At seven years old, when most kids are jumping around on playgrounds and watching cartoons, Tony d'Mattia could be found in a rocking chair, eyes closed, listening to Beatles albums for hours on end. "I used to have visions while listening to those albums of being this rock star and healing people," says d'Mattia (aka fiZ). "I have always associated rock and roll with healing the world and playing a part of it. It was never separate. It was always connected."
Though a little older now, fiZ's dream hasn't deviated much from those days in that chair.
With the release of his self-titled third album, fiZ, he blends singer-songwriter rock and melodic British pop for an album that's both personal and universal; an album that recognizes the challenges of life, but reflects the singer's eternal optimism and hope for something better. Where most rockers strive for hedonistic self-gratification, fiZ uses his music as a vehicle for his various philanthropic pursuits.
Music has been around fiZ since birth. Having a stepfather that co-founded '50s doo-wop group, The Charades, music was as natural for fiZ as breathing. "I was always around all these great singers because of my stepfather," recalls the singer. "The first time I ever heard them live was a magical moment. I was blown away." As he got older, the prolific songwriter would pick up the guitar, keyboard, and mandolin and at age 12, wrote the first of an estimated 1,000 songs. Absorbing everything from Motown to Rod Stewart to Led Zeppelin, music became a familiar escape; a fantastical world where fiZ could tune out any problems in his life an just enjoy.
After recording and self-producing two albums, 2000's Transcending and 2004's Right Where You Are, fiZ brought in former Wings drummer Steve Holly and veteran producer Bob Stander to collaborate on the new album. Stander, who comes to the album with over 350 studio credits in a decades-long career, bolstered fiZ's natural gift for songwriting, a combination of stream-of-consciousness lyrics and songs based on self-imposed writing exercises.
Musically, fiZ has filtered all of his diverse influences growing up into one distinct sound. On the new album, one can hear the romantic adult contemporary melodies of Elton John, the melodic British pop of The Beatles, the alternative rock of Goo Goo Dolls, and the smooth-as-satin vocals of countless doo-wop & Motown singers. "Take Me Back" contrasts fiZ's hard, driving guitar with his mastery of pop melodies. the funk backbeat of "Contagious"s verses segue perfectly into its upbeat hook. And "There" sees fiZ trading lines with vocalist Janet Montalbo in a gorgeous ballad that should be the default background song for every wedding proposal. Regardless of genre, though, fiZ's message remains spiritual without the preachy & hopeful without the hokey, brimming with an eternal optimism in stark contrast to some of his nihilistic peers.
It's this hopefulness that has guided fiZ through his various charitable pursuits.
As the founder of NOTES FOR LIFE(visit site), a non-profit organization that organizations concerts to raise money for charities, fiZ has put together numerous benefit shows for physically challenged and AIDS-stricken children. In addition, the singer continues to perform monthly at Carman Road School, a school for physically challenged children on Long Island that recently used fiZ's track "This Is It" as their graduation song.
"Music is very spiritual & sacred to me and I know it has deep healing power," says fiZ. "I believe music can help bring more peace into the world. One person can make a huge difference and I believe my music can achieve that."