parents supported him wholeheartedly. In fact, everyone in his hometown, Valley East, Ont., supported him. Says Niceforo: “Everybody encouraged me, and so I think that gave me the confidence to be able to pursue it. They held fundraisers for me, so that I could have money for my tuition. It’s the most supportive community that I could have ever hoped for.” This support is one of the reasons that he has made it here today.

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Up until starting his new album, Niceforo had been a member of two singing groups: the Canadian Tenors and Destino. Though these provided him with incredible experiences, when the groups disbanded, he was tempted to quit singing. Being part of these groups nurtured his insecurities. “Because I had always been in groups, I never thought I was good enough to do it on my own.” So when asked about his most memorable performance, it wasn’t the answer that was anticipated — a performance in Sharon, Ont., in a church with only about 75 people in the audience. How could that trump performing for thousands of people? For Niceforo, this was proof that he could do it on his own. And since that moment, he hasn’t looked back.

Priceless encapsulates who Niceforo is and is an amalgamation of everything he’s been through. His love for music is evident when you listen to him sing, as he pours his heart and soul into every song. Niceforo even has a couple of songs in French and Italian, to show how important his family is to him. In fact, when asked what he finds himself reflecting on at the end of each day, he says it’s his father. “He passed away just before I started the solo career, and it was something he always wanted me to do. He was a huge part of my musical career, so I still kind of want him here with me now, even though he’s physically not.” The passion that flows through Niceforo for his family, his fans and his music is what pushes him and what has led to his well-deserved success.

photos courtesy of Joey Niceforo

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