Friday, February 13, 2015

From the Archives: Interview with SAG Artist and Activist, Lovari

From the Archives: Interview with SAG Artist and LGBT Activist, Lovari

Artistic Advocacy—An Interview with Anthony Lovari on His Music, Films, LGBT Youth Advocacy and His Dreams

[Article originally published in Out IN Jersey Magazine]

A singer and songwriter, an actor, a screenwriter and director, an advocate for LGBTQ youth, Lovari is a man of many talents. As an actor, the artist has appeared in movies like The New York Strangler (about a NYC Halloween party terrorized by a supernatural force) and, with a small role, in Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter (2005). Recently, Lovari has begun screenwriting, producing, directing and acting in his own movie, which is inspired by true events of a series of shark attacks in NY waters and scheduled to be released in early summer, 2008. Shore Thing brings together a diverse and talented cast, including actors like Jade Estevan Estrada (or how NBC News calls him, “America’s Prince of Pride), among other well-recognized names.

Lovari. Photo ©Alina Oswald, 2008.
Lovari. Photo ©Alina Oswald, 2008.
Although he loves acting and directing, Lovari is maybe best known for his music. “I’ve always loved music,” he confesses. “I started singing at [the age of] five.” Being introduced to music at such a young age and being inspired and encouraged by both his parents to pursue his talent, it’s no surprise that Lovari decided to study music therapy at Queensborough College in Queens, NY, where he was born. Music therapy, the artist explains, is a medical (psychology) field that uses music to sooth or to create a sense of stability, particularly in the elderly and in people with mental disorders.

And soothing is exactly what Lovari’s music and voice do for his audience. When it comes to music, Lovari’s influences are as many as they are diverse and include artists like Annie Lennox, Tony Braxton, The Eagles, to mention only a few. Like many other songs, Lovari’s are mostly about love. Yet what makes them unique is the reality of love they evoke—from lost love and betrayal to un-returned love and the idea of finding true love. “It’s instinctual to write about love,” the artist says, explaining that his music is inspired by Freud and even more by Jung who believed that the mind thinks of love.

Lovari at the Gay Expo 2014, NYC. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Lovari at the Gay Expo 2014, NYC. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
But Lovari’s music conveys not only the reality of love, also the reality of life in all its aspects. An avid reader, the artist has always enjoyed reading books by authors writing about reality. In time, the topic started to reflect in his songs. Therefore, his music speaks to all of us, bringing out in the open our own realities and allowing us to reconsider our life choices and goals. 

These Tears also represents the artist’s stand on love and its non-idyllically reality, thus reflecting the side of him that makes his advocacy work possible. “When it comes to love,” the artist-advocate says, “people have to have respect for themselves. It is not cool to have sex just because everybody else has [sex].” He encourages everybody, especially the youth, to practice safer sex, have monogamous relationships or be single rather than have unprotected sex. Too many people, especially young people, today don’t follow the model of playing it safe and thus they put themselves at a greater risk of getting HIV or any other STD. Lovari talks about HIV/AIDS as being part of the larger STDs content, mentioning that among the male especially gay population ages 18 to 24, the number of STD infections has increased by 150 percent!

What is Lovari doing about it? He does youth advocacy work through Jersey’s LGBTQ youth organization, Our Youth, founded by Rob De Anthony. Lovari was part of A Night of Awards ceremony in May as a presenter and performer. 

When it comes to his fans that are also his friends, Lovari considers himself blessed to have so many of them. “I’m very grateful for everybody who’s listening to my music,” the artist says. “This is my dream. I hope to accomplish a lot in my life.”