“Thanks to my dad, I had the pleasure to be on the most famous stages of the world and got to travel all over the planet,” 25-year-old Matteo tells Billboard. “Bringing our voices on stages, we were bringing a story that is true and authentic. As I always say, music is about authenticity, because when you’re not truthful to music, the music won’t work and people won’t feel it. Our duet ‘Fall On Me’ is a song that talks about a true relationship between father and son and it’s probably why people really felt the song and they were so excited to see us together all the time.”
While he’s already had an impressive amount of musical experience thanks to working and performing with his father, Matteo is ready to re-introduce himself to the world on his own — but not without paying tribute to the family who supported him along the way. The singer dropped a new solo single, “Chasing Stars,” on Friday (July 28), which was written by pop superstar Ed Sheeran and his brother Matthew about their own father.
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“When I was younger, my father was my hero / Let me hop on his shoulders, we sang to the moon,” Matteo’s honeyed vocals croon on the opening lines of the heartfelt ballad, which, as expected, Andrea loved. “Once my father heard that first line calling him my hero, he said, ‘I like this song,’” Matteo recalls with a laugh, before sharing how supportive the Italian legend has been while his son worked to carve his own creative path.
“My father helped this big step feel a little smaller,” he says. “I’m very grateful for everything that he taught me, the values that he gave to me and all the vocal techniques. Every time I have jobs, I still go to him and ask him how I should use my voice. He’s always saying, ‘I’m here for you to help you for whatever you need.’ I think that this is what father should always do. Let their sons live their lives but always be there to support and give advice.”
Having a song written by Ed Sheeran on his debut album made the song even sweeter, as Matteo has been a fan of the superstar since he released 2011’s “The A Team.”
“To think that in my very first album, I have a song with him, it’s incredible. It’s really a privilege,” Matteo says, noting that he met Sheeran “multiple times” over the years, but really got to know him back when he worked with Andrea on his 2017 “Perfect Symphony” duet. “We kept in contact, and later on, we asked if it was possible to have a song written by him. We thought it’d be a privilege to have one of his songs and he sent us ‘Chasing Stars.’ I fell in love with the song in the very first moment because it’s beautiful, the melody and also the lyrics. It wasn’t a song that he wrote for me. It was a song that he did for himself — but what’s cool is the song has a theme that is quite common because we both have a shared value of family and a passion for music.”
He continues, “I found so many connections on that song that I said, ‘I’ve got to do it.’ Not only because everything Ed touches is beautiful, but also because all the pieces of the puzzle were fitting perfectly.”
As for the age-old phrase, “Never meet your heroes,” the warning proved to be completely untrue in Matteo’s experience working with Sheeran. “One of the things that I appreciate so much about Ed is that in his music and art in general, he knows what it means to be free and to have the freedom to do what you love in your way,” Matteo says. “Many artists in their career have been judged for what they were doing or the way they were bringing music to people. For this reason, he gave me the freedom to perform the song the way I like. He wasn’t at all the type to be like, ‘No, you got to do this, you got to do that.’ He encouraged me to perform it the way I feel, because he said, ‘At the end of the day, you’re going to be on stage performing the songs.’”
The Parisi-produced “Chasing Stars” will be featured on the singer’s upcoming debut solo album, fittingly titled Matteo, set for release on September 22 via Capitol Records. The 12-track project will feature both Italian and English songs capturing this new chapter in Matteo’s life.
Despite his confidence in taking this next step as a solo artist, Matteo is still growing and learning who he is, just like any 25-year-old. “They always ask me who I am today and I always say, ‘Honestly, I don’t know,’ because it’s truly a specific and particular phase of my life,” he says of how he views himself at this moment. “This is why one of the first ideas we thought of was to call the album Fasi, which means ‘phases’ in English, because it’s a very important moment of my life with many, many changes. I’m super happy about all of the music I made these last two years and this record will be the product of getting to experiment and work with many writers and composers. You learn so many things, you have so many experiences and so many stories to tell. I hope that the concepts and all the stories and emotion will be able to connect with people.”
Listen to “Chasing Stars,” and watch the moving music video, below.