Photograph by Joe Del Tufo
When you hear the smooth sounds of Steve Silicato, you’d think he has been crooning on stage all his life. Yet after only four years, Silicato already has a following that packs the house at venues on the Jersey Shore, Delaware beaches, and local bars and restaurants. This month, he will be performing at the Vendemmia da Vinci Wine and Food Festival at Bellevue State Park.
DT: Are you from Wilmington?
SS: Yes. I grew up in Little Italy and attended the Salesianum School and St. Elizabeth’s High School. I graduated from West Chester University.
DT: What is your 9-5 job?
SS: I’m the director of business development for a nationally renowned environmental health and safety consultant firm headquartered in Philadelphia. I’ve been in the environmental services field for almost 30 years.
DT: When and how did you start singing professionally?
SS: It was a result of an overwhelming response I had when I started performing with a band in Sea Isle City, N.J. People would ask me where I performed, and I said I sing in the shower—I don’t sing professionally. So I decided to invest in some sound equipment. I had my first professional gig at the Prince of Piedmont Sons of Italy Lodge in Little Italy four years ago. They charged $10 a ticket, which included spezzato and sausage-and-peppers sandwiches. I knew I needed to start in my neighborhood because I knew I would receive an honest response, good or bad. After that packed performance, things took off for me.
DT: At what age did you actually start singing?
SS: I probably started singing when I was in my mother’s womb. She is a tremendous singer. I have very fond memories of her singing around the house when I was a child. We didn’t have much growing up in a family with seven children in the ’60s, but we always knew how to entertain ourselves and enjoy the simple times together.
DT: How do you describe your sound and style of music?
SS: There are many Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley entertainers out there. I try to sing songs that I consider the soundtrack of people’s lives, which includes Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, doo-wop, classic rock, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Motown and Frankie Valli. I even sing Italian language songs from Jerry Vale, Jimmy Roselli and Louie Prima, which you you never hear anyone sing. I try to give the audience an experience of being at The Latin Casino, a popular nightclub where many of the great artists from my repertoire used to perform.
DT: Where do you perform locally?
SS: I perform at La Casa Pasta in the fall and winter months and The Chesapeake Inn in the fall and winter. Every Wednesday you can find me at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Wayne, Exton or North Wilmington. I also perform at La Porta Ristorante & Wine Bar in Media. You can keep track of my schedule by getting on my email list: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DT: You performed at this year’s Best of Delaware Party. What was your favorite part about attending this event?
SS: I’ve only been performing professionally for four years, so it was wonderful to be able to perform in front of over 2,000 people at such a great venue. The response I received from the crowd, not to mention the opportunities, is very exciting. I have to admit being able to sample all of the wonderful food and beverages at the party winners was also a treat.
DT: You will be performing at the 12th annual Vendemmia da Vinci Wine and Food Festival on Oct. 11. What can you tell us about this event?
SS: It’s a spectacular event sponsored by the da Vinci Society of Delaware. It allows everyone to experience the wonders of the Italian culture through food, wine and song. It allows everyone to be Italian for the day and all the proceeds go to charity.
DT: Is there a place where you really enjoy performing?
SS: I wouldn’t want to slight any of the places where I perform because they have all been very good to me. If I had to choose one place, it would be St. Anthony’s Italian Festival. I’ve had the honor of performing there for the past four years. It’s my old neighborhood and all of my family and friends from Wilmington come to see me.
DT: What song or artist do people often request that is not your favorite?
SS: Jimmy Buffet. But if an audience member requests “Margaritaville,” I’ll sing it because I’m there to please the audience, not myself.