More than merely a fine singer, John Pagano is a complete musician, possessing the rare ability to bring songs of nearly any era or genre to life while still sounding distinctly comfortable and honest—like no one but himself.
His natural musical aptitude has been honed by years of demanding work on stages and in studios, alongside such major talents as Burt Bacharach, Whitney Houston, Elvis Costello, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Wynona Judd, and even Jerry
Seinfeld, who hand-picked Pagano to open his shows in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Those years of dedication and refinement have culminated in A Soulful Musical Journey: Songs of Love and Inspiration—a moving show that, while rooted in Pagano's childhood love of classic R&B, also brings that same
soulful sensibility to diverse other styles. Expertly programmed and powerfully delivered, the songs of A Soulful Musical Journey come together to tell a story, taking listeners on a journey defined by warmth, romance, resilience, and hope.
"Certain songs always stood out to me and gave me an indescribably inspiring feeling—chills or goosebumps, if you will," Pagano explains. "From my first listen, these songs touched my soul in a unique way...and even now, I still get that
special feeling whenever I hear or perform these tunes. My goal with A Soulful Musical Journey: Songs of Love and Inspiration is to provide that very same magical feeling to each member of the audience."
Pagano's childhood experience instilled an eclectic array of music in him, growing up in an Italian family in Providence, Rhode Island. "I am fortunate," he reflects. "My parents and older siblings had great musical taste, and continually played me
so much different music throughout my formative years." Consequently, the repertoire of A Soulful Musical Journey ranges from the classic soul sounds of Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder to the Beatles and even a stirring
rendition of Charlie Chaplin's signature tune, "Smile." And, at the core of the program is a medley of Burt Bacharach compositions—fitting, since Pagano has been the legendary composer's go-to male vocalist for the past 14 years.
A Soulful Musical Journey: Songs of Love and Inspiration follows Pagano's first orchestral show, Let's Fall in Love—which focused more intently on his radiant interpretations of material from the Great American Songbook,
with a few surprising twists and turns along the way. "I've always had the feel for those kind of tunes," he says. "After all, my father woke us up every morning to go to school with Sinatra!"
Let's Fall in Love drew much of its material from Pagano's recent album Pure Imagination, a stirring set of classic songs delivered live in the studio with a full orchestra—just as the great crooners of Sinatra's era recorded. Pagano made
a conscious decision, however, to not imitate the masters, but to deliver these oft-recorded gems in his own voice. "After one of the takes," Pagano recalls, "some of the older musicians came up to me and said 'I really appreciate that you sang them like you,
and not like Frank. We already have Frank!' That really got to me, and let me know I was on the right path."
Despite all that he's accomplished—including two symphonic pops shows, well-received albums, and years of touring and recording with luminaries like Bacharach—Pagano finds each performance unique and thrilling.
"When the time comes and you get out on that stage," he concludes, enthusiastically, "you just have to close your eyes, listen, and react. It's like being a boxer -- you can train all you want in the gym, but it's totally different when you step into the ring."