EnEyeCee, an emerging singer, actor, and fashionista from London, England, pulls back the curtain to give us a glimpse of his world of music and sustainability
In a recent interview, Faze had the pleasure of talking to EnEyeCee, a passionate, young performer who hit the world stage running with his online performance at the UNESCO MGIEP World Youth Conference on Kindness in October (Day 1 video: 02:28:40 and 02:59:09), where he debuted his upcoming first release, Save The Planet. The song will be formally released on November 27, 2020.
Even though EnEyeCee is new to the world stage, he is no stranger to performing. He has extensive musical and vocal training, he plays three instruments, and he has been entertaining audiences from an early age.
Along with his musical endeavours, EnEyeCee has multiple irons in the creative fire. He is intensely interested in doing what he can to promote awareness around the need to restore the health of the planet. Not only does he sing and write music and lyrics about climate action but he is also an earnest promoter of sustainable fashion: working with clothing designers, couture houses, and developing a docu-series around sustainability in clothing. EnEyeCee says, “We’re just trying to subtly, with a really fun edge, show that you can wear sustainable clothing, and look really cool, and be fashion forward, and look really fabulous.”
Although EnEyeCee now lives in London, he grew up in the much smaller city of Basingstoke, England. He joked, saying, “It’s better known to the locals as Amazingstoke.” He reminisced saying, “It’s a beautiful little town, but there wasn’t much to do there when I was growing up. Me and my friends would wonder what do we do today, maybe walk around the shopping centre, again? Or basically sit in a field?”
EnEyeCee spoke fondly of growing up, of his family and his heritage. He is of Italian descent, and as a result he is multilingual, speaking both English and Italian. He loves eating a nice plate of pasta with his nonno and nonna (grandfather and grandmother), family gatherings, and joking, in Italian dialect, with colleagues of similar heritage.
The Music and The Performer
With his background, music was a natural progression. He played three instruments, sang, and wrote music and lyrics. And even though things didn’t always go as planned, they ended up exactly where they were supposed to—there’s a reason for everything.
How long have you been singing?
“I have been singing, literally, since I can remember. As you can appreciate, coming from a large Italian family, I was encouraged to sing and encouraged to dance. I remember my nonna used to sing to me, Napolitan lullabies, my zias [aunts], after a bottle of wine, would say, ‘Come up and sing and we’ll do the Tarantella [fast paced, whirling Southern Italian folk dances].’ I was always told to sing, sing, sing. So, since I’ve been little, it’s always been my passion.
“However, I didn’t start performance as a singer; I started as a concert flautist, saxophonist and pianist. I’m a diploma standard concert flautist and was going to go into music college on the flute. I used to play in loads of pit bands and orchestras, and I used to play in quite a lot of local artists’ original music tracks. That really inspired me. I thought I want to be singing. I love playing, but I want to be singing. That’s my thing. It’s what I do from the morning when I wake up to the time I go to bed. That’s a sign.
“I studied opera because that was a natural thing to do as an Italian. While doing that I realized I was leaning more towards contemporary music, so I went to study musical theatre at the Royal Academy of Music. But then I realized I’ve always sung Pop, Motown, Jazz, R&B. When I was doing my gigs around London, I would always sing something by Stevie Wonder or The Temptations or whoever. And because I wrote my own music back then, I thought they’ve [the singers for whom he played] inspired me to do my own music and sing.”
When did you start performing?
“I used to do local competitions—performing in front of an audience since about six or seven. I must have started performing [gigging] when I was 15 or 16, playing with other artists on local tracks, or in orchestras, or all wind bands.
“Professional singing started whilst I was in University, and whilst I was performing at the Royal Academy. I actually went on to do an a cappella TV show in the UK where I had my own a cappella group. I toured around the west end and internationally with that, arranging the music with another one of my colleagues. Through that I was able to do some backup vocals for a couple of colleagues and help arrange music for a few other colleagues who wrote their own stuff. I started writing music for other artists on the back of that.”
You worked with all these different artists to get the sound right then decided to do it yourself?
“I thought, ok cool, this is the universe telling me that this is the path I was meant to be on because I wasn’t doing anything like what I was initially trained to do. I’ve been very fortunate with all the experiences I’ve had because it has led me here.”
Where did you get your inspiration for your career? Who were your musical heroes?
My first heroes were actually the Muses from Hercules. I was obsessed with all of the songs they sang, to the point of distraction for my poor mum. As a kid I used to sing Zero to Hero pretty much every day. But as I grew up I used to sing a lot of Edwin Starr.
“I also found this old CD at my nonno and nonna’s house: singing legends like Etta James, Billie Holliday, Nina Simone. It inspired me to sing from the heart. In recent years I’ve followed artists like Billie Eilish, where the writing is so beautiful and so poetic. She is an alien. I don’t understand it. Her and her brother are just mesmerizing. I actually had a breakup at around the time that No Time to Die came out and those were all the words that I wanted to say. I wondered how did she do it?
“And there are other artists, like Ed Sheeran. When he wrote Castle on the Hill I was taken back to how I was as a kid, running around because there was nothing to do in my town. All we could do is play in the fields, and even until we were in our mid-teens, there was genuinely not a lot for us to do or anywhere for us to go. It was then that my intention as an artist was solidified. I want people to feel how I felt listening to those songs, and saying, ‘Oh goodness that brings me back’ or ‘those words are amazing.’ If I can get that reaction from just one person then I’ve done what I wanted to do.”
So now you are writing your music and lyrics for yourself to perform?
“I co-write everything with my team, Nick Tangi and Maurizio Proietti. But it’s mainly me and Nick that write the songs together. We write the lyrics, the melody lines, the top lines, and the harmonies. And Maurizio and Nick together will co-produce the track. It’s really wonderful to get involved and actually write. That’s fundamentally what I used to do anyway.”
