Currently, the 41-year-old St. Catharines, Ont. native has a full plate writing for Seal, Skylar Grey, Ne-Yo and Katharine McPhee. He may also do something with Jennifer Lopez, who called and invited him to her house, if there’s time. (Lopez and her fellow judges on TV’s American Idol, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., all love “Wrecking Ball”). And discussions are underway with several other major international artists.
Moccio is no stranger to success. While attending the University of Western Ontario, he attended a Céline Dion concert, introduced himself to her manager René Angélil, and asked to meet Dion. Backstage, he boldly told the singer that he planned to write her a hit song. Exactly a decade later, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in composition and piano performance, and signing a deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Moccio – together with Aldo Nova – co-wrote Dion’s “A New Day Has Come,” a record-breaking hit in 2002 that topped the Hot AC charts for 21 weeks and was the title song of both her album and Las Vegas residency show.
With Marc Jordan, Moccio wrote “Tears of Hercules,” which appeared on Jordan’s 2004 album, Make Believe Ballroom. “That was a melody that just came to me, and then Marc crafted this amazing lyric that had so much depth,” he recalls. “It’s a story of a stoic man who doesn’t know how to cry.” Producer David Foster heard the song and promptly introduced it to singer Josh Groban, who recorded it as “My Heart was Home Again” on his limited edition album With You.
“It’s the songwriter’s job to get emotional over things.”
Like the vision he had for writing a hit for Dion, Moccio knew that one day he would write an Olympic theme – just like Foster had done for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. He and former Glass Tiger frontman Alan Frew teamed up and wrote “I Believe.” Sung by Montreal jazz/R&B/pop singer Nikki Yanofsky, the song became the official theme of the 2010 Winter Games and hit number one on iTunes Canada and Billboard’s Canadian Hot 100.
Other artists whom Moccio has written or co-written songs for include Olivia Newton-John, John Legend, Sarah Brightman, Randy Bachman, Gladys Knight, Edwin, Hayley Westenra, RyanDan, Chantal Kreviazuk and Kardinal Offishall.
Among Moccio’s trademarks are the soaring melodies and the almost palpable emotions that his songs convey. It’s a quality he continues to embrace in his work. “I’m a passionate guy who wears it on his sleeve,” he confesses. “I don’t hold back. I cry. I feel things deeply. People in the music business sometimes say ‘Don’t get too emotional over it.’ But it’s the songwriter’s job to get emotional over things. If we didn’t, we couldn’t write the songs that we do.”
That trademark is all over the three albums of original music that Moccio has released on his own Bijou Records label. It’s there in the numerous TV themes he’s penned and will serve him well as he breaks into the world of Hollywood film. “Film scoring is really where I want to be,” says Moccio, who in 2012 served with Martin Short and Measha Brueggergosman as a judge on TV’s Canada’s Got Talent. “That’s one of the big reasons I’m in Los Angeles.”
A whole set of new of possibilities has opened up as a result of “Wrecking Ball.” And the significance is not lost on Moccio, who says, “That song is one that will be around for a long time and I’m just blessed to be part of it.” He adds, ever mindful of his immense good fortune: “Had I not taken that flight back to L.A. for that writing session, my life simply wouldn’t be the same.”
Publisher: Sing Little Penguin/Universal Music Publishing
Selected discography: Exposure (2006), Color (2010), Elements (2012)
SOCAN member since 1995