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Burnaby singer up for Juno award, credits Italian 'singers in my DNA'

The Burnaby North Secondary grad still lives in his hometown and has had music featured on Grey's Anatomy

When the Juno Awards take place in Toronto on May 15, Burnaby's own Luca Fogale will be on pins and needles to see if his 2020 album, Nothing is Lost, takes home the award for best adult contemporary album.

Fogale, a North Burnaby native who lives and records at his home near Deer Lake, learned about the prestigious nomination on the "very lovely morning" of March 1 from a colleague and his management team.

Fogale, 31, is one of five nominees in the adult contemporary category. He described the nomination as "exciting" but he keeps a healthy perspective on musical awards.

"It is important to be recognized and it reinforces that people appreciate your work," Fogale said. "Mostly, I think about music and the people who listen to it and who are connecting with my songs."

In a November 2020 interview with Atwood Magazine, Fogale described Nothing Is Lost as "an album about my search for purpose and meaning in life, particularly in the absence of religion since I left behind my belief in a higher power a decade ago."

"I wrote the 12 songs inside of this album over the past four years,” he told the NOW, “during which I have thought endlessly about what it means to exist, and in turn what the possibilities of being alive can be."

Fogale attended Sperling Elementary and Burnaby North Secondary before studying psychology at UBC. He played soccer for Cliff Avenue United Football Club and worked as a lifeguard at C.G. Brown pool along the way.

Fogale has two older siblings, Christina and Paolo. His parents, Tony, a retired construction foreman with Bosa Construction Inc. and mother, Elsa, a retired high school teacher, put him in classical piano lessons as a youngster.

"It was my foundation for my musical knowledge, but I didn't like it one bit," he said. "I didn't understand the power of music."

He credits his guitar teacher Sandro Camerin for stoking his love of music at age 11 when he starting learning jazz guitar.

“I thought guitar was cool," he said. "I started seeing the power of music and how much people loved it."

He also cites the influence of his Burnaby North band and jazz teacher Ingrid Balchen.

"I was fortunate to have two incredibly passionate and wonderful music teachers who gave me this foundation in life," said Fogale. "It was a huge foundation under my feet; it was really special and I feel lucky to have grown up in this beautiful city."

Fogale dropped out of UBC when he realized that music was his true passion. "I never thought I'd be a musician," he said. "At UBC, I started leaning on music more and I fell head first in writing songs; I needed it so badly and I felt so connected to it.

"And 10 years on, it is still so mysterious to me how it came about; it was so enjoyable," he said. "I felt this dependency on songs when I felt alone and purposelessness."

Fogale's musical influences include Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. His intensely personal lyrics are delivered by his heartfelt, soulful voice that draws the listener into the music.

A self-taught singer, Fogale jokes that he has "singers in my DNA," noting that his mother, grandmother, his aunts and his sister have all sung in the Italian choir of B.C.

"It makes me feel so great to watch them perform," he said.

Fogale has no regrets about dropping out of UBC to pursue a musical career.

"I find it so overwhelmingly mysterious that we try to find things that are right for us," he said. "I feel like I'm scratching the surface; there is an endless amount of music and it's got a bit of magnetism - if you put it out, people will find it. I equate it to a good conversation with people you trust."

Fogale has developed a loyal fan base by playing more than 600 shows touring in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Japan before the pandemic. He has been the opening act for Dermot Kennedy, Serena Ryder, Hayden, Frazey Ford and others. He will tour the U.K. in early May before attending the Junos, hosted by Canadian film and TV star Simu Liu.

Fogale's music has shown up on Grey's Anatomy, NCIS: Los Angeles and Station 19. His first album Safety was released in 2016.