Following his chosen path
Published 12:50 pm Saturday, October 18, 2014
Posting a video on YouTube, recording an album or two and performing on national television are not enough for Fernando Varela. No, he’s got to show America live and in person what he has to offer musically. For that, Varela has taken to the road, and Courtland is fixed on his itinerary.
The Franklin-Southampton Concert Association kicks off its new season with this emerging musical talent, and he’ll perform on Tuesday, Oct. 21, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Southampton High School auditorium.
Varela took time recently from his schedule for a phone interview to talk about some of his background and what he’ll present this week.
“I didn’t start singing until I was 17,” he said this past Wednesday morning, adding that not until 21 or so is when he became more serious. “This career kind of chose me.”
Singing teachers encouraged Varela, who’s originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“[Music producer] David Foster saw a video of me on YouTube and invited me to audition for his “Born to Sing” contest, and it went really well.”
Indeed, Varela won.
“He invited me next month and we did a show at the Mandalay [Bay Resort in Las Vegas] and toured for two years,” Varela said. “It was an incredible experience and a huge break for me as a performer.”
Six years ago, he recorded his first album, “Dare to Live,” followed by “Prelude” in 2012.
Just last year, Varela formed Forte, which performed on the “America’s Got Talent” television program. Out of the reported 75,000 contestants, Forte made it to fourth place and got a multi-album deal from Columbia Records.
Touring solo is not like working an ensemble, he said.
“It’s totally different. With an ensemble of three people decisions need to be made by all three. We can harmonize in a way that I can’t do as a soloist,” Varela said, adding that this current tour was being planned before the TV show.
He’s not completely alone in the show this Tuesday. Kyle Mattingly is the director, and the “phenomenal” violinist Megan Gherkin will be with him.
“We have fully orchestrated instrumentation that we play to, and it sounds very full. We recorded with a live orchestra.
“It’s a full show. A lot of different styles of music with classical crossover. There’s classic rock, some Neil Diamond, Roy Orbison and Tom Jones. We’re definitely going to have a lot of fun.”
Varlea acknowledged that’s he working on a new album and contributing to the original songs.
“Yeah, I’ve been writing for the past year and a half. I went to London for a few weeks to co-write,” he said. Los Angeles, New York and Nashville have been other sites of collaboration.
The tour comes to an end in mid-November, and then there’ll be time for his family at home in Orlando, Florida, which is where Varela’s lived since he was 8 years old.
Though he couldn’t divulge details, there are other plans.
“There are some big things on the horizon next year definitely building. I’m putting one foot in front of another.”
To learn more about Varela, visit his website at www.fernandovarela.com
The cost for FSCA membership is $50 for adults; $10 for students; and single tickets are $30 at the door.
For details, call Rowe at 653-2498 or Bill Vick at 653-2892.