David Lapio’s life mirrors the eclectic nature of his music. A native of Connecticut, David received a degree in Chemistry from St. Michael’s College. Music was always a major focus as he studied and performed in many groups throughout his four years of college. His musical training in classical and jazz piano, as well as percussion, was subordinated to “hobby” status while he pursued a career as a chemist.
After hearing Andy Narell's album "The Hammer" in 1988, followed by a first trip to the Caribbean, David was hooked. He purchased a tenor pan from Paul Real Sales and began to teach himself to play. Realizing the importance of quality instruments, he soon purchased a tenor pan from Patrick Arnold, a well known maker of drums and leader of Our Boys Steel Orchestra. Subsequently, he acquired professional steel drum instruments from Ellie Mannette and LLoyd Gay of Trinidad.
Having discovered his true vocation, David left the Chemistry field in 1991 and moved to Florida to pursue a musical career playing steel drum. Shortly after the move, he formed Tropical Steel, a one to three-piece band that immediately met success in the Southwest Florida club scene. He also freelanced with several local area bands in percussion and steel drum.
David’s obvious talents did not go unnoticed among the elite of the steel drum musicians, leading to his appointment to the faculty of Ellie Mannette’s annual steel drum workshop. Mannette, "the father of the modern steel drum", is credited with the creation of the first 55-gallon steel drum in Trinidad in 1946. In recent years, David has played on stage with a succession of steel pan greats; including Ken "Professor" Philmore, Robert Greenidge, Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, Ray Holman, Andy Narell, Jeff Narell, and Tom Miller. He has also played for Royal Castle Potential Symphony in Trinidad during Panorama (the national steel band competitions of Trinidad and Tobago) in 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2003. His subsequent Panorama appearances have included such renowned bands as Starlift, Fonclaire Steel Orchestra, Solo Pan Knights, Humming Bird Pan Groove, and Phase Two Pan Groove.
In the fall of 1996, David released his first CD, entitled "Steel In The Groove". This collection of several jazz, pop, Latin, and original songs was very well received. His second CD, "Cover This!" a collection of more traditional Calypso, Soca, Latin, and Jimmy Buffett songs, was released in September 1998.
David Lapio continues to demonstrate his unique talent as a “pan” player with his latest CD, “David Lapio-Uncovered!” a collection of all-original music that merges his jazz, classical, and Caribbean background. Once again, David has demonstrated the amazing capability of the steel drum in the hands of an extremely talented musician.