Can you tell us about the song you sang for the UNESCO – MGIEP World Youth Kindness concert?
“It was never really my intention to debut as an artist with this song [Save The Planet]. When we were writing it, in my head I had always seen another artist singing it. But during lockdown here in the UK, I was speaking with Nick and Maurizio, and we were discussing how wildlife was thriving in our areas. I remember there were butterflies galore outside my house and we were reading reports about pollution being at an all-time low.
“It was almost like a smack in the face when we started to see how the benefits, environmentally, were positive. This is more of a serious issue than I’ve ever given it credit before. We all sat down and said that now it was the time for something like this. We thought we needed to release this song. So together with AMG Sony [EnEyeCee’s record label] and the production company Chromatic Music, we produced it, and here we are.”
You say this was your debut song. So this is the first song you’re putting out?
“Yes, this is my first song as EnEyeCee, that is officially being released by my label [AMG SONY]. We’d written it ages ago. I remember Nick presenting me with the idea of the song back in November of last year, if not even a little beforehand. I’ve got quite a few releases planned, but everything lined up for it to be released first and by me.”
Sustainable Fashion and Docu-Series
Can you explain what sustainable fashion is and how it works?
“Like most people I am still learning as I go. But I’m really lucky with the team I’ve got behind me: the House of de Silva [Sanjee and George]. Their voices help guide me in everything.
“As I understand it, literally anything can be sustainable as long as you don’t buy something that has a one use only. Sustainability in fashion is anything that has a minimal impact on the environment. It could be customizing clothes, restyling a different outfit, or recycling different materials. Or even something as simple as buying a stick of vegan dye, chucking that and a top or a dress into a washing machine and Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt, it’s a new outfit.”
EnEyeCee went on to discuss how renting clothes for specific uses instead of owning them is also a sustainable option that more people are now looking into.
How did you get involved with sustainable fashion?
It sort of coincided with my journey as an artist because I had a rather fortuitous meeting with my stylist Sangee de Silva and designer George de Silva. They had been doing sustainable fashion for a long time and they showed me all of the clothes that they were creating. I thought that they were presenting me with a high fashion brand. But I was told, ‘Oh no, this used to be some trousers I had last week that I didn’t want anymore.’ I turned around to George and said, ‘I would love one day to have a really cool, inspired outfit because I have a song that really matches it.’ So a few weeks later they sent me a picture, asking, ‘Do you like this?’ It was an entire track suit created for me, out of swimming trunks.”
EnEyeCee said, “Sangee had a colleague of his, who uses vegan paints and vegan materials, customize a pair of plain white shoes to match the outfit. I was so in awe of it, I thought this feels right, this is what I want to be doing, this is how I want to be perceived in everything I do and in any appearance I make.”
Were the de Silvas working with sustainable fashion before they met you?
They’ve always been using sustainable materials. It was only with us combining our forces together we decided that sustainable fashion would be our primary goal. It’s just wonderful because they are like-minded people who I absolutely adore to the bone. They are so wonderful and so receptive to everything. They’re so talented it makes me sick. Anything I do, I always send them a message like, ‘Do I look ok wearing this? Please tell me yes.’ And they’ll give me one bit of advice or one tweek and what I’m wearing is completely transformed. They’re just fantastic.”
Are you building a fashion house for sustainable clothing?
“One day that would be great, wouldn’t it? It’s something I keep joking with them about, so who knows. At the moment, we’re just trying to subtly, and with a really fun edge, show that someone can wear sustainable clothing and look really cool and be fashion forward and look really fabulous. We make a conscious effort for every appearance I ever make. Everything I wear is sustainable, even down to recycling accessories. Also, we’re working with other young designers and encouraging them to create clothes sustainably. So, for the UNESCO MGIEP Kindness concert, for the first time, I was actually wearing something that wasn’t from the House of de Silva. It was a blazer from a young designer called, Sergiu-Marian Bechian.”
Can you tell me a little bit about the TV docu-series you’re working on?
“It’s all very serendipitous how everything has come together. I am working with OMNI Present Media, which is run by this incredible powerhouse, Heidi Little, who is such an inspiring person to be around. We were all chatting, and we said we have to do a series about sustainability because the channel’s motto is ‘Entertainment made sustainably.’ The series is going to be about converting the general public’s opinion on sustainable fashion.
“I don’t want to give too much away because we’re in the final stages of preproduction. But the basic idea is that we will take a member of the public and we will restyle them in a specific sustainable fashion. It could be customizing, up-cycling or recycled materials, or even vintage, using clothes that have been passed down. And the whole idea is to say a person can look as fashionable as they want to, and it doesn’t have to be a one usage. A person can even change their own wardrobe at home; they don’t have to necessarily be the next fashion designer of the year. As long as a person knows these little tricks of what to do, they’ll be able to do it.”
Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you would like our readers to know?
I’d love everyone to come on the journey with us and follow what we’re doing. There’s so much that I want to say that I can’t say because it is still in the works. I just want everyone to be as excited as I am. And that I’m so blessed to be with the team I’m with: Nick, Maurizio, Sangee, George, with my coordinator Jade, and everyone at AMG Sony. It’s ridiculous. I keep pinching myself. I get to go to work everyday with these amazing people.”
EnEyeCee is certainly headed for great things in so many different areas. His delightful outlook and his vision of a sustainable future is so timely and so important. His first release, Save The Planet, will be available November 27, through online platforms. A new song, Crazy in Love, is scheduled to be released mid-January 2021. His documentary series is in production at the moment, but you can check in his social media for updates. We look forward to see what this rising young star has in store for us.