(Long Island, N.Y.) I don’t usually do follow-ups to spotlights but there is an exception to every rule. A few years ago I wrote about Sonny Grosso From Bad Guys to Butterflies and after connecting on Facebook, I still do find Sonny Grosso rather fascinating. He’s charming, warm, and multi-talented. Instead of looking back on his long list of exciting accomplishments (he was in the security, protection and investigation business for over 30 years), Grosso continues to look forward and carving out quite a creative path as an author, lyricist, and singer. Not to mention, he heads up the safety and security for Adventureland, a fun and popular amusement park in East Farmingdale. I reached out to Grosso once again to find out what this (very multifaceted!) fella is doing these days. (It’s a lot!)
First things first. You recently won a big contest. Congrats, Sonny. Tell me a little about it.
Friends of mine, Tino Maiolo (Radio1NewYork.Com), Rocky Milone (International Talent Magazine) and Andrew Earl Singer (International Talent Magazine) had asked me if I wanted to be featured in the premier issue of their magazine. Being as shy as I am, I said “YEAH”! Soon after, they ran a contest for the best Christmas/Holiday song. They took thousands of entries and narrowed it down to 25. I was one of them and the voting began. I had just finished recording a Christmas CD called “A Sandy Christmas” where I performed some of my favorite Christmas songs. A portion of the sales is going to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, hence the title. I entered my rendition of “The Christmas Song” originally done by Nat King Cole.
Were you shocked that you won?
The contest was fun and nerve wracking at the same time. There was a little controversy and a contestant had to be disqualified, which kind of took the fun away for a bit, but YES, I was pleasantly shocked and amazed. I have to thank all those wonderful people who took the time to vote each day. It’s always heartwarming when people appreciate our God-given talents. It was a great Christmas present to my family and even me.
Tino Maiolo interviewed me on his radio show, my son was listening and beaming with loved ones and I think he was as shocked as I was. Very cool experience! You know the feeling Janene. I read the accolades people send you for your talent and wit in your writings and postings on the web, TV, Bella Magazine, LI Exchange, etc. YOU are becoming a major media icon. Well deserved too!
Aw, I’m blushing…but thank you. You have a solid social media presence. What are your thoughts about Facebook and what benefits do you get from having such a strong network of online friends and family?
Ya know Janene, it’s funny. Prior to 2010, nobody ever saw me on Facebook. I didn’t get the whole thing. I thought it was a venue for cheaters, weirdos, etc. Back when we first met, I had just written and published “The Butterfly and The Dinosaur” and was looking to promote it. Someone had suggested Facebook. Two years later, I have thousands of friends from all over the world. I’ve been blessed to reunite with friends and family I had lost contact with, and have been able to showcase my talent. Facebook allowed me to meet you Janene!
Of course, first and foremost is my “Thought for the Day” which I post every day, every eight hours. They are a simple, direct and positive “thought” aimed at making the world a more peaceful, positive and loving place. People are scared. The infiltration of media in our lives, focusing mostly on explosive and scandalous stories, has everyone closing their eyes and eventually their minds and hearts. I have people publicly and privately tell me how they cannot start their day before they read my thought. It’s truly God and His Angels working through me and I not only accept it, I love it. I’ve always been about helping people. My Mom always said I was “generous to a fault” and I always answered, “There’s no fault in being generous.”
If you take the time to build a friend base and then watch their posts, it is so obvious to see that everyone is going through similar joys, sorrows, fears, depressions, etc. Once we realize that, once we realize that our own pains and joys are not unique, we can begin to help each other again. Hurricane Sandy proved that! We are all we have on this great planet called Earth. We can either save it together or destroy it separately! I say save it!
Wise words! I see you have added a lot to your resume since we last chatted. I’d love to learn about your latest/greatest projects.
Well, let’s see. After winning the Radio1NewYork.com contest, they have asked me to host a once a week, hour long radio show. We are working out the details and format as we speak. Very exciting.
International Talent Magazine is doing a feature on me in their February Special Valentine’s Day Issue. Also very exciting!
