Rick DePiro, (born May 30, 1967) who is known by his stage name Ricky Dee, is an American Country singer-songwriter, notable and award winning jazz pianist and jazz organist, and a music producer who has recorded and produced over twenty-five albums. DePiro is also the founder of RADCO Music Group, a Los Angeles based multimedia group consisting of JaRic Records and Entertainment, a Los Angeles based independent record label and multimedia company that is located, as well, in Nashville, Carol Lynn Designs, an Entertainment industry based jewelry design and manufacturing company bringing to market the designs of famed Celebrity jewelry designer Carol Lynn facilitated to television by Emmy award winning designer and stylist Soyon An, each of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance fame, RADCO Media Group, a web design and internet specialty company and the "PLAY MUSIC-ENJOY LIFE!"TM Piano series for Music and Wellness as part of PLAY MUSIC-ENJOY LIFE! Inc., a non-profit California based company partnered with the American Cancer Society and headed by several notable Music and Wellness music industry veterans, musical artists and piano industry veterans including Education Director and Music and Wellness expert Tory Aleman,which is a group lesson program for Music and Wellness including stress relief,.
DePiro is the son of a steel executive (and hall of fame softball pitcher) father, Louis, and Jazz vocalist mother, Joan, (whose uncle, Vincent Nola, founded and owned Nola Studios in New York City and recorded such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Jack Jones and Sammy Davis Jr), and sibling to two younger sisters Deanna, a computer sales executive and Jacki, a well known Jazz vocalist and a founding and current partner at JaRic Records and Entertainment. Throughout his career, DePiro has distinguished himself in a variety of positions in the music industry as an award winning National Artist for Matsushita/MCA-Universal with Technics Musical Instruments, Roland Corporation as a National Artist and Product Specialist, president of RADCO Music and Music Publishing, participating artist and contributor of the I-AM workshop, VP of KnoC Management- Hollywood, and founder/co-owner and current president of RADCO Music Group. DePiro turned down a scholarship at Eastman College of Music to attend Daemen College and Akron University as a music theory, synthesis and music business Major. In 1982 with a qualifying IQ of 165 on an officially monitored exam, DePiro was made a member of Mensa
Early Life 1967 - 1985 and career start:
DePiro was born on May 30, 1967 in Cleveland, Ohio. During this time, his father was finishing an Engineering degree at Fenn College of Engineering. DePiro grew up in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York area and started playing Jazz Organ at the age of 10. He started playing Piano by age 12.
DePiro was born Richard Anthony DePerro, later changing his legal name and his stage name for works and appearances in Jazz and popular music to Rick DePiro in 1990 via career advice from his attorney Peter Ross and co-managers Brendan Cahill and Jon Hichborn. His stage name in Country music, Ricky Dee, was added in 2000 via earlier advice from Country music mentor Johnny Cash at the Universal Amphitheater just prior to Cash's concert on September 21, 1990. Throughout his extensive performance career DePiro has, often in large part, credited his teachers and mentors with his keyboard proficiency and masterful skills. Some of these professional educators and performers rank amongst the most well respected and prominent pianists, organists, keyboardists and orchestrators in modern music history. DePiro's list of personal teachers and music mentors includes Michael O'Boyle, Carlo Annibale, Don Costa, Pat Pace, Dr. Roland Paolucci, Frank Leone, Jimmy Wozniak, Dr. Michael Boddicker, Dr. Ralph Turek and Oscar Peterson.
DePiro started performing by "sitting in" with Jazz and Rock bands throughout NY by invitation at age twelve. His first "steady paid gig" was as weekly Church pianist at St Matthew's Church in Buffalo, New York at age twelve. By age sixteen he recorded two albums and was signed to Mark Records by owner and producer Vincent Morette (NY) . He performed his first solo piano-organ concert at age fourteen and began teaching privately holding twenty-five weekly private students by the age of seventeen. Before he was eighteen, he had roughly thirty-five television appearances, local and national, airplay on over fifty radio stations nationwide, had written thirty songs and had composed and performed the ongoing theme song for the weekly New York TV talk show Talk Of The Town. Within that same time-frame, DePiro studied with his Orchestra "idol" Don Costa as a protégée in Beverly Hills, performed at the Emmy Awards, was the opening act for seven different artists/bands and along with his band and vocalist - singing phenomenon, (then seven years old) sister Jacki DePiro, won a Tri-State contest, after competing with two-hundred and ninety-seven professional acts, for a center stage concert at New York indoor Amphitheatre, Melody Fair.
