Interview recorded in person, in London, October 21, 2012
The legendary Dionne Warwick is celebrating fifty years as a recording artist. Her latest CD, NOW is an absolute gem. David Nathan (who has been interviewing Dionne since the early '70s) talked to her about and then played the music on the album (produced by Phil Ramone)...
David: Well, I am testing this [equipment]. I am going to introduce our special guest. My special guest today at SoulMusic.com is Miss Dionne Warwick. Say hello, Dionne.
Dionne: Hello, Dionne (laughs)
David: As you see, she has not lost her sense of humor!
Well, now we’re going to really start our proper interview. That was a little prelude. I’m sitting on a cloudy Sunday in London. Wow, how unusual. I’m sitting in a cloudy Sunday in London! I’m sitting with a lady who – I’ve said this so many times it sounds like a broken record – whose music was responsible for my discovery of what I call soul music and that was a long time ago, but we’re still here! I love the fact that we’re still here. I love the fact that this lady is still making music. It’s fantastic, and actually that’s more than any other reason - although, we don’t ever really need a reason to talk - but this is the subject of our particular interview at SoulMusic.com, which is a brand new album, appropriately entitled NOW from the – I can’t find an adjective – I’ll just say… Dionne Warwick. I can’t find adjectives [to describe her]; I ran out of adjectives! Hello, Dionne!
Dionne: Hi, David.
David: What we’re going to do today is a little different. We’re going to play a little snippet from each of the songs on this great album produced by Phil Ramone and we’re going to talk a little bit about each song, just have your comments on each one. But, before we do that, can you give us a little background as to how the project came about?
Dionne: I was approached by Hermione (Ross) who lives [here] in England. She put together a record company. She happens to manage Phil Ramone, who if you know anything about Dionne Warwick, you also know that Phil Ramone was the engineer on 90% of my recordings from the very beginning. So, that was very appealing to me, to be able to work with Phil again. The idea was to celebrate fifty years in show business. I personally, could not think of a better way to do it than through music, and that is the genesis.
David: That’s how it came about, fantastic. I know both of your sons were involved with the project too.
Dionne: Yes, indeed.
David: Would you like to say a little bit about their involvement?
Dionne: I could say a lot about their involvement!
It’s completely a joy to have both of my children as a part of this project, which is very special to me. David, my oldest son, who has been on the road with me opening my shows and doing duets with me through the course of the show is the only duet on the CD and that’s a song that’s very dear to my heart, “I Say A Little Prayer For You”, and Damon my youngest son is responsible for the wonderful sound that you hear. He recorded my vocals as well as he mixed the CD. So, they musically both are involved.
David: So, it’s a family affair.
Dionne: It certainly is.
David: Let’s talk about the songs. We’re going to go through each one, as I said, and what we’re going to do is talk a little bit about them and then I’ll play a little snippet and then we’ll go onto the next one. So, the first song is a song which, wow, goes back a long way. My first memory of it – actually, let me get my memory of it right – my first memory of it was, of course growing up in Britain, was hearing a recording by Sandie Shaw, and then I found out it’d also been recorded by somebody called Lou Johnson, and then at some point, thereafter, it was recorded by you. So, why did you choose “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me”?
Dionne: Well, as you just said, I personally felt that Lou Johnson had the hit. His recording, for me, is the definitive rendition of this particular song. For whatever reasons, Lou just never could get the airplay. Still, to this day, I still kind of questioned the ears and program directors of radio stations. For whatever reasons, here in Britain especially, it seems that recording artists wait[ed] until American artists records and the record was sent over here hoping to get played on radio [but] before it even gets to the radio stations, somebody’s already in the studios recording it. So, it became a very expensive demonstration record, not only that one, there are quite a few that did. But, Sandie Shaw recorded it, and apparently had a hit record with it. I decided to do it because it’s a song that’s always been one of those ditties that rang true to me.
David: It’s a great song, and it really is in the history of Bacharach-David songs, probably one of the most recorded of their songs. It has lots of different versions.
