Croce was born on September 28, 1971 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. His father died in a plane crash eight days before the boy’s second birthday, and he and his newly widowed mother were forced to move with their family to San Diego, nearly 3,000 miles from their hometown. Two years later, he was temporarily blinded by severe physical abuse by his mother’s boyfriend.  When he was 15 years old, the house where he had lived most of his life burned down.
In 2018, his wife Marlo Gordon Croce died of “a rare sudden heart virus” in her own health crisis. AJ became a single father of two children, daughter Camille and son Elijah.
Croce’s first paid gig was at age 12, when he was offered $20 ($53.45 in 2019 value) to perform at a bar mitzvah. By the age of 16, Croce was a regular accompanist and bandleader in San Diego nightclubs. Croce muses, “I love all kinds of music…you could say I’m inattentive, but I think eclectic taste in music is the foundation of versatility.” Private Music’s Ron Goldstein and Peter Baumann signed with Croce His first record deal was 19 years old.
He recorded two albums for Private Music: his self-titled debut, A.J. Croce, produced by T-Bone Burnett and John Simon; and Me in the Bar, produced by Jim Keltner, produced by Ray Cooder and David Starring Hidalgo. Croce also owns/operates his own record label, Seedling Records.
Croce’s third album Fit to Serve was recorded in Memphis and produced by Jim Gaines, who also produced the band Van Morrison, Santana and Steve Miller. Croce then released his album Transit, a musical transformation. “I’ve been playing blues and I’m willing to try something new,” he said. Transit has been likened by critics to the work of John Lennon, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. The New Times’ Glen Starkey called Croce “a first-class songwriter.”