By Adam Kaufman
QUEENS, N.Y. – Jim Altamore arrived early to a Queens restaurant and ordered himself his usual -- a plate of pasta with marinara sauce. Regulars strolled by to shake his hand and give them his song requests. It's his regular "pre-gig ritual" since 2009, when Altamore became the restaurant's Tuesday night crooner after getting laid off from a management job in construction. When the recession hit in 2009, high-rise construction projects across Manhattan were stalled and Altamore was out of a job. But soon after, he had a stroke of luck -- the kind that can change your entire life. A part-time singer and Sinatra-phile, Altamore was contacted through his website to perform a set of Frank Sinatra songs at a large concert in France, as part of a jazz festival.
Altamore's first love was always music -- he'd been singing part-time for over 20 years. He'd supported himself, though, with "day jobs" in the construction management industry. But this gig in France changed him. "I took a good hard look at my life and said, 'Maybe this is the time you try to take this [singing] full time,' " he explained to AOL Jobs.
As swiftly as his old career ended, a new one began.
Watch the video above to see Altamore sing and discuss his inspiring transition.
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