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Sudbury-born international artist to return to his roots with upcoming performance

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Sudbury-born international artist Joey Niceforo is set to return to his roots to perform a concert next month.

Niceforo will be performing at All Nation's Church on May 4. The ticketed event will also be collectiong donations and non-perishable item for the Sudbury Food Bank.

Undated photo of Sudbury-born international artist Joey Niceforo (Supplied)

This will be the first time in five years Niceforo will be performing in Sudbury.

The crossover artist became first interested in music at age 16, after taking a class trip to Toronto to see Phantom of the Opera.

"I absolutely fell in love with it," he said.

A family member then bought him a CD of The Three Tenors, but he wasn't initially interested in the style of music.

"I thought 'I'm never going to listen to this, this is more classical' and I remember putting it on a few weeks after I got the CD and tears ran down my face," Niceforo said.

"I started then to imitate the songs I was hearing and I couldn’t have imagined the feeling that I had when I listened to this beautiful classical music."

In Grade 13, when the time came to pick a career, Niceforo said he was nervous at first to tell his parents that he planned to pursue music.

"I was quite nervous asking my parents if I could pursue music as a career," he said. "They were 100 per cent behind me."

His then music teacher recommended he audition for the Glenn Gould School of Music at the Royal Conservatory (GGS) in Toronto, and he got in.

To help pay for his tuition, the Caruso Club held a fundraiser in his honour.

"The support I had from the community back then was incredible and still is now," Niceforo said.

He also gained experience performing and losing at the Sudbury Kiwanis Festival.

"I entered a few of those competitions and I think it was really important for me to do that because it taught me how to lose," Niceforo said.

"I had some amazing parents who told me 'Joey you're the best.' Well, I was not the best and those competitions taught me that."

While studying at the University of Toronto, Niceforo's mentors encouraged him to audition for the Canadian Tenors.

After getting into the band, he said he felt nervous, recalling his first performance as "terrible."

"I thought 'Oh my gosh, I'm not ready for this,'" Niceforo said.

"I had three other incredible colleagues who were singing with me on stage and for most of those years with the Canadian tenors, I really felt like I was relying on them, that I could never carry a show by myself."

International spotlight

Niceforo was a part of the original Canadian Tenors and classical crossover band Destino, with whom he performed at the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics.

At 22, he performed in Italy where Sophia Loren was in the audience and blew him a kiss at the end of his performance.

"I remember going back to the pianist's house, going over that song and then performing it for the first time with all these incredibly important people looking at me and I had never sung better at that point in my life," he said.

Becoming a solo artist

Niceforo recalled his father as always encouraging him to perform solo.

"When I would call him in Toronto, he'd say 'You're so good, you gotta be on stage alone, you have to perform with a huge orchestra, it's gonna happen,'" he said.

When Niceforo's father passed away in 2014, the singer found the courage to pursue a solo album.

"A few months after that, after my father passed, we recorded the album at Abbey Road Studios with that huge orchestra he always wanted me to perform with and I thought about him the whole time," he said.

Priceless, Niceforo's first solo album, was released in 2018 and he said he "broke down" thinking of what his father would think of it.

"I wished he would have been here listening to this because it's something he always wanted," he said.

"So I was so proud to be able to do that and know that I accomplished something he knew I could accomplish is pretty amazing."

Niceforo lives in Toronto and has a residency with the Casa Loma Symphony Orchestra.

He said he still gets nervous to perform.

"Before I was fearful, I would dread going on stage because I wasn't prepared," Niceforo said.

"Now, I'm nervous, I'm not fearful. I think it's the nerves that make me want to prepare." 

A poster for Sudbury's own Joey Nieforo's concert featuring Sara Papini at All Nations Church on Saint Raphael Street on May 4, 2024. (Supplied/Joey Niceforo)

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