Channeling Sinatra, finding freedom
by Lisa A. Fraser
Dec 22, 2011 | 3074 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Actor and singer, Robert Davi performing on stage.
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Astoria-born actor, Robert Davi, is heading back to his original singing roots this year with the release of his first album, “Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance.”

The acclaimed actor pays tribute to his musical idol, paying a heartfelt homage to Old Blue Eyes in his long awaited recording debut.

The album has been released to much anticipation and it has moved up the ranks to settle in a place at number 6 on the Billboard Jazz charts.

“I waned it to be number 1,” said the actor. “But to have a first album charted that high is amazing.”

He had long been contemplating whether to seek out a musical career but he wanted to focus on acting for a bit. He also admitted that he was hesitating because, “I was not ready to say all I had to say.”

Now he is ready, and like Sinatra, who had a very lucrative acting career, Davi is fulfilling another dream. Davi was classically trained as a child, studying in Florence with operatic baritone, Tito Gobbi. Singing, he said, was his first passion.

“I grew up in an Italian American home in Queens,” he said. “And there were two big names in any Italian American house, the Pope and Sinatra – and not necessarily in that order.”

For him it's a “back to the future” kind of deal to have done this type of album, given the fact that his first film, a TV movie entitled, “ Contract on Cherry Street” was where he first met the Chairman of the Board while making his onscreen debut at age 24 opposite Sinatra.

Like Sinatra, who not only made a significant musical contribution, but also spoke up against anti-semitism, racial bigotry, and helped unify the Great American Songbook, Davi hopes that his album could inspire listeners in the present rough economic and political climate.

The album's 12 tracks, which range from "I've Got the World on a String" to "The Best is Yet to Come", gracefully display Davi's vocal range, spirit and expression.

And Davi's deeper purpose involves satisfying a deep hunger for the music of the Great American Songbook, which he calls “America's Shakespeare, the golden age of American music.”

Rather than simply include randomly selected songs, Davi chose each piece and designed the tracking to reflect the theme of a true "road to romance”—from the elation of meeting and falling in love to the seduction phase, then falling out of love, dealing with the resulting despair and finally, rebuilding one's life and becoming open to love again.

He doesn't have a favorite track on the album because to him they are all gems. “They all have their unique, shimmering qualities about them,” he said.

It's a softer, romantic side to the tough guy image formed from playing former James Bond Villain ("License to Kill”), an FBI Agent in "Die Hard” and an agent in the hit '90s NBC series, "Profiler.

In addition to the album, Davi is also giving back. Proceeds from downloads of his re-imagined Sinatra Christmas single, “Mistletoe and Holly” will go toward The Salvation Army.

It is a sense of service, which he says was instilled in him by his grandfather.

“Growing up in Long Island, I'd help him make wine and every Christmas when we went to JC Penny, Macy's or other stores he'd put something in the kettle of those ringing the bell,” he said. “ He would tell me to 'make sure you help these people' and that stuck in my head.”

The funds will be donated to the organization's 120th annual Red Kettle Campaign, which kicked off nationally on Thanksgiving Day. The track is now available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

Davi, who now resides in Los Angeles, is currently shooting a film called “Ice Man” with Ray Liota, Chris Evans and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

He is set to headline at the Venetian Showroom in Las Vegas on February 23 through 25 – the site of the historic Sands Hotel where Sinatra held court throughout the 1960s.

Of his transition into a singer, thirty years into his career as an actor, Davi says that he “absolutely” loves it.

“The best way to look at it is like this: imagine being locked in a prison for 30 years and someone opens the door and lets you out,” he said. “"As much as I love acting, I felt like the musical side of me was imprisoned inside my success in that arena for years ... and now that totality of expression is freedom.”

For more information on Robert Davi's album, "Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance", visit his website, davisingssinatra.com.

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