David Vito Gregoli
“The industry has always tried to put music and musicians in a box.…
since defining genres makes marketing easier,” says producer/multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli, aka Vito. “Nowadays, people are more sophisticated. Through new media they’ve been exposed to fresh sounds and ideas, including genre-busting ‘fusions’ that often defy categorizations. The music I create is a reflection of this diversity, and I bring an expanded musical perspective to acts I produce. That’s the reason I started Dharmapala Records.”
Indeed, Vito’s musical journey has been nothing if not diverse. His earliest musical explorations were rooted in Pop, Rock, Jazz and Blues, and shades of The Beatles, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck can be spotted in his work to this day. By the time he was in his teens, he was already hailed as a guitar virtuoso and working regularly in the L.A. club scene. “I was lucky I could grow a beard, so I passed for legal age,” quips Vito. Surrounded by older and more experienced musicians, Vito soaked up technique and style, but took a right turn in college towards Classical Music. “I’ve loved history since I was a kid, and Classical Music was the soundtrack to every era. At university, my emphasis was in Renaissance music, composition, and later, Spanish guitar.” This Latin influence would later flower into “Organic Nylon,” a Classical guitar CD laced with jazzy, South-of-the-Border flavor and sensuality. Vito’s Classical studies naturally led him to scoring. “I grew up in a theatrical family, and my sister was always calling on me to create music for her shows,” says Vito. His keen dramatic instincts have been tapped for music in film, TV and theatre projects.
Before he would go on to develop his own label, Dharmapala Records, Vito had several other paths to explore. As a songwriter working in the Pop, Rock and Country fields, he’s collaborated with noteworthy artists producing as well as playing on all the songs. Vito’s tasty guitar has been a spotlight in many of L.A.’s most popular bands as well as in studio sessions. His extensive musical IQ also made him a sought-after musical director for many singer/songwriters.
But it was Vito’s spiritual quest that led him to the New Age and World Music scenes. He was introduced to Transcendental Meditation at the age of 13, and later he turned to Buddhist meditation practices and Yoga. This in turn exposed him to Global Music and World instruments, from sitar to charango. His interests in the healing power of music and his Classical background seamlessly blended in with his expansive experiments in New Age music, expressed in his first release as an artist, Yoga Heart Healing.
Over the years, he’s had the privilege of working with such New Age and World Music artists as Constance Demby, Jai Uttal (featured on the Grammy Nominated “Mondo Rama” as guitarist and co-Producer), Stephen Kent, Tulku, Steven Halpern and produced and co wrote with for the acclaimed albums “Songs of Kuan Yin” with Donna De Lory and “Songs of Tara” for Sounds True Records.
In the ‘90s, music went digital and Vito dove in head first, which was unexpected, given his tactile connection with acoustic instruments. “The computer is just another instrument to me—or rather, an entire orchestra.” He blends both synthesized and acoustic sounds to create his signature “textured” compositions. “I’ve always called myself a ‘sound painter.’ I’m constantly adding new colors to my paintbox, and digital opens up the canvas.”
Vito’s own releases have earned him recognition as a master ‘sound painter,’ and garnered a host of high-profile award nominations. His most noteworthy albums are the New Age opus grande “Om Land,” (featuring Grammy winner Ricky Kej, sound healer Christo Pellani and accomplised vocalist Kimberly Haynes) and the groundbreaking World Groove “Primordial Sonics,” (which features master didjeridu artist Stephen Kent and New Age diva Donna De Lory). On both projects Vito demonstrates his versatility by playing most of the instruments himself, including drums, bass, a variety of guitars, sitar, flute, dobro, and other global instruments.
Vito’s talents were recently featured on the title track for the tour de force album by Al Jewer and Andy Mitran, “Transformation” (co written by Gregoli), which has received rave reviews.
Current producing projects include New Age crossover singer/songwriter Kimberly Haynes, and emerging kirtan artist Nichol Chase. Meanwhile, Gregoli is finishing his own World/lounge/chill album, a follow-up to “Primordial Sonics” that continues to push musical boundaries. Contributing to the project is India’s Ricky Kej. Vito has shared the stage with Ricky and Wouter Kellerman in a live performance from their Grammy-winner “Winds of Samsara,” and was honored to work on a track for “Shanti Samsara,” Ricky’s environmentally themed compilation for the Prime Minister of India. Vito also contributed to Wouter’s Grammy nominated album “Love Language”. In addition to performing with various acts around southern california and around the country, Vito traveled to perform in China in 2015.
Whether laying down killer guitar tracks, composing original music or adding depth and polish to artists he produces, Vito brings integrity and unique artistry to music that defies pigeon-holes. “I have the ability to hear something in everything — I can see ‘round the bend when someone plays me an idea. That inspires me in the job of Producer. Ironically, in my own projects, I’m often surprised by the directions they take, and just trust that the audience will find the music captivating.”