A mother’s love for her child is pure, enduring, and unbreakable, and we celebrate that inviolable bond between mothers and their children. Acclaimed Canadian soprano Tonia Evans Cianciulli marks this lifelong bond as she releases two songs she created with her daughter and son when they were both children — “Always Her Home” and “Hold His Heart” are both available now.
Written and recorded with both of Cianciulli’s children when they were each just six years old, “Always Her Home” and “Hold His Heart” are tender reflections on Cianciulli’s relationships with her daughter and son. “Always Her Home” is a tear-inducing duet with her daughter Sophia, created at a time when Sophia needed the kind of comfort and care only a mother can give. Also a duet, “Hold His Heart” expresses the unexpected bond between Cianciulii and her son, Anthony. Both loving tributes were brought to life with the help of another of Cianciulli’s longtime loves, her high school bestie Ambre McLean, along with producer Dima Graziani.
The heartfelt videos for both songs were filmed on iPhones by family members and illustrate the bittersweet and sentimental bonds between mothers and their children.
A multi-talented performer, public speaker, award-winning author, mentor, opera company foundress, songwriter, recording artist, and self-described “unabashed fan-girl of the creative spirit”, Tonia Evans Cianciulli is combining most of these creative skills in this close-to-her-heart project. With her two new song releases and a second book Cianciulli has authored called Flick Your Heart-Light On, Let Your Fears Be Gone, she hopes to start an important conversation with her audience, particularly mothers and their children. Illustrated by her daughter Sophia, the book has already received early praise from celebrated authors as a game-changer and must-read for parents and children at a time when mental health is an overwhelming concern.
“The first version of the book was written in a couple of hours for one of my cousins to read with her seven-year-old whose unexplained anxiety had started overwhelming her and her mother,” explains Cianciulli. “It seemed the book effortlessly spilled out onto the pages but it was only because of the years of trial and error with herself and her own children. This is a perfect example of how we can help others through the pain we have already endured.”
This wisdom and insight come from both experience and education. Cianciulli has home-schooled her children for the past seven years and is also currently completing her Master’s in Counseling Psychology with Yorkville University. Cianciulli has been with her children every step of the way as they’ve navigated the often-rough waters of growing up. They’ve faced the tragic death of a friend, crippling anxiety, and the dangerous psychological pitfalls of social media.
“I thought perhaps teaching my children long division and fractions would be the most challenging part,” she notes. “What proved to be the most heart-wrenching and helpless feeling part of the journey has been standing with them while they process the many emotional, psychological, and physical aspects of being children and teenagers.”
Having experienced her own struggles with anxiety and depression, Cianciulli started a personal journey when her first child was born. She set out on what has now been a 16-year quest of self-development, self-analysis, and study resulting in major certifications. She understands healing her own inner child while raising her two children is the best gift she could have given herself and her family.
Knowing that her job as their mother is far from over, Cianciulli hopes that Sophia and Anthony, now 14 and 16, have been given the foundation to navigate the rest of their lives with compassion, mindfulness, and ongoing conversation.
“Always Her Home” and “Hold His Heart” pay tribute to those foundational years and Flick Your Heart-Light On, Let Your Fears Be Gone aims to pass it forward to help other families.
These new creative projects follow closely on the heels of Hymns of the Heart, an album of beloved hymns Cianciulli released In September 2021 in an effort to reconnect with the spiritual music of her past during the period of grief and uncertainty that the global pandemic has brought.
Preserving and promoting her cultural heritage of Newfoundland has also been a focus of late for Cianciulli. She’s the award-winning author of The Heart’s Obsession – An Intimate Biography of Newfoundland Songstress Georgina Stirling (1867 – 1935), which has received glowing reviews from CBC, Opera Canada Magazine, and singer Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea. Cianciulli also released two companion albums with the book that shine a spotlight on Stirling as well as renowned Newfoundland folk hero Ron Hynes.
Cianciulli is also the founder of non-profit Wish Arts, focusing on the psychological aspects of being an artist/performer with her coaching program, An Artist’s Journey. She further dives into the artist’s psyche with her print interview series, Artist’s Spotlight, and more recently her HEART to H-ART Instagram Live interviews, both highlighting and shining the spotlight on Canadian artists.
Our two pandemic years also served to bolster Cianciulli’s songwriting. “Writing and recording seemed to be the glue that held me together in such uncertain times,” she says.
Throughout 2022/2023, the very busy and prolific artist plans to release a collection of original music called Love Me Till I’m Me Again to discuss poignant matters of the heart and painful memories that resurface long after you think you’ve healed them. Cianciulli says it will be an album of layered complexity, vocally and psychologically, much like the process of going to therapy. Peeling back the layers of the onion.
Now, however, it’s time for Cianciulli to celebrate motherhood and the very special bond she has with her children.