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CLAUDIO'S

BIOGRAPHY

Claudio Passavanti  is a British Italian pianist, music producer and digital entrepreneur, known as Sunlightsquare and Doctor Mix.

EARLY DAYS

Born in Rome in 1972, Claudio began playing the keyboard at the age of four, passionately developing a deep interest in musical instruments, vinyl records, audio recorders, electronics, and photography. By the time he started studying classical piano at the age of nine, he was already exploring computers and learning how to program them. This combined knowledge of music and electronics landed him his first professional studio gig as a drum machine programmer for his piano teacher, a film composer, at the age of 13.

By the age of 16, Claudio had moved on to study jazz piano at the Scuola Popolare di Musica di Testaccio while still in school. During this time, he began taking on small production jobs in his bedroom studio and performing live gigs as a keyboardist at night. After completing his studies at 18, he was hired as an in-house producer by the same studio where he had first worked.

For the next two years, Claudio produced music for dozens of Italian artists, performing live for some of them and making a name for himself in the busy music industry of the 1990s."

AMERICAN DAYS

At the age of 20, with a strong musical background, Claudio went on to study orchestral composing and arranging at The Grove School of Music in Los Angeles.

 

During this time, he embraced and absorbed American music-making traditions, jazz harmony, and show business. He became particularly involved in west coast jazz and began exploring the club scene, collaborating with local musicians, including some of the top players in the LA area such as the legendary GRP rhythm section and John Patitucci and Dave Weckl of Chick Corea's Elektric Band. These collaborations eventually led to the recording of Claudio's debut album, "After Hours Ritual," for Sony Music's sublabel Rossodisera (Italy).

POP DAYS

"Upon returning to Italy in 1993, Claudio was offered higher-profile gigs and went on to play keyboards, produce records, or conduct orchestras for some of the top artists and events in the country, including Zucchero, Lucio Dalla, Pino Daniele, Alex Britti, Niccolo' Fabi, and the in-house band for RAI TV's Saturday night show, Ottavo Nano. He also worked with Gabin, Brian Adams, Ambra Angiolini, and the Sanremo Festival.

In 1997, Claudio gained further artistic recognition by forming the critically acclaimed duo Eramo & Passavanti with vocalist Barbara Eramo. He received the Michael Nyman's Award for Best Performance at the 1998 Festival Di Sanremo for the song "Senza Confini." In 1999, he arranged and produced the "Milonga" film score for Academy Award-winning composer Luis Bacalov."

BRITISH DAYS

When Claudio moved to London at the age of 30, he found new inspiration in the vibrant musical scene of the East End. He started out as an in-house producer for techno label Almighty Records until 2004, when he went solo and founded Sunlightsquare Records, named after a warehouse space in Bethnal Green where he lived and produced music.

In 2005, under the pseudonym Sunlightsquare, Claudio released the album "Urban Session," featuring legendary drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Will Lee, and vocalists Sharlene Hector (Basement Jaxx), Joy Malcolm (Moby), and Z-Star.  Full Sunlightsquare discography 

 

Sunlightsquare's salsa version of "I Believe in Miracles" (from the CD "Havana Central") sold over 10,000 copies and became a cult success in Latin circles worldwide. The 2011 album "Britannia Shing-A-Ling," a 25-piece band live studio recording, was described by the BBC as 'A triumph'.

 

In 2015, Claudio produced the main title for the soundtrack of the feature film "Cuban Fury" (Studio-Canal/Film4) starring Rashida Jones and Nick Frost.


​During this time, he continued working as a freelance producer and developed the idea for an online platform that could handle his existing clients while also finding new ones. As a result, in 2006, he founded Doctor Mix, an online mixing, mastering, and production service, as one of the first online studios to appear on the internet.


In the early days of YouTube, Claudio started experimenting with video and registered a humorous musical channel called Culturekiller. In August of the same year, he published  “The Simpsons vs Star Trek”, a comedic mashup of the two songs performed on Rhodes piano, theremin, and a funnel. The video became instantly viral, earning 2 million views at a time when the most-viewed YouTube video was "The Evolution of Dance" with 5 million views. 

 Claudio experienced the power of modern-day video for himself and decided to use it to increase the popularity of his Doctor Mix website. In the following years, he was able to consolidate the company, move it to commercial premises in Central London, and grow it into a four-person operation.

NOW ADAYS

With over a half-million YouTube subscribers for his Doctor Mix channel, Claudio is considered to be an influencer, collaborating with some of the biggest manufacturers in professional audio, including Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Rhodes, Moog, and Arturia.

As Sunlightsquare, Claudio has released seven albums and numerous singles and remixes, establishing himself as an artist in dance music circles across the globe and performing at international festivals and clubs. His work has been published by influential labels such as BBE, Yoruba Records, Brownswood Recordings, Dome Records, Studio Canal/Universal, and EMI.

As a digital entrepreneur, Claudio has used the power of the internet to create a successful business from scratch, setting himself as a case study for the creative industry and becoming an inspiring figure for independent musicians.

I am the living proof that in the age of internet and video, artists can achieve their dreams for themselves. Without having to ask permission to anyone”.

 

Claudio Passavanti

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