Musician Bob Conti has performed with Donna Summer, Diana Ross, The Carpenters, Paul Simon, Ritchie Sambora, Wilson Pickett and close friend, José Feliciano.
Singular magazine: How did you first find out about Singular magazine and the SingularCity singles network, and why did you decide to become a member?
Bob Conti: I first learned about SingularCity and the community through some good friends in the industry who participate in the various events hosted by Singular magazine. I became a member because first of all I am single and have been for 8 years. I have been enjoying my life as a single man and appreciate spending time with likeminded people.
Sm: Tell us about how you developed your interest and talent for music.
Bob Conti: I discovered my talent at a very early age. While listening to complicated Latin rhythms on records or the radio, I found I could play whatever I heard. I’ve always been one who looks for what comes naturally, innate gifts that we all know each person possesses. For me, it was percussion, voice and composition.
We moved to California when I was a teenager and I continued with my music. My first week of college I joined The Platters. It all snowballed from there. I sang lead and played baritone sax in R&B bands all around the country but my natural talents were with rhythm instruments.
Latin percussion came easy to me. I would hear it, and then be able to play it… it’s as simple as that: conga drums, bongos, timbales, djembe, Cajon, and all hand drums including shakers, triangles, wind chimes, bell tree, and anything I can get my hands on.
I sing, I play and produce records. I also write. When you listen to Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” album you’ll hear not only my percussive work but also my songwriting.
Sm: Can you tell us about your collaboration and friendship with José Feliciano?
Bob Conti: José and I have been friends since the early 80s, when I was working in Las Vegas with Raquel Welch. His manager, Rick Hansen, heard me play and asked if I would be interested in meeting Jose. I agreed, we met and after jamming in his home studio we became best friends. We call each other ‘brother’ now and in fact, I’m Godfather to his daughter Melissa. We both grew up in New York, share the same musical tastes and enjoy all the great R&B and jazz classic artists.
The great thing about working with José is just how diverse his musical tastes are… we play jazz, Latin, rock, folk and together we’ve even recorded a rap song that I wrote specifically for him, which I believe appeals to all audiences, and can be found on the Genius of José Feliciano, Volume 2.
I started producing music for José in the 90s when José was between record deals and the labels seemed to be more interested in boy bands catering to preteens. José was understandably down about that and was talking to me about retiring from the music business. Instead I talked him into coming out to stay with me in California to work on some music together. He was on the next plane!
We started working on our first project, The Genius of José Feliciano and put our heads and our hearts together and created some beautiful music. Since then, José’s spirits have never been higher, and he just snatched his ninth Grammy.
Sm: You’re on the road a lot performing. Is there any particularly funny or interesting travel adventure story that comes to mind that you can share with us?
Bob Conti: We just completed a world tour which included a week in Israel with their symphony orchestra, two weeks in Costa Rica and another week in Chile. This was a very successful tour but what made it especially fun and interesting is that I’ve started to document and film my travel adventures on the road. I decided to do this because I realized there are so many precious moments while traveling, not to mention funny, that are either forgotten or lost in the mix. José in particular is one of the funniest people I’ve ever known so we’re documenting our exploits for everyone to enjoy.
Sm: Have you ever been married and do you have any children?
Bob Conti: I have been married and I have the bruises to prove it. Yes to answer your question! I have a beautiful daughter and grandbaby that I adore.
Sm: Do you have any insights to share with our readers about your personal philosophy about living single?
Bob Conti: Yes, I like to think I do. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Think outside the box and then realize that there is no box. Live in the moment and try to be “mindful” of past experiences, mistakes and blessings so you can move forward into a joyful and rich existence filled with love and all things good.
SingularCity members: You can contact Bob under the screen name BobConti100 when you log into the SingularCity Los Angeles singles network. You can also learn more about Bob Conti by visiting his Facebook page or his website at bobconti.com.