Dionne: It has. A lot of groups have done it. It was the right choice.
David: Alright. Here it is. Here is a little snippet of “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me”. Before we play it, let me say that if you want to hear the full version, all you have to do is click on the link that is right next to this interview and you can go purchase at Amazon, or if you want to go to iTunes, you can download and make sure you pay of course for the download. But, this is just a snippet of “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me”.
David: That was, “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me”, and now we move on to a song which - I don’t know why - but for some reason about three or four months ago, before I even knew you had rerecorded this song, I started playing this song again. It’s always been one of my favorites because it is not, in some ways; it’s not typical of the other songs that you were recording at the time that it was first recorded. It was on an album called HERE I AM, and I remember, because what was different about it, as I remember first hearing it, was it was a little more up-tempo than some of the other songs around that, on that album, like “Here I Am”, which of course was a ballad. Then there’s other songs on there which where kind of more ballad-oriented, but “Are You There (With Another Girl)” was not. So, tell me about your choice of that and, do you remember much about the original recording of it?
Dionne: Yeah, “Are You There (With Another Girl)” is basically, I put it on the recording because of Stevie Wonder. It happens to be Stevie’s favorite song of mine.
Dionne: Yeah, every time I see Stevie, it’s the first thing that comes out of his mouth, “Are you there with another girl?” And he just adores this song. So, as a kind of present to him, he’s one of my babies.
David: Now, how do you feel? Did you like the song when you first recorded it?
Dionne: I thought it was a cute little thing, yeah. Some of the stuff that we did vocally as well.
David: By the way, I have to tell you that part, the background vocal part, I can never figure out what they were singing. I’m like, ‘what did they say? What?’ The person who told me what it really was, was Luther Vandross.
Dionne: Oh did he?
David: Yeah, because I said, ‘What is that part?’ He said, [‘Oom-pa-pa, pity the girl’] ‘That’s what it is.’ I said, ‘Oh.’ You don’t want to know what I thought it was! It wasn’t quite the same, but anyway. And he also recorded it as we know. So, here is – and, what I really liked about this version of it is it’s quite distinctly different from the original in one sense. It’s of course acoustic. It’s much more acoustic, and it’s at a different tempo, but it is a great song. Do you use that song in your show now? Is it part of your show?
Dionne: No, I haven’t integrated most of these. I’m doing maybe three songs of the CD, but eventually I’ll be doing all the songs.
David: Fantastic. Alright. Here’s “Are You There (With Another Girl)”.
David: Okay, that was “Are You There (With Another Girl)” and now, selection number three is, well, I guess there’s not much to say about this. Probably, if it wasn’t for this song, well, we can’t say anything about what would have happened if you hadn’t done this song because you did. It was your first hit. “Don’t Make Me Over”. If my memory bank is such that I actually remember getting the sheet from, who was it? AFM, I think it was that showed the session date was August the 12th, 1961 or 2. It must have been 1 because it came out in ’62. I remember talking to your sister, Dee Dee, and we talked about that. She remembered it. She said, ‘The only thing I can remember about that day is it was raining. ‘
Dionne: Which was a good omen for me. Every single time we recorded, and the recording became a hit, it rained the night of the session. That’s my good luck charm: rain!
David: Well, it must have been good that night. That’s really interesting. Wow. Well, I guess I could ask you why you chose it. I guess it’s pretty obvious, though. Do you want to say a few words?
Dionne: It was my first recording ever for Scepter Records, and well, what can I say? It became a hit record, which was a surprise I think to all of us because it was so completely different than anything that was being recorded or heard on radio at the time. So, we were all elated of course.
David: And I do recall you telling me that when the president of, founder of Scepter Records, the lovely Florence Greenburg heard it, she was not quite as thrilled.
Dionne: She hated it, and that became our criteria with Florence. We play it and say, ‘Do you like it?’ She’d say, ‘ No, I hate it!’ Wonderful. That’s the release!
