The Inspiration Diaries: An Interview with Harmonica Player and Blues Performer Rob Paparozzi

Ideas are more than what you create. It’s a connection to something that inspires you… how you separate yourself from the crowd. This isn’t just a series of interviews with artists, musicians, influencers and taste makers. With “The Inspiration Diaries,” I am trying to capture the drive and passion of these people, find out what inspires them, and in turn, why they inspire us.

Blues performer and harmonica player Rob Paprozzi

Blues performer and harmonica player Rob Paprozzi

New Jersey-based frontman, singer, & harmonica player Rob Paparozzi has been a blues performer since 1967. But Rob is far from being strictly a blues musician. In fact, he’s at home playing a wide range of music, ranging from rock to blues to jazz to pop. This versatility is reflected in the long and remarkably diverse list of major artists Rob has worked with, including B.B.King, Dr. John, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Carole King, Roberta Flack, Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, Randy Newman, Jimmy McGriff, and James Galway.

Rob had been touring the world with the “Original Blues Brothers Band”, featuring guitar legend Steve Cropper and special guest Eddie Floyd 2000-to present this summer 2013 we played Spain & France. Rob will leave for Lugano, Switzerland at the end of August to headline the BLUES to BOP Festival, then onto Verona, Italy for a few more Dates.

Rob Sang was Lead Singer with “Blood Sweat and Tears” as Front Man-Lead Vocalist and Harmonica Player (replacing singer David Clayton Thomas) in 2004-to July 2011. Rob’s has left BS&T and now leads his own band The Rob Paparozzi Band features Ed Alstrom, John Korba, Chris Eminizer, Bernard Purdie, George Naha and Bailey Gee. The shows are Local in NY-NJ as well as International, Europe & Asia. In 2009 Rob worked on his debut CD which features many varied styles and “special guests”. The CD has been getting lots of airplay worldwide and terrific acclaim in the press.

Rob’s Broadway, movie, and television credits are also extensive, including: shows Big River and The Will Rogers Follies; films Flirting With Disaster and Ride; TV programs the Bill Cosby Show, CBS Early Show and the David Letterman Show, appearances in 2006 with Dolly Parton and George Jones on Conan O=Brien and David Letterman=s LATE SHOW. Recently in 2009 Rob performed a DUET w/ Bernadette Peters (Harmonica & Vocals on ‘Shenandoah’ at The Minskoff Theatre in NYC. He has also done TV commercial jingles for Scotch 3M BLUE tape, KFC, Pizza Hut, Maxwell House, Wendy’s, Lincoln Mercury, Stouffers, Dodge, Ford, Coke,Pepsi, Dominos, and Tylenol to name a few.


The bottom line is, even if you haven’t heard of Rob Paparozzi before, you’ve probably heard–and enjoyed–his work!

Rob’ DEBUT CD “Etruscan Soul” is now available and features Special Guests: Phoebe Snow, Harvey Brooks, Will Lee, Chuck Rainey, Bernard Purdie, Leo Nocentelli, Shawn Pelton and Hugh McCracken. His Latest Projects are with Paul Butterfield’s Son and The Gabriel Butterfield Band. Rob’s finishing up a NEW CD with The Ed Palermo Big Band. For more info on Rob’s many diverse projects or to buy a CD, go to:

Who or what inspires you?
My Children and my Wife first then the magic of Music…inspiration is really just a full appreciation of LIFE itself.

What’s your favorite piece of music?
Strawberry Fields (and most of John Lennon’s Music….)

What do you love about your work?
I get paid to make people feel good and smile, that is very rewarding!

What do you dislike about your work?
The “Business” of Music Really Sucks in general even worse than other types of Business. But it’s the field I chose so you take the Good with the Bad it all balances out in the end you know.

What musician do you most identify with?
Toots Thieleman’s….because he loves all styles of Music and and happy playing his Harmonica whether it’s Sesame Street or Carnegie Hall!

Who are three people that you’d like to be compared to. Why?

Well I hate being compared with others so this is tuff…

Randy Newman is what a lot of people compare my singing style with and hey, I like that!,-)

Harmonica wise  that’s tuff…maybe Paul Butterfield because I respect and strived for a lot of his tone and technique.

And in LIFE maybe Ward Cleaver from the “Leave it to Beaver”…he was always there for his kids! I liked that and today more Dad’s need to take time to spend with their kids!

What is your dream project?
A big Band Tribute to Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield…the dream is soon becoming a reality…stay tuned!

What superpower would you have and why?
Like Superman…able to leap tall buildings and fly so I don’t have to drive to my gigs!

Name something you love, and why.
Life itself, it’s the biggest challenge and yet the most rewarding but humbling in a good way. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Listen before you talk or act ….. that advice can get you through a lifetime with too many trainwrecks!

If you want to see Rob what he does best in person, here is a list of his upcoming gigs:

Brian’s BBQ March 8th, Middletown NY

Barnacle Bill’s March 14th, Rumson, NJ

The Falcon Brunch March 16th, Marlboro, NY

The Robin’s Nest March 22nd  Linden, NJ

The Falcon March 27th, Marlboro, NY

Havana March 30th, New Hope, PA

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