I was born in 1964, the year the Beatles first came to America. What does that mean? Nothing. I just think it's cool.
In the 1970s, when I was finally tall enough to reach the keys of the piano, I started figuring out how to play the songs I heard on the radio. At 16 I got my first guitar and would sit on the bed for hours figuring out the chords to my favorite songs. (Sometimes I still do.)
In the 80s, lip-sync contests were all the rage, and I had won enough contests doing a mean Bruce Springsteen to save up and buy myself a keyboard. At one point I even got called to be on the 80s lipsync show "Puttin' On the Hits". But I didn't want to be known as a lip-sync'er, so I thought about it and then declined. And to think I could have been the next Milli Vanilli!
I started writing songs on my new keyboard, and my friend John Portuondo and I composed a song that was chosen for the commissioning of a WWII battleship, the U.S.S.Leyte Gulf. It was recorded and sung by Juan Secada (before he was known as Jon Secada), and the song was performed by the U.S. Navy band on the day of the ship's commissioning. (And that's pretty much my claim to fame.)
Since I didn't have a band yet, I wrote some songs and recorded my first home-made album "On My Way". The circuitry inside my keyboard sparked my interest in computers, which led to my day job as an I/T engineer for the next 30 years. I played music on the side and directed a couple of youth choirs at Church. John and I tried forming several bands, but we kept finding the most talented and irresponsible musicians in Florida. And so the music went into hibernation, until...
One fateful day in 2010 a friend and coworker asked if I would pull out the old 80s lipsync routine for a benefit show at work. I did it and it led to me playing in and directing the live bands for the next 5 years (see pics and archived videos). I was approached to join several bands after that, but I didn't want to go through the band drama again, so I decided to go solo with the acoustic guitar and never looked back!
Over the years I got to play every type of event and place (you name it, I played it), and I currently play at Snook's in Key Largo. (Shout out to Frank, Fred, Karl, Connie and Ronnie for all the work and the love over the years!).
In 2010 I won a nationwide Ovation Guitar contest, the grand prize of which was an Adamas guitar that I got to customize from the ground up. It was truly a musical dream come true.
A year later another musical dream came true when I married my soulmate, Iris. How is that a musical dream? Ah! Like most musicians, I always dreamed of fame, fortune, and getting any girl I wanted. I didn't get fame or fortune, but I got the girl I wanted! (The opening chords to "Drive" by Incubus proved more effective than any pickup line ;-).
I had some songs left over that I had co-written with my friends from the band days, so I played the different parts and recorded "D.I.Y.". After this I recorded a sampling of acoustic covers, "Look Ma, No Band!".
In 2015 I suffered a back injury that forced me to stop performing for 2 years. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise since it introduced me to mindbody healing and gave me the time to compose a musical summary of the Bible that I had always wanted to do, having taught the Bible for a few years in the past. I finished writing it in 2017 and presented it to different churches to a wonderful reception as my back started to heal.
From 2018 to 2020 I had the honor of playing with Musicians On Call, which brought live music to hospital patients. It was easily the most rewarding gig of my life. Music heals!
Then in 2020, one month prior to - and completely unaware of the oncoming pandemic, with my soulmate's support, we took a leap of faith and I gave up my day job of 30 years and I became a full time musician at the tender age of 55.
In spite of - even urged on by - the pandemic, I began living the dream. And to this day it makes me smile when someone says to me at a gig, "Some day you're going to make it!" LOL. Some day? Look at this beautiful place. Look at these beautiful people. I'm paying the bills with my guitar. I made it! ;-)
And on that note, this musical bio comes to a close. Thanks for reading!