Under The Influence: The Heartfelt Messages Inside Vito Depierro’s Rap
When an artist makes the most of their platform, they can share their artistic flair and make an impact on and off the stage. Vito Depierro is an independent artist doing just that. Recently, he sat down with Steereo for an in-person interview which reached deeply into the rapper’s music. His work comes from a sincere love of the Hip-Hop art and a desire to share meaningful music. You might notice an East Coast stylistic quality to his rap, yet the most significant aspect to his craft is the message. Powerful lyrics and the heartfelt meaning behind are on full display in his latest track “I Might”. Depierro is no stranger to Rap world entering the scene from an artist manager position. Yet, there was a turning point in his career which made him realize just how much he wanted to create his own music. With determination and heart to cast away his doubts, the Harrisburg, Pennslyvania-born artist has been paving his way and building a strong narrative.
One of the most enduring qualities of Vito Depierro is his willingness to make an impact outside of Hip-Hop. The artist co-created a non-profit organization, Blessed & Appreciative, which gives back to the hometown community he knows and loves. In this exclusive interview, Depierro dives into his new music, including the upcoming album “Florenza” which is named after a very dear person who touched his life. Additionally, he shares what inspires him behind the scenes, and more details about his philanthropic efforts.
Tell us about yourself, what made you want to pursue music?
I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember. I was managing artists and living in L.A. a couple years ago and I had a falling out with my main client which led me to move back to the East Coast. Something sparked in my brain at that point where I just wanted to make my own music. I never planned on rapping and being an artist, I was in management and prior to that I was in the corporate world. If you would have said 10 years ago that I would be rapping now, I would have said “get the hell out of here”. Learning everything I did while living here and dabbling into the LA life and entertainment industry, sitting in on studio sessions, and having producers cooking up beats just had my mind stirring with ideas. I felt that I could come up with something meaningful.
When I was back on the East Coast, I talked with a few friends saying “I think I’m going to do this”. If people like it cool, if they don’t cool. Whatever you do in the world you’re going to have people like that love it and people that hate on it. So I had to face my fear and put myself out there. I booked a session and made my first song, roughly two years ago. I was only a few months in when I met Steereo and submitted a few tracks.
What was it like in the early stages of being an independent artist?
This whole process has been catching me off guard. When I send emails with a recap of my previous shows to venues to try and book myself, I’m my own manager and booking agent, and they respond with dates it’s almost shocking. Now I’m getting more used to it.
My very first show was a headlining show in my hometown. I hadn’t even been an opening act yet, but I had learned the business from the backend to gain shows. I learned that if you bring business to another person, regardless of what your art is, they’ll book you to keep coming back to their place whether it’s a club or lounge. I’ve learned that and I’m trying to share messages that people can relate to, that are impactful. After my falling out and entering the music industry without expectations or trying to please people, somehow has been working for me.
Your sound could be described as having an “East Coast feel,” yet how do you describe your sound?
I’ve been told I have an “East Coast” and “old school” vibe to my songs. I’m working on and still finding my sound. I’m learning to get better at cadences and delivery patterns and all that “rapper” stuff. While I’m learning I don’t have any excuses to not have powerful, strong content within my music. Describing my sound, I would say it’s still in progress.
What kind of artists and rappers are major influences for your style?
Jadakiss, Joe Budden, Nas, Eminem, Jay-Z, and Biggy are the top artists that come to mind. I think G-Eazy is pretty dope and Mac Miller was my guy. He was one of the first guys like me who was really doing it and was respected for his craft. I was always attracted to Mac Miller’s rhymes, as he got older he started getting jazzier but I liked his rapping. These are the influences I’ve had.
You have an EP called “The Crest,” can you share what it was like developing it?
“The Crest” was the first mixtape I ever created and my first attempt at making music. Every time I was going into the studio, I had the feeling of giddiness you have as a kid when you do something you like. A little be of scariness too, like skydiving or jumping off a cliff into water, that’s the feeling. I still get that when I go into the studio because, as I mentioned earlier, I’m still learning so going in is a bit scary. I don’t want to make bullshit, I want to kill it. Making “The Crest, going in and treating it as a workout has been fun and music doesn’t feel like work. I’m having a blast being able to be myself and share it with the world. I love it.
Listen to “The Crest” By Vito Depierro
Since your message seems to include being yourself to the max, would you say that’s important for other independent artists?
I always advise people to be themselves. I think one of the most important messages that I like to share is to appreciate your life. Appreciate all the little things in life like waking up and being able to see. Appreciate the people who care for you. That’s been working for me. Also, I believe you can do something small for someone else in your day that helps out their life, having more of an impact than you know. The more you do that, the more successful you’ll be.
You co-created an organization called “Blessed & Appreciative,” can you tell us more about it and what the organization does?
“Blessed & Appreciative” began as a group of friends that have been through our own trials and tribulations. We decided to come together and do events in our hometown once a month to give back in any way we could. Every Chrismas morning for the past nine years we go to the local homeless shelter and give out hats and gloves for the winter. We spend time with nearly 80 or 100 homeless men and its a special event for us. It really makes you appreciate what you have when you spend a few hours with people who have nothing and then go to your family’s house and have good food. It hits you. We’ve used event ideas from suggestions by people and social networks who’ll tell us this person is in need, maybe you can do an event to help them. Overall, Blessed & Appreciative is trying to positively impact the world any way we can.
With your message and the work you do outside of music, would you say you are a conscious rapper?
The message is everything to me. Being appreciative is everything to me. If you listen to my music that’s what you’re going to hear. In terms of ‘conscious rapper,’ I’m not like Common but I’ve been told that I have meaningful music. I try to share what helps me in my life through my music. You won’t find a song of mine that you can’t take something from and utilize positively in your own life.
Do you have a song that you think represents your style? Please share any lyrics.
There’s a recent song that’s going to be on my upcoming debut album called “Florenza”. I decided to name my album “Florenza” after my mom-mom [grandmother]. The song that represents me was the first song a wrote after she passed. It’s called “I Might”. It’s the work that I’m most proud of. I wasn’t in a zone to write when she passed but a couple weeks after I heard a beat and I thought it was great. A few lines from the song is “I might have went for my dream because I’m not scared, finally facing your fear, find out it’s not there. I might have cried my eyes out for weeks straight, mom-mom looking through me now so I can see fake. I might be going through a struggle ‘til the pain’s gone I put it all on every single thing my name’s on”.
Watch the Music Video for “I Might” by Vito Depierro