On any given day you’re likely to find songwriter Luca Fogale sitting at his 1974 Yamaha upright piano in his Burnaby, BC, basement, eyes closed, waiting for the muse. He bought the instrument, which he calls “my little old friend,” 10 years ago.

“I sit there without fail every day,” says Fogale. The piano is the anchor of the songwriter’s home studio, where he goes to create and collaborate. This small space below ground is also where the song sketches, and half the recordings, for the dozen songs on Nothing is Lost – his most recent record, released in September 2020 – were written.

“I’ve lived here for eight years,” explains the SOCAN member, nominated for a 2020 Western Canadian Music Award for Pop Artist of the Year. “Pre-COVID, a lot of other songwriters would come over, and we would write songs together in this space. It’s quiet and cozy and there aren’t many windows. It’s a really safe place that allows me to be free and dig deep into myself. I shut my eyes and just stay down there as long as I need to. It’s nice to know this space is here for me at all times.”

Likely owing to the honesty and cathartic nature of Fogale’s songs, more people are enjoying – and discovering – his music. Born and raised in British Columbia, the songwriter has toured Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Japan. He’s shared the stage with Half Moon Run, Serena Ryder, and Josh Ritter, to name a few. In 2020, Fogale’s music has been streamed more than 30 million times, cumulatively across all platforms; he’s been featured on the cover of several major playlists; and he’s earned more than 85,000 Shazam searches.

“If not for the pandemic, I might not have connected with these co-writers”

Nothing is Lost was written over the past three years, as the record just kept evolving. Songwriting, for Fogale, is a slow, steady exercise. Sometimes it’s hard to let go and know when a composition is finished. “My process is quite meticulous,” he says. “I spend a lot of time writing, and on the recordings. I don’t work very fast. I tend to sit, think, evaluate, and re-evaluate the value of a song, its production, and all of its parts.”

When the pandemic hit Fogale had an album worth of songs ready, but the output didn’t feel important enough to release at a time when there was so much movement toward various social justice initiatives. He used the time to write more songs, trying to better capture the zeitgeist, and his own truth. The result of this deeper reflection is the pair of songs that bookend the album: “Nothing is Lost” and “You Tried” – a hopeful song that ends the record on a note of optimism.

Like most artists during COVID-19, with no touring or live shows, Fogale has kept busy writing away the days, both on his own, and virtually – with songwriters from around the world. For the artist, that’s one of the pandemic’s silver linings.

“I’ve found it really rewarding to do sessions with other songwriters over Zoom,” he says. “If not for the pandemic and having to shift these collaborations online, I might not have connected with these people.”

A “Surviving” synch – his third on Grey’s Anatomy

Fogale’s “Surviving” was featured in the premiere of the 17th season of Grey’s Anatomy. This isn’t the first time one of his songs has been featured in the popular prime-time TV drama. The artist’s Shazam exploded in real-time during the episode, with 20,000 people asking, ‘Hey Siri (or Alexa), what song is this?’ Fogale says anytime he hears one of his compositions in a new medium like this, it’s special.

“I have a wonderful small team working hard to make sure my songs can get the places they can,” he says. “That was the third time I’ve had a song on that show. I loved seeing people’s reactions when they announced this on social media. It means a lot to listeners and to viewers when things they know interact… when two art mediums collide, it’s so exciting.

“To see your song chosen to best represent the emotions of a scene when so many songs – millions in the genre I write – could have been chosen, that is humbling,” he says. “The scene where ‘Surviving’ played was beautiful and intense — an emotional intervention happening for one of the characters, encompassing the issues and the stigmas surrounding mental health. These are things I think about a lot, so to have it in a scene that I really connected with was profoundly special. To hear my little piano in that show and see all the Instagram stories of people sharing it was incredible. I can feel my house in that song.”