DePiro became the music director for the USWA/AFL-CIO Constitutional Conventions at age eighteen when he was contracted by Richard Davis, International EVP of the USWA. He then performed at eight USWA bi-annual international conventions until the age of thirty-two, often including his sister Jacki in concerts and events. His song America My Home was the first song in the convention's history to be performed and included as official business. DePiro performed the song on the convention floor during the 1994 convention in Las Vegas, requested by Davis and introduced by International USWA President Lynn R. Williams. DePiro produced a Christmas album in 1984 for vocalist Raine Austen and got his first national jingle contract writing and performing jingles with Ms. Austen for a (then) new chain of the Muffler Man Supply Company, Rainbow Muffler, contracted through company president/founder Jim Christensen Sr.
In 1984 DePiro was signed to a second record contract this time with Cosmic Records in Cleveland, Ohio. He stayed with Cosmic Records until after the death of friend and mentor Romeo Salerno (Cosmic Records owner and founder) in December 1991. Continuing after the death of Salerno, DePiro recorded new projects and released them under the Cosmic Records banner (through an agreement and promise made to Salerno), with the assistance of Salerno's son John Salerno, until starting his own label, JaRic Records, in 1997.
He is a BMI writer and publisher and voting member of NARAS, the recording academy
In the 1980s DePiro became a music director of Rock Show-Band "Sir Bentley". He toured the United States with the band for over a year. After an additional year performing six days a week as leader of a "house band" at the Bond Court, a downtown luxury Hotel in Cleveland Ohio, playing for local TV shows, concerts in the Park, conventions and special political events, DePiro won a tri-state audition to become the stadium organist for the Cleveland Indians and played the Organ at all home games at Cleveland Stadium for two seasons. With the Indians, DePiro garnered featured press, both for his musical talent and "baseball song sarcasm", in local and National media including ESPN, CNN and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, amongst others. In later years, DePiro has also played stadium organ as a special guest for the Texas Rangers, LA Angels and Chicago White Sox.
DePiro moved to the Los Angeles area to further pursue his career in music in 1986 while still playing Organ for the Indians. He transferred his AFM membership to the LA/Hollywood chapter, Local 47, In LA, he was initially managed by David Parrish (George Benson) who introduced him to music producer Chuck Sabatino (Michael McDonald Band). In his first two years in LA, with Sabatino, DePiro met and recorded several projects with Michael McDonald's band. He also took on a job as music director for Broadway and film actor Sy Kramer, and through Kramer worked with actors including Betty White, Gretchen Wilder, Barbara Luna, Dom DeLuise, Estelle Getty and others. He also worked with actor/friend John O'Hurley and his (then) wife actress Eva LaRue (CSI: Miami), took acting lessons in Hollywood, and co-owned a recording studio in Lake Arrowhead, CA. He was later managed by Jon Hichborn and Brendan Cahill (Universal Studios Film Music VP) who handled his career for the next three years where he recorded with several producers including Steve Shiff and Joe Julian (Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds), performed at the Greek Theater, got airplay on numerous LA Rock stations and became a National Concert Artist for Matsushita/MCA - at Technics Musical Instruments. He won National Keyboard Artist of the Year in 1992 and 1993. His involvement with MCA/Universal lead him to bring in sister Jacki as a performer at special events, and additionally as Manager of the MCA/Universal Company store where they befriended legendary Chairman Lew Wasserman. Wasserman helped the DePiro's garner performances at Universal Studios for PAC and EIF functions and Special Studio Events and was a personal reference for their second performance at The White House for and by invitation of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton in December 2000. DePiro was among the invited guests at Wasserman's 60th anniversary private gala at Universal Studios stage 28 in December 1996 along with many of Hollywood's most elite community.
