By Dauna Ditson
Alfie Zappacosta has never been happier. Nearing his 65th birthday led him to do some soul searching and – because of changes he made earlier in his music career – he is beyond pleased with what he found.
When Mr. Zappacosta started performing in his 20s, he expected to be in the background. But his talents landed him on centre stage and emblazoned on 1980’s album covers. Adding to his success, one of his songs, Overload, was featured on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
Mr. Zappacosta said his life happened to him those years and that other people were making decisions for him.
“I was thrown in,” he said. “It wasn’t an awful lot of planning on my part… They put me up front and turned me into Zappacosta.
“I followed that facade for a long, long, long time, and to be able to come to where I am right now was really a conscious decision,” he said.
Adding his own sense of agency and his first name into his career changed everything. Now established on his own terms, Mr. Zappacosta plays anything from house concerts to theatres so large that audience members have to squint to see him. But he loves it all.
“I’m at a point in my life to really be able to enjoy what I’m doing minus all the stress and the anxiety that comes with life as you’re going through it – raising children, mortgages and all that kind of thing,” he said.
Mr. Zappacosta, now a father and grandfather, speaks smoothly and slowly, like he’s luxuriating over every word, each one is a dessert he wants to savour.
Asked about the highlight of his career, he said: “I’m very, very happy that the business didn’t ruin my ideas of being a good human being and realizing that what’s most important… is being able to say you’re still loved by the people who really count.
“Everything else in retrospect has been really very nice. There’s been a lot of accolades, but I don’t live for those,” he said.
Mr. Zappacosta will be returning to Pynelogs Art Gallery and Cultural Centre for a performance on Thursday, March 15th. He closed his interview with the Pioneer with a promise for his audience.
“If they don’t mind intimate and my voice and guitar just ringing true, they’re going to love every second of it,” he said.