"Can you hear me, Bono?" or 36 days to work for U2

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How many of you wanted to give everything up and chase a dream? May sound like a cliche, unless it comes to a particular story when one actually does. So what about giving up your current job to work for one of the greatest bands in the world like U2? And what would you say to the fact it still wasn’t the ultimate goal? The musician from Uruguay Federico Revello shares his incredible 36-days long journey to work for U2 and much more.

MH: How did you come to the turning point of your life when you realized that nothing else works except for selling your stuff and hitting the road?
FR: Well, it was all at once: I broke up with the girl, I closed my small company, which wasn’t running very good lately. I also noticed that while sitting in a bar with my friends, we discussed things that happened to us in the past, like 10 years ago. Nothing new to talk about. I thought that I didn’t want to live a memory, and it was now or never to make my dream come true. I’m very passionate about marketing (which is my job) and science, but music has been there forever. Yesterday I watched an interview with Bono, which conveys just the same thought: he told that his father was a talented singer and he learnt from him, but still his father never used his full potential to make music, etc. I didn’t want to be like this and to live the memories.
So I sold all my things except for clothes, guitar, laptop and my blackberry, which saved me many-many times.

MH: Did you have the whole campaign planned before you got your ticket to Ireland?
FR: Well, not actually. As a marketer I’m pretty visual and I see the result from the start, so I knew what to do. If I texted you smth like, ‘Hi, I’m Federico, I’m a musician, write about me.’ What would you say? And when I say, ‘I’m the musician that sold everything and went to Ireland in order to work for U2?’ See the difference? (smiles)
Back then in 2009 it was a completely different world: there was no LinkedIn or other popular social networks, Facebook was just starting. So I bought all the Irish newspapers and magazines, whether they were about music or sports – whatever, and I just picked up the names of the reporters after each article and connected with them on Facebook. Let’s say out of 20 people from a certain media I connected with 5, and it means I’m already in.
The idea of 36 days was born at once during the interview for Irish radio station, where Bono has also been interviewed many times, as well as other famous musicians. I just said that I’m going to do different thing every day for 36 days to work for U2. After that everyone asked me about what I was going to do tomorrow, but I said, ‘Tomorrow will be another day and we’ll see what it brings.’ The truth is that I didn’t know myself what I was going to do the next day.
I sang on 36 streets in Dublin the song of U2 ‘Where the streets have no name’ and cut out the names of the streets on the pictures; went to the U2’s pub to drink 3.6 pints of beer; went to the U2 office to ask for a job and stayed there for 36 minutes, etc.

MH: But how did you get to the radio station before you got viral with your story?
FR: I posted on Facebook my thoughts about how I wanted to change my life for music, etc. The reporter read it and said, ‘Come and tell about it.’

MH: Don’t you afraid that your marketing approach you’ve just told about, dissolves the magic around your story?
FR: No, because it is magic! I used it as the door for my music. I’m not a crazy fan of Bono, I don’t even have a U2 T-shirt. People ask me, ‘Do you know this and that about Bono?’ – And I say, ‘No, I don’t!’ I’m a fan of their music. I don’t want to play in U2, or get a picture with Bono, his signature, whatever. I want to learn from them about touring, recording and all the stuff. I would like to work for them for a month for free and to carry boxes, make coffee, check tickets, I don’t care. All for doing my own thing and giving my music to the world.
So it was about marketing, but it was also because I like the music of U2.

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MH: Did you have someone to share this adventure with?
FR: I went to Ireland alone, but stayed at friends’ place.

MH: Previously you preferred to keep it secret why you chose namely 36 days. Can you reveal it now?
FR: Yes, in 2009 U2 had their 360° Tour, so that’s why.

MH: Did you watch the movie "Killing Bono"?
FR: Actually not, I didn’t like the name. (laughs)

MH: There was a guy - Neal McCormick, and he was a friend of Bono’s at school. They started their bands together, but Neal didn’t succeed and constantly rejected Bono’s help afterwards. Don't you afraid to be known as the U2 guy the first line the way this guy did?
FR: Well… (stays silent for a while and then rolls up the sleeve of his T-shirt) I’ll show you this. (shows a tattoo on his arm with an image of a compass with 36 in the middle) Do you see it? There’s 36 for 36 days and instead of North-South… there's D for Dreams (up), D for Determination (down), F for Focus (left), and A for Action (Right). So it’s the part of my life and I don’t afraid. But again, my goal is to rock all over the world with my music, and all I’m doing now is my day 36 – things I didn’t manage to finish back then. You know, Dublin is a small city, so everyone knew me; and when I came to the U2 office to play their songs, people opened the windows to look out and listen. When I called the secretary, she told ‘I know who you are and U2 knows you’. My story was in the biggest media and they told me, ‘we are following you till the end’, but the last day there was no one there and it all went down with time. So now I have to finish it with my album called ‘Day 36’, and then to move on. It won’t be about 36 days all the time.

MH: You said U2 knew about you. Has their management ever got in touch with you?
FR: No, never.

MH: But why was it so important for you to get this job? Nowadays you can become famous with social media only without being signed to any label.
FR: Nowadays yes. Ten years ago it was a completely different world. I had no opportunity in my home country to let my music out, and a label could, my songs could appear on radio. Today anyone can become popular and get more hits on YouTube than any popular band, remember ‘Gangnam style’?

MH: How did your adventure change you?
FR: It did completely! The whole my life has changed. It affects the way I write also, I’m finishing my album now and I’ve got a song called ‘Can You Hear Me Bono’ with the following lines:

Can You Hear Me Bono?

Fortune teller makes mother proud.
O'Conells Shop will sell one device to each soul.
He'll be heard. Can you hear me? Can you hear me Paul?

Bono’s mother was told by a fortuneteller before Bono was born, that her son would be ‘big’ and famous. And the origin of Bono's name is attributed to hearing devices sold in the shop in the O'Connell Street in Dublin [the brand is named 'Bonavox' – author’s remark].

MH: And your plans for future?
FR: I teach singing and I plan to sell 100 online singing classes for $36 each to finish composing my album and send it to U2. One can buy my online classes on my website.

MH: Alright! Thanks for sharing your story with us, we’re looking forward to hearing your music, good luck and take care!
FR: Thanks, you too! (both laugh)

You can check out the whole 36 days’ story on Federico’s YouTube channel
Stay tuned and follow the latest updates on the official Facebook page

Interviewed: Gella Inspired
Photos are provided by Federico Revello

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