David: Well, how would she react when it started become a hit? Well, she didn’t mind-
Dionne: It was her record company. She never grew fond of that song. She never did.
David: I also remember you telling me, this was in your autobiography that the song was inspired by a conversation.
Dionne: Yes, it was. It was a conversation that I had with Burt and Hal. They had promised me a song (that is on the [new] CD) that would be my first recording. They hounded [me]and said, ‘You’ve got to record it. You’ve got to record it.’ I finally said, ‘Okay.’ This particular song was my first recording and I was on my way in to do a session from college. As I was driving along, of course I had my radio on and out of the radio came this voice that I recognized of course being Jerry Butler, singing my song!
David: Did you pull over?
Dionne: No. I kind of sped up to get to New York a little quicker! Then, I finally got to New York and met with Burt and Hal. I kind of let him know that there was one thing you could never do. First of all, never break a promise to me, and most importantly, don’t ever try to make me over.
David: Alright. Well, here it is. The song that got inspired by another song in a sense. Oh, just as a P.S. to that, so did they immediately go start writing the song based on that?
Dionne: Yeah, based on that. Hal went and put pen to paper and came up with “Don’t Make Me Over”.
David: Well, here is the 2012 version of “Don’t Make Me Over”.
David: Okay, that was “Don’t Make Me Over” (2012) from the CD, NOW. Now, we move on to a brilliant song, fantastic song, and I remember hearing this myself on a Burt Bacharach CD a few years ago. Just a gorgeous song called “Love Is Still The Answer”. How did that song come to your attention?
Dionne: We were putting this together, I had an idea to give Burt and Hal a call and ask if they would submit two songs each that I had not recorded that they had written separate and apart from each other. They both sent me two songs that are represented on the CD, and “Love Is Still the Answer” is one of them that was from Burt.
David: Well, one of the things that is interesting I think if we look back, we can see that while you’re known of course for singing many love songs, you’ve also throughout your career, and I can go back to “Windows Of The World” as an example, you’ve always recorded songs that like “What the World Needs Now is Love” of course – we can find songs that have another message. They are still songs about love, but they’re songs that have another meaning other than just romantic love between two people. Was that a desire on your part that you said, ‘I want to do these kinds of songs,’ or was it simply that they presented those kind of songs?
Dionne: No, they just presented them. It’s wonderful when songwriters have the same desire to show people there is a way to make peace in the world. There’s a way to enjoy each other’s company without going crazy. That there are words that can be given to people of inspiration, and I find a great deal of joy in recording these kinds of songs because we’re known – people who are in the recording industry, and especially vocalists – we’re known as the messengers. So, that’s one of the things that has a lot to do with who I am and what I do.
David: Yeah, well, here is “Love Is Still the Answer” from the CD, NOW, written by Burt Bacharach.
David: Okay, now we move on to another new song, which doesn’t remind me of anything, but I don’t know why I drew a connection from this to “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” Probably because it’s got two California cities. That’s about the only [explanation] – “99 Miles from LA”. I couldn’t figure out where ninety-nine miles from LA might be, because I guess you’d have to look at the map and figure out which way you were going. Do you know which way they were referring to?
Dionne: Apparently, because of the lyric, it has to be the coast.
David: So, it’s 99 miles from the coast to LA?
Dionne: No, driving the coast.
David: Oh, okay. So coming from north or south.
Dionne: Coming down to LA.
David: And that’s a song from Hal David?
Dionne: Yes it is.
David: Okay, and what was your response when you first heard it?
Dionne: I love it. In fact, I do perform this one, and it’s just about someone anxious to see someone and how beautifully he put it, ‘I’m only 99 miles away from you baby. I’m on my way.’ It’s one of those typically Hal David lyrics.
David: It’s a great song. Let’s pause again to hear just a snippet of “99 Miles from LA”. We’re actually a few thousand miles away from LA right now, but anyway. The sun is probably shining there right now!
Dionne: Probably so.
