From Microsoft to Music – The Story of George Santino
Written by Judith Morris|“The key to pursuing a dream is to always come back to it. You get this one life and you have to make sure that these things that you think are going to bring you a tremendous amount of enjoyment happen. And whether they happen while you are young or if they happen when you are older. That is the decision you have to make.”
Though he is not trying to imitate a legend, anyone who hears George Santino’s music can easily mistake his voice for that of Frank Sinatra. His musical style, calm and soulful yet clear voice has begun to attract the attention of other artists, his community and soon the nation. In 2012 at age 55, George retired from his twenty-year career at Microsoft and decided to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a professional singer. So far, he has released two albums titled “The Magic of Christmas” and “Come Fly With Me,” which both include songs he has written and some remakes as well. A musician, an author and motivational speaker, George Santino has an inspiring story that teaches people that it is never too late to follow their dreams.
Even though George currently resides in Seattle, during his early years George lived in a housing project with his parents in South Philadelphia. He lived in a musical house, as his father would sing songs by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Vick Damone. Inspired by “The Rat Pack”and “Crooner”music, George began singing at the age of three.In fact, he was encouraged by his father to sing whenever the opportunity presented itself. He hoped that one day a music industry executive would be nearby so that he could be discovered. He sang wherever he could even after high school until he realized that singing professionally had to take a “back seat” for a while.“After high school I had a few singing jobs, but they were very few and far between. I realized I liked singing just as much as I liked eating, so I needed to get a job, but I always knew that it was something that I wanted to do.”
With that George began applying to work at Microsoft and after 4 attempts, he landed the job in 1991. Microsoft was a very competitive atmosphere, but he was ready to work regardless. “I had to get in to show them I was worth hiring, so I didn’t care if I had to sweep the floor, if that is what I had to do. I went from lab engineer, to software tester, to software test lead and eventually I was promoted to partner. I was eager to get in there and work. If you go in to punch a clock every day, then you won’t be successful. You reap what you sow.”
George did so well at Microsoft that he was able to retire early and pursue his dreams of becoming a professional singer. At his retirement party he surprised his friends and coworkers by performing. “My friends all asked me what I was going to do after I retired so I showed them. I hired a band and I got up on stage and sang for my guests. They kept saying that they had no idea I could sing. “
After retiring, George began working with Eric Benedict, a local musician who became both his manager and producer. Since then George has performed for several events including the Seattle Center 50th birthday party, which was his biggest event. George is grateful that he is now able to pursue singing the way that he wants to, which is a luxury most new musicians do not have.
“A lot of struggling artists are not able to pursue music the way I do. A lot of them have to perform for years and save up money so that they can record an album and for me, I recorded an album and put it on Amazon before I even performed anywhere.”
After his album “Come Fly with Me” reached the #1 spot on Amazon, George has had several requests from people wanting to write an article about him. George also intends to continue his music endeavors by learning piano, but he has no plans to play and sing simultaneously. Along with his musical talents, George is also writing a book called “Get Back Up.”
“I was telling my daughter once that life is full of obstacles that will knock you on your butt over and over again, but you have to get back up and if you don’t keep trying, then you’re never going to have anything in life.” The message of his book will send an inspirational message to readers on the importance of overcoming life’s many obstacles. He will use his own experiences as a way to motivate others, which is also one of George’s other endeavors. George plans to give motivational speeches to inner city kids as a way to encourage them to stay in school and not take no for an answer.
“That is the wonderful part about living in America, with a little hard work and dedication, anyone can be anything.”
George Santino’s official website: www.georgeasantino.com