Magnificent and accomplished are just two words that define Billy Vera. His proficient skills and artistic ways come naturally to him. He has never been a true stranger to the spotlight. His father worked for NBC and his mother was one of the Ray Charles Singers and has been on TV with Perry Como.
Having been born into a talented family, there is no surprise that Billy recorded his first record as a young teenager. The first song he ever presented to a publisher, “Mean Old World,” became a chart hit for Ricky Nelson. In the same year, his song “Make Me Belong To You” became a summer score for Atlantic Records star Barbara Lewis. Due to his ultimate skill, dedication and charisma, Billy was signed to Atlantic Records which resulted in a duet with Judy Clay.
Dolly Parton renditioned Billy’s song, “I Really Got The Feeling,” taking it to #1 on the country charts. In 1979 he formed Billy & the Beaters. They recorded the song “At This Moment,” which barely made it to the music charts until five years after it was recorded. That is when he received a phone call from the producer of the sitcom Family Ties. The show Family Ties, which featured Michael J. Fox, wanted to use “At This Moment” in an episode. From that moment on, it became a huge success. The public responded so well to the song, it went #1 nationally.
During this time, Billy had built a compelling part time career in acting and appeared in the numerous films as well as a multitude of television shows like “Alice”, “Wise Guy”, “Baywatch” and he had a recurring role as Duke on “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
Billy’s radio show, “Billy Vera’s Rock’n’Roll Party”, led to yet another part time career as a voiceover artist. He has been the voice Burger King, Honda, Toyota, Mercury and many other high end businesses.
Billy Vera has sung the theme songs for the hit series ” King Of Queens”
and for the show “Empty Nest”
In 2011 Billy started The Big Band and in 2012 Robo Records / Universal released Billy’s dream album, BILLY VERA: BIG BAND JAZZ. He debuted the Big Band at the Syracuse Jazzfest in Summer 2012 and showcased the Big Band at Hollywood’s famed Catalina Jazz Club in November 2012, to an enthusiastic sold-out crowd.
“Vera also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the corner of Vine Street and Yucca Street, right in front of the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood, California. He won a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for theSingular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles box set.” ~ Wikipedia
For more information on Billy Vera check out his personal website here: http://www.billyvera.com/
For Band bookings contact:
Agency for Performing Arts
For Voice-over bookings:
Sutton, Barth & Vennari
Check out a snippet of our interview with Billy:
What has been your biggest challenge being in a band?
I always wanted to be in a band. I always loved the feeling of that. When I did the Johnny Carson show, which we did nine times, I just loved all that power behind you.
Is there a difference between recording as a solo artist compared to recording with a band?
Its a different business now a days, there is more competition for young people now; a lot more people wanting to be in business. There are no more record stores so all your sales are online. It is tough for these new kids starting out. When I started it was a little easier, there weren’t so many of us. When I was 16 or 17 years old I would hop on a train and knock on doors and people would actually listen to me play the piano. They would either say, “Hey get out!” or they would give you like thirty five dollars for playing the piano. It was pretty easy. If I was seventeen years old now, I just do not know what I would do.
How are you adjusting to all the new technology?
I have an iPhone; I have a Mac also. I am not bad on it at all for an old guy. I am on Facebook also, I actually have two accounts and I still have a Myspace account. I have G Plus, and a Twitter. I’m doing it baby. I also have my website, people love the pictures. I am also on You Tube.
You have been in film, on television and your music has topped the charts…You have been with the best of the best. Have you ever had a celebrity crush on anyone?
Sure. When you live out here, you date actresses. I used to like Soap Opera stars and actresses. I won’t mention any names though.
I believe you were on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
Yes I was.
What has been your strangest request for a performance?
Do you know Lisa Gibbons? Her husband called my agent and said that Lisa’s favorite song is “At This Moment.” Well, this is not a strange story, but I will tell it anyway, since I started it. He said he would be willing to pay to have me sing at their house for her birthday. So I brought my piano player over and we surprised Lisa for her birthday. I sang for her.
To hear the about the strangest request Billy has ever received, and the entire interview, listen in here:
Billy Vera’s upcoming shows are:
Billy Vera and The Big Band:
Sept. 27, 2013
Show Time 8:00 PM
Catalina’s Jazz Club
6725 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA. 90028
Call for reservations and more info:
BV & Big Band in NYC :
Nov. 2, 2013
Show Time 8:00 PM
The Cutting Room in New York City
44 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016.
With the Billy Vera Big Band.
Call for reservations and more info:
This post was originally featured on TRS247
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.