David Picco finds success in Toronto

Like many Newfoundlanders before him, David Picco sought a potentially brighter future in Toronto than what might have been afforded to him had he stayed in his home province. Since his relocation to the Big Smoke in 2002, the well-spoken Picco has been keeping himself busy, having released three records (one as a part of the band Jetset Motel) while also producing the newest effort from Toronto singer-songwriter Kyp Harness. If keeping himself busy was in Picco’s plans, it is safe to say that he has accomplished that mission.

“Initially, I had gone just seeking a change,” Picco says of his move halfway across the country. “Both of my older brothers were living in Toronto at the time so it seemed like a natural move for me. I liked living in Newfoundland but it just seemed like the right thing to do at the right time. I wanted to see what was going on in the world of music there; I had never really written my own stuff when I was living in Newfoundland so I wanted to see what would happen in that environment. It’s really kind of hard to believe it has been nine years already.”

Picco performs at Moncton’s Plan B on Monday, opening for Prairie Oyster’s Russell deCarle.

Inspiration for the songs contained on Picco’s self-titled new album arose from unfortunate circumstances. This past September, Picco lost his mother, which brought him back to his native Newfoundland for a period of mourning and unexpected creativity.

“The time surrounding the making of this record was kind of crazy,” he says. “It was one of those times that I just had to start doing something, I just couldn’t sit around and the best way I knew how to deal with everything was to make music. I had a lot of the songs already written but had decided there and then to more-less impulsively record the songs. I figured I would get around to sorting it out afterwards. My brother Chris was in the studio with me and was really encouraging me to follow through on it.”

Picco believes that since he didn’t go into the studio intending to make a record, it helped his album come together all the more easily and quickly.

“At the very least, I was hoping to get demos out of it, just to have a little something documented but within a few nights, it became rather clear that I had a full record on my hands. And frankly, I believe that it came out better than anything else I have ever done. It has a more cohesive feel to it than other efforts I have been a part of.”

Indeed, the tracks on Picco’s newest album deal rather openly about love and loss and features intimate, sparse instrumentation recalling the dusty, lonesome music of roots-country acts like Uncle Tupelo.

Though Picco doesn’t outright deny a desire to perhaps return to Newfoundland at some point in the future, he doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

“I can never say that I will never return to Newfoundland but I think that I am going to be based out of Toronto for a few more years yet. I have so many friends in Toronto, it is actually a hard place to leave in spite of all the ups and downs I have experienced while living there. It is considerably more expensive to live in that city which is a definite downside but on the other side of the coin, it affords me the opportunity to tour and play so much more.

“We will have to see what happens.”

Article published in July 1, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript