Meet a man who loves to have fun on the job.
Long Island native Johnny Fusco has been entertaining audiences around the country for close to 40 years. Today, a lot of his singing is done in Southwest Florida, much of it on Marco Island.
“I’ve had a good career in the music industry,” said Fusco the other day while talking about his life on stage. “Along the way I’ve worked with people like Kenny Rogers, Johnny Maestro and many others.”
Maestro was the lead singer of the famed Brooklyn Bridge and lived in Southwest Florida, too, before passing away in 2010.
For the past six years, Fusco has been singing his way all around the area, including venues in Naples, the Isles of Capri and Marco. Before that he did a lot of work in the New York City area, as well as Atlantic City.
“I used to do the ‘One Man Legend’ show twice a year in Atlantic City, at the Hilton Hotel there,” he said.
While he sings, audiences enjoy how he will often break into impressions of the singers who made the songs famous. Fans say he has the talent to sound like the stars he impersonates; they say his Louis Armstrong and Barry White impressions are out of this world.
He gears his show each night to the audience before him.
“Say for instance, at Ciao Bella, an Italian restaurant. There, I do things more the style of a Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, and I’m Italian, so I do songs to sit back and relax to,” said Fusco. “Then at CJ’s, it’s more uptown, and everybody’s dancing and having a good time.”
The singer likes doing all sorts of music, including tunes from the 40s, doo-wop, 60s, 70s and 80s, all the way to today. Fusco said he also has a love for country music, too, and has some George Strait songs in his repertoire.
“George Strait has always been a favorite, but also, Kenny Chesney is also a favorite of mine,” he said. “There are so many different genres of music these days to touch and when people see that, and they see the versatility, they tend to enjoy the show. It’s a little bit for everybody.”
Along the way, he has appeared in many famous hotels and nightclubs, including The Claridge Hotel & Casino, The Plantation Hotel in Hilton Head, The Villa Roma Country Club in Callicoon, N.Y., as well as The Concord Hotel & Resort, The Raleigh, Kutchers and Grossingers in the Catskills.
Interestingly, and perhaps not surprising to Marco residents, Fusco said the lure of New York for him isn’t what it used to be.
“As you get a little bit older, you know, you tend to want to get back there a little less,” he said with a chuckle. “It gets really bad in the winter time.”
While still having a home in New York, the singer also has a place on Marco.
Another difference through the years: Fusco stays away from the longer performances he used to do.
“No more four-hour gigs,” he said.
Four-hour gigs or not, the man is busy – from CJ’s on Fridays to The Speak Easy sometimes on Sundays.
Asked about his all-time favorite singer, Fusco didn’t hesitate. It’s Johnny Mathis.
“But I pride myself on doing a lot of songs from the Motown era, too,” said Fusco. “And while Frank Sinatra was always a great entertainer in my eyes, in my musical opinion, probably not the greatest singer. I think as a crooner, Dean Martin probably had it over him.”
If you’re looking for a man who has entertained thousands with his voice, his impressions and personality, make plans to spend an evening with Johnny Fusco. He would love to entertain you. He is so appreciative of his long career.
“It’s been a great time, a lot of fun,” he said.
Where to find Johnny Fusco
Fridays: CJ’s on The Bay; Saturdays: Ciao Bella; Mondays: The Marriott Crystal Shores; Wednesdays: The Marco Island Princess. He also performs Sundays on occasion at The Speak Easy of Marco Island.