A BRADFORD hairdresser turned successful TV producer has revealed his dream of bringing a £1million studio to the city, aiming to boost employment and recognition of the North’s talent.
It’s been a crazy journey for Rocco Buonvivo, a Wibsey lad now living in the capital as an artist impresario providing sell-out shows with the world’s biggest stars at the London Palladium .
Before lockdown, he brought rock and roll legends, actors and musicians to the stages and conference halls of the country.
But as venues fall silent, Rocco has turned his sights back to television and a vision to build up the city “always in his heart”.
Looking back on his younger life, the former St. Bede’s Grammar School pupil said: “I was never very good at school, I hated it to be honest. When I was 14 I already had a part time weekend job as a hairdresser. When I left school at 16 I already had a full time job as a hairdresser. That was interesting.
“I opened my first shop when I was 18 on Barkerend Road. Within three years I got six salons and 40 staff. We had one shop in the city centre, Rocco’s.
“Then from the salons I started organising events and I remember my first show. I only had three people turn up. It was a disaster. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was my first kind of event but it was fun at the same time. From there onwards I started to build up doing events and I started to love the music business.
“I got involved with a Beatles tribute act, Band On The Ron, I started to manage them and we started to tour the UK with a lot of shows. At the same time I managed a band called Tropicana.
“We were together quite a few years and I developed from there onwards doing all these shows.”
His world revolves around huge stage shows in London with names such as Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sir Cliff Richard, Whoopi Goldberg, Rod Stewart, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Douglas and Sophia Loren.
As venues closed due to the pandemic and cases grew in Italy, Rocco was inspired to pull together an uplifting show called ‘Help for Italy’, being of Italian descent himself.
Using his connections, celebrities took part in the TV tribute in June 2020.
It was this which sparked his latest venture, Feel Good Factor TV, airing on Sky channel 192 every Saturday for the next 10 weeks.
With a great team of artists and producers, the series provides entertainment that is designed to be good for the soul as the pandemic continues.
“I am all about love and peace and whilst we are living in unprecedented times, I strongly believe together we will pull through – we are stronger together,” he said.
Presented by Holly Kellingray, it will feature inspirational talk shows on health and wellbeing for men and women and a weekly visit to The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent with soul music’s Heather Small.
Episodes will also feature TV presenter, radio DJ and author Janey Lee Grace; Six-piece swing band and Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists The Jive Aces; Disney Channel actor turned self-help author Royce Christyn; legendary American singer-songwriter also credited as ‘The First Lady of House Music’ Kym Mazelle; TV’s Secret Millionaire Sue Stone and boogie-woogie and blues pianist Ladyva.
For Yorkshire, something huge is in the works as Rocco reveals his plans to bring a new music channel, like MTV, which will be aired from Bradford as well as similar shows to Feel Good Factor.
“I want to go back to my old town,” he said.
“I always find there’s so much talent in the North and some of that talent never gets the opportunity. There’s an old myth you have to be in London to succeed, there’s a lot of talent in the North that’s not being recognised.
“Young artists never get the chance to get on TV.
“I find Bradford so special, it’s always in my blood. It’s my home town. I love my friends and family here, the people, I love my curry – you can’t beat a curry in Bradford.
“It’s always in my heart, it’s my home.
“Our investment to Bradford will be £1million. That’s what we’re going to invest. I’ve already got the investors.
“Bradford can be made good again, it needs the injection of cash and help.”