We had the good fortune of connecting with Leo Z (Leonardo De Bernardini) and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leo Z, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risk is crucial because it brings you to edge of what we call comfort zone, a zone that often doesn’t allow creativity and vital ideas to fully manifest. At the cost of finding yourself in dangerous situations and face scary demons, it’s imperative to take risks and keep faith in the skills that were developed.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
the thing that appears to make me look or sound different from others is my approach to music as an artisan, as an alchemist with a particular sensitivity to what harmony does to our emotions…, not discriminating over particular styles, ideas or sounds while creating an organic style that feels intimate and cinematic at the same time, unpredictable but familiar. I am excited about several projects I was able to complete last year during the crazy times of covid, a mystical album with worldwide renown Cellist Tina Guo (Hans Zimmer, Cirque de Soleil), called “Winter Night”, in collaboration with Sony Masterworks, and the score for a Documentary, UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality which exposes the issues of homelessness and inequality in Los Angeles. It wasn’t easy to get where I am now as I had to migrate from a country, Italy, where I had a life and a sentimental environment that I ended detaching from, unfortunately. I had to restart from scratch in a completely new environment, initially without friends or enough work connections. this caused me to lose my sense of mission at one point and not understand where I belong to anymore. It was true the practice of Nichiren Daishonin s Buddhism that I could re-discover my self and my purpose. the lesson I am trying to learn is about adopting discipline and never miss the ethics of work and respect to the people that contribute to make my environment fertile and protected. Friends , colleagues and masters I am friend to be in touch with. I’d like the word to know that the biggest challenge is to recognize the purpose for the skills that we were given and we developed, that it’s fundamental to not only use them to feel good about our talent, but to bring them at the service of one particular scope so that we can make our environment (and other environments , per osmosis) an inspiring and encouraging place for others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
mmmh. the Griffith Park Observatory because of its sense of sacred and for the view of the city. The Disney Concert Hall because of its architecture and unique sound. the Getty Center for its also outstanding architecture and unique position. The Farmers Market at the Grove, Mulholland Drive for the David Lynch vibe, The Botanical Gardens at the Huntington Library in Pasadena for the meditative mood. Da Michele Hollywood for the best pizzeria and charming patios in town, the Little Door in Hollywood and Red Bird in downtown for great dining and vibes. The last bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Several people need recognition. From my mom Emanuela who encouraged me to be ambitious, to my dad Vincenzo who supported me in the difficult times. From my music mentor Mauro Malavasi who introduced me to Universal concepts of communication, music purposes, music structures and system structure in Entertaining and in the Arts. A special thanks also to Peter Lopez, a Los Angeles lawyer who believed in me when I was new in town and to the SGI, a Buddhist Organization that ignited my life with a sense of purpose and a clear humanistic mission.
Pictures by Andy Kennelly (personal)