There is a lot happening in Nico Totorella’s life right now.
First, he stars in the new Apple TV series City On Fire. Going off his musician character on the show, Tortorella is now taking a go at recording his own music. And last, but certainly not least, Tortorella has welcomed a new baby into his life alongside his partner, Bethany C. Meyers welcomed their first child Kilmer Dove Meyers Tortorella.
“I don’t really think that there are words to describe this experience,” Tortorella said of having a new baby. “Everyone that has kids will tell you that you don’t know until you know… I am a different person because of it.”
In addition to becoming a new parent, Tortorella exploring his musician side after his role in the series City on Fire.
Set in 2003 New York, City On Fire is based on the novel of the same name by Garth Risk Hallberg. The music-driven crime drama follows an investigation of a shooting of a woman named Samantha Yang (Chase Sui Wonders) in Central Park. As details of her murder begin to be discovered, it is revealed there is a crucial connection between a series of mysterious city-wide fires, the downtown music scene, and a wealthy uptown real estate family fraying under the strain of the many secrets they keep.
In the series, Tortorella plays William, who becomes intertwined in the investigation of Samantha’s murder. He is described as a “brilliant, but self-destructive artist” and is the lead singer of a band called Ex Post Facto – and he did the actual singing for the character.
Tortorella tells GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos that music has always been important in his life. He grew up singing and dancing, learned to play guitar and even wrote music. Even so, he never thought it would be something he could do full time.
“City on Fire allowed me the opportunity to be in a recording studio and experience the art of crafting a song from beginning to end,” said Tortorella. “It was the first time I’ve really spent time in a booth like that.”
Tortorella explains that in television, there is really no time to develop a character in a space like that, but when in the studio, it provided an opportunity for Tortorella to sit with William and “find his voice and explore parts of this character that I’ve never been able to do before.”
He admitted, “I fell in love with the process wholeheartedly” and was given the opportunity to make music thanks to a kind producer in Brooklyn. “I’ve written like 35 plus songs,” he said. “The sound has changed drastically from where I started… and I think I landed on something that feels like me.”
“Finding this outlet as an adult, especially while experiencing the birth of my child has been the greatest gift that this industry — and especially City on Fire has given me,” he gushed.
“We will get an album this year for sure,” Tortorella guaranteed. “I have realized very quickly navigating a music industry is even more manic than film and television.” Tortorella said he wanted to make music for his family, but eventually created a whole range of music that explored his relationships and new child.
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“It was very apparent from the beginning that the music that I was creating was so much more than putting it out in the world for some sort of like accolade,” he admitted. “That’s not what it’s about at all… if people get down with it cool. I’m not relying on it to be this huge thing in my life for my career. It’s the realest, most authentic art that I’ve created and I’m excited for people to experience it.”
Tortorella didn’t second guess stepping into his musical side for City On Fire. He was very excited about it. “It wasn’t just the singing…it was visual art,” he said. “It was exploring addiction in a very real way.
In addition, Tortorella talks about how his character is layered and how the series also includes a biracial queer relationship in the early ‘00s. “I was almost more apprehensive about the addiction stuff than I was the singing stuff,” he admitted. Even so, Tortorella leaned into the singing. “It was really a dream come true, for real.”
“City on Fire” is available to watch now on AppleTV+ and the soundtrack is available now.