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Lisa Gentile

Lisa Gentile

Lisa Gentile Enters the New Year with a New Release.

EVERYBODY is looking forward to the new year.

Lisa Gentile is looking forward to the new year and releasing a special new album. In honor of her father, record producer Mickey Gentile, Lisa is re-releasing her song “Just When I Thought the Rain Would End” as a comeback lead single from her highly anticipated fourth studio album Start Flying. The album is scheduled for release in the winter of 2021. The song is the personal favorite of Lisa’s father. Remixed and remastered at the famous Dreamland Recording Studios in Woodstock, NY, this updated version features famed drummer and bassist Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates).

“My dad believed in this song more than any song I’ve written. Just before he died he said to me, “Get the ‘Rain Song’ out into the world. It’s your best. Just do it for me.” This is my tribute to him and our bond in music, which gave me the courage to never give up.” explains, Gentile.

Marked by contemporary powerhouse vocals with pop arrangements reminiscent of Burt Bacharach, echoes of the Brill Building and Motown soul, this love ballad tells the story of a resilient lover in her last fight to save a disconnected relationship. The big ballad of the 80s is back with all the 80’s vibes we love minus the cheese. “Rain” launched Lisa’s journey as a performer and songwriter and opened many doors, including performing two original songs on the popular network television competition Star Search. Since then, she’s worked with top songwriters and producers including Keith Diamond, Loris Holland, and Robbie Robertson, as well as placed songs in film and television, and released three studio albums. In 2006, she won a SAMMY for Best Country Recording.

Mickey Gentile passed away in New York City in July 2019. Lisa Gentile is a native of Syracuse, NY, and moved to Manhattan with her family at age 10 to pursue a career in entertainment. She studied voice under renowned vocal coach Carlo Menotti, whose students included Judy Garland and Tony Bennett, and was mentored and coached by Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award winner Liza Minnelli. Lisa is a graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS of Performing Arts in NYC and Bard College.

Mickey Gentile was a New York City native but kept strong roots in Central New York. He married Syracuse singer Jennifer (Jennie Lee) Lambert (Decca Records). Together, they formed a super songwriting duo and many hitmakers recorded their songs. Mickey was a graduate of Syracuse University and taught voice, music, and songwriting classes privately and at Onondaga Community College, Le Moyne College, and The Metropolitan School of the Arts as well as colleges and universities around the state.

A short conversation with Lisa:

Chuck Schiele:  Syracuse, NYC, Nashville… Three of the world’s greatest music meccas. And they each are home to you.

Lisa Gentile:  Yes, each in a very special way. My mother was born in Syracuse, New York, and my father in New York City. When they first married they lived in Manhattan, but when they decided to have children my mother wanted to raise them in Syracuse. So they bought the house next door to her mother. When I was in sixth grade we moved to New York City so I could pursue a career in entertainment. We kept our home in Eastwood and traveled back for holidays and summers, which allowed me the good fortune of keeping tight relationships with most of my childhood friends. New York City was a hard adjustment, but that all changed when one of my first big dreams came true – getting accepted into the HS School of Performing Arts, AKA- FAME! That was a movie and TV show I watched over and over and only dreamed of going to that school. I loved every moment of high school and I know a lot of people can’t say the same. I was blessed, to say the least.

Cut to 2006…I needed a change from the city so I moved back to Syracuse for a summer. That’s when I won the Sammy Award for Best Country Recording. I ended up starting a band (“Lisa Gentile Band”) and I fell in love with the keyboard player (go figure!) and decided to stay. I dove into the music scene, producing shows, hosting a popular open mic called Music Mavericks, started an organization called Music Heals CNY which took music to the bedside of patients in hospitals and nursing homes and wrote this very column Sounds of Syracuse. I got engaged and everything was perfect…until it wasn’t. (See the article that Jack Bocchino wrote about me for a more in-depth look at my time in Syracuse.) See attached https://www.facebook.com/notes/2723748771209912/

In 2009 my engagement ended and I needed to go somewhere completely new and start over. Nashville was a place I had never explored musically and always dreamed of going to, so that’s where I went. I fell in love with the town and spent the next two years there writing and performing until my father’s health began to decline and I just needed to be near him again. I returned home to my family and I’ve been here ever since. I travel back to Nashville every few months to co-write and perform. Most recently I spent six months there recording my most recent record. (See website bio for more details)

CS:  You have a new release. Please tell us about the inspiration and undertaking of the project.

