Bio

Robert Davi

While he is recognized as one of film’s best-known tough guys, Robert Davi has been winning the respect and admiration of fans, critics and fellow artists with his expressive singing. His Album, Davi Sings Sinatra: On The Road To Romance, produced by the legendary Phil Ramone, catapulted its way into Billboard magazine’s top ten (#6) traditional jazz chart.

While, Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance and his dynamic livevperformances may have surprised some of his fans, Davi’s love of music and entertaining began at an early age. At 15, he won First Place in the prestigious New York State School Music Association Solo Competition. As a young adult, he studied under several top vocal teachers including the legendary Tito Gobbi, Dan Ferro of Juilliard, Samuel Margolis (who taught Robert Merrill) and most recently, renowned vocal coach Gary Catona.

In his latest film role, Davi adds to his movie legacy. He joins the most recent installment of the popular franchise “The Expendables 3,” (to be released later this year). From the memorable villain, Colombian drug lord Frank Sanchez, in the Bond film “License to Kill” (voted one of the top Bond villains of all time) to his stand-out performances in “The Goonies,” “Die Hard,” “Kill the Irishman,” “The Iceman” and many other films to the respected series “Profiler” and “Stargate: Atlantis,” Davi has appeared in over 100 movies and many television programs. He has garnered praise from critics, directors and co-stars, including Steven Spielberg, Richard Donner, Blake Edwards, John McTiernan, and Paul Verhoeven. He has acted opposite Marlon Brando, Roberto Benigni, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Benicio Del Toro, Danny Glover, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, James Franco, and Val Kilmer, among others. GQ Magazine has compared him to silver screen classics Robert Mitchum and Lee Marvin. His tough exterior masks an inner sensitivity, which he has brought to his roles as a Palestinian terrorist in the award-winning TV movie, “Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami,” and in memorable appearances in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Without a Trace,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Criminal Minds” and many more.

In 2007, Davi produced, directed co-wrote and starred in “The Dukes,” the story of a successful Doo Wop group who falls on hard times. At the Monte Carlo Festival of Comedy, Davi was awarded Best First-Time Director and Best Screenplay for the film and he was the only first-time director in the Premiere Section of the International Rome Film Festival, with films by Sean Penn, Robert Redford, Sidney Lumet and Julie Taymor.

Hailing from Astoria, Queens, NY, Davi attended Hofstra University on a drama scholarship. He moved to Manhattan to study with legendary acting coach Stella Adler, who became his mentor. He subsequently became a lifetime member of the Actors Studio, studying with acting teacher Lee Strasberg and also studied under Sandra Seacat, Larry Moss, Milton Katselas, Martin Landau, Mala Powers, and George Shdanoff, the creative partner and collaborator with the influential Michael Chekhov. His first screen appearance was opposite Frank Sinatra in the telefilm, “Contract on Cherry Street.”

Besides working in music, film and television, and raising his five children, four dogs, and two cats, Davi is an active supporter of The Dream Foundation, Exceptional Children’s Foundation, Heart of a Child Foundation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, Heart of a Horse, NIAF, The Order ‘Sons of Italy’ in America (OSIA), and UNICO National. Since its inception in 1998, Davi has been the National Spokesperson for i-Safe America, which is regarded by many internet experts as the most complete internet safety program in the country and is available in grades K- 12 in all 50 U.S. states.

Davi has received numerous awards for career achievement and community involvement, including the George M. Estabrook Distinguished Service Award from the Hofstra University Alumni Association (past recipients include Francis Ford Coppola and William Safire). He has received the FBI’s Man of the Year Award in Los Angeles and was also named KNX radio’s “Citizen of the Week” for saving a young girl from a fire in her home. Other public service awards include the Sons of Italy’s Royal Court of the Golden Lion Award and the 2004 STEP Award (Science, Technology and Education Partnership), whose past recipients include Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2007, Davi received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Italian Board of Governors in New York, and in 2008, he received the Italo-Americano Award from the Capri-Hollywood Festival. In 2011, Davi was awarded the “Military Order of the Purple Heart” (MOPH) Special Recognition Award for dedication and service honoring America’s service members and veterans.

