Gabriele Saro set out on a musical path at the tender age of six when he began playing melodies on piano he heard on television. He had no idea these first fledgling steps towards becoming an artist would one day produce a discography of over ninety albums spanning multiple musical styles, but there were productive detours along the way. Saro developed alternate passions over time – he received a degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Neuro-Linguistic Programming in 2012.
The academic and scientific rigor he fostered seeking those degrees has an effect on his music – there’s compositional discipline defining every aspect of his latest single “Skippin’”. He works with collaborators Francesco Siliotto and Yves Agbessi in constructing a track that touches on his classical roots while exhibiting his pop songwriting skills as well.
I’m especially impressed with the song’s orchestration. This doesn’t mean that the track has a pre-plotted out or unnatural feel but rather you hear the influence of scoring documentary films throughout the performance. Saro understands how music of this ilk benefits from peaks and valleys, dynamics paying off for listeners in a big way, and adopting a cinematic air drawing listeners deep into the drama of the composition. “Skippin’” doesn’t allow ambivalence. Listeners will either love it or dismiss it, but I think the vast majority will find themselves pulled into its musical web and remain attentive for the duration of the song.
You hear his classical inclinations straight out of the gate. He begins the song with delicate and melodic piano married with voice before shifting into the full arrangement. The mix of traditional and electronic running throughout the song is a winning combination thanks to the balance he maintains from the first. There’s never any sense of the instrumentation competing for sonic space and striking an accord between the various musical elements he builds into the arrangement is key for the song’s success. The electronic parts of the track, synthesizers and pre-programmed drums, never sound sterile or unnatural and match up well with the piano and vocal.
The singing is a definite high point of the single. Few musical artists are as equally comfortable with instrumentals as they are vocal numbers, but Saro is the rare exception who tackles both styles with aplomb. The lead vocal aches with tremendous emotion without ever going overboard. The vocal melody compliments the arrangement and vice versa; unified compositional values are an attribute of everything Saro does and “Skippin’” is no exception. He exploits each part of this single to its fullest potential and it results in one of the year’s best singles thus far.
It isn’t difficult to imagine “Skippin’” will close the year ranked just as high as I do now. It is no small achievement to couple a smattering of classical influences with pop overtones and make them work together, but Saro has achieved just that. His songwriting prowess is evident to anyone with ears and newcomers will likely be impressed enough to continue coming back for more.