EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Linda Jo Rizzo – only on SouthPole Radio!

To all Italo Disco fans out there – here is an exclusive interview the webmaster of SouthPole Radio, Pingo, did a few days ago. Linda Jo Rizzo is of course featured in our Pingo® ItaloMIX on Spotify – subscribe now and get the instant updates!


Pingo: How did it all start? Can you describe how you got into the whole Italo Disco scene, and why?

Linda Jo Rizzo: I sang with the girl group “The Flirts” in the early to mid 80’s. While I was on tour in Europe with The Flirts in 1984 I met Fancy at a concert. He gave me his number telling me he was interested in producing a single female act. He told me to call if I ever left The Flirts.

I did leave them a half year later and started producing Italo Disco with Fancy in 1985!

Pingo: Your super-hit “You’re My First, You’re My Last” is one of my favourite disco hits of all time (it is of course also featured in our Spotify ItaloMIX playlist). Can you tell us anything about the background of this song?

Linda Jo Rizzo: That was and still is a great song – one of my favourites. I always wrote my texts so the words always told a story about me. I was single at the time and I wrote about finding that big love and the innocent pure feeling that it gives you. When it is over and your heart broken, you close up and never want to feel that way again. I had that experience.

Pingo: The Italo Disco scene was of course biggest in Italy – what other stars from that era did you work with, or meet frequently?

Linda Jo Rizzo: I was born and raised in NYC but all my grandparents come from Sicily so I was brought up very Italian! I really had the pleasure to work with lots of stars over the years. I was the opening act and on stage with CC Catch, Dieter Bohlen’s Blue System, Mel and Kim, Evelyn Thomas, Billy Ocean, Limahl, George McCrea, Weather Girls, Two of Us, Francesca Napoli, Albert One, Patty Ryan, Scotch, Fancy, Mike Mareen, Grant Miller, Gazebo, Bad Boys Blue – is that enough?

Pingo: Which is your own favourite of your tracks?

Linda Jo Rizzo: My favourite from text is “Perfect Love”. My favourite music is “You’re My First, You’re My Last”.

Pingo: For a long time you’ve operated a restaurant in Germany (which I understand you sold a few years ago) – what did you bring with you into the restaurant business from your music career?

Linda Jo Rizzo: My father was a great cook. He opened the first Sicilian Pizzeria in New York 50 years ago. We all grew up with a love for the kitchen. I love to cook. It is my second passion after singing! My restaurant was the first in Munich with live music every day. I also offered jam sessions for artists, open mike evenings for new song writers and performers. I gave young new artists a chance to do a real show in front of a live audience. I was sort of the “Godmother” for young musicians here in Munich. It was great fun.
I sold after 8 years because between the restaurant, my concerts and shows and two kids at home I just worked and slept! I do miss it though!

Pingo: Are you working only with music today? Will you release any new disco hits in the future, or is there any other genre you want to explore?

Linda Jo Rizzo: Yes I do only music today. I do my Italo Disco concerts around Europe plus I also have a live band with whom I do events performing more mixed music like soul, pop and rock.
I have just released a new CD “Day of the Light”, with remakes of my Italo hits of the 80’s., three of my hits with The Flirts plus many new songs including a duet with Ryan Paris and Saragossa Band. Click here for the single!

Pingo: There are still a lot of Italo Disco fans out there. SouthPole Radio started as a pure Italo Disco-radiostation, but today we’re releasing music
as well as trying to compile a large Italo Disco Spotify playlist, write news on the disco scene etc. Is it important for you that the fans are still there? What do you want to say to them? Anything fans can do to help you and other musicians from that era to “comeback”?

Linda Jo Rizzo: I am of course happy and honored that after more than 20 years i still have fans all over the world! I get requests for autograph cards every single day per email or on Facebook. They come from all over the world! It is a great feeling and I do personally answer each one of them. It is so important for me. Without them, I would not be! The only thing that my fans can do to my comeback is to buy my new CD, request for it to be played in clubs or on the radio and keep the old music alive!

Pingo: Looking back at your career – what was most fun? Do you remember any specific episode?

Linda Jo Rizzo: I think the most beautiful and facinating experience in my music career was when I did concerts in Kenya for the SOS Kinderdorf. We were five artists on tour with Manfred Sexaur (from SRF, Musikladen, Beatmusik) to raise money for the children there. We all cried to see for the first time where the monies really go, how the children live, how our shows helped them! The food, the music, the culture, the geography… Oh God it was like paradise. I will never forget that trip.

Pingo: Anything else you want to add?

Linda Jo Rizzo: I would just like to say to all of my fans that I thank you all for making my career possible over so many years and having given me the chance to travel, experience different people, foods, languages and much more. I also raised my three children alone through my music and they too had the chance to travel the world with me, learn and speak three languages and be schooled in Europe. I thank you with all my heart. You made my wonderful career possible and I hope I can continue to give you all many more years of great music!

Pingo: Thank you very much Linda for the opportunity to interview you! We are all very happy to hear about your Italo Disco experiences. Thank you!

All pictures/photos were sent to us by Linda herself.

The pictures/photos are Copyright © Linda Jo Rizzo.
Check out her website at www.LindaJoRizzo.de
Buy her new CD at Amazon!

You can also listen to Linda on Spotify. She also has a few videos and other interesting info on her website, so be sure to check it out!

This interview is Copyright © SouthPoleRadio.com, 2012, and may not be reproduced. You can LINK TO IT if you want though. 😉