Antonio Larosa is a vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist born and raised in Burnaby BC. At a young age, Antonio took to the arts, specifically music and drama. He participated in a many of his school plays and eventually developed an interest in playing the guitar. As a young boy, Antonio especially loved the music of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. When asked about his musical influence, Larosa states, “My mom used to play Elvis Presley all the time and I would just be in awe of his vocals.” Antonio began performing with his guitar at small community events and talent shows throughout his high school years. In 2010 he placed first at Burnaby’s Got Talent. He Frequently performed at the Italian Centre during Gala’s, as well as The Miss Calabria Beauty Pageant.“I definitely got lots of experience playing in a large room of Italians. If you can get their attention while they are eating, then you know you are doing something right!" Jokes Larosa.
In his last two years of High school Antonio attended Broadway Bound Performing Arts Studio where he and other students would get together twice a week to study under the direction of Kimberly Page. “Kim really helped with building my confidence as a performer,” says Larosa. He went on to obtain lead roles, such as as Curly McLean in OKLAHOMA! and Hairspray's Link Larkin. Antonio credits both productions for pushing him to learn how to sing and dance simultaneously. In 2011 Antonio was presented with the opportunity to attend Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Manhattan, New York. While there he studied method acting and musical theatre and was cast in the production, Into The Woods, which was directed by Bill Balzac. Larosa says, “Being in New York amongst so many other artists was a really big learning experience. I feel I grew up fast and truly realized the importance of hard work."
Coming back from New York, Antonio decided to focus primarily on music. He attended Douglas College’s Basic Musicianship program to gain an understanding of theory and music rudiments. Shortly after, he transferred to Capilano University's Jazz program, where he studied Jazz guitar. “Cap has an absolutely amazing music faculty. The jazz program is lots of work, but it really showed me the kind of perseverance and work-ethic you need in order to be a working musician," states Antonio.
Taking a detour from school, Antonio joined John William Dexter’s Latin-crossover group, Bailamos. Bailamos recorded a full length album in 2015 and in March of 2016 recorded a PBS special that aired all over Canada and the United States. Recalling his experience, Larosa says, "Filming that PBS special was the most amazing experience in my career. I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented musicians, as well as everyone else behind the scenes." Antonio continues to play shows with Bailamos all over North, Central and South America.
Antonio’s latest achievement was the release of his debut album Steadfast, which features nine tracks that Antonio has written in the past year. Channeling his love for rock, blues and country music, Steadfast presents a unique sound that is worthy of a strong debut. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s very rewarding to hear how my music impacts others," says Antonio. Steadfast is available on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.
Antonio's original music deeply channels his love of music from the past. Drawing from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and The Allman Brothers Band. Antonio's love for classic music and blues guitar assemble a hybrid of old and new age rock and blues.
Photographer: Tom Hawkins