Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement
Northwestern hosts groundbreaking ceremony at Ryan Field construction site
Wesley Avenue residents call for action amid recent move-out
The 23rd annual Chicago Pride Fest features JoJo Siwa, Sapphira Cristál and Bob the Drag Queen
Queering The Map shows queer love on campus
‘You know absolutely nothing’: Students frustrated with NU’s handling of academic integrity cases
NU’s Summer Class Schedule offers flexibility, opportunities for academic advancement
Community awards, advocacy headline Evanston’s fifth annual Juneteenth parade
Advertisement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Northwestern hosts groundbreaking ceremony at Ryan Field construction site

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

June 13, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

June 13, 2024

Advertisement

The secret (and short) lives of cicadas on campus

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Grammy- and Oscar-nominated producer Stephan Moccio inspires NU students at songwriters event

Stephan+Moccio+has+500+million+streams+on+his+solo+piano+work+and+has+co-written+and+produced+seven+contributions+to+the+Billboard+Hot+100+in+his+nearly+30-year+career.
Francesco Thorik-Saboia/The Daily Northwestern
Stephan Moccio has 500 million streams on his solo piano work and has co-written and produced seven contributions to the Billboard Hot 100 in his nearly 30-year career.

With a thick mane of dark hair, a loosely-buttoned white dress shirt, a large black jacket, khaki pants and black boots, Stephan Moccio, one of the biggest music producers and solo piano artists in the world, walked into the Bienen School of Music’s Regenstein Hall of Music Wednesday night.

Moccio visited Northwestern as a part of a Universal Music Group university seminar series, in which he is giving musical presentations and discussing his work in the music industry at several universities across the country.

“I got inspired to do this tour because, with the piano music that I’m making, the main audience listening to it is you guys: students studying in college,” Moccio said.

Before transitioning fully into solo piano work, Moccio produced and co-wrote songs with popular artists like Céline Dion, Miley Cyrus, Andrea Bocelli, Dua Lipa and Abel Tesfaye, formerly known as The Weeknd. (Francesco Thorik-Saboia)

The Songwriters Association at NU hosted the event in collaboration with 1824, a public relations and fan outreach team under Universal Music Group.

Bienen and Communication senior Anna Castagnaro, the president of SWAN, said a lot of preparation went into the event but Moccio was very easy to work with.

“I was very happy with the experience,” Castagnaro said. “Everyone that came felt really enlightened and learned so much from him.”

Moccio has received several Grammy and Oscar nominations, garnered 500 million streams on his solo piano work and co-written and produced seven contributions to the Billboard Hot 100 in his nearly 30-year career. His first worldwide hit was “A New Day Has Come,” recorded by Céline Dion in 2002, which he co-wrote and produced.

The song ended up on the Billboard Hot 100 and was one of the biggest songs of 2002. After the song’s success, more and more artists started contacting Moccio, he said.

“Once you write a hit song, everyone wants to get in a room with you,” Moccio said. “The moment I knew I made it was when I would hear people in the grocery store humming along to a song that I had made.”

Moccio’s writing and producing credits include “Wrecking Ball,” recorded by Miley Cyrus, which is 7x Platinum, and “Earned It,” recorded by The Weeknd, which is RIAA-certified diamond.

Throughout his musical presentation at NU, Moccio often dashed over to the piano in the room to play one of his melodies from a song everyone in the room recognized. He even played portions of demo tracks from different projects he had worked on throughout his years in the pop industry.

“I liked hearing him play and hearing him talk about it,” Bienen and Weinberg sophomore Noam Ginsparg said. “(I liked) the life story that he shared with us and seeing (his) career and (things) behind the scenes like the elements of these songs. You wouldn’t find that anywhere else.”

Moccio signed his first deal with Sony in 1995 as a songwriter and spent the next few years practicing nonstop and playing in jazz clubs to make ends meet, he said at the event.

After revolutionizing pop production and contributing to some of the biggest songs in 2000s and 2010s pop, the classically-trained artist went back to what he loves and knows best: piano.

“I wanted to strip everything away — no fancy orchestras or plug-ins, no mixing or engineering … just a piece of wood with sophisticated micing,” Moccio said.

Moccio released his first solo piano album, “Exposure,” in 2006, and has since released others including “Tales of Solace” in 2020 and “Lionheart” in 2021. His eighth album, “Legends, Myths and Lavender,” is set to release May 10.

Moccio talked extensively about how students should try to work on themselves and their art as much as possible while avoiding social media and managing stress.

“Life is loud, and there’s a lot of pressure to perform, but to close off, the best part is when you really listen to your voice,” Moccio said. “The stuff that moves the needle in the world is stuff that comes from a real, honest, painful place.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @FrancescoThorik

Related Stories:
Kresgepalooza 2023: Songwriters host harmonious house party
SWAN’s Battle of the Bands spotlights new student musicians
Northwestern students join crowd in Grant Park for Lollapalooza 2018

More to Discover