Duo From Italy
BY Adriana Rubio
Photographs: Courtesy of Toygrace

“Toygrace” formed in Rome, Italy, in August 2009. The meeting of piano player and composer Emanuele “Ema” Parlati and vocalist Laura Ferri Ricchi gave birth to Toygrace. Both are professional musicians who performed for various live tribute bands throughout Italy for a long time. Musically, Ema and Laura have a strong connection and share the same passion: “Toygrace”.

Emanuele “Ema” Parlati was born on February 4th, 1976 in Bari, a small town located in the South-East area of Puglia in Italy. But his family moved out to Rome when he was a little kid, and this makes him feel as a Roman guy since he has no recollections of Bari.

The art of making music touched Ema’s life deeply and became his number one priority. He attended piano lessons and started really playing at the age of 14. He also is a self-taught guitarist, bassist and drummer.

Ema has experimented with all kinds of genres and piano playing styles over the years for different musical groups. But the most notorious band he was a part of playing as an extreme metal keyboardist in the 90’s was “Defunctis”, a death metal band.  He then walked off and went deeper into jazz music studies to improve his piano playing. And soon after Ema became a professional pianist-keyboardist for many pop and rock live acts in Italy.

In 2009 and with enough experience, Ema composed the music and wrote the lyrics for the album “Average Songs”, his first band project “Toygrace”. He produced, recorded and mixed all the tracks and was also in charge of all the musical arrangements. In “Average Songs” Ema plays piano, keyboards and guitars. 

Laura Ferri Ricchi was born on April 3rd of 1979 in Rome, Italy. Laura discovered her singing abilities at the age of 16. She is an outstanding vocalist capable of switching singing styles from Progressive-Metal to Pop, Latin and even pushing someone’s buttons with a Jazz melody. Laura gained stage experience and presence by performing with a number of covers bands in Italy. She is an avid reader and literature lover as well as a great sports player.

Although Ema was looking for a more darker-oriented vocalist, Laura’s voice made him change his mind after jamming together and singing along some tracks. “Toygrace” is certainly giving Laura the right scenario to really shine-singing. The album “Average Songs” proves it.