In 1999 and 2000 DePiro contracted with and wrote music software for Technote America and Style Station Inc. and recorded his 14th - 21st CDs with seven CDs of instrumental cover music under contract with an independent label based in Los Angeles. In October 2000 he was signed as a National Product Specialist and Concert Artist with Roland Corporation through friend and colleague Dennis Houlihan, Roland company president-CEO and current Chairman, and is still a contracted staff artist with Roland. DePiro is one of less than 100 professional music artists to be endorsed officially by the Roland Corporation and the first "staff artist" to ever be endorsed. In November 2000 he married his long time (eight years) girlfriend and fiancée, Yvette Leon, a musical theater and Shakespeare performer, in Laguna Niguel, California. In December 2000, he and sister Jacki were again invited and performed at The White House, in this instance for five-hundred invited guests at a governors and military reception, and additionally performed a private concert for the president and were honored with a thirty-minute private audience with the president. Soon after the attacks of 9-11, in December 2001, DePiro was invited to perform his song America My Home for New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the Mayor's "Man of the Year" celebration in New York City.
Throughout 2001 and 2002, after the attacks of 9/11, DePiro's "America My Home" was played on more than 400 radio stations nationwide (partly due to assistance from John and Lew Dickey, co-owners and co-founders of Cumulus Media) to help reinforce and celebrate the national pride and belief in America, and is still played and performed at patriotic and special events throughout the U.S.A annually. To date DePiro has performed over 2500 Concerts worldwide in more than 450 cities and has a documented repertoire of memorized songs in excess of 20,000 which is still ranked as one of the highest numbered instrumental repertoires among existing instrumentalists as reported in the Guinness Book of Records.
In 1993 DePiro along with sister Jacki recorded their first Holiday themed CD entitled Christmastime which still airs annually on radio stations across the US during the Holiday Season.
From 2001 to present day:
DePiro launched JaRic Records and Entertainment with sister Jacki in 1997 to coincide with the release of their "All About Time" CD. In 1998 DePiro had over US$450,000 stolen from him by his former accountant and former attorney and business partner. His accountant forged a GPA in DePiro's name and left him nearly bankrupt. A federal lawsuit was filed by DePiro and for the next six years was assembled and fought in U.S. Federal Court, finally concluding with a full judgment in DePiro's favor on October 3, 2004. The six-year period stalled the advancement of JaRic Records however during these six years, DePiro still performed in over 700 events including two performances at the White House. Longtime friend and colleague Freddie Ravel joined on with JaRic Records in 2005 as an Artist-Partner. Ricky Dee, Jacki DePiro, Freddie Ravel, Lindsay Jordan, Joe Walla, Emily Davison and others have been signed to JaRic Records. The label has plans to sign several new artists currently and by the end of 2013. DePiro and his team led by JaRic Records VP Will Urban (former VP at mp3.com) launched the JaRic website in 2005. DePiro recorded his first solo country music CD in 2006 titled Give Me A Chance under the JaRic label. The CD received excellent reviews, and is/has been distributed by iTunes, QVC, CDBaby, CD Universe and over 30 additional distribution outlets/channels worldwide. DePiro wrote title cut and 11 additional songs, is credited for all arrangements on this CD and performed on piano, Organ, keyboards and all lead vocals. He also is credited for producing the CD. The CD included tracks from Michael MacDonald's Band and songs written and produced by DePiro and co-produced by Nashville producer, Dave Dunston who is also DePiro's live performance Music Director.
DePiro along with drummer Dave Beyer and bassist Hussain Jiffry performed as DePiro's jazz trio on Jacki DePiro's first solo jazz CD in 2006 under JaRic Records, titled Where I Hang My Hat Is Home Rick DePiro wrote title cut and two additional songs, is credited for all arrangements on this CD and performed on piano and vocals. He also was credited for producing the CD. All credits appear in liner notes, on artist website, label website and on websites selling and reviewing this CD, where DePiro is a credited composer (3 songs), arranger (all songs) and producer (all songs). DePiro appeared in and performed on NBC's Las Vegas in 2007 -- under the direction of friend and colleague Peter Weller, and has also recently performed on and appeared in the motion picture Once Fallen with Weller, Michael Madsen, Brian Presley and Ed Harris. He appeared in and/or performed on The Price is Right, Breaking Bonaduce, Wheel of Fortune, the Tony Danza Show, CNN, Inside Edition, ESPN, many conventions including the Democratic National Convention, and The Emmys amongst others. He and his label were given the first exclusive distribution deal for a record label in QVC history in 2006 and DePiro's first appearances on QVC included a 15 minute solo performance spot and as a Prime Time guest performer in August 2006. Amongst his more than 2500 lifetime concert performances, he has performed in well known concert venues worldwide including The Kennedy Center, The Greek Theatre, The Hollywood Bowl, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace and most recently, Carnegie Hall. DePiro currently also performs with Peter Weller and a Jazz quintet at the Grand Havana Room, an exclusive private club in Beverly Hills CA, several times per year. His artistic versatility has enabled DePiro to perform with notable artists of many genres including, amongst many, arguably the world's best jazz accordionist, Cory Pesaturo at the winter NAMM Show in Anaheim California.
