A native of Rochester, New York, Joe Retta developed a deep appreciation for music at an early age, despite coming from a non-musical family. He gravitated toward art and sports in high school, but then slowly realized his talents as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Brief stints as a cook and a commercial artist didn’t seem to work out, so Retta came to Los Angeles to explore his options in the entertainment business.
He spent the 80s knocking around Southern California, singing jazz, R&B and rock with various outfits. Covering such a vast spectrum of music helped Retta become a versatile vocalist who could sing virtually anything — from jazz to heavy metal. By the end of the 80s and into the 90s, Retta was a married man with children. His future as a career-minded front man was put on hold.
His career in music, however, continued. As a single father, Retta worked steadily as a session singer on TV and radio commercials, making albums with Japanese labels, even recording an album with Miami Sound Machine under the name “Kimera” — all while honing his songwriting skills. His children older, he hit the road, touring with Gregg Rolie (original singer and keyboardist for Santana and Journey), a number of top tribute acts, and the all-star collective World Classic Rockers. In 2008, he joined Sweet as their new lead singer.
Grateful to be singing classic Sweet songs before adoring audiences all over North and South America, he still had the itch to create new and original music, and he was not alone. Retta established a strong writing partnership with then-Sweet guitarist Stuart Smith. The two decided, along with drummer Richie Onori, to record their songs as Heaven & Earth, a name Smith had used for previous projects, but never really a band in the true sense of the word.
Today, Heaven & Earth are a formidable force with Joe Retta out in front, vocally traversing a steep, treacherous path cut sharp with melody and world-class musicianship. His role integral to the band’s unique sound, Retta feels emboldened in his craft as a writer and performer.
“I love combining the power of rock with soulful singing.”
The Rest of the Band