Andrew Policastro (UG ’14) Covers Marvin Gaye for YouTube

What do you like about this song that made you want to sing it?

I love soul, funk, and R&B music; they are some of my favorite genres. To me, “Let’s Get It On” blends the best elements of those genres into this killer song. Plus, it’s plain sexy.

Does it have any special meaning to you?

Of course. The whole “Let’s Get It On” album is about love; wanting it, feeling it, making it, and losing it. In Marvin Gaye’s recording, you can feel his deep, sexual desire for this one woman. Being a 20-year old guy, I related to that immediately.

What made you decide to record it and put it out for the public to see?

The main reason is that the song is so fun to sing. But aside from that, I’m planning to use YouTube covers to begin building a small fan base, so that when I finish up my own material, there will (hopefully) be people who want to listen to it.

Do you feel this cover is original?

It’s not really up to me to decide, but I hope that people feel this cover is original. Dan and I worked very hard to make sure we added our own styles to the song. We decided to have a very simple arrangement to act as a backbone to the song, but also decided to leave room for riffing and improvising. We shot about 8 different takes and each one sounded different.

What is your singing background – do you perform often?

I don’t have a formal singing background. I learned how to sing from my friend Teresa who is studying voice at City College. She’s crazy talented. I jokingly asked her to teach me how to sing one night, and she agreed to it. Every time we hung out she would show me something new. Although the way I learned to sing is pretty unconventional, I do have a classical instrumental background. I’ve taken piano from a very young age and studied Oboe under the principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic. I was able to draw upon a lot of the information I’ve learned from being trained as a classical instrumentalist when Teresa was teaching me how to sing – such as breath support, phrasing, etc. In terms of performing, I do a lot of open mics around NYC.

Is it nerve-wracking to put yourself out there on the internet?

Absolutely terrifying. I’m pretty shy when it comes to singing. I’ve only been doing it for about a year now and I don’t have a lot of confidence in my voice yet. I wasn’t really nervous while I was recording it – since it was just Dan and me hanging out in a room – but as I was uploading it to YouTube I realized people would end up seeing it. Then the nerves hit. I started criticizing all the mistakes I made in the video and second-guessing whether or not I should put it up. It took some friends to calm me down, but once I finally uploaded the video I felt relieved and excited. It’s by no means perfect, but I’m proud of how it turned out.