Six-time Grammy Award-winning Superstar Dionne Warwick Talks Legacy & Newest Christmas Album
Dionne Warwick is marked as one of the most inspiring crossover artists of our time. She’s known for her wide plethora of successful ballads like Don’t Make Me Over, Anyone Who Had a Heart, Walk on By and I Say a Little Prayer. In 1979, her album Dionne sold one-million copies. During the 80’s, she released the Heartbreaker and How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye. Dionne is a groundbreaking artist, Her single, I Say a Little Prayer was theme song for the 1967 film Alfie, starring Michael Caine in addition to her theme for movie Valley of the Dolls. She recorded with the R&B group The Spinners in 1974 for track Then Came You, which delivered more success. During the 1980’s she hosted a Television show called Solid Gold.
The native of East Orange, New Jersey, was born into a prestigious life of music. Her father was a record promoter and her mother was manager of the Dinkard Singers. When Dionne was a teen, she followed closely into her parents footsteps and started her own group, the Gospelaires, with her aunt Cissy Houston (mother of late Whitney Houston) and sister Dee Dee.
Taking strong note of her parents discipline and passion, Dionne established success in the sixties during an undefined period where blacks were still fighting for civil rights and women’s rights. Her music played even still whether in movies or on radio. “I considered it something different in the music industry. I was making wonderful music and people were responding,” she says.
In an interview, Dionne remarked that she was unmatched in the categories of writer, producer, and team when it came to her compositions with Barry Manilow. Dionne and Barry listened to hundreds of songs before creating the music. Dionne says that business has changed so drastically since then. “What these babies are doing now, that’s what I call them… it’s completely different from the way I recorded,” says Dionne. "They are getting their music played without the record stores, and [going straight to] radio."
Dionne recently won a Lifetime Achievement Award and she recently celebrated 58 years as a recording artist… "Receiving that award was the ultimate, when you’re celebrating your body of work by the Grammy Association, that’s quite an endorsement,” she says.
The songstress is focused on her music more than ever so she can deliver the best performance that she possibly can… “If I couldn’t, I wouldn’t do it and I don’t believe in half stepping,” she replied decisively when asked about her Residency in Las Vegas. “If I can’t give you the best that I have then, I don’t need to be doing this.”
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Dionne is superbly inspired to keep singing at the blissful age of 78. “I love what I do, you know? If I can be of service and helpful in areas that I feel I can do, then that’s what I’m going to do with the rest of my time."
The songstress completed She’s Back, a 36 full-length album, produced by her son. Although Dionne is a consummate professional, who could teach her son a thing or two, she hang back and let him lead the way… “I work with him as my producer like I would any other person that I’ve worked with. Damon has honed his craft; otherwise, he would not be producing me. The only difference in working with Damon and the other producers I’ve worked with is that he calls me Mommy instead of Dionne.”
Dionne is still the “Solid Gold” hit maker. In fact, she released Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas. “In this moment, I’m doing a mini tour to promote the Christmas CD, and I’ll be out doing my concerts as I normally would do. I did what I feel is one of the best CD’s I’ve ever done, and it was such a joy to do. I worked with some of the most terrific voices we have today. I’ve done duets with people like Johnny Mathis, Ella Black, Michael McDonald, Johnny Mathis, Chloe and Hale. I did a duet with The Oakridge Boys and John Rich; so, it’s a very good CD. It’s something for everybody.”
Dionne is straight to the point, no filter, or chaser. She doesn’t know all the facets to social media, but she really doesn’t need to know about it. She still gets her message across with the help of managers and publicists. “It’s different than the way I used to promote anything that’s recorded, visiting radio stations and doing interviews as I’m doing now. The industry has changed so drastically. Everything is on the computer, and that social media thing is; I just do what I do, and I get the people that I trust to do everything else for me.”
“She was true to her craft,” says Dionne in closing of the interview when asked, ‘What do you want your legacy to be?’