Nick Sainato is a study in contrasts.
On one hand, the 28-year-old Morris Township native is a physical trainer at . At the gym, he has styled hair and wears a sleeveless shirt to show off his well-defined arms.
On the other hand, he has had a lifetime affection for The Weather Channel.
"My family used to always make fun of me for that," Sainato laughed.
But, he's having the last laugh, as Sainato's piano song, "Rippling Love," is being used during a segment for the musician's favorite channel.
Sainato's nearly lifelong musical endeavor, the drums, has led him to perform in several hard rock bands over the years. Having come from a multi-talented family, however (his younger brother, Stephen, was recently featured on Morris Township-Morris Plains Patch for his tap dancing talents), it was only natural he would take on something else, eventually.
Sainato began playing piano during his time at Coastal Carolina University, as was required to complete his major in music. He did not take to it at first, but kept persistent. Sainato said his first piece, Beethoven's "Fur Elise," was taught to him by his mother, Susan, by watching her hands. "I don't read music," he said.
Having aced his piano courses in college, Sainato eventually began recording his work, which presented another contrast.
"My genre was confusing to people," Sainato joked, referring to the classically-influenced melodies that have graced his two albums, "Rejoice" and "Storybook."
Which led him to contacting The Weather Channel and sending in a copy of the "Risen," from his first album.
Various stumbling blocks–including his music's affiliation with a different representation than The Weather Channel's–sank his first attempt. However, the stars eventually lines for Sainato and Weather Channel Local Project Tony Fulkerson, and "Rippling Love" made its Weather Channel debut on July 11.
"I didn't know it appeared until someone from North Dakota contacted me via Facebook," Sainato said. "I was very happy. It felt good."
Fulkerson, who is only one of two people at The Weather Channel that selects what music will play during the "Local on the 8s" segments, says Sainato's "is one of those nice stories I like to tell.
"The vast majority of songs are well-known artists and we receive their music through their publicists," Fulkerson said. "We receive hundreds of CDs every month. Once in awhile an independent or amateur artist will send in music but very few ever get picked to go on-air."
He said Sainato's first entry several years ago impressed him, but the song registration was just something he couldn't get around. "He made another album, which now has the affiliation we can use and he sent it to me out of the blue," Fulkerson said. "I was impressed again."
Today, Sainato continues to train at The Club, as well as offer private piano and drumming lessons. And, he's working on his third as-yet-unnamed album.
The Rennaissance Man today says he appreciates his inspirations and their variety–from his mother, to his brother, Bill, who helped Nicholas Sainato develop his love of physical fitness, to, yes, The Weather Channel.
"I take it as it is," Sainato said. "I need to do it all for myself."