David: Well, here it is, “99 Miles from LA”.
David: Okay, that was “99 Miles from LA’. Now, we go to one of two songs which are from probably one of your most underrated albums, originally when it first came out, which was an album called DIONNE, which was your debut Warner Brothers album, and this is one of the two really beautiful songs, there are many beautiful songs on that album. I still think that’s one of your [best]…. I don’t know what happened. Not everyone heard it the way they should have heard it.
Dionne: Of course. It was Warner Brothers. They did not have a clue as to what to do with Dionne Warwick. That I think stemmed from the fact that Bacharach and David were no longer a part of my life. That was a period of time that was just topsy turvy. They just didn’t know what to do, how to do. I still don’t understand. When you are a recording company, and you get really quality material to promote, this should be no problem whatsoever, but they seemed to have their own set of problems.
David: Well, fortunately, you had the wisdom to go back and choose two of the great songs on here. One of which is what we’re about to play, which is “Be Aware” and that also follows in the tradition that we were talking about a few minutes ago about recording songs that are really messages. Share a little bit about the song and what it means for you.
Dionne: This song is so amazing. That’s the only word that comes to mind at the moment. It is appropriate for today, and for Hal David to have had the insight and the wherewithal to feel the way that these words represent, the feeling of how we’ve got to be conscious of certain things in our life. The elderly, the poor, children, homelessness (which was not prevalent in the ‘70s), but he was able to write about things that were going on not basically in the United States, but outside of the United States and around the world. The man was one of the most prolific lyricists that ever lived, I feel. I don’t think there’s anyone that comes anywhere near his ability.
David: He was really a poet, a musical poet.
Dionne: Absolutely. I used to say that, that I could speak his words and they would have the same meaning.
David: It’s a beautiful song. I love that your current version, the new version, is really completely in keeping with the original.
Dionne: There’s not too much you could do to change that song in any way. It lives. It lived then; it lives now. It will live tomorrow.
David: What’s great now is that there’s a whole audience that never heard it, for whom it will be a new song, other than your diehards like me-
Dionne: Who may have accidentally gotten the Warner Brothers album!
David: But, it’s a beautiful song, and I’m really glad you redid it.
Dionne: Me too. It’s always been one of my favorites. It spoke to things that I felt that needed to be addressed.
David: Well, here it is. Here’s “Be Aware”.
David: Okay, that was “Be Aware”, and now we move on to another song that was also - we talked earlier about “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me” - and we talked about Lou Johnson doing that. Lou Johnson also recorded “Reach Out For Me”.
Dionne: Sure did. He was the first one.
David: Now, I’m curious about one thing. We’re obviously going to talk a little bit about the song, but did you do the demo for him, or was he just the first person to record the song?
Dionne: He was the first person to record that song.
Dionne: Yeah, Lou was the male counterpart to me insofar as Bacharach and David were concerned, and he literally was able to master what they wrote, rhythmically, his vocals, I believe were just sensational. Then again, as I said earlier, for whatever reason, radio just was not friendly to his recordings.
David: Now when you recorded it, it wasn’t a massive hit, but it was a hit.
Dionne: Yeah, it was a hit.
David: Why did you choose this? Because there are so many other songs you could have chosen. I was curious because again it’s one of my personal favorites. I’ve loved this song since the day I bought it, and I remember buying it. I remember buying both versions actually. No, that’s not true. I probably didn’t know his before I bought it. I didn’t even know his existed actually… So, let me correct myself. I bought yours and I remember buying it. Of course, it came out in Britain on Pie International. Oh my God, really going back now. I loved that song. I loved it. Actually, I even have another memory associated with it of seeing you on Ready Steady Go performing that song. I remember seeing it and was like, ‘Oh wow, I’ve got to buy this record.’ I was a teenager, so you know I had to get the pocket money from my parents. I didn’t have any money to go buy it. Anyway, I remember the record shop I bought it from. I’ve loved the song ever since I first heard it. But you know, you could have chosen many many songs. Why did you choose this one?