DePiro tours an average of 70 cities per year currently and earlier in his career, regularly performed over 200 shows/concerts annually covering over 125 cities. He has traveled in excess of 3 million air miles, logged over 1500 hotel nights and more than 500,000 highway/road miles, nearly all in performance of music or music-related projects. His music, songwriting, performances, and production projects including his recordings and online videos i.e.: have been hosted and/or broadcast in 13 countries, in 10 languages and have been listened to and /or viewed by of millions of people.
Beginning in 2002, DePiro was managed and mentored by musical instrument industry executive Nick Orlando and William Morris Agency former head agent Steve Konow (Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Toni Tenille etc.) until Orlando's death in 2005 where Konow continued until DePiro and his sister, along with the rest of the JaRic Records team, were signed by current manager David Baram (former President and COO The Firm, Beverly Hills and current partner with Rick Yorn at Bridge Entertainment, Century City - whose client list includes Criss Angel, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, etc.).
DePiro and his JaRic Records team signed a recent development deal with Baram and his management team for a new Reality Show about the problems in the music industry and how their team (and label) are beating the odds and succeeding. In 2009 after donating his performance for a July 4 Music Concert at Warner Center Park, California, headlining for more than 50,000 people, DePiro (Ricky Dee) was recognized formally with an award from the City Of Los Angeles for his selfless and numerous contributions to the City. In 2010 DePiro signed a multi-year deal with BrassStar Productions, Los Angeles to supply the music exclusively for videos that BrassStar was creating for LA's Metrolink System, Homeland Security for anti-terrorist training videos, the National "See Something-Say Something" campaign for public awareness and threat assessment, and the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department.
DePiro still continues to travel more than 120 days per year worldwide, has a World Tour planned for the 2013-2014 Concert Season and has also signed on to the I-AM Workshop - Reno Nevada for donated Concert appearances, and as a board member, aiding in the fight against Artist substance abuse and addiction throughout the music industry. In March 2010, DePiro, along with his attorney and partner acquired 50% of the Carol Lynn Jewelry Design company (So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol etc.). In 2011 DePiro along with his partners launched RADCO Music Group, consisting of 4 companies, JaRic Records and Entertainment, RADCO Music Learning Centers (RMLC's)(and the "PLAY MUSIC - ENJOY LIFE" piano series),RADCO Media Group and Carol Lynn Designs. For 2013, JaRic Records has a Holiday recording project slated for the Holiday / Christmas Season including several notable and multi-award winning Artists which with the support of several major corporate sponsors, large agencies and known private foundations including the Stanley Black Family Foundation of Beverly Hills, will benefit the William J. Clinton Foundation efforts worldwide and the American Cancer Society with a partnership launched in July 2013 to promote Music and Wellness to Cancer survivors nationwide, and the efforts of former presidents Bush and Clinton, the Music and Wellness program for RADCO Music Group (PLAY MUSIC-ENJOY LIFE!) the Arts Aware Foundation (part of the Arts and Living Magazine Foundations)and several other well known charities with planned proceeds to be distributed to the above mentioned causes. In 2013 DePiro wrote a new curriculum for PLAY MUSIC ENJOY LIFE! to accompany a new month long series of Wellness lessons to be given as scholarships to thousands of deserving individuals through a new 501(c)3 Music and Wellness organization headed by DePiro and program director Troy Aleman, a notable musical artist, instructor and industry veteran. The above referenced curriculum was written by DePiro to offer those afflicted either currently or previously with a serious illness and/or their caregiver a month of weekly lessons in a group class setting as an escape and "rebuilder" of Hope and is titled "Music,Wellness and Hope - PLAY MUSIC ENJOY LIFE!"
DePiro lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and son.