LG:  My upcoming record, Start Flying, is due to release in February 2021. All 11 songs are self-written but one I co-wrote with my sister. I produced the entire record with the help of Nashville producer and drummer Adam Box (Brothers Osborne) who co-produced 7 of the 11 songs. We tracked at Adams’s studio, the Gilded Palace, in Nashville, and then I completed the recording and mixing at Dreamland Recording Studios in Woodstock, NY.

This record is my life’s work. I’ve written many songs, but these are closest to my heart (spanning from age 16 to the present) and I feel in my gut that they especially have something to offer the masses. So after years of searching for perfect people to work with, I finally decided to do it myself, my way. And I finally found my sound. But the truth is, it was never missing. I just had to trust myself. This is my story. My story is my song.”

CS:  How did you get started in music in the first place?

LG:  It’s in my blood as they say. It’s all I ever wanted…and I wanted it badly. So at age 8, I started performing in plays at Syracuse Stage and Salt City Playhouse, where I played Annie. At the same time I was jumping on planes to NYC for auditions and I started booking parts. Shortly after the run of Annie finished, the big move to the city came and things really started rolling.

CS:  When did you realize you were a songwriter??

LG:  I don’t ever think I “realized” I was a songwriter. I realized I wanted to sing, play, and perform music ever since I can remember remembering – if that makes sense. But as for songwriting, I just knew one day I would start writing songs – that was about 13. Having successful songwriters as parents was definitely a bonus, but it was not always easy. They never sugar-coated anything. If they thought a song wasn’t good, they told me straight up. So I wrote and wrote until one day my father heard “Just When I Thought the Rain Would End”. He called it a “hit” and we were in the studio the next day.

CS:  What do you think is the most important part of being a songwriter?

LG:  As a singer who performs my own songs, the most important part is telling stories that send a message. My main goal, and how I was taught, is to make the story as personal as possible, yet general enough so that anyone can relate to it. So if a song is about my crazy Uncle Fred, then the listener needs to be able to relate it to his or her crazy uncle or other crazy family members, because no one really cares about my Uncle Fred. This to me is how songs touch people.

CS:  What are your thoughts on the Central NY music scene and community?

LG:  The live music scene is what stands out to me the most. Pre-Covid you could go out and listen to live music almost any night of the week in any genre and the audience was filled with genuine music fans and supporters who just want to hear good music. Truly some of the best live audiences I’ve had were in Central New York and I’ve performed in a lot of places. I’ve always been grateful for the continued support I receive from the CNY community and I pray for all of the venues and musicians who are suffering during this trying time.

Lisa Gentile – Singer-Songwriter

CS:  What would be your best advice about songwriting to a newcomer to the craft?

LG: Don’t be afraid to be you, but don’t leave out the rest of the world; know your audience. Learn to take criticism, but with a grain of salt. Co-write; you may love or hate it but do it if only a few times, you will learn immensely about yourself and people. Don’t wait for others to believe in or to execute your dreams.

CS: How do we stay in touch with you?

LG: My latest singles “Just When I Thought the Rain Would End” and “Guys Like You” are available on all music streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Instagram/Facebook, TikTok/Resso, Google Play/YouTube, Amazon, Soundtrack by Twitch, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, Napster, iHeartRadio, ClaroMusica, Saavn, Anghami, KKBox, NetEase (beta), MediaNet, Shazam.

Look out for more singles in January 2021 and the album release Start Flying in February 2021. To contact me or join my mailing list visit my website www.lisagentile.com

Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is a lifelong, award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member Quatrocollective.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.