Here’s what people are saying about Robert Davi’s performance at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Tonight he’s in Adelaide to present this album at what has to be one of the most anticipated performances at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Forget the imitators – Davi’s not into that – instead he presents the man and his music via carefully selected anecdotes, and titular songs. His rich baritone never falters and Davi has just the right amount of swagger and warmth to pull off the essence of Sinatra’s songs without mimicking the master.

The audience is treated to a trip through the Great American Songbook, urged on by Davi’s easy banter and his mastery of the likes of Sondheim and Porter. Put simply, Davi kills it. Combining his acting talents with a keen ear for Sinatra’s phrasing, Davi renders up each song afresh, laying his own stamp on the tracks while still allowing the essence of Sinatra to shine through. The signature Sinatra tracks are handled with aplomb but what really struck home for me were the quieter moments. When Davi tackled ‘Moonlight in Vermont’, you could hear a pin drop and his interpretation of Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns’ was one of the most moving performances from a singer I have ever seen.

Here’s what people are saying about the show “DAVI SINGS SINATRA: A Tribute to Sinatra, the Great American Songbook and America”

As FS would say, ‘Koo, Koo.’ Wow! I have never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra’s sound – and still be himself. Many try, but Robert Davi has the voice, tone, the flavor and the swagger. What a surprise.

He absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of ‘Ol Blue Eyes himself.

Most actors would like to be singers. Most singers would like to be actors. Robert Davi has accomplished both…superbly.

Robert Davi would make a worthy successor to the incomparable Frank Sinatra, whether in the fields of Stage, Screen or Television. And having been chosen years ago by the Master himself, to act in a film side by side with him, this is not a vain pronouncement.

Robert Davi’s show Davi Sings Sinatra is a superb love letter to the man who defined Twentiethcentury popular music. It’s theatrical, heartfelt, and beautifully staged and sung. While incorporating a swagger and style that evokes Sinatra, Davi – whose rich and multi-colored baritone is remarkably confident – shuns imitation, instead bringing his unique and exciting actor’s edge to the performance. In concept and execution, Davi’s tribute is unlike any other entertainer’s. More than a concert, his reflective program (which includes snippets of well-placed dialog to supplement the music) is designed to whisk us back to the Sinatraland of the ‘40s and ‘50s. It succeeds in doing that and more, remaining fun and entertaining while effortlessly radiating Davi’s unabashed passion for the finer details behind Sinatra’s craft. That passion shines through in every aspect of Davi’s performance; once the fifty-five piece orchestra kicks in and Davi begins to sing, the audience is swaddled in the adoration and respect that actor-singer Davi has for Francis Albert, and the songs he turned into classics.

DAVI’S DYNAMITE DEBUT: I haven’t been to a first-night performance ever where the audience nearly refused to leave the showroom. Thursday night at singer and actor Robert Davi’s Frank Sinatra and the Great American Songbook tributes in the Venetian Showroom, fans wanted him to continue singing after nearly two hours of nonstop entertainment. With applause and standing ovations…

His voice is suitably magnificent …. Robert evokes the ease of the Legend without coming off as a replicator. He makes these songs his own just like Dino and Mel did when they performed Frank’s material. He will give our audiences a rare, classy treat.

This album is the very rare exception to listening to others interpret Frank’s work in that I did not just think to myself, “I’d rather hear Frank singing this.” Robert Davi is enthralling. He brings a freshness to some of Sinatra’s most notable songs that makes them seem new again.

Robert Davi is not merely “fine” or “fun.” Fully titled Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road To Romance — A Tribute to Frank Sinatra, the Great American Songbook and America, his show is a performance by a master. The audiences at the three shows he did were not just sitting still. They tapped their feet, moved to the music while seated and, even, shed a few tears during those songs that evoked strong memories. At the end of the show, as the clock neared the theater’s mandatory closing time of 11 o’clock, the audience each night called out for him to stay, to continue singing and each night gave him a standing ovation. made up of people from their 20s to, well, much older and, as Davi sang, almost no one was still.

Robert Davi’s tribute to Frank Sinatra is a soaring voyage to another place. You feel spirited away by his resonant voice, soaring orchestra and heartfelt memories of music and the man.

There are a lot of guys trying to do this music but Davi comes closest to what Sinatra did – but is himself—very cool old school-stuff.

I have played behind Frank Sinatra all around the world and in the recording studios in Hollywood since 1959. Now comes along Robert Davi, who in my opinion is the only one that comes close to having the voice, the acting chops, and the charisma that the Ole’ man had. Listen and become a life long fan of this wonderful talent.

