Joe Bastianich reflects on The Masked Singer and says music heals his soul, interview

Joe Bastianich on The Masked Singer
Joe Bastianich on The Masked Singer / FOX

While The Masked Singer audience's chants of “take it off” might be a different response than the cheers heard during MasterChef, Joe Bastianich was ready to reveal one of his passions beyond the food world. Even though many people have enjoyed a memorable meal at one of his restaurants or have watched him over the years offer valuable food advice on MasterChef, music has and does allow a different part of himself to come out.

After being revealed as Spaghetti and Meatballs on The Masked Singer, Joe Bastianich graciously spoke to FoodSided about the experience, his music, and what MasterChef fans can expect from the upcoming season.

During the Billy Joel episode of The Masked Singer, Bastianich, aka Spaghetti and Meatballs took the stage. Singing both "Moving Out" and "Only the Good Die Young," it was clear that he has a melodic, smooth, and soulful voice. Even though some of the clues were subtle, a few people might have had an inkling that Bastianich was the man under the mask.

When asked about his song choices and whether "Italian Restaurant" was considered, Bastianich explained the song was in consideration, but it did not make the final cut. He said, “It is more than a song; it is a symphonic suite, five songs put together which is a little complex to do in the time frame. I grew up in New York during the 70s and 80s and Billy Joel was the soundtrack of my life growing up. I happen to know Billy Joel as the customer of the restaurant. It is all very serendipitous and positive.”

Although he was performing Joel songs on Masked Sing, his personal music is a little different. More of a blues or folk style, the songs tell stories. As seen on his Spotify account, Bastianich has several albums to his credit. When asked about his songs, his explanation revealed that the singer/songwriter uses that outlet to express himself.

Bastianich shared, “there is one song that I wrote about New York City during the COVID lockdown called, ‘One City Man.’ It was an ode to my love of the city and how we needed to defend it in its time of weakness. I am very proud of that piece. On my album, 'AKA Joe,' there is a song called ‘Nona 97’ about my grandmother, who has since passed. When I wrote it, she was 97 years old. It was a ballad to her and how I knew that our time together was ending. It is a beautiful piece of music.”

That personal connection to his music is important for Bastianich. In previous interviews, he has mentioned that playing the guitar is relaxing for him. When asked why he appreciates this artistic outlet, Bastianich commented, “I think that everyone needs something to do that heals their soul. For me, it is music. Cooking and running restaurants are my job but the guitar is a moment where I can take for myself. I have a different part of me that comes out in my music.”

While that personal connection to music is clear, some Bastianich restaurants have embraced the bond between food and music. As he explained, the dining experience has various influences. “When you are going out to dinner, it is about eating, entertaining, being with friends, and hearing music can enhance the experience. We have certain restaurants, like Babbo, where we play only full rock albums in order and we play it loud. If people do not like it, they can leave. We had another restaurant where we had live piano music. Becco, in the theater district, is one of the rare restaurants where we do not have music because it is crowded and noisy. But, music is important.”

That combination of food and music could be an idea for an upcoming crossover FOX show. Whether MasterChef uses a specific music genre as a theme for a challenge or maybe one The Masked Singer judges hits the kitchen remains to be seen. But, the concept does show that there is a connection between food and music and the passion that people have for those topics.

Joe Bastianich shares some insight on the upcoming MasterChef Generations season.

While his time on The Masked Singer has ended, FOX viewers will see Joe Bastianich back on television in May, when the new MasterChef season premieres on May 29. The upcoming season, MasterChef Generations will feature Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers battling for the title.

When asked about the upcoming MasterChef Generations season, Bastianich shared, “I love being part of smart television. I think MasterChef is a really good show that people love, but it also tells a story. We have done everything from regions to styles in the past years. In MasterChef Generations you really see the evolution of how the different age groups interact with food. The younger people are more about the digital, the aesthetic, and the ingredients that they use. With the Baby Boomers, it is more like walking back into time, more old-fashioned ingredients, and dishes. It really puts the timeline and the perspective of how trends have evolved over the last 50 years in America.”

The competition, itself, engages viewers, but it would not be as entertaining food television without the judges, Bastianich, Gordon Ramsay, and Aaron Sanchez. When asked about the rapport between the three and why it works in the MasterChef world, Bastianich explained, “we are not just judges, we are coaches and we help direct the narrative. We have our different styles. We love each other, hate each other, and it all comes together like a family.”

“I think that kind of chemistry over the years is something that people have come to expect. People want consistency. Going into our 15th season, it is an honor to be part of a primetime FOX network show.”

As MasterChef fans count down the days till the new season premiering on May 29, previous seasons can be streamed on Hulu. For anyone who wants to set the ambiance with a little Joe Bastianich music at their next dinner, his music can be found on Spotify. In addition, anyone in Italy this summer can see Bastianich and the band La Terza Classe performing at several festivals.

The Masked Singer airs new episodes Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes can be streamed the next day on Hulu.