Let us take a journey back to 1988…
I am blessed to have been born into a world filled with love, laughter, and music. Both my Mother and Father were world-touring musicians. They created music with some of the greats such as The Pointer Sisters, Roberta Flack, Boz Scaggs, and Cameo. My Grandmother and Great Uncle directed and performed in a singing marionette puppet show. My Mother and Aunt continue to perform in their self-written musical show known as “Sister Act” (click on for video) – taking you on a musical journey correlating each of their featured vocalists to pertinent events in history. My Father, Gene Santini (click on for video), has his own show where he sings songs of classic artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, and many more. My Uncle is now a retired music teacher. Our cousin is Dion Dimucci from Dion and the Bellmonts (click on for video). Needless to say, all of our big Italian family gatherings consist of music. Every day of my life is like living in a musical.
I was just shy of two-years-old when I performed my first solo karaoke (check it out!) of the song – “The Right Stuff” by New Kids On The Block with a fever. This is when my passion in life for music evolved. At the ripe age of five, my parents enrolled me in both acting classes and vocal lessons. My first major acting role was Gretel’s Understudy in Rocky Point High School’s production of The Sound of Music. My big debut was falling asleep on the couch after the dance party. Let me tell you, I PERFECTED that scene. Every person in the audience truly believed I fell asleep on that hard, wooden stage couch. From there I auditioned for any role I believed I could fit the criteria. Fourth-grade I played the main character in our musical production of We Has Jazz, directed by the incredible, sensational, one and only – Craig Knapp. As the years flew by, I exceed all expectations and goals of myself. Sophomore year of high school, I was cast as the youngest lead role in the history of my school in Damn Yankees as Lola. When the news was received, sadly I had no time to celebrate as I was instantly bullied. People questioned how I could ever play a lead role, stated how unfair it was that seniors were graduating yet I was cast, and for the first half of the show shunned me as if I had the bubonic plague. For the first time in my life, my fight-or-flight mechanism took full course. It was not easy, but I fought my way to the top, proving to all that I was more than capable of handling a lead role and would surpass all goals for the show. A HUGE thank you goes to Mary Donovan Cerasuola for always believing in me. After demonstrating my ability to perform, I was cast in two more lead roles – junior year of high school as “the Spanish rose”, Rosie, in Bye, Bye Birdie as well as being the first vocalist from Rocky Point to be accepted into the SCMEA Jazz Vocal Group (thank you Jeffrey Hoffman for all of your time and dedication as my high school vocal coach). Senior year, I was cast in our musical production as Reno in Anything Goes. My part as Reno was a perfect match as I was studying privately with Patti Lupone’s vocal instructor, Esther Scott. Esther taught me things I will never forget, and hope to pass on to future students.
My college years were where my musical talents and skills explode. I auditioned for what I could while working and playing gigs. I performed with the elite pop vocal group, The Quintessentials. I was also a part of the all-women a cappella group, Manhattanville Sound. These groups provided me with the opportunity to learn the intricate details of “fine-tuning” and making a group of individual singers become one voice. I was also blessed to work under the instruction of the incredibly talented Richard Slade, Mark Cherry, Beverly Meyer, and Ronald Cappon. This team of individuals developed my vocal capabilities to levels I never thought I could. I will always be thankful for their knowledge, dedication, and patience. I also performed with Fairfield County’s best 80s cover band alongside my brother on the drums. These gigs taught me what happens in real-life scenarios and how to handle challenges that may arise.
Although I swore to myself I would never return to Long Island, I found myself back home after college. I began to audition for reality TV shows such as The Voice, X-Factor, and American Idol. During season 11 of American Idol, I made it to the top 60 contestants out of 15,000 people who auditioned. Who could even dream that they would be face-to-face in Aspen with Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson. This was an experience I will never forget. I performed in community theatre shows. My favorite as Mimi in Rent. It was there I met the talented Brian Crook who introduced me to the a cappella group, Fusion Vocal Band (click for video). Currently, I perform with my Uncle and Cousin in our band called “In the Groove“.
A passion of mine is to perform, but when I took a moment to ponder life, I found that my true love is passing on my musical knowledge and watching students of all ages succeed. My goal is to provide high-quality music education to all. I also come equipped with an extensive performance history and a plethora of extra-musical interests. Musical theater is a passion of mine, along with jazz singing. I have a strong knowledge of piano, and can play several instruments. I hope to see you in my studio or at one of my shows!