A Heart Called to Help

By Amy Nicole Tangel

With the resurgence of live entertainment upon us, people everywhere are ready to get back out and come together with a newfound appreciation, but for one man who has dedicated his life to entertaining while helping others, it is now a time to give back more than ever.

John “SohoJohnny” Pasquale, has a spark in his smile and a compassion in his heart that seemingly shines through in everything he does.  An entertainer, philanthropist and commercial real estate company owner, John describes himself as “somewhat of a mad scientist” when it comes to the missions his heart is called to.  Through producing live events and a passion for bringing people together with music, John said his real work is simply to spread joy to others.

“We need this stuff. We need content.  We need people to be uplifted,” he said.

To understand the philanthropy of John and the platform of SohoJohnny, John said the root of who he is lies in the positive influences his parents imparted on him from childhood.  His mom was a music and arts advocate who John said performed some Off-Broadway plays here and there, but the foundation really came from her always playing music in the household.

His dad grew up in the Great Depression, and John said because of his father’s humble upbringing he seemed to always have had the ability to make people feel good.  It didn’t matter to him what people had or what people didn’t have.

“He had that sense of humility and humanity.  That’s part of what I picked up from my dad,” he said.

When he was growing up, John said he had a studder and from that he subconsciously evolved into a class clown; a shield of nerves filling his heart with the need to entertain and relate to people.  With a lifelong passion for bringing people together through music, John said it all started in his garage during high school days having friends over and playing DJ. It became the place to be, and he said parents were just happy their kids weren’t roaming the streets.

Home to John is within four generations of family in Manhattan’s historical district of SoHo.  John started working for the family trucking business alongside his dad in the 60’s and 70’s and he said growing up and working in a city that is probably the biggest melting pot in the world helped define the man he is today.

“For me, I consider that a second education, a valuable education; how you see people from all walks of life and adversity,” he said.

In the 80’s, John said is when he went into commercial real estate and began planning and putting on events purely based on an ever-growing passion.   For a number of years John said he would DJ various events and put on small family-style parties, until 1994 when his father passed away from cancer.

In that moment in time as John reflected on the fleeting nature of life and wanting to live life to the fullest, he said he decided to take his event and party planning to the next level.  John said he wanted to take a step up and channel his grief to do something good for others to honor his father’s life through celebration.

“It’s my privilege to be able to lead the charge in my own little way for that upheaval of good-nature, love and celebration of life; appreciation of what life has to offer,” he said.

John is the co-owner of PEP (Property Enhancement Programs) Real Estate based in Soho, a full-service real estate management company which separates itself from the rest by offering event planning and management for clients to their list of services.  John said it is everything he has done with his work in real estate that has enabled him to be able to pay forward in such impactful ways.

The first organization John began working with was the American Cancer Society.  For John, he said hosting events for such a cause to benefit the fight against cancer with the American Cancer Society was like the “trifecta” of helping people; and being able to work with so many “like-minded” people opened so many other doors.

“It was such a feel-good thing to do, and I chugged from there, and slowly but surely…the entertainment organically grew more and more and more,” he said.

What followed were new branches in representing artists and another that got John involved in the film industry co-producing movies. Earlier this year, John once again took his passion for music to another level launching Tribeca Records and SohoJohnny Records (SohoJohnny LLC) with the assistance of entertainment executive John Velasco.

The respective modern-independent labels have most recently signed project, AniMaze X, a metal show for all ages formed by members of Walt Disney Records D-Metal Stars, renowned musician, producer and composer Randy Edelman and solo artist April Rose Gabrielli, to name a few.

Sadly, like many others effected by Covid, John lost his mother, age of 93, to the illness, and that is when John said he started to think outside the box once again; growing another branch and forming a new foundation to help various charities across the board.  Let Me Help, Inc, a foundation created to support different charities for multiple causes was founded in large part through John’s wanting to help others and a vision to continue to do more, but he said he owes most of the credit to the team that carries out the missions.

“I owe it all to the team around me and some blessed people who have supported me,” he said.

Let Me Help, Inc., was launched with a six-hour Celebrity Benefit Concert: Mandate for Humanity, an event John said included footage, shout-outs and performances from artists and celebrities all stepping up to the plate to support and contribute.  Celebrities included dozens of artists and top entertainers such as, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Jeff Goldblum, and Cedric the Entertainer.  Causes the foundation supports presently are prostate cancer, anti-bullying through the support of Andrew Cole’s #IamNoJoke campaign, and Covid-19 Relief.

John said the commitment and charity of others is a testament toward the ethics and the spirit of humanity, and that in itself is the spirit of the SohoJohnny platform he helped build.

“It was a wonderful event.  We raised some money, and everybody that was part of it, all the celebrities; they just gave,” he said.

“Mandate for Humanity” is also the title of a yet-to-be released comic book to benefit Let Me Help, Inc., conceptualized by John with a theme he said was gestating with him right before Covid.  He said the timing became clear. It was meant to come to life during the pandemic as a way to share joy and lift people’s spirits when they needed it the most.  John said the premise of his character, “SohoJohnny” is his mission to go out and spread cheer across the world when the world is depressed in almost like a “Covid-Pandemic World.”

Friends of John’s in real life and fellow collaborators, Scott Page of Pink Floyd, DJ Monti Rock III from Saturday Night Fever, and PR agent Howard Bloom all become characters in the story who each have special powers they bestow upon “SohoJohnny” to help him help other people become happy again.  John said his character’s main goal is to get people out of the shells and ruts they have been in.

“The timing of it was almost predestined that we made the comic book during that (Covid Pandemic),” he said.

The summer season into fall is filling up rapidly for John with events across the country and with live entertainment coming back to life, people can find him presenting events from Montauk, N.Y., to Los Angeles.  In addition, Let Me Help, Inc will be sponsor to The Marshall Tucker Band in August to support renovations needed for the Montauk Lighthouse. 

As for the acting and producing branch of John’s creative tree, he is the producer of interview talk show, “Profiles,” hosted by his friend and mentor, Mickey Burns. Most recently, John has started shooting a new talk show called, “Soho at Night,” and there is no stopping there as he is also launching a new membership club for models and actors. Soho Innovative Studios, located in SoHo, is a membership modeling/acting school with a special focus on art fashion, and just one more way John is working diligently to open doors in the arts.

“Re-Light Broadway” is another upcoming project John is currently working on for the fall to help support getting Broadway back on its feet, and with the demand he said he is seeing in content entertainment as a whole he predicts the second half of the year to be one for the records.

As far as humanity as a whole coming out of Covid, when people have been isolated, homebound and who are now coming out, John said he hopes people will not make light of anybody else’s suffering and always try to help others in good faith and love.

“It doesn’t matter what you have or what you don’t have.  If you get on a bus and you see an elderly lady sitting, just say something nice to raise her spirits,” he said.

On July 24, 2021, SohoJohnny will be taking part in a VIP Art / Charity reception at Steven Calapai’s Park South Gallery on Long Island to benefit Let Me Help, Inc, with a portion of proceeds from the evening’s art sales going to support the foundation.  The night is scheduled to have live musical performances and special guest appearances. For those interested in celebrating an evening of exclusive original art and to help others through purchase, RSVP via email to calapai@gmail.com.

For all things happening with “SohoJohnny” and more information on how you can help support any of the foundation causes, visit sohojohnny.com and letmehelpinc.org.  John can also be found on Facebook @sohojohnnyLLC and Instagram @sohojohnny.  For more information about PEP Real Estate and the services provided visit, peprealestate.com.

Photos courtesy SohoJohnny

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