One of the main highlights of working on my ‘Crooner’ documentary has been getting to know the Hollywood actor Robert Davi (Pronounced Da Vee)

Not only was Robert in my favourite childhood film ‘The Goonies’ he was also, in my opinion, the best James Bond villain with his menacing role as Franz Sanchez in ‘Licence to Kill’.

He was even in my favourite alternative Christmas film ‘Die Hard’! As if all that wasn’t enough for me, Robert was very close friends with my musical hero Frank Sinatra. So you can imagine how thrilled I am to have him as our guest here in Wayne’s World!

I asked how he became friends with Sinatra and here is what he had to say.

“The first time I met Frank Sinatra was when I auditioned for a movie (Contract on Cherry Street ) with him in 1977. We then spent several months filming together in NY. That is when I forged a friendship with Sinatra. My start in Film and TV was because of that first experience. It was my baptism into the business and you could say that Sinatra had a guiding hand over the years

“I am an Italian-American, Sicilian and Neapolitan. One must remember that Sinatra was a towering figure to the world but especially to Italian immigrants in America . He gave a dignity and hope, he was a great actor and brilliant singer, his contribution to music is Picasso-esque in scope and in his exemplary humanitarian works, many of which he wanted to remain anonymous. My mentor in acting Stella Adler would devote three classes to Sinatra’s artistry and interpretation”.

So, it’s safe to say that Sinatra influenced you?

“His influence is ongoing. We live in a much different world where many things are confused and chaotic. What Sinatra brought was an uncompromising authenticity, clarity and complexity as a man and as an artist.

Today we are losing a sense of self and individualism which seems to be replaced with group thinking and pandering. On the vocal level his use of Bel Canto in popular music gave him a vocal depth and masculinity that seems to have now been replaced by many wanting to sound like the Castrati of the 17th century!

It is a lost art that requires a much more disciplined technique than that of crooning. Most do not understand the difference”.

In ‘The Goonies’ you sing opera. Are you classically trained?

“I first started singing at around 7th or 8th grade, while in Church. I was always interested in acting and language and music was always in my home. I heard Sinatra and Bing and Dean and others in utero.

My mom and dad loved music. I used to go into my family’s basement and listen for hours to the old wind up phonograph with shellac records of great opera singers and early Sinatra. I would imitate the singers, pretending I was a Great Caruso. Then in high school while in the shower, after football practice,

I was singing and a Nun Sister heard this voice as she was walking by got my name from a friend and she called my mom who then convinced me to join the Glee Club.

At this time I was listening to Mario Lanza and began to be obsessed with voice and started to study opera. I would also sing the songbook but never had a burning need to switch to the Great American Songbook until after Frank, Dean and Sammy had passed away”.

“I directed and co-wrote a film about a down and out doo wop group, THE DUKES, which was very well received, winning nine awards.

In it I sang one song and everyone was saying I should sing again, this was in 2008. A couple of years later I asked my friend Bob Cavallo, (head of Disney Music) who I should study voice with, without hesitation he said Gary Catona.

I began studying with Gary every day for three years. That is where I got the idea to do my tribute album and show to Sinatra. I went to Capitol records and did four demos. That caught the attention of the woman who ran Capitol Records, Paula Salvatore and bingo! I had my first album, which charted at number 6 on billboard jazz for 8 weeks!”

What does the Great American songbook mean to you?

“The music from the Great American Songbook is the Shakespeare of America, the amalgam of the American experience born in the souls of the black jump and jazz artists, the immigrant Americans from around the World, from all countries and religions, and a huge portion from the sons and daughters of Jewish Immigrants. This collective experience translates the songbook around the world”.

Which is your favourite film role?

“Well that one film role that encompasses all for me hasn’t happened yet.

But there are some that stand out and I am lucky enough to be part of film history. One that needs mention is Franz Sanchez in ‘License to Kill’. Working on a Bond film is on the wish list of every actor and actresses.

The fun fact is there is bit of an inside nod to Sinatra. Franz Sanchez = Frank Sinatra!

I was first introduced to Cubby Broccoli by his daughter Tina, who was a friend of mine and a fan of Goonies. We had dinner with Cubby’s wife Dana and we had immediate warmth as both myself and Cubby were born in Astoria, Queens and grew up on Long Island, NY.

Albert R Broccoli (Cubby) was best friends with Sinatra and when ‘Licence To Kill’ was being cast, Cubby and Richard Maibaum were watching me in a film I had done that was groundbreaking at the time and they both agreed I was to be the new Bond villain!

As is always the case many have their own horse in the race i.e. agencies and studio heads and one day Cubby was telling Sinatra and they both said give it to the Italian kid!”

To finish, what would you like our readers to know about you?

“That I’d like to continue to tour the world with my music. Do more albums and a Christmas album. Also continue to do films and TV. Grow as an Artist and man.

If you haven’t known about my music I do hope you do now and that you enjoy it. Oh yeah, one thing, I have been touring the world singing but I have not been to the UK yet.

Now honestly, I know for a fact you all love the songbook so tell me why? I’d love to be invited by a promoter to sing there; I mean how many Bond villains sing? I’d also love to do a week or so at Ronnie Scott’s in London and come to all of the UK, including Trafford!

So, ‘start spreading the news’ and blessings to you all”.