Artist of the day: Lisa Casalino
In the three years since jazz singer Lisa Casalino made the shift from high school teacher and real estate agent to professional singer, she has progressed from sporadic nursing-home performances to weekly gigs at WestShore Plaza's Palm restaurant, Timpano Chophouse and Martini Bar in Hyde Park Village and Love's Artifacts Bar and Grille south of Gandy Boulevard.
Between those performances, Casalino croons at other restaurants, including Grillsmith in Brandon, bars, private parties, fundraisers, venue openings and the occasional visit to her first fans at the nursing homes.
It's a faraway world from where she started — when she splurged on a $500 sound system in 2007 and hit the nursing home track, finally securing her first solo restaurant gig in 2008.
"I've been very blessed, very lucky, to have people give me a chance," Casalino said. I'm a singer. I just want to sing. But I do promise quality entertainment."