Singing, Surfing and Sharing: The Voice of Giacomo Cristaldi

Giacomo Cristaldi "CRISTALDI" Singer Songwriter in the Canary Islands
This Canary-Islands Singer is reaching listeners all over the world

Giacomo Cristaldi (“Christaldi”) is busy making and sharing his music – and it’s making an impact.  He’s had 60K streams of his original song “Take me to the Party” on Spotify, performed at the “Cananarian Surf Film Festival”, and is sharing his music & life to rapidly growing audiences on Instagram and TikTok

At Singdaptive, we’ve been impressed with Christaldi’s characteristic and soulful sound and asked him to share insights on what is working with his music making & sharing.

A favorite quote that inspires you:

Practice like you’ve never won and perform like you’ve never lost. 

What inspires you in your musical work?

I get really inspired when I have a deep connection with someone, or at least believe that I have a deep connection… If it turns out that the connection was not reciprocated, then I write some sad songs. I write happy songs before realizing this, and then I write sad songs afterwards…that’s just the way it is…

“Cristaldi” on Instagram

A  lesson with tech that’s helped you make or share your music? 

I often use my cell phone and an adjustable tripod for videos – including for duets on TikTok. If you are doing this, I recommend that  you use the mic in your headset/headphones rather than the phone’s inbuilt mic – this will lead to a stronger audio signal of your voice.  But I also use a really nice condenser mic, a Neumann TLM 103, for some of my videos and songs.

Tell us more about your more “pro” audio set up:

My Neumann mic goes into an audio interface (Universal Audio Arrow) which I put into my computer. I use “Logic” for my music editing.  It depends on the song, but I often use classic effects such as Neve 1073 (eq) UA 176 (compression) and some reverb (“Capital Chambers”). Lately I’ve been experimenting with settings such as “Male Vox” and “Female Vox” presets. I could say so much more about the effects I’m using, but the main thing is to experiment and find what works for your voice & vibe.

What’s your relationship with social media?

Well, my relationship with social media has been quite close, especially now in quarantine. It’s been helping meet my need for human interaction – as it has for many of us.  I’ve also been enjoying posting some funny videos.  I mean, I like to sing, but I don’t like to overwhelm people just one kind of post. So, I will have some time where I will post very brief songs, or just some posts about my life. Then every two or three weeks I just release a properly-recorded cover into which a lot of effort has been put. This way of sharing my life gives people a holistic view of my life.

Any social media fails or successes? 

I’ve had heaps of fails and a few successes. Lately I’ve been very into TikTok because you can clearly tell if something’s a failure or a success – and you manage to reach a very broad audience. It’s a bit like busking. I’ve played a lot on the streets and if you want to catch some attention, you can’t just do what you like; you have to do what you think they’re going to like. As I watch people walk bye, I try to anticipate what kind of song they are going to like:   ‘Oh, he’s definitely radioactive kind of guy.’  Or, ‘I bet he wants to listen to the Queen!’

Giacomo admits that connecting with an audience through his songs is the only experience more thrilling than surfing

What are you currently working on in terms of your music career? 

Well, I’m working a lot on the marketing side; I really want to release songs and have people actually hear them. In order to do that, you need to be able to promote yourself in a proper way by doing several things, not just performing and doing stuff. 

So, how are you marketing your music?

I promote every musical post that I do. I don’t spend a lot of money, but I spend a little every day. I am also doing a lot of covers so I can access potential followers who are into the kind of music that I like. This helps me gain some attention when I post my original tunes.  I see it key to always keep creating music and sharing posts. At the same time, I am doing fewer musical posts of higher quality than just loads of music posts all the time. 

Has this worked for you?

Yes. I am going up the ranks on Google and this helps me to get into Spotify playlists. Curators on Spotify first decide if they like your song. Then, they go onto the internet to check if you have a “presence” – if you make it past those two hurdles, then you make it onto some playlists. 

You mentioned TikTok – how is that working for you?

TikTok is an amazing tool right now to create reach. TikTok not only shows your posts to all of your followers – but also to a “cold” audience of 500. If that “tier” likes your post, then it goes to an audience of 10k – and so on!  You can clearly tell if people like your stuff or not.  This immediate feedback is so useful for my planning. If you want to make a living singing music you have to keep reaching people.
Cristaldi’s cover of “Ti amp”

What was your first gig performance?

This was in New Zealand four years ago – my guitar skills were almost non-existent; I could barely play a few chords!  I had written a song in English (which is not my native language) and performed it in front of 80 people and in an open mic setting.  

How did it go?

I was pretty stoked because I got a little bit of an applause! I’d estimate that 40 people out of the 80 clapped vigorously. I felt pretty validated. Even though I feel that my performance was pretty “average”,  I had put my soul into it and some people liked it.  Of course, maybe they clapped just because they were thinking, “Oh, poor guy. He just embarrassed himself. We better show him a little support.”!

What did you learn from this performance?

My voice was terrible. My guitar-playing was terrible. Everything was terrible, but I enjoyed it and the applause definitely helped me out. If you don’t put yourself into the game, that you will never progress. If I hadn’t done this, I would not have progressed to where I am now.  Of course, I am not saying that I am a superstar, but if I can get my guitar in hand for 10-15 minutes, I think I can keep you glued!  

Tell us of another performance that was a turning point. 

The Canary Surf Film Festival, where I played solo in front of 1,000 people. I know it is not a massive crowd, but it was a pretty big leap for me. 

What were one or two critical steps you took to reach larger audiences? 

I’ve been more intention about interacting with people who follow and like me on my platforms. This is also really rewarding personally. 

What have been your key turning points in developing your own unique vocal work? 

I have a daily practice regimen which includes breathing exercises, riffs and runs.  Sharing my voice requires practice, practice, practice, practice!

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned in terms of vocal health and/or technique? 

Not to scream at concerts! Also, not talking in loud environments.  I now rest your voice for a day or two, if it’s needed. Often, I choose one day each week which I dedicate to vocal rest. 

A vocal artist who inspires you? 

The Weeknd – the way he hits those high notes and how his music cuts into my feelings like a knife through butter. There’s just nothing I would change about him, his voice or his style.

What are some of your career dreams and goals? 

I want to play in front of a stadium.  I think for most singers, we just want as many people to hear our music as possible.  I thought surfing was giving me the highest rush in my life, such as when you’re “barrelling” or “tube riding” – it’s when the wave comes up over you; you’re inside the wave and then get blown out.  I used to think that was the biggest rush of my life!   But then when I played in front of those 1,000 people… when I finished, I had this insane “rush”.  People were  coming up to me expressing their appreciation and this was so powerful. I thought,  ‘Well, that’s even better than surfing!’ 

Giacomo Cristaldi

Cristaldi on Instagram  |  Cristaldi on Spotify |  Cristaldi on YouTube

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