You might know Tom Villa as the Frank Sinatra-sounding voice in the background of the Villa Automotive radio commercials. Or maybe you’ve seen him sing at Mission San Luis Obispo, where he’s a cantor.
The 22-year-old, who will perform for the third time at the annual Phyllis’ Musical Revue and Show this weekend, says his ultimate goal is to “find peace through music.”
Villa started singing as a sophomore at San Luis Obispo High School when a friend persuaded him to join the school choir. When he did a solo during a concert, his dad said, “Tom, I didn’t know you could sing!”
His father, John Villa, came up with the idea for Tom to sing in the commercials as a way to advertise his voice while advertising the business, Tom Villa said.
The proud dad ends each commercial with the tagline, “Nicely done, son.”
John Villa also encouraged his son to sing at the Mission and, through his connection to the Madonna family, helped secure the gig in Phyllis Madonna’s fashion show, a fundraiser for the Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County.
He’s the most humble, kind person you’ll ever meet. And that’s what I’m most proud of him for.
John Villa, Tom’s father
“My dad is supportive and started giving me all these opportunities to put me out there,” Tom Villa said. “I’m very lucky.”
“He’s the most humble, kind person you’ll ever meet,” John Villa said. “And that’s what I’m most proud of him for.”
Tom Villa is finishing up his degree in general music at Cuesta College and working part time at Villa Automotive, where his father is teaching him how to be an account manager. He also sings in a few choirs and says he’s just “attached” to music.
As far as singing goes, Villa doesn’t have specific career goals but said he is focused on learning and improving his art.
“I’m still learning how to play piano, and I want to learn more about music theory,” Villa said. “I want to be able to write my own music, accompany myself on the piano and increase my range.”
Villa said church hymns and Frank Sinatra-style songs are his favorites to sing.
“They’re fun and have a lot of personality.”
▪ Tickets are available for the Friday lunch and dinner shows and the Saturday lunch show at the Alex Madonna Expo Center.
▪ Tickets are $70 per person ($80 for table seats along the ramp) for the 11 a.m. lunch shows Friday and Saturday; $110 per person ($120 for ramp seats) for the 5:30 p.m. dinner show Friday.
▪ Music and dancing will follow the dinner show.