Ed Randazzo is a much celebrated, award-winning singer-songwriter from Northeastern Pennsylvania. Since September of 2008, he has been creating music with acclaimed singer, songwriter, and producer Bret Alexander from The Badlees & Breaking Benjamin. To mark ten years of working together, Randazzo released a CD and digital album “Who’s that Man?” as a retrospective look back and a way to say thank you to North Eastern and Central Pennsylvania for all the memories. As an added bonus, the vinyl version of “Who’s That Man?” will be available on Saturday, April 13th which is also known as Record Store Day across the Country.
We sat down with Ed to go beyond the music and find out more about his life and his recent move from North Eastern Pennsylvania to Erie.
Art of PA: So Ed, I know you have this exciting album coming out to celebrate Record Store day and your musical career, but can we start at the beginning and talk about how you got into music?
Ed Randazzo: Absolutely. I wouldn’t say that I found music, but music chose me. I know this for a fact as I can’t recall a time where music wasn’t a part of my life. I consider music to be the soundtrack of the good and bad, even nail-biting experiences of my life. It was my love of music that eventually led to collaborating with Bret Alexander from The Badlees & Breaking Benjamin.
AoP: Do you want to elaborate on working with Bret?
Ed: Absolutely. Growing up, I listened to The Badlees and was absolutely mesmerized when I got to see them live in the mid 90’s. From then I was always a fan of Bret, and when he released his first solo album in 2004, I knew that I wanted to somehow work with him. Three years later I emailed him with an idea. I said that I wanted to reinterpret some old folk music with him and see what happens. This led to our first full-length record together in 2009. Together, we have released three acclaimed full-length records as well as a string of local radio stapled singles including 2012’s “Still Cry” and 2015’s “I Need a Woman”. The release of “Who’s That Man?” serves as a great look back and a sort of love letter to NEPA and Central PA. It is my way of saying thank you for being on the journey, and who knows what is next as I write my next chapter in my life.
AoP: So what is the next chapter of your life?
Ed: Well I recently moved to Erie and have been getting acclimated with the music scene here. It’s been a fun ride and now I’ve found someone worth moving across the state for. I think the ultimate goal is to continue writing original material and do a gospel record later on. Actually, prior to working on “Who’s That Man” I had this gospel record in the works. It was in pre-production, but I shelved it for now. I’m not sure when it will resurface as I almost have to become hobbit-like and lock myself in the studio for a good part of a year.
My journey with music has always had its twists and turns and luckily I’ve never had to be a true touring musician and let it flow as life allows it. I don’t think I’d enjoy the demands of always having to produce more and keep working for the next gig. I just go with the flow and ask myself, will the songs come? Will I always have something to say? As long as I have something to say in a new way, I’ll continue to record.
I’m fortunate to have the Erie scene to explore. It is nothing like the music scene NEPA has. NEPA is very special, as it’s like a nucleus for emerging talent. No matter the genre, there are so many bands and songwriters popping up and collaborating. I miss it, but it is still cool to see it from a distance. NEPA gave birth to me, but I don’t feel so disconnected from it out here in Erie.
AOP: That is very interesting. Will you ever come back to the area?
Ed: Absolutely. I plan on visiting as much as I can. NEPA holds something special in my heart. I know The Exchange has me booked for a June 28th Listening Room. The fact that they asked me back says a lot about the connection to the area. Until then, my website will be the home base for what I’m up to. I was actually able to get my hands on some live material from a gig that I played early last year at the Mauch Chunk Opera House In Jim Thorpe. I’m planning on building out an EP of selected songs from the gig and plan on releasing it as my first official live material. Exciting things are in the works and I have the NEPA music scene to thank.
AoP: That’s awesome. And where can we see updates and follow along?
Ed: EdRandazzoMusic.com is the homebase and I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, the Google Play Store, and Spotify. I’d like to say thanks to everyone for the support and hope to see you all again soon!