Italian Artist, Federico Spinas discusses his progression from model to musician
with 5’ELEVEN’’ Magazine to mark to release of his new EP, ‘TEMPO’.
Words by Thomas Lee Brooks.
Federico appears courtesy of Elite London.
Model to Musician; Musician into Model. A transition in life for an artist that one couldn’t help but challenge. After hearing Federico Spinas’s story, it became apparent that he wasn’t just a pretty face in a picture, and in fact, he has a greater depth than many would dream of having. My encounter introduced me to Federico, providing a unique glimpse into the depths of his character. As our interview unfolded, Spinas’s persona emerged - a man unabashedly true to his convictions, artfully conveyed through the medium of seven compelling tracks. Through his music, Spinas not only offers a fresh perspective on life but also invites us all to contemplate and understand it in a profoundly authentic way.
How are you feeling about your launch?
Very well! It's great seeing the responses from people, and my supporters – it has been two years in the making, so it is all a bit of a relief.
What was on your mind two years ago, and how has it developed?
I think that the process has always been natural, probably since I was six or seven years old. I never sang, I used to play instruments and studied classical music – then produced electronic music. So, music has always been a part of my life, you know? Later, I got into modelling, and I believe that both fashion and music are closely related. By chance, two and a half years ago, I ended up in a studio of a well-known rapper in Italy - just friends and hanging out – and between one joke and another, we said, “OK Fede, go to the booth,” and I remember recording this hook and having a good reaction; I was then invited back. It was this moment that made me go out and buy a microphone, the interface – everything I needed. I would go about town, in between jobs for fashion week, with this suitcase with studio equipment, and wherever I’d be, like a hotel lobby, I would unpack and start recording songs because I love doing that. I must have made around 100 songs in… four to five months.
It all happened very naturally, and even after I signed with Sony, the process hasn’t changed: I am still out and about with my suitcase, unpacking my studio and recording songs wherever I can.
Tell us about your journey from model to artist.
Well, I started my career as a model, but music was always something I wanted to pursue. I used to play the clarinet and saxophone in music school, but then fashion just happened with the opportunity for me to model because my initial ambitions didn’t happen instantly. There has been a sequence of things that made it work for me, and I am very lucky to have a great team, so we had a great run with fashion. In some ways, I think it was destiny, as modelling gave me a platform to then have a shot with music. I believe that if I tried to do what I’m doing right now six years ago, maybe I wouldn’t have been signed, and coming from Sardinia, a small island, making it into fashion was hard and making it into music is harder. It was a unique journey and, and through fashion, I met my best contacts in the career I’m now going after. This happened from passion, having dreams, and when I put something in my head, I end up doing it – maybe it doesn’t happen perfectly as I imagined it, but if you have goals, you’ll get what you want.
How has your career influenced your next steps with fashion?
I will never stop modelling, and I think that what I am pursuing with music now is still connected. Especially now with the music I make and the type of fashion I came from, with the boom period of streetwear. My first job was with Virgil Abloh with Off-White, and I used to spend a lot of time with him doing fittings for the day, trying on the new collection, having my shaved hair, grills and Jordans – my image in music is the same Federico in fashion, so it is all connected in some way. The next steps are to build more of my brand, putting the two things together, and having the transition from model to an individual, as Spinas.
In three words, how would you describe ‘TEMPO’?
The whole concept? We could say… Day. Night… and Spinas.
What was the inspiration behind TEMPO?
Musically, we explored different music genres with hip-hop and rap, but there is a lot of influence from soul, R&B and a bit of afro - the single ‘OUTSIDERS, featuring Octavian, who is a UK artist, has a bit of this. One good reference is a new genre of music called ‘Trap & B’ and it’s a mixture of trap and R&B. There are only a few people that are doing this new style of music. Maybe the intro of the album, ‘BENEDIZIONE / NOIA’, has some classical elements with piano in the beginning. Aesthetically, Salvador Dali, and took inspiration for my artwork for the cover with the clocks and the land lost in the middle of nowhere, relating with my concept of time in the project… Exploring my feelings with this, like, 50% of running away from time and 50% of running to get it back.
What was the significance of the visuals in ‘OUTSIDERS’ being a little childlike and having you float around?
I like that you got that. That’s exactly what I wanted with the artwork. It is a very childish song for me, and it is about when you don’t fit in, in a certain box in society or a group of friends. It captures my growing process and my life now. The beat in the background is very nostalgic, so when I did the visuals, we had the idea of me jumping and floating, so with the frames, we drew with pastels to express this childish-sense and being an outsider. It is a very nostalgic song, and I think everybody has felt like an outsider to some extent, so it’s dedicated to that kind of people, and it’s how I have felt the majority of my life and career. It is a positive thing because it means you have something special, you’re unique.
Would you say each track touches upon different moods and events in your life? Each track has a different visual but is captured under this Salvador Dali cover.
Yeah, that’s why it’s ‘TEMPO’, because it's different moments of the last two years and my life, all enclosed in the seven tracks as part of this Salvador Dali imaginary planet of Federico, trapped in. For example, the scorpion on the cover in the cage is inspired from the scorpion tattoo I have with my initials – that is my artistic side trying to get out. This EP is a way to express my transition from being a model in a picture to being a musician.
What do you want your supporters to take away from TEMPO?
I hope this album creates a bridge, allowing more people to discover my music. You have to be humble, it’s a new process, and I am still growing, but for sure, I want people to take away that I am a regular guy from a small island with a normal family. In society, there are millions of kids who are normal who go through the pressures of life, but the important thing is that if you have dreams, don’t give up, you can do whatever you want. TEMPO is the young Federico that made one of his dreams come true. Also, something else that I touch upon in the tracks is mental health. Being an adult in this modern world with social media, and it’s important to remember to know yourself and that its ok to be uncomfortable.
What is next for you?
It is to be consistent! We are ahead of a lot of stuff, and like I said, I have written something like 100 songs – so I probably have music for the next 15 years, aha. Making a lot of music and bringing something cool to Italy to refresh concepts here, and then, for fashion, putting the two worlds together. I have some great things happening in the next two to three years, but we will have to see!