Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, AJ Raggs – Angelo Ragghianti – has been performing for over 15 years. From the time he was 8 years old, AJ loved to sing. He dreamed of becoming a professional singer and those dreams are beginning to take shape. AJ plays piano and acoustic and electric guitars with a live looper pedal, and performs year-round as a member of the Schola Cantorum at Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish in Pittsburgh’s North Side, at weddings, funerals, restaurants, retirement living homes, private clubs, bars, and church festivals in the Pittsburgh, and Nashville, TN areas.
Bridge: When did you first know you wanted to become a musical artist? What was the first song you ever wrote?
AJ: Honestly, I don’t really remember wanting to be anything else. I know that’s super cliché, but it’s the truth! From the time I was young, my dad would play all the oldies for me in the car – Sinatra, Dean Martin, the Beatles – and it really fostered a love for music. I know the type of artist I’ve wanted to be has changed a lot – I’ve gone from pop, to musical theater, to jazz, and back to pop! I’ve also got a degree in Opera. The first song I can remember writing was something for my high school Civics Service Project. It’s called “When I’m Singing”. The lyrics are…
“Because when I’m singing/When I’m singing/The whole world stops, stops to listen true/And when I’m singing/Only singing/I lose myself in a world I call music…” Haha! I was definitely not the master wordsmith, but my heart was in it!
Bridge: We hear you have new music coming! Give us the scoop. Tell us more about it.
AJ: I’m SUPER excited for this year. Last year I wanted to put out a ton of music, but didn’t, but that is not going to be the case in 2022! I’m hoping to release a bunch of new singles, and even an EP later in the year! My next one should drop by mid March! It’s a super fun party song I’m hoping everyone will want to dance along to!
Bridge: If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
AJ: Oof. SO many options!! Haha. I’m gonna give a couple. First choice for all of these, though, is Tori Kelly. Her musicianship, and vocal agility is just so incredible, and inspiring! I had (and maybe still have…) a HUGE crush on her too! She’s married now, which is cool. It’s fine. I’m fine. Haha! But no seriously, she’s amazing – also her willingness to not be afraid to share her faith in God while being a mainstream artist is also super inspirational to me, as well. A close second would be Ed Sheeran. The man is just non-stop talent, and I feel like we’d be good buds, haha. For someone who’s passed – Michael Jackson. I don’t know if there will ever be another person as talented as he was.
Bridge: Between your very first performance and now, how would you say you have grown, as both a musician and an artist?
AJ: One of the first performances I can remember is when I was a part of the Eastern Area Youth Chorale here in Pittsburgh. I must’ve been 10/11 years old! I literally could not stand still. I would constantly be scratching my head, or my face. I’d also be fidgeting like crazy. I was SO nervous! Now, I still get nervous, but by God’s Grace, I think I’ve learned how to turn those nerves into energy. I’ve also learned that there is a songwriter inside of me, and that he really likes creating and telling stories!
Bridge: What would you like to be remembered for in your musical career, when all is said and done, when future music lovers look for and covet your music, what would you like them to be looking for and remembering you for?
AJ: You guys have some great questions!! Haha. I guess I would like to be remembered for making people smile, and helping them feel joy – like an infectious feeling that makes you beam from ear to ear. And also, I really want people to feel loved when they hear the music, or think of the songs. I want them to know how loved they truly are. 🙂
Bridge: Where do you go from here, what are your plans for 2022 and where can we find you music?
AJ: Right now, I’m headed to the gym! Haha, but actually I’m turning my attention to recording and releasing as many songs as I can this year! And also to keep writing, for the next!! You can find my songs pretty much anywhere you listen to music! Just type in “AJ Raggs”. “You can also follow me on most social medias – @ajraggs !!” Thanks so much for the interview! God Bless.