Domenico Randazzo doesn’t expect to win many friends at Morristown High School with his new music video, Affluenza, an original rap song about the sense of entitlement that he thinks is debilitating his generation.
The sophomore insists he only wanted an “A” in his creative writing class. Adulation, he believes, will come later.
“Steve Jobs said don’t let anyone compromise your vision. I’m not trying to be something I’m not, a Flavor of the Week artist,” he said. “I’m sure when I’m selling out the Garden, they’ll flock to me.”
Confident talk. But Domenico has been backing it up for years.
With his band, Art of Play, he already has performed at such legendary venues as the Apollo Theater and the Stone Pony, competed before 1,300 people at Morristown’s Got Talent, hosted benefits for Hurricane Sandy relief and been featured on television.
He also is recording and producing Eli Rallo, a singer-songwriter from Red Bank, and Travis Weber, former guitarist and singer from the band Crash Romeo. And he is banging out guitar tracks for the Disco Fries, deejays who produce electronic jam music for Tiësto and several Def Jam artists.
Not bad for a guy who’s not even old enough to drive.
‘THE WAY I WANT IT’
For now, at least, snow days are Domenico’s best friends.
“Most kids sit around and watch Breaking Bad, while I create,” he said, in his state-of-the-art basement recording studio, surrounded by framed images of Eminem, the Beatles, Stones, Maroon 5 and B.B. King.
Domenico’s musical path began at age 2, when he started pounding on his dad’s drum kit. Through his father, he also discovered the Beatles, “the reason I’m a musician.”
By age 7, he was playing guitar. Piano came a year later and at age 9, Domenico penned his first song, a one-chord number called That’s the Way, which he declines to share, even for historical purposes.
Along the way, Domenico came to worship Eminem, who led him to Tyler, The Creator and Kendrick Lamar, author of his favorite concept album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, about struggling to transcend a rough childhood in Compton.
Domenico professes to equally enjoy hip hop, for its “blunt” lyrics, and classic rock, which requires more “similes and metaphors.”
And he greatly admires pop star Justin Timberlake for being captain of his own career. “He’s not a music company puppet,” said Domenico, who feels they share something in common.
“I’m a control freak, and will have it the way I want it,” said the Morris Township resident.
EYES ON THE HORIZON
Affluenza started with a call from Domenico’s cousin, who related how a witness claimed a Texas teen accused of killing four people in a drunk driving accident was a victim of “affluenza”–wealth and privilege with no moral compass.
Around the same time, Domenico’s creative writing teacher, Jennifer Furphey, was assigning final projects.
“I thought it would be beautifully ironic to write a song that makes fun of the school, as a school project, and get an ‘A’ on it,” Domenico said.
He sampled John Lennon’s Bless You, and kept layering his own vocals until he finally got the sound he liked. Then he shot and edited a slick video.
Jen Furphey described her student as a “fantastic writer” whose project was “executed to perfection.”
Domenico is sensitive to how some viewers of Affluenza might regard his own privileged upbringing. His parents, Domenick and Jean Randazzo, are doctors who have spared no expense to give him music- and video gear (Domenico’s Il Dottore Productions is a nod to the family business), guitar lessons and music industry connections. The family summers on Long Beach Island.
But it all boils down to how you use what you’ve been given, according to Domenico, whose Affluenza video rips hard-partying kids who graduate without a clue for the future.
“After high school, what are they going to do? People who say high school is the best four years of your life, that just means your adult life sucks,” he said.
This songwriter/performer/producer has his eyes firmly on the horizon.
“It all goes up from here,” Domenico promised.
P.S. Domenico said he got his ‘A’ in creative writing.
Affluenza by Domenico Randazzo
she loves to throw house parties
and just cut loose
and raid the kitchen cabinets
to look for some Grey Goose
why am I the only one
who sees the true motive
evil lurks on the inside
but outside, she’s sugar coated
just step back and face facts
she got racks but she lacks
a soul thats all it takes
to break hearts and break backs
and I blame the parents
for making their children transparent
raising their kid to be
entitle bearing and Cartier wearing
and the ladies say
“Domenico you so conceited”
but girls why speak it
when you could just tweet it?
your magnum cum laude
bought you a brand new Audi
with a red ribbon above it
like “thanks mom I love it”
probably never worked
a day in your life
tweeting about “Teen Wolf”
counting your favorites every night
what a sight
and guys don’t think that
I forgot about you
you’re an embarrassment
a damn catastrophe too
I know you’re seeing blurry
yeah the future ain’t clear
but after your senior year
it all goes downhill from here
no more of dad’s money to spend
house parties to attend
then you’re forced to work at a job
where you don’t fit in
finally when I speak up and say
what you want to but your too afraid
people just claim that it’s gay
and say that it’s not okay
I reveal it while others
try to conceal it
the bogus try to repeal it
while the true are the ones that feel it
I’m just a
anti drammatical radical animal
probably why me and most
other kids at high school are incompatible
i’m only problematical because you’re destroying Uncle Sam
making it impossible for me to break out of this sham
and it’s illogical not to realize you’re a part of the sham
damn, radio won’t even play my jam cause I am
Taylor Swift what they call me because I’m fearless
the new Vinny Van Gogh and not just because I’m earless
but they won’t look up to me, I’m tat free my face is tearless
kids my age admire the fakest and laugh at the realest