My StoryMy mother was a major influence on my passion for music. From an early age, she encouraged me to sing. But it was my encounters with several singing stars that would leave an everlasting impression on me.
When I was only very young, my parents and I had the pleasure of seeing the great comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Because my father was a WW2 Navy Vet, later on we along with other vets, had the opportunity to briefly meet and talk with Mr. Dean Martin. He remarked how similar our last name was to his and that his middle name and mine were the same [Paul]. He made such an impression on me, that to this day, I can still remember how kind he was to all of us.
When I was 11, I developed Rheumatic Fever. But this misfortune turned into a wonderful opportunity. While at St. Francis Hospital at Sands Point, Long Island, My parents and I had the privilege of meeting Mr.Perry Como, as he left the office of the hospital director. We were told he was on the board of the hospital. He was kind enough to speak with my parents and me for almost a half an hour. Because of the severity of my illness, I missed a complete school year. Luckily, no physical damage resulted from that problem.
Once my health improved, my parents along with my uncle and aunt took my sister and I to Miami Beach, Florida on our first big vacation. While there, we decided to check out the ice cream parlor at the famous Fontainbleu Hotel, which was next door to the Sorrento Hotel where we stayed. While standing by the lobby elevator, I saw the elevator door open, only to see Mr. Frank Sinatra emerge! I yelled out his name. He smiled and replied, “How’s it going kid?” and rubbed my head as he passed by.
These three men had a major impact on my musical life. And it didn’t hurt that they were Americans of Italian decent either!
I continued to practice my singing as I grew older. As a teenager, I sang solo and I sang lead with a variety of backup groups whenever I could get a gig. Eventually I landed several gigs during the summer days singing in the Catskills Mountains at different Clubs and Hotels. Several years earlier at age 15, I visited my Aunt Lucille and met her friend Jenny Grossinger, who just happened to be one of the owners of the Grossinger Hotel. While there I had the opportunity to sing for Mrs. Grossinger. I was accompanied by a pianist who worked at the hotel.
Thru my latter teenage years into my mid twenties I worked with a number of vocal backup groups. At twenty-four years old I was approached to sing lead with a very talented singing group. There was Rick the 1st Tenor, Pat the 2nd Tenor, and Ken at Baritone. One weekend we performed at a night club in the Flatlands area of Brooklyn. Mr. Clay Cole, a popular Disc Jockey, was in attendance. Impressed with our performance, he invited us to his TV show [Clay Cole Discotek] on WPIX Channel 11. Later he spoke with me about a singing contract. He told me if the group did not want to sign that he had other groups that would back me up if I chose to go it alone. After discussing the possibility with the group, I reflected on the type of commitment I would have to make. I decided to decline and focus on completing my education and starting a family with my soon to be future wife.
Fast Forward To 2011
Semi-retired from a successful business career, far removed from singing, and living with my wife in Florida, I received a call from my future son-in law requesting my daughter’s hand in marriage. Later, my daughter called me and asked if I would sing at her wedding. Too many years of not singing was my first thought. At first I refused. Too many years had gone by, was my answer to her. Two weeks later I secretly began to practice singing once more. Not even my wife knew! I worked with a local recording studio for several months. At the reception, I had the privilege to have Mr. Les Holiday, a former Pittsburgh DJ, as the music director for my son-in-law and and daughter’s reception. With his help, I surprised my daughter and sang at their wedding. I even surprised everyone else, including my wife, with my first public performance in 45 years, singing “This I Swear,” originally performed in 1959 by a wonderful Pittsburgh group called The Skyliners.
The positive response from my family and friends was so strong that I decided to continue singing, using my passion for music to hopefully use it to benefit others! I decided to make this album and give all the net proceeds honoring our Defenders, Veterans, First Responders & their families.
Hopefully, there will be more to follow.
-Stephen DanteShop Our Media Store