SHIRT, DIOR MEN, SHOP SIMILAR. T SHIRT, STYLIST’S OWN
A few songs come to mind that seem to describe the style of Arsun Sorrenti’s music: certainly “L’Ultimo Romantico” by Pino Donaggio and “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan – an artist that the 22-year-old singer-songwriter admires the most. Sorrenti’s music is not inspired by these nostalgic tracks, rather the songs are composed as a way to understand New York (the kind of city to which his lyrics refer, with a lens reminiscent to that of Lana Del Rey).
“I love that kind of music; The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, but I want to create something new, while making a genre that is not new at all,” Sorrenti tells ICON. “So, it will never pass.”
Amid lockdown, Sorrenti is talking from the balcony of his girlfriend’s East Village NYC apartment with whom he has dated for five years. The noise of the city can be heard in the background as he discusses being the only person who works in music, in a family dedicated to visual art.
“I realised I wanted to be a singer when I was little, probably at 11 or 12, but I can’t indicate a precise moment,” he says. “I had started playing guitar, self-taught, and the first song I learned was ‘Satellite of Love’. The Velvet Underground version, which is better than Lou Reed’s. My father (editor’s note: the famous Italian-American fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti), played [the guitar] as a pastime, my grandfather too. I simply went with the flow and look where it has taken me.”
Sorrenti’s passion for music evolved into a career as if it happened by inertia, without any intention or retrospection. A collector of vintage recording technology, the young artist released his first single “White Light” in 2018 and as with his other songs, recorded it with analogue equipment, directly on tape, rather than through more modern techniques.
“‘Bleed in Vain’ was my last EP, but I have so many other songs that I wrote when I was 17 that I still like,” Sorrenti recalls. “I will slowly produce them and bring them to a different level of maturity because while the sound is very young, they still sound good. I would like to write something completely different now – it’s been a year since writing became difficult to me – we were empty.”
In March of 2021, Sorrenti released the music video to his single “Southern Winds”. Shot in Super8 film by his girlfriend, it captures the artist in intimate moments surround by nature. Walking along a dirt road, relaxing in a hammock under the palm trees, floating in a swimming pool. It is the kind of romantic composition that reminds you of an idyllic vacation.
His life is like that of any 20-year-old male from New York, his place of heart and the place where he most belongs. “I love being here, I love every corner of this city, it’s something you feel under your skin.” Sorrenti spends his free time skateboarding or playing ping pong in the park. Books are his form of escapism. “I’m not a fan of films, but as far as books are concerned, I love the most classic classics of all, such as The Odyssey or Moby Dick, the ones that are the basis of knowledge.”
There is something unique about Sorrenti, discordant from the generation to which he belongs, an author so young yet with taste that is confident and structured. He recalls mornings where he wanders around the apartment making coffee and playing the guitar with melodies that were thought up and embedded in his mind the night before. The long hair, the folk inflection of Orville Peck; despite the many references to which his style leads, there is a completely personal universe in everything he writes, one that draws from the life of a singer-songwriter of his age. In “White Light” he sings, “should I miss my connection, and keep me from this darkness one more day”. The artist describes the line’s meaning as feeling at the mercy of things that happen and pretending to cling to something more beautiful. In the more romantic 2020 ballad “Lay Me Down” he promises to “brave the rust of time” to be closer to his partner.
Sorrenti has clear ideas for his future. “Honestly, I don’t see myself much in the fashion world,” he says. “I did some work to make quick money, which is always nice to have in your pocket especially if you are a guy, but personally I don’t care that much. I just want to make music.”
What is music for you? I ask. Sorrenti answers, “I don’t know exactly, music in the end is what I do, it’s pervasive, it fills the day, it’s great, it’s absolutely the best thing, I love to do it, but at the same time it’s just another form of art – there are so many. And I’m glad it was a bit like choosing each other.”
Photography: Vanina Sorrenti
Production: Julie Amenta
Styling Assistant: Tori Leung
Words: Corinne Corci
Talent: Arsun Sorrenti