Delia is already well known around SLUH for his musical talent, whether it’s winning music contests for original material or singing for Fine Arts. He performed earlier this school year at an all-school Mass, managing to perk up the heads of kids typically drowsing off after communion.
Russo, on the other hand, is an unfamiliar name to most SLUH students, and his work on the EP shows his roots in rap and hip-hop. Delia was first introduced to Russo by his older brother, who lives with Russo at Mizzou.
“My brother was like ‘hey check out this kid, he’s a rapper,’” said Delia. “He was freestyling at the time, and I thought, like wow, he’s got some talent, I’d like to record him.”
Soon after, Delia and Russo met formally, and their interest in music sparked a relationship. The two decided to work together on a large scale project, which required long hours of writing, recording, and editing all new music. Russo had to drive from Columbia to St. Louis every weekend, and spent nearly all of his time writing and recording in Delia’s room.
“Sometimes it was like 10 hours that we locked ourselves in my room with all our equipment and busted out songs.” said Delia. “It was fun though; it was like a music binge.”
All the music for “Undivided” was compiled from scratch. Russo made the weekly trips from Mizzou for roughly four weeks, and the two worked hard from Friday to Sunday. Though it got tiring at times, making music is something both Delia and Russo love doing, and they had a lot of fun in the process.
Much of the work done for this EP and for any large-scale project doesn’t even end up on the final product. A lot of songs ended up half-finished, or for other reasons, simply didn’t make the final cut.
“For me, I’ll make about ten songs, and one of those ten will be put on an album,” said Delia.
For Russo and Delia, the most time-consuming and difficult part of the song process was the recording and editing.
“I’d say I did probably 90 percent of the music production,” said Delia. “Writing a song can take a long time, but to actually put it into the program, put compression, EQ, the stuff that makes it sound good, that’s what takes the majority of the time.”
A lot of Delia’s musical genius lies in his vision when it comes to editing and layering tracks, much like that of professional music producers. In his EP, Delia delivers far more than a simple piano or guitar melody, and upon listening, one really gets a feel for all the work that went into making it.
Because Russo was signed by a talent agency in L.A., once the pair had completed a song, they would send it to L.A., where the song was mastered and given its final touches. This was another key part of the artistic process, because Delia himself also mastered the songs to his own liking, and together he and Russo could look at their songs from other perspectives.
“Even after everything else is done I’ll do my own mastering, which is like what the guy in L.A. does, but I get to do it my way, and then you get two perspectives on the song,” said Delia.
Though Delia and Russo tried to keep everything as scheduled as possible, both artists knew that sometimes creativity just needs to flow, and the headline song of the EP, “U Have It All,” spawned from a classic SLUH all-nighter splurge.
“It was like ten o’clock and we were maybe a third of the way finished, and we weren’t really feeling it,” said Delia. “But we went to his house because my parents would get pissed if we played all night, and we worked the WHOLE night. When we finally stopped it was probably eight in the morning.”
This song was especially important to the EP because it marked a big breakthrough in the pair’s music. Delia claimed it was the first song they got really excited about, and once they had finally completed something they were really inspired by, everything else felt a little more free-flowing.
The song also took a lot of turns once Delia and Russo started toying with it. While it was initially intended to be a romantically driven song, it became much more upbeat down the line and the finished product is a faster tempo, EDM sort of song that still holds true to its initial intentions.
While working on their EP, Delia and Russo even filmed a music video for their song “On the Road,” which is due to come out in a few days.
“It was a lot of fun doing, and definitely something cool that can go along with the EP,” said Delia.
With Russo’s talent agency covering the tab, the duo rented out Sky Music Lounge in West County, where they filmed a piece of the video that features them performing the song along with a multitude of their friends dancing and participating in the fun. The other part of the video features Delia and Russo on a bus moving around St. Louis, which was partially filmed by drone.
After discussing everything that went into his EP, Delia shared some wisdom that extends far past the world of music and art.
“It’s all about making the music you want,” said Delia, “Not what the world around you wants.”
This statement holds true for all artists. Both Delia and Russo are proud of the results that came from countless hours of hard work, but the bulk of the fun and the joy was found in the long hours recording.
If you are interested in listening to “Undivided” or other music by Delia, you can find his work on iTunes, YouTube, or Spotify.