Singer Hooked On Oldies Because 'They Have So Much Of A Story'
NEW PORT RICHEY - It's the meaning. That's what hooked Dino Fotopoulos on songs from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. "They have so much of a story," he said. When singing, Fotopoulos concentrates on the drama of the tale. "I sing with passion and love and feeling," he said.Fotopoulos sings every Thursday at Tarpon Springs Moose Lodge, which, in spite of its name, is in Holiday, and twice a month with singer Ellen Turner at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in New Port Richey. He also has taken his act to Carnival cruises and will do three private performances for A Step Ahead cruise group on a cruise to Panama, Belize and Costa Rica in November. When performing, he is dressed as his musical idol, Elvis Presley, even down to the hair. "He's always telling you a story about a love affair or a time in his life," Fotopoulos said. The King has inspired him to see himself as a musical storyteller also, he noted. Fotopoulos was born in Sydney, Australia, into a musical family. His grandmother was a singer in Tripoli, Greece. At festivals, she would sing "songs of the table." "They're about a variety of things, from freedom, to slavery, to life in general," Fotopoulos said of the songs. His family immigrated to Chicago when he was 13. Fotopoulos discovered the guitar when he was 16 and joined a four-piece band at 17. He continued playing at lounges as he developed a career in real estate appraisal. He learned early on the pleasure that music gives. "I would play in nursing homes just to make people happy," he said. In 2003, Fotopoulos returned to Australia on his honeymoon with his wife, Rita, a professional ballroom dancer. "They love Elvis, and they love American songs," he said of Australians. When not performing solo, Fotopoulos is a member of Cover to Cover, an area group that performs top 40s and doo-wop. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fotopoulos performs at Tarpon Spring Moose Lodge, 1936 Abacus Road, off Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. the first and last Monday monthly, he and singer Ellen Turner are at the Eagles, 4556 Leisure Lane, off Gulf Drive, New Port Richey.