A warm and commanding stage presence has earned Steve Lippia the reputation of “having the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.” His youthful, energetic talent and powerful show creates a perfect blend of “classic” with “today,” introducing a new generation to this timeless music and transporting long-time listeners back to the era of “Old Blue Eyes.” He will appear Here at WBT on Saturday, June 18th.
"I'm a singer, not a Sinatra wannabe or look-alike. I'm not trying to be him or copy him," he said in at telephone call from Las Vegas. "That would be kind of embarrassing and cheesy. I don't do that stuff. I have arrangements that are very close to (Sinatra's) originals, and I certainly borrow from his approach to music as far as phasing goes," he said.
Lippia, 54, grew up buying and listening to pop and rock music, but he surprised his friends, when, on a dare, he chose to sing "It Was a Very Good Year" in a high school talent show. He'd heard Sinatra's Grammy-winning recording of composer Ervin Drake's best-known song at home, on his parents' recordings.
"This was really the music of their generation," he said, "but I never thought of it being outside of myself."
That has remained true for succeeding generations. If you don't believe it, check out the songbook in a local karaoke joint sometime, said Lippia. Flip through the songs by artist, "and you'll see Elvis, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, the Beatles, U2 and whoever else," he said, but when you get to Frank Sinatra, "you'll see that even today, there's perhaps more music dedicated in that book to him than to any other artist."
With his choices of material and arrangers, his signature style and "his ability to dramatize the lyric as if he was living in the moment," Sinatra came to own the songs he sang, said Lippia. "He was a conduit to people's souls with these great songs."