Musicians, singers, and other individuals in the performing arts arena only succeed if they have the talent, expertise, and resilience to defy all odds and strive through adversity. Passion and dedication are essential for becoming a successful performing artist, singer, and musician. Singers and musicians also entertain audiences for long periods despite changes in trends and interests. However, only a few talented singers can make successful comebacks after long breaks due to their ability to appeal to audiences despite the generational variations and changes in trends. One of these musicians, Alexander Zarbo, made a very successful comeback in 2020 after a hiatus of several years.
Alexander Paul Vella-Zarb, known by his stage name Zarbo, is a music producer, singer, musician, and composer. Born in 1961 in St. Thomas, Ontario, Zarbo was interested in music from an early age, being exposed to a wide variety of music genres during his upbringing in Southwestern Ontarioby his immigrant parents from Malta. At 12, Zarbo used his summer job money to purchase a Kent bass guitar which at the time was the least expensive guitar in the store. Although, at that time, he was unaware of the difference between a bass guitar and a rhythm guitar, he soon found out that this would be his destiny. He purchased the guitar because he dreamed of becoming a famous rock star one day.
Although this was a childhood fantasy, his passion for music was the foundation for his subsequent endeavors in the field. At 16, he began his career as a musician by performing on the northern bar circuit with several bands, one of which was Ash Mountain, an Alice Cooper tribute band from Woodstock, Ontario, which later changed their name to Razz. Zarbo traveled throughout Canada for three years, performing at various venues and gaining valuable experience.
Zarbo enrolled in Humber College’s jazz programin the late 1970s, where he studied bass guitar with a vocal minor to develop his passion for the music business. This academic endeavor enhanced his musical ability and connections,providing opportunities for him to later perform on television commercial jingles, expanding his profile, and broadening his professional network.
Alex Zarbo (lead singer, bassist, and songwriter), along with Derek Sharp (guitars and vocals) and Greg Anzelc (drums and vocals),formed the pop-rock trio Zarbo in the early 1980s. The band rose to prominence rapidly on the Canadian music scene. Its electric live shows at renowned establishments such as El Mocambo, Branko’s, Cameo Lounge, Larry’s Hideaway, and Horseshoe Tavern captivated fans.
The year 1985 saw the publication of “A-Z Collection,” the first album to be released by Zarbo. This 8-song album, recorded live off the floor at Kensington Sound Studio in a 2-day (18-hour) recording session,garnered a following and served as a stepping stone for the band’s later achievements in the music industry.
The next year, Zarbo and his other bandmates rerecorded a dance version of the song “Get Up and Dance,” which both industry professionals and music enthusiasts praised for showcasing their wide variety of musical styles. Because of the song’s ability to connect with listeners personally, and the moderate radio airplay it received on stations like CHUM FM and subsidiaries, Zarbo had established himself as a key figure in the music business. The band broke up despite its early success and recognition because the members had different interests.
Zarbo stayed out of the public eye for years, contributing to the music industry more covertly, assisting and motivating others around himwhile becoming a single father raising his daughter. Zarbo took this decision,althoughfinancially successful,and at the zenith of his musical career, happily and confident hewould never have changed it for the world.Zarbo did not abandon his musical career after the band’s dissolve but embarked on a new musical journey while focusing on working behind the scenes.
During the new phase of his professional life, Zarbo established Stargate Sound & Light Inc., a production firm specializes in audiovisual services for live events. He developed his technical skills and experience to make a name in the music industry while offering assistance and services of live events and festivals in Greater Toronto. Besides offering expert advice and support, Zarbo supplied lighting, staging, video and sound equipment to such events. It was then that the musician found himself returning to his older songs from “A-Z Collection”album and giving them a remastered sound in 2020 during the peak of the COVID-19 worldwide government lockdowns.
After spending some time in what seemed to be relative seclusion, Zarbo’s return in 2020 captured audiences again with his one-of-a-kind style and unquestionable skill. His comeback demonstrated his perseverance and ability to adapt to the changing face of the music business, with inspiration from his lifelong love for music and acquiring the knowledge that comes with years of practice.
Alexander Zarbo’s narrative exemplifies music’s lasting power and his audience’s loyal support. His path, which includes highs and lows, personal development, and artistic exploration, exemplifies the transformational character of a successful return. Musicians with the capacity and talent to generate and develop songs can create great music that interests listeners even after many years.
After remastering his 1985 album, “A-Z Collection,” he rearranged, remixed, and released four tunes from it in 2001, which received significant attention in music circles and from audiences by fusing hip-hop and electronic dance music (EDM) elements into his songs. The four songs reached the top of several lists, including iTunes rankings in Canada’s Electronic category, the European Independent Music Chart (EIMC), and the World Independent Music Rankings (WIMC).
The song “Get Up and Dance (Electro Remix)” was the most popular. It has had over 2 million streams on Spotify and 1 million views on YouTube. The fact that his song “Correction in Direction (Electro Remix)” has been met with a favorable reception from listeners is evidence of his capacity to adjust well to shifting trends in the music industry.
The lead song from Zarbo’s most recent album, “Hindsight is 20/20 Two,” titled “They Lie,”topped many indie music charts. The lyrics go deep into the nature of dishonesty and deception, shedding light on the deeds of politicians in Aurora, Ontario, who for years misled the town and caused nuisances to the residents surrounding the Town Park.
Zarbo’s position as a significant figure in the music industry was solidified in 2023 when the Uptime App highlighted him, which helped him achieve even more renown. Several prominent publications like Metro and Music Connection also featured Zarbo’s editorials, contributing his sought-after advice andhis experience and skill in the music industry. Zarbo’s Get Up and Dance (Electro Remix) was played at the NBA finals game 4 in Miami with The Heat vs. The Nuggets on June 9th, 2023.
Zarbo impacted the Canadian music scene with his talents as a music producer, singer, musician, and composer. He is among the few talented artists who made a successful comeback to the music scene after several years, attracting audiences’ attention and millions of streams. Few people have the talent and resilience to keep up with the changing trends and reinvent or renew their music to appeal to the masses. Zarbo’s inspiring comeback on the music scene exemplifies how talented singers and musicians can entertain people with music by keeping up with the changing trends.