A gig playing Chicago’s House of Blues stage with a full band is a pretty incredible milestone in a musical career.
Marcello Positano did it when he was 14.
Nearly a decade later, the St. Charles North grad is releasing music as solo artist PÖZZI, a project he’s been refining over the last few years with a name he borrowed from his grandfather’s construction company.
And while the five-track EP “I Can’t Sleep,” dropping this week, isn’t indicative of his sound over the last couple years, it tracks the trajectory he feels he’s headed in. When he ventured into solo work, his first endeavor was in pop-rap songs. But lately he’s been taking pages from the pop-punk songbook, focusing more on the sung melodies and injecting a playful cynicism into his songs.
“The whole thing, it’s almost like a little emotional roller coaster. It’s like you’re fighting with this girl that you love, but you don’t want to do it anymore,” he said. “I went through a few bad breakups. I had a long relationship before, and it didn’t go so well. They’re all real experiences, just meshed together like into one big project.”
But as PÖZZI is quick to point out, they’re breakup songs, but they’re fun, too.
“I grew up listening to blink-182 and All Time Low and stuff like that with all my buddies who used to go to Riot Fest and all that,” he said. “It’s nice to play something that I grew up on. I’m just happier making this type of music.”
As pop-punk and punk have been working their way back into the mainstream mindset, more and more fans are finding their way into — or coming back to — the fold, paving the path for PÖZZI’s more introspective but still spirited beats.
“The whole thing is just so people can relate,” he said. “People might listen to this and be like, ‘Hey, I’ve had this happen to me.’ And when I sing I want them to feel something, you know? Like I want them to be like ‘Hey, I can express my emotions, too, through something like how he’s doing it.’ Listen to it and just kind of connect to it. If they want to listen to be sad, you gotta let the cry out sometimes.”
And in true pop-punk fashion, there’s a bit of anger for fans to connect with, too. But the overwhelming sense one gets listening to his new release is a lightness of letting go — letting go of frustration, letting go of things that aren’t working and letting go of your own faults.
“There’s crazy stuff happening, but you have to try to see the positive for people you love,” he said.
PÖZZI said he already has more in the works, including a number of lighter and more upbeat summer pop songs and a video he plans to release now that warmer weather seems here to stay.
He is also looking forward to putting his music on live stages as venues start to open again. (In the meantime, he posts videos regularly to his Instagram stories at @musicbypozzi.)
PÖZZI said he wants the music to resonate with those who find him online or see him at a show and allow them to find some outlet through it as he does creating it.
“I want other people to relate,” he said. “Just kind of a basic connection between all of us. Other people are going through hard times and issues. Everybody’s got stuff going on, you know?”