This is a beautiful album, even more of a tribute to Sinatra because it is Davi’s own take on the music, not an imitation. With Sinatra’s passing, there has been a huge void. Who will follow? We still have Tony–and Jack Jones, Michael Feinstein, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Roberta Gambarini, Pizzarelli and Connick. And now we have Robert Davi. Davi, a noted actor, suddenly appears with a fine voice: pure, authoritative, contemplative and moving. This is his time. As Sinatra said to Tony Bennett, `You can only be yourself. But you’re good at that.’ Davi is himself, and he’s very good at that.

Sinatra-inspired tribute shows—by Sinatra simulators, imitators, and the real deal—Frank Sinatra, Jr.—show up with considerable regularity. But Davi is something special. Start with his charismatic presence, his laid back Italian manner and, above all, his musicality. By the time he’d finished his second number – “Nice ‘n’ Easy” – and was swinging smoothly through “At Long Last Love,” it was apparent that he was clearly in touch with the content, the details and the spirit of Sinatra’s way with a song.

Backed by a stellar, hard swinging big band, he continued on, offering one classic after another. He tapped into the jaunty swing of “Come Fly With Me,” “Luck Be A Lady” and “Fly Me To The Moon.” And followed up with a tear down the walls romp through “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” His balladry was rich with emotion in tunes such as “Moonlight In Vermont,” “It Was A Very Good Year,” “Angel Eyes” and the rarely heard “Summer Wind.” And his story telling abilities were a constant presence, adding convincing authenticity to each of his interpretations.

Many of the songs will also be present on Davi’s debut recording, Davi Sings Sinatra; On the Road To Romance, scheduled for release on Oct. 24. And that’s worth checking out by anyone who didn’t make it to Vibrato on Tuesday night. Still, by the end of the long, entertaining program, one couldn’t help but wish for an opportunity to hear Davi’s obviously extensive vocal skills applied to other material, as well. To songs, for example—and there are dozens that would fit his personal style — offering opportunities for him to reach deeply into his own interpretive abilities.

As high as my expectations were for this gig, I have to say that I was overwhelmed … blown away by Davi’s performance. I’ve listened to Robert many times before from the Davi Sings Sinatra – On the Road to Romance LP, but seeing him perform with his great stage band – pouring out his passion for Frank’s music, the man and the Rat Pack era through these wonderful ballads was special. Robert doesn’t imitate Sinatra, but RD’s ability to comprehend Sinatra as a three dimensional “character” instills a round, period genuineness to his act that comfortably settles over you during the performance. The small turn of a hand here, a sideways glance there … Robert Davi is his own man with a distinctive resonant vocal style and a singular charisma, but he embodies just the right amount of Sinatra affectation in his vocal timing, phrasing and stagecraft to support a uniquely passionate delivery of Frank’s classic work. He tells the stories in these songs the way I remember Frank telling them.

DAVI SINGS SINATRA is an entertaining, emotional, powerful, winsome, compelling musical production that refreshes Frank Sinatra’s classic music and takes the audience through a musical, social and personal journey… Davi brought to the American Songbook something that other current singers do not possess: a truly great voice – a darkly rich, and colorfully nuanced vocal tone that is able to plume the depth of a song and bring to the surface what the composer really intended, along with the emotional depth of an actor in full command of his powers.

Robert Davi’s performance transcends age, ideology. Those who recently attended the Robert Davi concert as I did found themselves at times mesmerized, at other times moved to tears and at all times fully moved by his magnificent voice accompanied by the ageless beauty of a 50 piece orchestra. For two hours Davi brought us all together as one using music… Davi’s voice, music and performance was spectacular.

He captured Sinatra’s vibe, presence extremely well. His voice is richly melodious. Great selections, great band, great arrangements—in all a great night of entertainment and an immensely enjoyable performance. His charisma with the audience was perfect.

Unlike other singers who are doing the American songbook, Robert truly has ‘the voice,’ a rich, masculine tone and beauty, with a sensitive, artistic heart to match. In this sense, he resembles Sinatra, but does not sound like him. His uniquely colorful baritone voice has a flair for the dramatic that he expresses thoughtfully in his interpretation. All in all, Robert Davi could easily wrestle the Sinatra mantle away from all would-be contenders.

