The Power of Perseverance: Pia Toscano
Written By: Michelle Emmick
Not surprisingly, most of Pia’s fondest memories are those of music. “When I was a little girl, Andrea Bocelli was always playing in my house, for as long as I can remember and understand music. He used to sing the song “Time to Say Goodbye” with Sarah Brightman. I’d always run around the house singing it.”
When I interviewed singer and songwriter Pia Toscano, she was en route to her next performance that evening–a performance singing right alongside none other than the extraordinary Italian tenor himself, Andrea Bocelli.
To say that Pia Toscano is living her dream is an understatement.
From touring with the Emmy and Grammy decorated songwriter/producer David Foster, to a Vegas residency show alongside Jennifer Lopez, to the release of her debut album, Pia has been using her beautiful gift her entire life.
Pia’s musical studies and formal training began at a young age, as she attended LaGuardia Performing Arts School. Then, at the age of 21, she reached her first “dream big moment” when she was selected from thousands of hopefuls for the hit TV show American Idol.
What makes her story so beautiful (as we focus this issue on living our dreams) is that despite her immense talent, Pia has always had to have tremendous perseverance. It took Pia five tries to make it onto American Idol before being selected for the show. And while many would have given up, a true dreamer never quits.
Part of every big dream is having people around you who support your dream. For Pia, those supporters go by the names of Mom and Dad. Pia credits her parents for the positive push all those years, believing in her talent even in times she didn’t. “I started auditioning for American Idol when I was 16 years old. My father took me to every audition, no matter how far it was. After those failed attempts, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back the last time. But it was my dad [who] gave me the words of encouragement I needed to showcase my talent. And sure enough, I was the first audition of the day.”
Although her run on American Idol did not end in the big win, the show provided Pia with opportunity. “It jump-started my entire career. It’s the reason why I am able to work with incredible artists, and [it] opened every door that I needed it to. It was a really beautiful, challenging experience.”
Pia recently released a PBS special with another powerhouse vocalist, a finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, Daniel Emmet. “As a little girl, I dreamed of being on PBS. I would watch the performers with my family. When mine finally aired, my mom called me up sobbing. She’s always been the one saying, ‘Keep pushing for your dreams, Pia. You keep at it no matter what kind of rejection you’re facing. You can achieve whatever you want!’”
Like most artists, Pia has experienced her fair share of rejection. What sets her apart, however, is her belief in the blessing of setbacks. “Rejection is God’s protection. I always keep my hope and [don’t] become jaded because God is protecting me from something [He] doesn’t like.”
This protection has opened a path for Pia with incredible people and beautiful music. Iris Smith, whom Pia calls her Guardian Angel, recognized Pia’s talent and took her under her wing, introducing her to wonderful people and investing in her to make her debut album. “She’s an incredible advocate and supporter of musicians, the music industry, and live music.”
Another iconic mentor to Pia was entertainment queen Jenifer Lopez. Jenifer was on the judging panel of American Idol. Clearly she was impressed with Pia’s talent because Jenifer later provided Pia with a dream opportunity. “It was supposed to be a short promo tour, and I ended up doing her Vegas residency. That opportunity sparked this fire in me that I had to continue doing my music. I soaked in everything like a sponge, and she was just so inspiring!”
In her first ever and independently recorded album I’m Good, Pia is reaching her dreams once again with a collection of beautiful and soulful power ballads and sing-along anthem records co-written and produced by some of the best in the industry.
When it comes to overcoming obstacles, Pia shares her experience openly and honestly. “I believe my adversity has given me a story to tell and songs to write. It gave me the fight and the drive to help heal other people because that’s what music does and has always been to me. It’s an escape and gives me the ability to share similar experiences.”
With an industry that’s evolved and accessible, Pia uses her social media platform to reach her large fan base. “I love that I can get my music out there. Everything now has to come from a really genuine and authentic place with me. I want to make an impact, no matter if it’s to one person or to the masses.
Pia is now performing her original music and has plans to tour next year in what she describes as more intimate and acoustic settings. “I think we’re always trying to get to what’s next, and I really enjoy what’s happening in the moment. I really appreciate that I still get to do what I love for a living, and [I’m] grateful that I have these opportunities.”
Pia said that her best advice to those working towards their dreams is to stay humble and be your own biggest fan. “Don’t be too hard on yourself, surround yourself with the right people and those you trust, and believe in your dreams.”
With her recent move to Nashville and with the amount of crossover now in music, I asked Pia if she’s gotten bit by the country bug. “Yeah, a little bit! I went to a writer’s room the other day, and I had dinner with my boyfriend. We watched these incredible writers, and I’m like, ‘oh my God, I wanna do country music!’”
Whether it’s pop, classical, or country music, this incredible vocalist can sing any genre–as the old saying goes, she could sing the phonebook. Pia is living her dream, doing it her way, and paying it forward as a guardian angel herself through her beautiful music.
Download Pia’s album I’m Good on all streaming platforms
GET BETTER WITH AGE ISSUE TODAY!
FEATURING MARIA SHRIVER
This jam-packed issue is available in digital and print! Immediate access to digital, get your copy today!