Montreal artist Mario Biferali redefines success

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Talking to Mario Biferali is like catching up with an old friend. Although we have never met, our “20 minute” interview ended up way past an hour. It was easy to lose track of time as our conversation unfolded and we were both surprised at how much we had in common.

We both grew up in Montréal but weren’t born here (he was born in Toronto). We are both big Tom Petty fans. And we are both currently reading Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography “Born To Run” (that we both got for Christmas).

Our topics ranged from our favorite comedians and podcasts to some deep, philosophical theories on growing old and figuring out what is truly important. As he approaches 50, Mario’s views on success in the music industry are no longer measured by his fame but by the quality and authenticity of his songs.

“I’d rather fail knowing that I did exactly what I wanted to do as opposed to succeed with something that is not authentic. Imagine you fail doing something that’s not authentic. Then you will have wasted all this time. For example my song “Parachute” is 4 minutes and 40 seconds. It’s long. I could cut it but that’s the song.” BF

From his humble beginnings, growing up in Montréal’s East End (RDP), he still remembers admiring fellow Montreal artist Aldo Nova, who lived in his neighbourhood. He admits to actually being star-struck and tongue-tied when he met Nova, (as his opener) with his band Krystal in the late 90’s.

He started his professional career with his band Krystal, (produced by Vince Marino). And has shared the stage with I Mother Earth, Aldo Nova, Downchild Blues Band, Vince Marino (Mahogany Rush), Lee Aaron to name a few.

His first solo project “Personal Belongings” was released in 2002.
It is a lovely instrumental album that was featured on Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment and got a lot of airplay on CBC Radio.

Mario is a musician’s musician and has great respect and affection for his collaborators. So it’s no surprise that there’s a long list of people who are eager to contribute to his new EP which is being recorded remotely in Canada and the US.

Artists such as Nir Z(drummer for John Mayer, Genesis), Devon Malone (guitarist for Keith Urban, Sam Hunt), Victor Broden (bassist for LeAnne Rimes, Richard Marx) and Grammy Nominated producer Paul Brown.

A self-proclaimed seeker of truth, Mario digs deep in his songwriting and works hard at his craft. Drawing inspiration from his personal life, childhood memories and even Netflix.

“Every song is like a little therapy session.” MB

Watch the interview below:

At 12 years old, Mario had a life-changing moment that he would never forget while listening to an older cousin’s Deep Purple album. As soon as he heard “Highway Star” he had an epiphany.

“I didn’t know what that was but I knew that I wanted to play that.” MB

Although he feels more comfortable playing guitar than singing, he is working on new music and will be doing more vocals. After 30 plus years of honing his craft, Mario has embraced his “voice” and is allowing himself to be more open and vulnerable.

“Most of my favourite artists don’t have the greatest singing voices. Guys like Petty and Springsteen are strong storytellers and we love them because we trust them. They are authentic and honest.” AA

“It’s very hard to be yourself. If you’re judged because you pretended to be somebody else, you could protect yourself and say yeah but that’s not even the real me. But if you get judged after you put yourself out there, that’s very hard. You know what I mean?” MB

In addition to proving my theory that the month of October produces the best musicians, Mario Biferali confirms my belief that there is no expiry date on success, no matter how you define it.

In 2021 Mario signed with the British label Mercia Records / Sony Orchard. His new single “Parachute” was released on July 23 and he will be releasing an EP early next year.

Writer: Annette Aghazarian
Photo: Roberto Anania

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