B I O
J. Occhipinti is a second
generation, Italian (& Sicilian)-American, born and raised in
the Northeastern Ohio steel town of Youngstown. At the age of
eight, he won an acoustic guitar and eight free lessons in a
raffle. His late father, John, was a professional guitarist,
who sat in with visiting big bands in the 1930’s era,
including Harpo Marx’s Big Band. Tom’s older sister, Janice,
introduced him to the new Rock & Roll and Motown sounds of
1950’s and 60’s. Inspired by artists such as James Taylor,
Carole King, Paul Simon, and the Beatles, Tom began writing and
performing original songs in coffee houses through out the
Midwest while attending Youngstown State University in the mid
While still in college, he
published his first songs with Bourne Music Company in New
York City, working with the late veteran songplugger, Dick
Stone. Mr. Stone had formerly worked at Paramount Music with
the legendary Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and many others.
Tom’s first cut at Bourne Music was in 1977 by an artist with
the last name of “Stewart.” After Tom’s initial excitement,
his publisher, Dick Stone, then informed him, that the artist
was not “Rod” Stewart, but “Doc” Stewart, a singing dentist
from Pittsburgh. WELCOME TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS!
Following graduation from Youngstown State University later
that fall, Tom and his wife, Anne, relocated to Nashville in
January of 1979. He began writing with Tree International, and
eventually such artists as Mickey Gilley, Ronnie McDowell,
Donna Meade, and others recorded his songs. Additionally, his
songs were also placed in the hit “FAME” Television Series and
used as regional jingles. During this time, Tom also worked as
a counselor with troubled youth.
In 1989, Tom wrote, published, and licensed an original song,
“Video Diary”, with the PANASONIC CORPORATION, for in-house
promotional use. He also co-produced the accompanying
two-minute film with a New York based production company.
During that time, he also wrote and licensed a second song,
“All the Way,” which inspired PANASONIC’S 1992 Olympic
campaign. The televised commercial debuted during a
Thanksgiving Football game in 1991, and was seen by an
estimated 22 million viewers.
In 1997, Tom taught Commercial Songwriting at MTSU. The
experience was very positive and convinced him to combine his
free-lance writing with teaching. He enrolled at TSU and
earned a Master’s Degree in Education in 2001. Currently, Tom
is an adjunct professor in the Music Business Program at
Trevecca University in Nashville, and a Reading/Writing
specialist/consultant. Tom is married to Anne, a veteran
schoolteacher, and they are parents to a daughter, Emilia, and
a son, Joseph.
first audiobook entitled, “Tools,” is a personal, touching,
memoir about his late father, John, who passed away on Oct.
21, 2003, at the age of 87. His mother, the late Helen
DiTommaso Occhipinti, passed away on May 13, 2004. Tom’s
parents were married for nearly 61 years, and are credited for
teaching him much about life. One of many things Tom’s father
taught him was, “treat people da way you wanna be treated.”
Tom’s mother would lovingly add, “and don’t take any @#@)(()* from
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