Dionne: I didn’t choose any of these songs.
David: You didn’t?
Dionne: Not one. I took a poll, a general poll of my peers in the industry, kids that had heard versions of these songs, truck drivers, taxi drivers, people on the street, and that’s how the idea for all these songs came about.
David: Wow. Okay, I didn’t know that. I just figured you sat down with a big list.
Dionne: There’s no way I could have ever chosen these songs out of the many that I’ve recorded. It would have been impossible. So, I just asked, ‘Do you have a favorite Dionne Warwick song?’ And these are the songs that made the list.
David: Were you surprised that this one was?
Dionne: I was surprised at most of them.
David: I’m a little surprised about that one too. As I said, it was a hit, but it wasn’t like, it isn’t like- when people think of you, of course they think of “Walk On By”, they think of “Anyone Who Had A Heart”, they think of “I Say A Little Prayer”, they think of “Don’t Make Me Over”, they think of “Alfie”, they think of certain songs, but they don’t necessarily think of “Reach Out For Me”.
Dionne: Yeah, but you know then too, you never know what people feel about it; listen to the lyric of the song…
David: It’s a beautiful song.
Together: ‘When you go through a day….’
David: We’re not going to do a duet. We could, but we’re not going to. Anyway, in fact, instead of doing a duet, let’s just play a snippet from “Reach Out for Me”!
David: That was “Reach Out For Me”, one of my favourites, fantastic. Now, another new song, beautiful new song. Beautiful song. I heard this; I played it and thought, ‘Wow. This sounds like a classic Dionne Warwick song’ even though it’s a brand new recording, it would just as easily have fit into any time period of your career. So, tell us something about “Is There Anybody Out There?”
Dionne: That’s a Bacharach offering and written by James Ingram and Will Jennings, because Bacharach did the music along with James Ingram. I had never heard the song before.
David: Me neither.
Dionne: It was one of the songs that Burt submitted that he felt that I would do justice to and here it is.
David: Had James Ingram recorded it?
Dionne: I don’t think so. I don’t think anybody had.
David: I don’t think anyone has either. So, what was it about the song itself that really appealed to you?
Dionne: It was very sexy. Very, very sexy and meaningful. I felt that I would be able to do it and I did.
David: And you did. It’s really gorgeous. Okay, well here is “Is There Anybody Out There?” That’s a good question…
David: Okay, that was “Is There Anybody Out There?” Now, we move on to the second song which is from the album from 1971-2, the DIONNE Warner Brothers album. This is another great song, “I Just Have to Breathe”. So, tell us a little bit about that and also, as I look on the credits of that original album, of course it was engineered as you mentioned by Phil Ramone. I’m going to ask you just as a little aside, what was his reaction to doing some of these songs that he engineered originally?
Dionne: He loved it. He was elated that these were the songs that we were going to re-record. That happens also to be one of Phil’s favorites. He was thrilled that we were going to be doing it again. It’s a mighty love song.
David: It really is.
Dionne: A mighty, mighty love song. You tell somebody that all you have to do is breathe in order to love them. What more do you have to say?
David: Not much.
Dionne: That’s Hal David.
David: I’ve just got to tell you really, heartfelt, I’m just really glad you did those particular two songs from that album… I’m just so glad that there’s a whole audience that never heard them that are going to hear them for the first time because they’re both beautiful songs.
Dionne: Agreed. Totally agreed.
David: Here’s “I Just Have to Breathe”.
David: That was “I Just Have to Breathe”, and now we move on to another brand new song, “It Was Almost Like a Song”. Now, I don’t know anything about the history of that. So, tell me.
Dionne: That song was recorded by Ronnie Milsap, and [he did] a wonderful recording of it. I’d heard it many years ago of course, when he recorded it. That was when Ronnie was on Scepter [Records].
David: So, this is from that time period?
