In early December, Hampton Bays resident Christiaan Padavan and his band, Away For The Day, released “Moonlight,” the final single for the band as its members begin transitioning to new, independent musical adventures.
It’s been a good ride, as they say.
Padavan formed the band with three friends from Five Towns College — Asa Brown, Joe DiStefano and John Matos — and together, they went on to win the Dunkin’/iHeartRadio 2018 Cold Brew Jams competition. As the winners of that competition, they also became an in-house band, performing for the company’s events.
For Padavan, 21, it’s all part of the long term plan. His love for music began back when he was an elementary school student at Our Lady of the Hamptons Regional Catholic School in Southampton. Then in spring 2019, his gift for singing landed him a spot on season 17 of the hit TV show American Idol. Though Padavan didn’t advance to the finals, he definitely zeroed in on music as his career choice.
Released on December 3, Padavan describes “Moonlight” as a song with a retro-sound, which he attributes to the fact that Away For The Day is a four-man band with just a drummer, a singer, a lead guitar player and a bass player — a configuration like the Beatles.
“When we first started jiving as a band, we were just messing around with chord progressions,” Padavan said in a recent interview. “With ‘Moonlight,’ it was like the first song that we all came together as an actual band and wrote.”
Not long before he recorded the lyrics for the song, Padavan experienced a personal break-up and he credits his vocal energy in the recording to the emotions he was feeling as a result of the event. Besides his bandmates, the song also features vocals by Alyssa Raghu, a contestant on seasons 16 and 17 of American Idol. Because of COVID-19, Raghu, a Florida native, was unable to travel to New York to record as planned, so she recorded her vocals remotely and sent them to the band for inclusion in the final mix.
Since recording the song, each member of Away For The Day has started going his own way. Matos has left the area and is looking to break into the music scene in Portugal, while DiStefano has relocated to Maine. Padavan notes that even though they are now pursuing their own musical careers, the band members continue to be friends and in some cases, are still collaborating.
For instance, Padavan says he and DiStefano have a song called “Million Little Lies” that they hope to release in early 2021. Padavan explains that he and DiStefano were going for a vibe similar to that of singer Jon Bellion when they wrote the song, and coincidentally, soon afterward he actually met Jon Bellion’s father.
“It’s crazy that fate brought me in touch with Mr. Bellion,” said Padavan, who has been communicating with the singer’s father via email for support and inspiration ever since.
These days, Padavan is finding that pursuing music is not just about writing and performing. Following his appearance on American Idol, Padavan began diligently working as his own manager. He took a job at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center as a marketing assistant in order to gain more experience related to the business side of music. Padavan has also worked as a production and programming assistant at Long Island Radio Broadcasting in Water Mill. In addition, since his American Idol appearance, he has performed gigs at local venues like 1 North Steakhouse in Hampton Bays and Dune Deck Beach Club in Westhampton Beach — pre-pandemic, of course. He has also started working with James Puccio, a lifelong friend from Hampton Bays and a fellow musician, to write and produce music for daytime television, working with Emmy Award-winning songwriter, composer and producer Eve Nelson.
“I was very, very lucky just with the amount of gigs that I got to do right after American Idol,” Padavan said. “I’ve had little signs I’m on the right path. I’ve met a lot of great people, I’m going to continue to write songs and get better at that craft and continue to throw spaghetti at the wall until it sticks.”
So, what can we expect next from Padavan?
“I have another song with John Matos that’s in the works right now that’s a little tribute to Billy Joel,” he said. “So be on the lookout for that in the future, too.”
In the meantime, listen to “Moonlight” here: