Rhody's Tony Cerbo finds niche saluting Michael Buble
Go Magazine by Bill Ross 5/21/15 http://www.thesunchronicle.com/go/
Tribute artist and crooner Tony Cerbo will be performing his "Michael Buble Tribute Dinner Show" on Saturday night, May 23, at Demetri's Function Facility on Route 1 in Foxboro.
Nine years ago, Cerbo, 36, of Johnston, R.I., says he gave up his career as a store manager and pursued his dream of being a singer. By his count, he has gone on to perform 17 times in Las Vegas, several times in Boston, New York, Miami and New Jersey, and twice at Providence's Waterfire.
Next month he will mark his sixth consecutive year performing Friday nights at the The Capital Grille in Providence, which he says is "the longest consistent run for any performer in the area."
Last week, Cerbo did an email interview with GO on his career and upcoming show in Foxboro. He discussed his years working for Cumberland Farms, CVS and Dollar Tree before a serious health scare set him on his current path:
CERBO: One morning in March as I was in the shower and I looked down and all I seen was red. Never having a bloody nose in my life, I figured it would pass. Hours later it didn't and I was rushed to the ER. Doctors could not stop the bleeding nor figure out the cause. This went on for four days. They had put what's called balloons up my nose to stop it but they didn't do it right, so every day I had to go back. I finally went to an ENT and they finally got the bleeding to stop (a very painful procedure) after a week's time.
Once it stopped long enough to take a look with a scope, they found I had several tumor like tissues inside my upper nose and a few had ruptured. They scheduled surgery ASAP. In the meantime I get a letter from stating that if I did not return to work by this date, I'd be terminated. The date happened to be the same date as my surgery. So I lost my job because I was a hard-working employee. I had plenty of other offers, but I had had enough and I loved singing so I decided to take that path.
GO: Did you always do a tribute to Michael Buble, or was your show something else to begin with? CERBO: I pretty much went into it singing Michael Buble. There were plenty of guys doing the Sinatra gig and Buble's music is more eclectic. He covers a lot of artists plus his own few originals. Plus, people told me I sounded like him and he was hot on the charts then and now. He brought back the age of crooners to a younger crowd and kept the older ones happy as well. I mean, there are times I need to break out Bobby Brown or Billy Joel; I have those in my pocket if I need them. But I try and stick to the standards.
GO: How did you get started and get the regular gig at The Capital Grille?CERBO: I started pretty much the same way I do all performances now - beg ... ha ha. My first job was at a place called the Starboard Galley. I answered an ad on craigslist. I called them up and went to meet them and I got the gig. It was June 21 and I was so excited. What I didn't see in the ad was the job was for TIPS ONLY. But I didn't care, it was my first gig, and I think I made like 100 bucks that night.
A Sinatra tribute (artist), Mike Dutra, who is a friend of mine worked at the Capital Grille outside on the patio in the summers. I met Mike a while back and asked for his help getting gigs. So he would let me fill in for him when he had other parties. One night I filled in for him at The Capital Grille and it went over well. The year after, Mike had moved on so Christopher Phillips, the managing partner, asked if I could perform Fridays in the summer. Of course I said yes! As the summer was coming to an end, I asked Chris what he thought about me playing in the lounge in the winter and he said, "Let's do it!"
This June will mark my sixth year performing at The Capital Grille. As far as I know, nobody has held residence in a single venue that long. I am proud of that.
GO: How did you hook up with Demetri's?
CERBO: A friend of mine in the biz started working there. She asked me to come up and check the place out and maybe introduce dinner shows to the area. So I did. The place has been all redone and I thought it would be a great place to showcase my talent in the area and bring something different to Foxboro.
What can fans expect at your show? First I usually read the room to know what I can and cannot get away with. It's a Michel Buble show with a Tony Cerbo twist. I bring ladies up on stage or climb on their chairs and sing over them. My YouTube channel can better explain, especially the video I made for the upcoming show, "Michael Buble' Dinner Show video ad."