Cleo Lazaridis and Brad Ferringo are very busy these days. First are their children — Nicola, 9, and Xander, 5 — and school, activities and play dates. Second, like most right now, the Canadian natives and Marco Island residents are preparing for the holidays — shopping, wrapping and decorating. Third is their music.
After a year of contemplation and deep discussion, the husband-and-wife team have launched their new musical venture, Angels Canon, and the group’s first single, “Oh Santa (I Believe),” hit i-Tunes on December 10. Lazaridis performed the new song at the Christmas Island Style Annual Tree Lighting.
“I am always writing,” says Lazaridis. “I wanted to write a Christmas song for my kids.” Lazaridis wrote the song a year ago during the holidays. In fact, she was cooking Christmas dinner last year while running in and out of their home recording studio to cut the rough demo, which was given to friends and family as a gift.
Fast forward a year, and the two have worked tirelessly for the last month to mix and remaster the demo for radio play with a pianist in New York, a guitarist in Canada and a mixer in Los Angeles. By happy accident, they scored a music label for digital distribution of the single, and Pier 167 Music helped them land the distribution deal with i-Tunes.
“We have the machine behind us, but we are recording ourselves in our own studio,” explains Ferringo. “It allows us to have more rights and control of our music, but also helps get the music out and distributed.”
To be sure, it seems Lararidis and Ferringo were born with music in their blood. Lazaridis grew up writing music, singing and dancing in Windsor, Ontario. At 20, she performed at Canada’s Wonderland (think Walt Disney World only in Toronto), and she earned a degree in musical theater from Sheridan College, a Canadian university with four campuses located throughout Ontario. She recorded and performed music under the Cleo-patra moniker.
Ferringo received his first drum kit when we was two years old, and he has been making and producing music independently ever since. “I was a musician from the get-go,” he quips. Still, he focused his talents on producing in his teens: “As an artist, I had the enjoyment, but the other part of my brain told me that wasn’t enough. Artists need someone else to be involved for quality control. I played producer to myself first, and I love doing it.” He is a voting member for the producers wing of the Grammy Awards.
The couple met in 1997 at Canada’s “Power Jam” holiday concert. Soon after, they began working together, and then married. At the time, Lazaridis was slightly disillusioned by the darker side of the music industry, and the two took their show on the road. First headlining for Millennium Talent Management in resorts and hotels in Grand Cayman and throughout the Caribbean. Then, they spent a year with Carnival Cruise Line, performing on The Paradise and The Triumph.
“It was amazing. I was singing for warm, inviting crowds, and the people gave us our love of music back,” notes Lazaridis.
A family was started, and they made the move to Marco Island four years ago. All was quiet for a while with Lazaridis as a stay-at-home mom and Ferringo working for a sound design company, but music’s siren call was always in the distance. Lazaridis never stopped writing. She just was not recording any of the songs. Then, on October 4, she looked at Ferringo, and said, “I want to do music full time.” He was all in.
“We knew everything was going to change at that moment,” she admits. Ferringo agrees, but he adds, “It is now or never. We decided to throw it all against the wall. Like Walt Disney, you put it all on the line for what you believe in. If we don’t make the investment in ourselves, why would anyone else?”
Next on their to-do list is to write, record and release an album of inspirational pop songs with positive and uplifting themes. Every day, they drop the kids off and rush back their studio to get to work, and before they know it, it is time to pick up the kiddos. “They are long days, but not long enough,” Lazaridis says.
Their plan is to have the album ready for a spring/summer release, and they have hired a manager to help control the timeline and direct the production.
Currently, they are reviewing 20 songs and hope to select 12 to 15 for the album. The album theme harkens back to the days of vinyl and turntables. Both hope listeners embrace the concept and listen to every song.
“The concept was a journey from beginning to end,” explains Lazaridis. “It is about our journey through life from uncertainty to hope to life and faith to celebration and joy… Music has a different meaning now. Even if we are not successful, we want to do this for me, him and the kids. That is the right reason.”