For over 50 years, Bob Dellaposta has been a professional songwriter, music publisher, trumpet player and a professor of songwriting and music publishing.
Bob Dellaposta was introduced to music by listening to his father who played trumpet in a local band. By the young age of 5 years old, his father encouraged him to take up trumpet lessons by giving him a dime every time he went for his lessons. After a few lessons his father didn't have to give him a dime anymore because he found his love for the trumpet.
In 1961, when he was only 15 years old, Bob wrote his first song influenced by 'Oh Donna' by Ritchie Valens and he called it 'Oh Connie' after a girl he knew in Junior High. At this tender age he also started his first band that consisted of 4 members, playing a 15 minute floor shows professionally made them the huge sum of $3.00 each.
Bob graduated from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1967 with a degree in Music Education and immediately started teaching band in Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School. Bob also developed and started an elementary music program. In 1969 he moved to Homer City, Penn and while teaching there, he and five other teachers got together and started a horn band with trumpet, trombone, flute and saxophone. Deciding to go on the road, they all resigned their teaching positions.
While touring, they played in Chicago where the big bands were playing. In 1970, they started writing original songs and this encouraged Bob to continue with his own writing. The band didn't last very long and in 1971 Bob Dellaposta returned to Homer City to teach but found the position was no longer available, forcing him to earn his living working in a steel mill and playing in a Polka Band. Continuing his songwriting, Bob wrote a polka song and a waltz for the band.
Having an offer in 1976 to teach at Blairsville High School where he remained there for 13 years teaching band to the students. In 1988, he took a sabbatical from the High School and went to Nashville, TNN to get a taste of his dream for a year. Not being able to restrain himself from chasing that dream any longer, Bob taught only one more year at Blairsville High School resigning in 1989 to move to Nashville to fulfill his passion for songwriting and playing trumpet.
When Bob Dellaposta arrived in Nashville, like many artists/songwriters, it was not an easy go. Taking odd jobs to support himself, like cleaning houses, catching a break when he met up with a former friend that he made when playing in a previous band, Bobby Spicher. Being introduced to Bobby's brother, Buddy Spicher, a famous Nashville fiddle player, Buddy graciously invited Bob to stay at his ranch in Franklin, Tenn.. Bob Dellaposta was thrilled to take him up on the offer for that whole summer. This was the door that opened for Bob to be introduced and connected to numerous people in the music industry and the experience cemented his decision to move to Nashville, where he resides to this day.
Bob recognized the songs he was writing were Country songs even though he wasn't a big Country fan at the time. After taking piano lessons for about a year and half, he found every song he wrote came out Country on the piano. Well, you take inspiration where it emerges and he immersed himself into writing Country songs and little by little he started to get placements here and there. After Bob met three other songwriters at Nashville Songwriter's Association (NSAI), they pooled their resources together and started two publishing companies, one for the BMI writers and one for the ASCAP writers.
With an office on Music row the group did demos, using the best studios and hired the best demo singers who went on to have their own careers like Jeff Carson, Gatlin Brothers (who were the Ellis Brothers), Trisha Yearwood, Joe Diffy and Garth Brooks.
They soon learned that every major publishing company in town was owned by a major record label. Bob and his partners were naive up to that point thinking that their songs would get discovered and released. Finally recognizing the politics that was involved, along with the fact that the major labels had experience professional staff writers while they themselves were beginners, they recognized they had to go through the major labels.
Bob Dellaposta's first real breakthrough and his first major cut was a song he wrote called 'Wish You Were Here', released by Clinton Gregory who was on a small label, Step One Records. Also with Step One Records, the band Sixty Five South and artist, Bill Young each recorded one of Bob's songs.
In 1994, the group's publishing company split up and Bob decided to try something different. One day sitting in the office of NASAI he saw an ad in the back of a magazine that said “place an ad for $4.00”. He placed an ad saying 'songwriter has original songs for you to record, send me a self addressed stamped envelope and I will send you a cassette for you to listen to and record'. Bob received a few requests and one day he received a call from a lady in Knoxville. She said she found 4 songs on the cassette that she wanted to record but she only wanted the tracks without the vocals.
Seeing an opportunity, Bob gathered up as many of his tracks as he could and started to lease them out. Bob Dellaposta became the first person in Nashville to lease out tracks, it was brilliant. Bob also started pitching his tracks to independent artists everywhere in the world who were looking for songs. It took about ten years but Bob had 2500 of his songs recorded, with some of his songs recorded 35 to 50 times.
Finding another avenue to continue to get his songs out, in 1999 Bob Dellaposta, started an original band called Badabing Badaboon which wrote all of their own songs. Every aspect in his life was always pushing him forward to write more songs and up until present he has written close to 1000 songs. He learned to be a song plugger, a publisher and a songwriter by 'doing' it. Putting himself out there, and making a mistake here and there as we all do, but learning from all of his experiences.
Bob combine his teaching experience and music experience into an opportunity to teach at the Nashville State Community College in 2009. It was requested that he start a publishing class which has since been expanded into a Beginning Publishing class and an Advanced Publishing class. He also teaches Songwriting One and Songwriting Two along with the Fundamentals of Music which is a Music Theory course. Occasionally he is called upon to teach the Business of Music. With his many years in both the teaching and music industry trenches Bob Dellaposta was a perfect fit for the College.
Even with all that is going on in Bob Dellaposta's life, he is able to write when it moves him. He is still getting placements and pitches songs to not only artists, but for movies, TV and advertisers and advertisers as well. He works with co-publishers or publishers sharing different leads. The list goes on and on when it comes to different TV shows that he has a song in and he is always amazed with the new shows that are picking up his songs. Bob still gets excited when he learns of one of his songs being picked up. He works at pitching his songs seven days a week.
Today, Bob works for NSAI, SongU.com, runs his own publishing company and teaches at the Nashville State Community College. A long time ago, someone told Bob 'to find something that you would do for free that you love doing and find a way to get paid for it'. This is basically sums up Bob Dellaposta's philosophy. Over the years, Bob continues to run into students who give him credit and thanked him because they received placements for their songs.
Some advice and insight Bob has for songwriters is, don't be contrived, don't write about something you know nothing about, be real, be conversational because when the listener is listening to the song they want to actually believe that you are writing about them. Not every song needs to have a big demo, learn how to do your own demos. Learn to pitch to TV shows, movies or an advertisement.
Continuing his advice, Bob Dellaposta recommends that you expand the ways to make money, if you only have one egg in your basket, you are leaving money on the table. The most heartfelt sentiment and teaching from Bob Dellaposta is “If you believe in what you are writing, don't let anybody else end your dream. The only person who can end your dream is YOU. It is only when YOU give up on your dream, that the dream is over”.
By Jacqueline Kellock