Every now and then a hook up is so good you have to go back for seconds. That’s the case with today’s special interview with a very familiar face to Man Crush Blog, Richie Nuzz. Previously known as hot model and Katy Perry video stud Richie Nuzzolese, we catch up with the blog’s first Man Crush of the Year 3 years after our first interview with him and talk about his career change, which male artist he’s currently crushin’ on and what has him singing a whole new tune nowadays.
Man Crush: So, it’s been almost three years since I first interviewed you. How’s life changed for you since appearing in Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”?
Richie Nuzz: Wow, 3 years… Time has flown by quick! My life has changed so much since Katy Perry’s video. The most significant change has been rebranding my image from model/actor to musician. I am now devoting my every minute to my true passion—music. Being jazz and classically trained all of my life as a trombonist, and having performed around the world, I always had the calling. I just released my EP (extended play) iMMACULATE to all of the world on July 4th and am getting amazing feedback from everyone! It consists of 4 songs and a bonus track called “Flying Through The Clouds,” in which I actually incorporate all my vocal background styles to form one sound. I also play trombone on the track.
My experiences also helped me find my style and create my own vision. I recently launched my personal brand—BEiMMACULATE, which stands for Independence, Creative Freedom and Innovation. I want it to be the basis for everything I do and I want to inspire people to follow in my footsteps.
We also notice you’re pulling a Prince. Now you’re going by Richie Nuzz. What lead to the name change?
Richie Nuzz is me. It has actually always been my nickname amongst my close friends, since my last name is so long, being Italian. So, I don’t think of it as a name change—it’s just a way to let my fans closer into my life. Richie Nuzz is the real guy next door, not an idolized and unreachable model.
Since we last spoke, you also popped up in another pop princess’ video—Britney Spears’ video for “Work B*tch!” How did that experience compare to your Katy Perry experience?
Well, it certainly was interesting being in a Britney video after Katy’s. Two completely different vibes and sets, but nonetheless two of the funnest videos I have worked on. But, if comparing both videos, Katy and I definitely got more time to engage one another. Being the “stranger in her bed,” as the first lyric of the song goes, has a nice little ring to it. [smiles widely]
Man Crush Blog just celebrated its 4th anniversary last month. Indulge us—who do you have a man crush on nowadays?
Congrats to Man Crush! Hmm, not really asked that too often. [laughs] If I had to choose, I’d probably say John Mayer. I look up to him a lot, as a music artist he just comes off very sincere and real in shows and interviews. I see his good energy and I read into his innocence—he seems to be very emotionally attached to his music.
John Mayer? How Katy Perry of you! Now, we’ve done an interview before and a Google search will answer this question but I’m interested in your response to the question. “Who are you?”
I am an Independently Immaculate Individual, pursuing my dreams while preaching love and equality.
What’s been your best and your worst moment in life so far?
Best moment was this year on April 14th, when a member of Ryan Leslie’s artist development team called me and asked “How can you pursue your dream if you don’t commit one-hundred percent?” Since that day I have not stopped.
My worst moment was the feeling of uncertainty when I made the decision to transition from modeling to music. But, the process of figuring yourself out is just that—a process.
What lead to the career path change?
Music was in me the day I was born. I just needed to grow as an individual and find my brand before I transitioned to my true calling as a musician.
Have you faced any challenges with people having a hard time accepting you as a serious music artist when there are hundreds of pics of you shirtless and in various state of undress taken during your modeling career?
I face challenges every day. I see them as simple tests. Just another obstacle to see how I react towards it. Any challenge that one endures in life is to make one stronger in the long run. The right people are going to see me as a musician and that’s all I care about.
You have a new single out titled “SHiNE.” It’s very upbeat, inspiring and motivational. Give us the behind the music scoop on the story of how the single came to be.
