Crush of the Moment: Michael DiMartino aka captainl0ver


Hey Jamie


Big day for the blog. We hit an all time high in daily readers, and we’ve got our first live subject for Crush of the Moment, internet sensation “captainl0ver“, known by day as Michael DiMartino.

I found Mike’s videos the other day on YouTube while not looking for Semi-nude guys on Wii Fit.  He does a vlog on YouTube, but the real draw is his personal versions of pop hits. Yes, I know that a cute boy with a webcam has been there before: 1000 imitations of Single Ladies and Umbrella, but Mike’s are different. He does his own original productions using sign language. And he doesn’t rip off other’s ideas. He does his own choregraphy (quite well I might add…and occasionally shirtless) while signing for the hearing impaired. And he totally pulls it off. Here are his takes on Disturbia and Womanizer.

I wanted to learn more about this adorable, educated and charming NYC native so we talked earlier today.  So Jamie….our first interview:

Moose: So tell me a bit about Michael. Where do you live? Where you born? Single? Looking?

Michael: I live in NY, Brooklyn, born and raised. I probably sound as dumb as a brick when I talk. That’s why I took up sign. (kidding)
I am single. Im not particularly looking for anything. I think that when you look, you often find the wrong things.

Is your background in sign?

I learned sign language back in 2004. I took 2 years of learning the language, then 2 years of learning how to interpret as a profession (which is my full time career now). Honestly, I needed a language requirement to graduate college. My tongue refused to roll R’s properly, and I kept spitting on my teacher when I tried, so spanish was out of the picture. I’m half italian, so, hey, I figured, hand gestures work for me! I took sign. And I fell in love.

What kind of reaction have folks had to your videos?

It’s kind of remarkable how people have taken to my videos. I feel a little overwhelmed sometimes, when I get a lot of messages. My phone is constantly reminding me I have emails. It can be a little nerve wracking when someone recognizes you in Starbucks, I can tell you that much. Recently, my Womanizer vid was posted on Britney’s official website. That was probably my happiest moment. If I could be on the same stage while she performs, and interpret for her, that would be amazing.

Tell me a little about your evolution as an artist to where you are now and how you got to your current original style.

I grew up singing and dancing. I’ve always wanted to be a performer. Unfortunately, luck isn’t always on our side. It’s who you know, and the right moment, to make it big. I originally did Golddigger in a talent show, and decided to post it (which was removed from Youtube, because of a google/youtube dispute over copyright), and since then I found that I love editting and putting effects to the video. I try to put the effects and the ‘cuts’ where the beat is, so that the hearing impaired/deaf community can have an idea of the rythmn. That’s why my vids are normally loaded with effects. But it can be very burdening to catch the RYTHYM of the song on my hands. Especially when my computer is a snail and I can never tell if a sign is on the beat until I finalize the vid.

What are some misconceptions about music and the hearing impaired?

Deaf and hard of hearing alike seem to enjoy my videos. Believe it or not, many of them feel a connection to music, and feel they should be a part of it. and why not! EVERYONE should enjoy music! I’m happy that I can be the catalyst. People think because they can’t hear, they shouldn’t or can’t enjoy music, and that is SIMPLY NOT TRUE!

You seem to have many talents beyond signing. Ideally, would you like your career to go, and would signing always be a part of that plan?

Ideally, if I could do anything, I would be a performer. I would be the new Justin Timberlake (watch out buddy, give me one shot, and I’m coming for your spot). When I was younger, I sang in Carnegie Hall. I love singing and acting and I would love to persue that path. (As for dancing….I may have some rythmn…but that’s about it. I like to pretend I can actually dance – but I can’t. lol. ) Would signing be a part of my future if I ever DID follow my dream? In some way, shape or form. If it isn’t me doing the signing (It would be very difficult to sing and sign and dance simultaneously) I would definitely have an extremely talented musical Interpreter to ALWAYS be a part of my shows.

So, what else can we expect in the future?

I plan to do If You Seek Amy. I have devised a way to put the double meaning into the video! It’s just a matter of finding the time to do it. Damn my job. Damn it to hell.
After that is fair game. Probably something sad, or rock-ish. Something to pull on the heartstrings of little children. Something other than my typical pop videos. Something….different.


If you want more, he’s got tons of vlog posting and other music video on his YouTube homepage.


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12 Responses to “Crush of the Moment: Michael DiMartino aka captainl0ver”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Adorable. Simply adorable. Michael, I have so much respect for you as a performer and love that you’re bringing pop music to deaf and hearing impaired individuals.

    Oh, and I love a good Brooklyn accent.


  2. rick Says:

    wonderful, simply wonderful!

  3. Jenna Del Vigna Says:

    I am in love…in LOVE. I am a sucker for a good looking boy and pop music. He seems so sweet too. oh sigh.

  4. Dave Tepper Says:

    As a hard of hearing guy, hearing music isn’t hugely difficult for me apart from understanding the lyrics. Since I was mainstreamed and don’t know ASL (but know of it), I never really thought about how ASL could be poetic and musical and beautiful.

    I’m curiious about whether the signs for the lyrics are in ASL or Signed English. (Signed English uses ASL signs but English grammar and syntax; it’s a little bit like how Spanish and English use the same alphabet but are completely different languages.)

    I keep telling myself I’ll learn ASL one day, just because it seems like it’d be so useful even for non-Deaf people in noisy settings. That we don’t require it in our schools is a damn shame. I’m looking up evening courses at Gallaudet now, but unfortunately the next class I’ll be able to take is in the fall.

    Thanks for the mind-lightening interview, Marc and Mike!

  5. Brian Says:

    I am a gay interpreter. I have been interpreting for some time now. I love to interpret music and drama. I have to say that what you do is amazing. The interpretation is fun yet accurate. Your cinematography skills are also amazing. I have to admit, I’m jealous. Keep doing what you’re doing. We love it.

  6. Dude Campus » Blog Archive » YouTube’s "captainlOver" Michael DiMartino Says:

    […] types of men is a guy who wears nerdy in a sexy way. And under his intelligence and wit, we think Michael DiMartino is damned sexy—especially shirtless. Not only does he have great moves to these sign language […]

  7. Top Posts « Says:

    […] Crush of the Moment: Michael DiMartino aka captainl0ver Hey Jamie […]

  8. Kyle Michel Sullivan Says:

    Lovely work, Michael, and actually a good niche to be in. Keep it up! You’re with the angels on this.

  9. Visual Instincts » Blog Archive » GET ROCKED: The Man Signs! Says:

    […] sign language interpreter "speaks",YouTube Womanizer Star : Michael DiMartino, and Crush of the Moment: Michael DiMartino aka captainl0ver. But most of all, WATCH HIM, […]

  10. tony Says:

    What as happed to Michael DiMartino on You Tube ! why as he pulled all his songs his he OK I love this guy so come on anyone what is going on

  11. Daisy Says:

    Since we first met I knew that you had more than sign language interpreting. I have been looking at all you do in YouTube, and I am truly happy where you want to go. Go for yours you can do anything. Yes I know that JOB OF YOURS!

  12. Dirty, Rich & Signing For Gaga « DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE Says:

    […] Rich & Signing For Gaga By m000se The gorgeous and talented Michael DiMartino, who I’ve profiled previously for OrdToLax is back in full force this month and not surprisingly giving Lady Gaga the business for the second […]

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