Westporter helping musician's career go super-'Sonic'
When Giorgio Fareira set his fast-food order to music, improvising at a Sonic drive-through in Wallingford last month, he had no clue that it came with a heaping side order of fame.
Days after serenading Sonic employees Leila Hunt and Kendall Leary with his order from a friend's car on Jan. 31 -- and posting a video on YouTube -- the 23-year-old Fairfield musician, with help from his Westport manager, found himself fielding dozens of requests for television appearances, including from Ellen DeGeneres, who flew him to Burbank, Calif., for a taping of her television show, which aired on Feb. 14.
Fareira's "Giorgio Loves Sonic" YouTube videos -- there are two of the same event -- have rung up more than two million hits. The enthusiastic response from his growing fan base has encouraged Fareira to press ahead with his dream of a career in music.
"Downright adorable," one person commented.
"Your talent warmed my heart," wrote another.
"I swear, I'd work at Sonic just to hear you sing to me," another Fareira fan said.
"Audition for `The Voice,' dude," another said.
"Oh my gosh, he's amazing. He's got a fabulous voice," said Sonic employee Leary, who also watched Fareira on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
"He's got a lot of talent and he seemed at ease."
Fareira said he "was extremely shocked" of the reaction that his parking lot performance generated.
A graduate of Bridgeport's Bassick High School who moved to Fairfield about eight years ago, Fareira said he had always hoped to make it in the music business, but never guessed the impromptu musical improvisation would skyrocket him to fame.
"This exposure has helped me out a lot," said Fareira, who plays guitar, sings and composes his own music.
He just released an EP on iTunes called "Preface," which features three tracks of his original music, including a song he wrote for DeGeneres on the plane to California.
"We're in varying stages of conversation with independent and major (record) labels," Angus said.
If Fareira gets more than 15 minutes of fame from his musical fast-food order, he has a broken car radio, enterprising friends and his own talent to thank. The friends asked Fareira to bring his guitar on a ride to Hartford to entertain them since the car radio was not working. On the way home, they stopped for dinner at the Sonic outlet in Wallingford, which features carhops on rollerblades and roller skates. His friends encouraged him to sing their order from the car in stall No. 6 to the worker on duty.
"We wrote down the order on a piece of paper and then I just went with it," Fareira said. "I made it up as I went along. My friend, Erica Peterson, was in the back seat and she decided to record it on her iPhone."
Strumming his guitar throughout the three-minute exchange, Fareira sang, "Can I get a No. 8 with large chili cheese tater tots?," first with Hunt and then with Leary.
"I was like, `Is this really happening?' I didn't think anyone would believe me so I handed the headset over to Kendall Leary," said Hunt, who has worked for Sonic since its Wallingford eatery opened in July 2010. "I was in the background giggling.
"I've never had it happen before. It was really amazing."
Said carhop Alexis Canales, "We haven't had someone sing us an order. We have had people dress up in costume. A week ago someone dressed up as a clown."
Carissa Thompson, an assistant manager at Sonic, said she didn't hear Fareira deliver the original performance, but Fareira later sent her a video.
"It was great. It was so awesome. He had fun with it and so did our carhops," Thompson said.
DeGeneres had fun putting Fareira's improvisational musical skills to use, too. The talk-show host sent Fareira throughout Burbank to various businesses and public spaces -- a coffee shop, a beauty salon, a AAA office, a dental practice and a bus stop -- with the directive to sing about the people there.
"This doesn't happen every day. He's very talented and he's such a sweetheart, and people like that deserve what they get," Hunt said.
To watch Fareira's Sonic video on YouTube, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RzBpTSNLG8, or his channel on YouTube, www.youtube.com/user/321GGO?ob=0&feature=results_main.
Meg Barone is a freelance writer.