The old saying, “Don’t judge a book but its cover” is definitely trite but often true.
This is certainly the case with cabaret performer Gregory Nalbone, who plays New York’s The Duplex May 14 and 16 at 7pm.
Nalbone is hot. Sizzling in fact. His Sicilian good looks have likely opened many doors. But it’s his talent which has kept him inside.
Nalbone, whose name has been Americanized to be pronounced “Nal Bone” instead of the Italian “Nal Bon Ay,” grew up loving music but was usually too shy to perform in front of people, so he opted like many kids to sing to himself in front of the mirror with big dreams.
His good looks, though, are what actually launched his career, becoming a successful go go dancer and model as a younger man and then a popular bartender at New York’s Eagle.
Knowing that until he’s developed a larger following by his name alone, Nalbone still works on what also helps sell tickets – his looks. Nalbone’s looks are often likely the subject of many a man’s dreams – a hot, model looking man that likes to surround himself with lovers of show tunes and furry bears. What a dream!
Looks aside, when Nalbone started his cabaret act, he was instantly declared one of the Top Ten Cabaret Acts of the year of his professional debut.
I was able to catch Nalbone after a rigorous work out session to discuss his favorite songs and what he will be doing in his upcoming show.
“Mick Jagger’s ‘Wild Horses’ is always one of my favorite songs to sing,” he says, admitting that he changes over time. “Also, right now, I am really liking Burt Bacharach & Elvis Costello’s ‘God Give Me Strength’ as I love strong, emotional ballads,” he adds. “I really feel and experience them, I know the audience does too. And that is what this is all about for me.”
Nalbone says that each song has its own unique challenges and difficulties. “I approach every one as an acting piece and that requires a great deal of thought, commitment and work,” he says. “Interpretation for me always requires getting involved emotionally. Each song also presents musical challenges and the creative process of making a song performance ready takes a great deal of work, but it’s an enriching process that I always embrace.”
In his cabaret act, Nalbone usually does about 12-14 songs and ties them together with a theme to tell a cohesive story from beginning to end. “As it unfolds throughout the performance, I take the audience on a heartfelt journey that comes from a very sincere and honest place in me. Being authentic on stage is the adrenaline that drives me.”
His upcoming show, entitled “Awakening,” may tie together some music from Nalbone’s childhood and remind us of the little boy who was too afraid to sing in front of other people. Nalbone says that if shows like “American Idol” or “The Voice” were around when he was younger, he still would not have tried out. A self-admitted promotional whore, Nalbone says, “I’ve never been much into the idea of a singing competition. I think it comes down to more of favoritism vs. talent.”
Since his musical resume is getting strong with more acclaim and appearances, he has been pondering the idea to venture outside of New York and San Francisco is a location at the top of his list. “I’ve been talking to people in San Francisco about perhaps doing a show there next year,” he says, “but nothing is solidified.”
He says he’s never visited San Francisco so he would be thrilled to perform there not just for the musical experience, but to also enjoy the beauty the city has to offer. He can also feel a bit like home as San Francisco also has an Eagle bar much like the one he enjoys in Manhattan.
You might have started reading this article because Nalbone’s “cover” is a book worth looking at. But when you uncover the contents and talents inside, he’s a definite “must read.”
Get tickets to his Duplex show at www.theduplex.com.
To keep up with his appearances and hear some of his music, go to www.gregorynalbonemusic.com.