Growing up in an Italian household in New York, Robert Davi says there were two constant figures in his life: the pope and Frank Sinatra.
"And not necessarily in that order," he adds.
So when Davi first came to Los Angeles in 1977 to film his first movie, "Contract on Cherry Street," alongside the famed Sinatra, it was life changing to say the least.
It was then Davi's acting career took off and the notorious "tough guy" would go on to star in "The Goonies," "License to Kill," "Die Hard," "Gangster Wars" and many others.
But Davi is also a talented singer.
And after years of keeping his talent to himself, he's finally putting it on display with his concert "Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance," coming to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Saturday.
Though he didn't kick off his singing career until 2011, the 59-year-old L.A. resident found his voice in eighth grade when a nun heard him singing in the shower after football practice at the Catholic school he attended and convinced him to join the glee club.
"I sang for myself back then more so than anything else. I didn't have the burning need to communicate through song," Davi says.
"Over the years, I always sang in my house. I have a piano and I would always do something. Then I directed a film a couple of years ago called 'The Dukes.' In it, I sing one song at the very end of the movie and I got a big response from that."
More than a love of singing, Davi has an affinity for the Great American Songbook, music that represents the best American songs from the 1920s to the '60s, written by the likes of Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Cole Porter and recorded by artists including Sinatra.
Davi says he was inspired to start singing these classics publicly when he began to notice the seeming descent
"I remember during my parents' time - the world wars and depressions - the American Songbook brought the country together. It was what made the world fall in love with our country and what made us fall in love with each other," Davi says.
"I like all kinds of music so I'm not a prude on that. But when you think about a song like 'All the Way' that won an Oscar in 1957 and then you have in 2006 'It's Hard Out There for a Pimp,' it kind of shows you. And people are wondering where this deterioration of our culture and society is coming from."
Davi's first album, "Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance," reached the Top 10 on Billboard's Jazz Chart and was produced by Phil Ramone, who also worked with Sinatra.
It features a variety of Sinatra songs including "All the Way," "I've Got the World on a String" and "The Best Is Yet to Come" - though Davi uses different chord charts because he doesn't believe any artist should be using Sinatra's original harmonic and rhythmic techniques.
At his Redondo Beach concert, he will be accompanied by a 15-piece orchestra as he sings songs from the album as well as some additional hits.
He will also tell stories about the music and his relationship with Sinatra, including the story of when the legendary crooner gave Davi his first taste of Jack Daniel's.
He describes the concert as a wonderful night of music and intimacy.
"It has a relevancy and excitement about it. There are many great, wonderful singers, but the interesting part about Sinatra is he had that edge to him, and he was a great actor. So there's not a lot of guys doing that today that have that combination," Davi says.
"And they're finding there's a lot of guys trying to do this Rat Pack thing. I'm probably one of the closest guys to have that authenticity because I've played bad guys my whole life, the tough guy. And when Sinatra said he'd break your legs, you believed him."