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A Few Minutes with Steve Lippia

Meet Steve Lippia, joining us for Simply Sinatra, May 18 & 19, 2012 at 8pm.  There is no better modern interpreter of the Frank Sinatra songbook!

Tell us a little about yourself: where did you grow up, go to school and so on. 
I grew up in the small town of Southington, Connecticut with my parents and four siblings. My mom sang professionally for a few years in her later teens. When she and my dad got married, she didn’t pursue her interest in singing, but sang around the house and I guess that is where I first grew to love the “Standards” – through her early influence.
After graduating from St. Paul Catholic High School, I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a concentration in English literature at Central Connecticut State College (now “University”).
Following my graduation from CCSU, I attended Western New England College, School of Law for two years. 
After WNEC, I worked in the financial services industry, primarily as a stock broker for Kidder Peabody. After several years in the financial services industry, I started my own contracting business, since I was very familiar with that industry after having worked for my father’s contracting business, in between high school, college and my foray into the financial world.
From a music standpoint, I was virtually always involved in music, in some form. I sang in elementary school glee club, in church choir, in high school chorus, was selected for the All National Catholic Chorus, All State Chorus, performed with our high school acting troupe and was featured in my high school variety show.
After high school, I started working with a Hartford, CT. based regional big band, the Bobby Kaye Orchestra. During the years I performed with this band, I developed a greater appreciation and deeper understanding of “Standards,” also referred to as “The Great American Songbook.”
It’s kind of a long story, but after having moved to South Florida to start a new contracting business, and after a long hiatus from music, I began singing again (around 1995)….mostly with big bands in the area. Soon, I was invited by the famous Woody Herman Orchestra to perform in the U.S. and Europe. About that time, I was also invited to perform in my first symphony show, with the Boca Pops Symphony (since closed).
By the late 90s, I had a big break and some very important people in the national entertainment scene got behind me and helped launch my career on a national basis. Within a year, I was contracted in a long term engagement with the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, with a 21-piece orchestra, conducted by Vincent Falcone, Jr., Frank Sinatra’s former music director and conductor.
When did you become interested in singing? Were you involved in singing in any formal way growing up?
I think my life has been like that of most singers: I don’t remember a time when I first became interested in music; the interest was always there. I have had very little formal training in music and singing. While I have been very fortunate to make a good living doing what I love, I still wish I had invested more of my time in learning more about music theory and arranging…but, frankly, I never thought I was going to pursue singing for a career. Singing was a serious hobby between and during other entrepreneurial pursuits of mine.
How did you discover you could sing like Sinatra and how did this aspect of your career develop?
Because my voice is naturally similar to that of Frank Sinatra’s and because so many people “do” Sinatra or do some kind of impersonation, impression or “tribute” to his music, a lot of people are very mistaken as to just what I do. I am a singer. I don’t do any impressions or impersonate anyone. I don’t try to act or look or sound like anyone.
 Just like Celine Dionne, Keely Smith, Michael Bolton, Tony Bennett and Michael Buble, I sing a lot of different types of music but I also have one of several shows where I focus on the music of Frank Sinatra. I just naturally sound like more like Mr. Sinatra, than, say, Celine Dionne. When these artists sing Sinatra songs, they aren’t impersonating him…even a little bit; same thing for me.
 What music do you like to listen to in your free time (assuming you have free time!)?
I like to listen to classic rock, the music of my generation: Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Pink Floyd, the Four Tops, Temptations, James Taylor, Eagles, America, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Steely Dan, Moody Blues. I also like classical chamber music…especially Vivaldi, a capella music, classical choral music, techno, jazz, R & B.
What are your five favorite Sinatra songs?
“All The Way”
“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
“I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry”
“The Way You Look, Tonight”
“Come Fly With Me”
“Simply Sinatra” is just one of several shows I perform.    I sing a lot of NON-Sinatra songs, now in another show the I present titled “Simply Swingin.” In it I perform songs made famous by artists such as Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Do you have any performance rituals or superstitions?
No. I just show up and sing. I spend a little time, of course, focusing and mentally preparing by going over the list of songs (I change my music program, a lot) and peek out at the audience, from the wings, to kind of “get my show head on.”
What is your idea of a perfect day?
I can think of a lot of “perfect day” scenarios but being in our beautiful back yard on a sunny afternoon, with my wife, son and dogs, lounging in our pool, listening to golden oldies Rock ‘N Roll, barbecuing on our grill sounds pretty close to perfect to me.
What is your fantasy career?
Lucky for me, I embarked on my fantasy career, thirteen years ago, when I decided to pursue singing.
Most recent book read?
“1776” by David McCulloch.
You must travel a great deal. Any tricks you’ve learned to make it easier?
Fly on one airline as much as possible so you can get free first class upgrades, bring good reading materials, keep an open mind about meeting interesting people along the way, buy a cool smart phone that allows you to surf the web, catch up on emails and amuse yourself with games (I’m hooked on Scrabble)…the bigger the screen, the better.

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Patti Browne's Gravatar We enjoyed your interpretation of Frank Sinatra so much and had a wonderful time. I think we might have been some of the very youngest listeners in the audience. We appreciated you so and I appreciate your" gentlemanliness" and graciousness to your orchestra. Thank you for your lovely concert. It was my mothers' day gift, and I couldn't have enjoyed you more.
# Posted By Patti Browne | 5/20/12 7:35 PM
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