When Georgio Allentini, 22, approached station KJLH in Los Angeles on amateur Music Day last October, the staff knew right away he was unusual. Georgio, as he bills himself, didn’t even have the normal demo record to push. All he had was a cassette of a song he’d written in one day and then taped with his last $500, not only doing the singing but the instrumentals. “Highly unusual,” notes KJLH disc jockey Frankie Ross. But, recalls music director Licia Torres, who listens to about 20 amateur entries every weekly Music Day, “The first time I heard the song, I knew it was going to be hot. There was no doubt it was going to be a hit.” The station aired Georgio’s funky Sexappeal, and, says KJLH program director Cliff Winston, “Our phone lines lighted up. Everyone wanted to know where to get the new Prince record. He does sound like Prince—but he has his own style. And whatever it is, it’s working.”
Sure is. After his radio debut Georgio hastily cut a record of Sexappeal for Macola, a distribution label, and it sold 9,000 copies in just four days. Macola, in turn, sold the album rights to Motown Creative Division President Russ Regan. After one listen, Regan signed the unknown to a seven-year, multi-record contract that he and Georgio say is worth “something like” $6.9 million.
That is a very good yield on your last 500 bucks.
Georgio, who grew up in San Francisco as the son of a Navy petty officer and a Macy’s saleswoman, is immodest about all of this. He has single-handedly produced for Motown an album of new compositions on which he sings and plays—thanks to the miracle of dubbing—keyboard, guitar, bass and drums. “It’s going to sell one billion copies,” he says of the recently released album. “If Motown promotes me the way CBS promoted Michael Jackson, I’ll be great. I have everything he has—and more.”
Already Georgio has let success un-cramp his recently simple style. He has moved from the bachelor digs he shared with two cousins to a new three-bedroom L.A. house complete with pool, Jacuzzi and huge stereo system. And instead of bumming around town in buses or friends’ cars, he has treated himself to a snazzy Porsche Carrera Turbo. Still, he says, “I don’t want to spend all my time driving around enjoying the weather instead of taking care of business.” Maybe he should try it, while there’s still time.