“SHiNE” was a very touching song for me. It is something I need to hear on a regular basis. There is a lot of negativity in the world and I try to be one of the few individuals that are trying to convert that into positive energy. To film the music video for it I decided I wanted to take a bus from Atlanta to New York City with my team and shoot in the streets. I wanted to capture people at their realest, happiest moments. [Buy the single “SHiNE” here]
Now, I know your music is for everyone but I couldn’t help but to feel that “SHiNE” would make a good anthem for the various pride festivals taking place this time of the year. What message do you have for your gay fans?
I agree. It is very inspirational and touching. I am actually thinking about performing at Charlotte Pride. I think my music will bring all types of people together. I am eager to perform and show the world my creation.
I think my fans will truly start to see that I preach love, understanding, and equality with my music and movement.
For those that haven’t bought it yet, how would you describe your new iMMACULATE EP?
Unorthodox. It’s not like any traditional type of music that you hear out there today. I convey my emotions through the sound, so it takes the audience on a journey of my experiences. The EP gives you a taste of my character—it moves from feeling to feeling. I go from someone who feels complete gratitude for life in “SHiNE,” to battling seduction and temptations that come from success in “My Crib,” to realizing that something real is missing in “My Lady,” and back to focusing myself on pursuing my dream and vision, realizing that everything else will fall in place in due time in “Flying through the Clouds (F.T.T.C).” After all, “everything in life happens for a reason” (lyrics from “F.T.T.C”). [Buy the EP iMMACULATE here]
I know you’re interested in creating your own music but if you were to pull a Mariah Carey and put a cover song on your album, what song would you cover and why?
Hmm … I am not big on karaoke, part of the reason being that I don’t go out to bars [laughs] but, I wouldn’t mind putting “Your Body is a Wonderland” on my album—I actually recorded the cover already and it’s available on my YouTube page.
I happen to know a lot of peeps have a crush on you. How does it feel to have so many admirers, both male and female?
It’s nice to be loved. It doesn’t matter who the love comes from. I wake up to uplifting messages from fans across the globe—there is no better feeling. It instantly makes your day better. I’ve been trying to give back, like by giving out my personal phone number so I can respond to fans directly.
Do you ever feel like you’re giving out too much personal information or giving up too much anonymity?
Being closer to my fans is part of my rebranding. I give out my personal number to fans to simply get a chance to meet everyone—to personally say thank you to someone who look up to me. To hear one of my fans tell me that my music inspired them is the best feeling that I can possibly feel. Knowing I can change how someone is feeling—there is really nothing more rewarding.
How are you using social media differently now than how you did at the start of your career to stay in touch with your audience and expand your brand?
Responding to fans is the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do when I go to bed. Before, the relationship was one-sided, now it’s a priority to make time for my fans. I also just launched “THE iMMACULATE LEGiON” – a fan club for my top fans and supporters and “THE iMMACULATE iNNOVATORS,” a membership club for people who share my vision and want to be a part of my come-up. Both of these will help me prioritize my social media interaction. As my brand gets bigger, so will my connection to the people who want to see me succeed.
A lot has changed in the past 3 years since we last spoke. Where do you want to be in another 3 years from now? What do you hope to have accomplished both professionally and personally?
Most people would answer that question by telling you specific accomplishments that they hope to have achieved like, they want to have 20 million Facebook fans, 7 Grammys, and so on but I don’t want to limit myself by setting a specific goal. I am going to tap into opportunities that I haven’t even thought of yet. I’m going to continue to promote and expand my iMMACULATE brand, both through my music and through business ventures. Part of being iMMACULATE is not limiting yourself by setting boundaries to your creativity.
What are you the least tolerant of these days?
Wasted potential. I cannot stand someone who says they want to do something and really doesn’t do anything about it.
Which would you rather be—likeable or memorable?
I would like to be memorable. Being likeable only benefits me but if you are a memorable individual you can influence society for hundreds of years, you become a part of history.
What can your fans and followers expect from you next?
They can expect what they have been seeing since they started to follow me—I will continue to grow and create.
If you missed the first interview with Richie you can read it here. For more of Richie’s music, videos and photos visit his website richienuzz.com. You can follow Richie on Twitter @RichieNuzz, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.