There have been many performers singing songs made famous by the chairman of the board but none have come close to portraying the true genius of the man … that is until now! Robert Davi has just released the best, the most entertaining, and we might add, swinging CD on Frank Sinatra. It’s called DAVI SINGS SINATRA and I predict this one will be the last one standing when all others have disappeared from the shelves. Robert could have several careers going all at one time, including a singing career. He made his motion picture debut with Frank Sinatra, and now he has a CD out called DAVI SINGS SINATRA. That leaves one question… what hasn’t Mr. Davi accomplished in his career? Acting–Producing–Directing–Writing and now Singing! Is there anything left? Congratulations Robert on a fabulous CD!

Everyone knew Robert Davi would be great as Lucky Luciano in the new, Phil Ramone-produced musical “Lanza”, but what blew the crowd away was Robert singing Sinatra as the encore! In a performance for 600 college students, they leapt to their feet and screamed with delight. The same result was achieved the next night with the “adult” audience. Very few people can sing Sinatra with the voice, authority and phrasing of Robert Davi.

Once there was Sinatra and now there is Davi. Robert Davi sang and left the audience breathless.

Robert Davi’s delivery of the American Songbook is brimming with his full voice, relentless styling, bright personality, and deep commitment to the art-form itself. His superb acting skills have not only made him one of the most in demand actors in film today, but also allow him the incredible ability to reach out and grab the audience with his commanding majestic voice. Truly he is the closest thing to Sinatra since Sinatra. As a jazz musician all I can say is “Davi swings hard like the great legends of jazz”.

Robert Davi killed it last night… I have been to every concert you can imagine. I have been to the Grammy’s 8 times and the American music awards 12 times so imagine how many people I have seen perform. Robert Davi blew me away last night and that is very hard to do.

Robert Davi not only thrilled ten thousand people with the power and charisma reserved for Chairman of the Board, but generously gave us a tremendously appreciated education of The Great American Songbook. I am a fan of the craft of his acting, and now a devotee of his formidable musical talent. Run to see him play, he will delight you.

Being such a big fan of Davi as an actor I was blown away at his voice and stage presence. Just like Sinatra himself, Davi is a double threat; it’s only a matter of time until the all world gets to enjoy his voice and talent as a singer.

Robert Davi Sings Sinatra has arrived, the actor that sang is now the singer that acts. An incredible night at The Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater in Eisenhower Park, New York. Backed by a sensational Big Band, Davi’s voice was loud, swinging and booming. This was Davi’s main event and he performed like the heavy weight champion of the world. The concert had the feel of a real “Sinatra Event”, celebrities and thousands and thousands of people in attendance. 10,000 plus. An electricity in the air that was off the charts. Get on the Davi express now while you can get a seat. Sell-Out City here we come…

Best Concert I have ever attended and I have seen AEROSMITH 3 times at Jones Beach.

Here’s what people are saying about the album “DAVI SINGS SINATRA: THE ROAD TO ROMANCE”

Absolutely stunning…Frank would be proud and wowed. There is not a track on this soundtrack that I didn’t love. (Davi) sings so perfectly and smoothly I simply wanted this version on over any classic. Smooth mellow sounds, familiar tunes, a great singer…A great pick for my CD collection and one I’d suggest.

The results are, indeed uniformly impressive. A solid swinger and equally capable balladeer.

Listening to it, you just know Sinatra would have smiled, given Davi a light tap on the cheek, and said, ‘Nice job, kid.

If you think you’re going to hear a gifted amateur singer, forget it. You’re hearing a professional Sinatra lover that Frank himself might have been fond of.

It’s an unexpected pleasure!

Skepticism always kicks in anytime you hear of a great actor doing a recording project – but it’s clear that Davi Sings Sinatra: On The Road To Romance is not just a one off indie project but Davi’s truest heart.

As for Davi himself, he is a great crooner, and a real throwback to the rat pack era.

But first, who knew Davi could sing? Who knew that he could sing better than nearly anyone? In a CD released Monday called “Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance,” the opera-trained Davi is alarmingly good.

Quite simply, Davi does good. Frank would approve!

Someday Robert Davi’s going to walk into a restaurant with that famous tough guy mug of his and people aren’t going to whisper to friends, “Isn’t that the actor who plays the bad guy in movies?” They’re going to whisper, “Hey, isn’t that Robert Davi, the singer?”