Piccola Intervista

Zvia Talks to Romans: Tess, Singer and Blogger

Miss Tess croons to the crowd at Teatro Centrale. Photo by Valentina Jovele

Tess is an American-transplant-in-Rome Renaissance woman, if there ever was one! 
She sings, she writes, and I talked to her.

Name: Tess Amodeo-Vickery
Age: 26
How long have you lived in Rome? 2.5 years
Where are you from? USA (NY by way of NH, but “Miss Tess from New York City” just has such a nice ring to it when said in a thick Italian accent!)
Where did you eat last in Rome (restaurant?) Da Danilo – I wouldn’t recommend it. They are repeatedly offensive and rude to tourists/stranieri!
Where did you drink/dance last in Rome? Vicious, a sceney, seedy place around the corner from my apartment.

Why did you move to Rome? After working on Wall Street in finance for 2+ years, I had a mid-young-adult-life crisis and decided to run away to become a famous jazz singer. I called it my “junior year of life abroad,” as I moved here in September of my third year out of college. I chose Rome because I had studied abroad and written my thesis here, yet somehow had failed to learn the language and immerse myself in the culture. This time, it’s been a different story.
What is/are your job/s? I am a jazz singer, fashion editor, and freelance journalist. I also write my own music and dabble in styling. I call myself a “Liberal Artist.”
How did you get into writing? I’ve always been very opinionated and I love to hear myself talk. Writing seemed like the perfect fit for my ego.
Have you always been a lover of fashion? Yes! I inherited what my grandmother calls “the shoe gene,” which, shockingly, comes from my Italian grandfather. My mother taught me the importance of bargain hunting, “investment pieces,” and striking prints.
What does a week look like, in the life of a fashion blogger?
 For my job as Global Fashion Director at Runway Passport – If that week is fashion week, it consists of waking up early to put together the perfect outfit, blogging/schmoozing in between going to shows, at least two cocktail receptions, dinner with industry friends or coworkers, and, of course, fabulous parties that end just before I have to get out of bed and do it all again. If that week is an ordinary week, it consists of me hunching over my computer and obsessing over Fashion Gone Rogue or my Pinterest page while eating rice cakes and peanut butter instead of doing my work.
How do you find out about events/parties that you attend/write about? I am a social parasite! Kidding. I am fortunate enough to have fabulous, in-the-know friends in all the cities I spend time in. Many of them are local artists, writers or designers, so with our powers combined (mine being the power of eavesdropping at shows to hear about the after-parties going on that night), we always manage to put together a nice little evening.
Are Italians welcoming of a foreigner in their fashion world? If that foreigner is from NYC, of course!
Who is your target audience? We target the young, hip, urbanite, who is the mover, shaker, and wearer of the cutting-edge trends we promote. Runway Passport focuses on lesser-known fashion weeks in cities like Oslo and São Paulo, rather than the fab 4 (NY, Paris, London & Milan), because we believe that it’s from these cities which emerges truly avant-garde fashion. The people who read our magazine and blog are people looking to discover fresh ideas and new designers.
How would you describe the blogger world in Rome, in 3 words? Chatty, competitive & cheeky.
Have you always loved to sing? Always. The first song I ever wrote and recorded with my father, who is a musician, was titled “Fatso the Clown. ” Age 5.
When did you decide to be a jazz singer? When I realized that I needed to pay the bills in Rome! My boyfriend at the time was a trained pianist and with some (not much) prodding, I was convinced to try out my chops as a jazz diva.
Do you write any of your own songs? Yes! In fact, my first album, which I previewed on Radio Luiss‘ Rock Disease program, is being mixed and mastered in the US this week! It’s called “The Rough Soul” and it’s my truth. The sound is hard to categorize, but I guess I’d call it “jazzy-folk-rock.”
Were the Italians accepting of an American getting into their music scene? If that American’s from NYC, of course!
Do you have your own group here? I do, I do! We’re called Tess & the Yellow Cabbies and we’re a sassy hep cat trio whose repertoire celebrates the most notorious women in jazz and soul.  With Francesco “Franky Palm Tree” De Palma on double bass, Fabrizio “Fabolous Fingas” Boffi on keys. We’re recording an album next week and hitting the Italian jazz circuit “in giro” this summer. I’m also the lead singer for an 18 person big band, Bixilander Swing Orchestra, directed by trumpet all-star, Carlo Capobianchi, our sound is very transportive and you really feel like your back in the golden age of jazz with 5 trumpets, 5 saxophones, 3 trombones, piano, drums, guitar, and an upright bass.
Where have you performed in Rome? All over! I just had a huge concert with Bixilander at Teatro Centrale for Rome’s carnivale festivities and we’ve got another big one coming up at the fabulous Micca Club this Monday, March 5. On the circuit, I always love playing at Il Pentagrappolo and The Cotton Club.
How would you describe the jazz scene in Rome, in 3 words? Connections, connections, connections! 

Have we piqued you interest enough? Check out some (all) of Tess’ upcoming shows! For bookings, send our artist an email.
Mon 3/5 – Bixilander Swing Orchestra @ Micca Club (Via Pietro Micca 7/a, 9pm)
Sat 3/10 – Tess & the Yellow Cabbies @ Sapor Sapiens (Via Mocenigo 4, 9pm)
Tues 3/13 – Tess & the Yellow Cabbies @ iLocale (Via Peralba 2a, 10pm)
Thurs 3/22 – Tess & the Yellow Cabbies @ Il Pentagrappolo (Via Celimontana 21, 9:30pm)
Weds 3/28 – Bixilander Swing Orchestra @ Mahalia Wine Bar (Via Ilia 12, 10pm)
Thurs 3/29 – Tess & the Yellow Cabbies @ Il Territorio Enotecca ( Via Felice Anerio 11, 10pm)
Sat 3/31 – Bixilander Swing Orchestra @ Cotton Club ( Via Bellinzona 2, 9pm)

4 thoughts on “Zvia Talks to Romans: Tess, Singer and Blogger

  1. Pingback: A Little Love(?) from Wesleying | Pen In Rome

  2. Pingback: This Weekend in Rome: March 9-11 | younginrome

  3. Pingback: Dancing Fix: 28th + 29th | younginrome

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