Singer. songwriter, soloist.
Jay DiPaola is a singer/songwriter and entertainer from St. Louis, MO, but says he's grown up all over the country, living in ten different states over the years. He performs on acoustic guitar and sings with compassion and humor about relationships and often difficult social issues. "What I write has river of funk, jazz, and blues running through it like Missouri mud, but time in the mountains gave my sound some high lonesome. And my years on the ocean gave it a will toward anthems. And there's political anger and protest in there, too, because there's so much unnecessary pain for profit. Who doesn't feel that? And still there's always been the relief of comedy in my music, because if I can't laugh I'll lose my mind."
Jay's musical history is filled with touring performance and ensemble work with progressive rock and jazz recording artists. He's released two studio albums and several EP recordings, including Don't Give Away Your Mind, a protest song aired in it's 8 minute entirety on NPR. He currently lives and performs as a soloist in Asheville, NC.
The Early Years:
"I grew up in a big family. My folks were always singing their era's songs with passion, and there were great records playing 0n the phonograph in the living room. Us kids danced like wild things to Xavier Cugat and Stan Kenton, and we spun and laughed til we fell down. Music meant joy and the dizziness of moving to it's organized chaos and dramatic flux--something beyond our mid-western world. As an adult I guess I still try to create that feeling in performance--space and time travel I guess."
Jay's written songs for and fronted two influential touring bands: Launching Lydia and What Just Happened, super-groups playing the colleges and clubs and ski towns up and down the Rocky Mountains. He became a central figure in those regional music scenes, and a model for hard work and the power of synthesizing and managing diverse artistic talents. "Everyone appreciates it when the band has worked hard to sound good. When it happens everybody wins -- the band, the club, the crowd, the world!"
Jay has directed and promoted many festivals and live events, including several geared toward putting young or amateur performers on stage, something he's really proud of. He hosted over 500 consecutive shows in the clubs of Whitefish, Montana, a ski town near Glacier Nat'l Park.
"People came from all over for those gigs. They'd ride in on the Amtrak line even. Bands, solo acts, thespians, comedians, performance artists. So much hilarity, or gut-wrenchingly beautiful, personal music that was just aching to be heard. There was blood sometimes, or nudity, or live snakes! You never knew who or how someone was gonna blow the crowd away. When they did it was just magical. The best job in the universe!"
These days Jay DiPaola plays principally solo. He's one guy and one guitar. What sets his music apart is his ability to create the mood, the atmospherics, to evoke that very human response, to elevate the subliminal to a shared experience with lyric and melody.
"I'm pretty classical as a songwriter. I believe with ol' Leo Tolstoy that sincerity is crucial if the artist has any chance of communicating. I've tried to write and sing about what i know, the stuff that's really moved me. After that it's a simple wish: to share my craft and help to make a safe space to feel something in the presence of others, trying to recreate the feeling of family if I can. That's where it all started for me and where it's probably all gonna end up."