Soul of the Night
Steven Santoro, born Steven Kowalczyk, from Massachusetts, did not have to look far to find his new name. His grandfather, Libertore Santoro was a saxophone player and inspired Steven, the fourth grader, to play the horn as well. But during his freshman year in High School, Steven's musical interests took a turn. Even though he loved playing classic Big Band charts like Count Basie's "Queen Bee", he truly found himself while sitting in front of a piano writing songs. Steven's songwriting and singing addiction eventually led him to the University of Massachusetts to study Afro-American Music and Jazz with Dr. Horace Boyer. While learning to sing and improvise on classic 32 bar songs made famous in the Jazz and Swing eras, Steven wrote and arranged his own pieces. Some were inspired by the form and tone of the classics and others continued on the path of the pop music of his generation. Steven's ability to authentically juggle the two styles is what years later, caught the ears of Ahmet Ertegun, the legendary founder of Atlantic Records. After a stint of teaching Special Education classes in Los Angeles, Steven recorded his first album, "Moods And Grooves", for Atlantic Records with producers Ertegun and Shane Keister. Released worldwide, it rose to #20 on the Jazz Radio Charts in the USA while Kowalczyk toured the country as an opener for FOURPLAY ( Bob James, Nathan East, Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason). After parting with Atlantic Records, Steven played to eager audiences in London and "Moods And Grooves" shot to #1 on United Kingdom's Jazz FM Radio. Back in New York City, while he played to excited audiences in the Village and Midtown, Steven taught part-time at The Public School Repertory Company, a performing arts alternative High School located in the heart of Times Square. There he worked with a creative and restless crew of NYC's Hip Hop culture, on Songwriting, Music Theory and Vocal Technique. Under his guidance, his Songwriting class won the award for Best Original Song in the National Gospel Choir Competition. When not in the clubs or the classrooms, Steven worked as a studio session/jingle singer, produced and arranged for other independent recording artists and kept on writing the songs he loved to write. While on a session at Signature Sounds Studio in Massachusetts, Steven called in some of NY's heaviest players (James Genus, Clarence Penn, Nathaniel Townsley, Marc Ciprut, more...) to lay down the tracks to some of his original tunes. He took on his grandfather's name and this time with himself as producer, Steven Santoro created the album, "Soul Of The Night." Here he infused the sophisticated harmony of Jazz with the sexy rhythms and vocal sounds of R and B and Pop. He sings of the pain and beauty of childhood, love, and life in the city. The album drew thousands of listeners on MP3.com. Steven has just finished his third album, 'Where I Come From', and celebrates the completion of a new musical, "Ivory Joe Cole," for which he is the lyricist. The project received glowing praise at the Disney / ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop. Steven is currently on faculty at the famed Berklee College of Music where he teaches in the Voice Department. In 2007 he plans to release yet a fourth album of original swing tunes and ballads. The record is tentatively titled, Steven Santoro. Some Press Quotes: New York Observer He's a wildly accomplished performer with a soulful intensity and movie-star sex appeal. Kowalczyk takes risks and lands on his feet every time. I can't imagine who his idols are because he sounds completely original. - Rex Reed Chicago Sun Times He writes uncommonly fine songs in a jazz-pop vein...and the prettiest high notes around - Lloyd Sachs New York Post ... A knockout - He radiates an appealing sense of joy - Chip Deffaa Time Out New York This high energy Tyrone Power in a workshirt is knocking out audiences and winning high praise. - Andrew Velez.