I will be at La Bella Vita Ristorante on February 14th where Tino Maiolo will present me with an award and a check for winning the contest. I may even sing a song or two!
I’m going back to Charlie Marotta at the Northshore Sound Studio and record another CD. This time it will be love songs, some nice music to snuggle and listen to.
And…I’m being interviewed by the nicest, prettiest and most down to earth reporter ever! Sorry folks, she’s happily married and happily a Mom!
Hahaha, how sweet! I’m so disappointed I missed you this summer at Adventureland. I was hoping to finally meet you when I visited with my family—we had such a good time so next summer for sure! How long have you been working there and what exactly do you do?
I know! I was disappointed too. This season for sure. I’ve been there going on 12 years now. I head up the safety and security for the Park. I am thoroughly involved with the management and help with promotions, press releases, media, etc. Also (here comes another shameless plug), you will hear me sing the opening song and closing song every day from opening day through the last day of the season.
It’s truly one of my favorite places in the world. The excitement, the noises, smiles and laughter of the kids, the smell of popcorn and the sounds of the rides and screams bring an immediate smile to my heart. We have made improvements and modifications every year since 2009. New rides, games, some cosmetic surgery here and there, new buildings, WIFI stations, television sets on the patios, all for your comfort and all very exciting. It’s Adventureland’s way of saying thank you to everyone who comes and visits us year after year.
Adventureland is a great place to bring the family, a great place to work! It’s the only public attraction I know of that doesn’t charge to park and doesn’t charge admission. Parents can bring their kids and get them POP bracelets for them to ride and they can walk, watch, take pictures and create memories that will last forever. All at a great daily price or season pass price. I can bet you remember your kid’s faces right this moment from that day? Am I right?
You are so right, they had a blast. Okay, your goals for 2013…go!
To stop cursing at the Giants and Yankees! Ha, only kidding…..sort of! Seriously, I want to get back to promoting my book “The Monster Down the Block”. I published it in 2011 but never really got it out there. It’s a fun story about three mischievous kids, bored over summer vacation, who pull a prank on the cranky old man down the block (the Monster). The prank backfires and what follows is a series of tense and comical moments, all leading up to a life’s lesson learned by all the characters, as well as the reader.
I will see where all this building notoriety as a singer brings me. I always believed that we have to follow the path God puts before us and trust the process. People seem to enjoy my singing and have been so gracious in their notes and comments. I want to keep pushing my song “Heaven’s Phone”, (Available on iTunes, Reverbnation, CD Baby, Amazon and YouTube). It’s a song I wrote for someone very special who was having a difficult time missing her Mother and others in Heaven. Simply explained, it’s a reminder that all you have to do is pick up Heaven’s Phone and call anyone in Heaven. If you believe they can hear you then you can believe that you will hear them. Personally, I use it every day and have for years!
I will keep posting my Thoughts for the day on Facebook of course, (Salvatore Sonny Grosso) and we will see what happens with the radio show. Maybe a daily show, call in show, talent showcase show. As the Internet is, the possibilities are endless.
Anyone you want to mention and/or acknowledge before we wrap this up?
Oh yes! First of all, I thank God for the talent, the guidance and for bringing me down this path. In no particular order, I thank YOU Janene for this opportunity once again. You’re a class act. Mark Zuckerberg for the whole Facebook thing, my Mom for playing Sinatra, Dino, Darin, Mathis, Doo Wops, etc. all day long and for teaching me what life was and is all about, my father for so many things but especially for giving me four tickets to see Elvis in 1972. That performance changed my whole concept about music and performing. Rob Rush and Rick Eberle for giving me the radio bug. All my crazy, wonderful Facebook friends and earth friends, a very special Ladybug, my sisters and my whole family, my son Sonny (“The Clone”), everyone who has ever made me laugh, cry, stand tall, shrink back, Adventureland for allowing me the time to keep working on these projects and my Guardian Angels for watching over me and helping me beat cancer. The best is yet to come!