Dionne: Yeah, that time period. All these songs are from the ‘60s and the first part of the ‘70s. So, we’re talking thirty-to-thrity-five years of music that has gone and laid around and finally somebody had the wherewithal - and that’s me - to bring them to the floor again.
David: So, the reference to this is his original recording.
Dionne: Yes, it was submitted to me by Hal David, who wrote it and he felt that I would do justice to it, although he did let me know that he loved Ronnie’s version, and when I recorded it and I sent it to him to listen to, he said ‘Well, you should have recorded it first.’
David: There were a few songs like that, just a few that other people did get their hands on that you didn’t record, but there’s not that many. There’s only probably a handful that you didn’t get to do, but there are a few laying around here and there, and I guess this was one of them.
David: Alright. Well, here it is. Here is, “It Was Almost Like A Song”.
David: That was “It Was Almost Like ASong”, and now we come to number eleven, and that is a song that the title…I have used the title in conversations with people when I’ve encountered people who feel like they’re really stressed in dealing with something in life. I know that it is a love song, but I think that the advice in the song title itself is very beneficial. I’ve certainly used it for myself when I’ve had days when I’ve had to say, ‘You know what? You need to make it easy on yourself.’ I know that’s not the lyrical message, but the song title itself is really great advice.
Dionne: Absolutely. That was the song that was promised to me that Jerry Butler recorded first. It’s one of those ‘I’ll get even with you’ kind of songs. Look what you did, cheating on me, not a good thing to do. So, make it easy on yourself.
David: Now, it also has an interesting history because of course, as you pointed out, it was recorded by Jerry Butler, by the way, just as an aside, did you ever have a conversation with Jerry Butler about it?
Dionne: Yes I did.
David: How did it go?
Dionne: It was fine. Jerry’s a friend. I told him he stole my song, and he said, ‘No I didn’t. They gave it to me!’
David: True. Then, of course in Britain, it was also recorded by a duo, The Walker Brothers. It was a very big hit in 1965 I think. I think that was the year it was a hit. Yours did come out, your original version of it came out, but not as single. I do remember, I just remembered this actually as we’re talking, you also recorded it on a live album, which was, now I’ve got to really think about which album it was – anyway, one of the Scepter albums. I think it was VERY DIONNE. It was one of those from around that time. There’s a live version of this song. So, it’s obviously a song that’s meant a lot to you for a very long time.
Dionne: Yeah, it was the first song that was promised to me. So, it will always have a very special place with me.
David: Okay, well, let’s play it. “Make it Easy On Yourself”, advice for everybody. Do it. Make it easy on yourself. Here it is.
David: And that was “Make it Easy On Yourself”. Finally, we have the final cut on the album, which of course is a song that is always associated with Dionne. Other people have recorded it. There are other versions. We won’t talk about the other versions necessarily. We don’t have to. We can, if you’d like.
Dionne: Why not? (laughs)
David: Well, actually, I don’t think I’ve every asked you this. So, this will be a new question. Of course, you did record this song first, and then within months after you had a massive hit with it, a certain lady who was recording with Atlantic Records decided she wanted to do her version, and –
Dionne: And had a massive hit with it.
David: Had a massive hit with it too. What did you think when you heard Aretha’s version of it?
Dionne: I loved it.
David: Did you really?
Dionne: I love Aretha. Aretha’s one of my dear friends and has been since we were teenagers; that’s how long we’ve known each other. To think that she would even want to record something I recorded before is quite a compliment as far as I’m concerned, and for her to have a massive hit record with it made me feel very good.
David: And it’s quite different. The arrangement is different.
Dionne: It’s Aretha.
David: I don’t know if you know the little bit of back story about that? Actually how her recording came about is she was rehearsing with your aunt Cissy [Houston] and the other members of the Sweet Inspirations, and they were just sort of rehearsing. She was doodling on the piano and they really came up with it just like that. It wasn’t pre-planned. She just loved the song and that’s what they did. The next thing they know, they decided to record it. Did you know that?
Dionne: I didn’t.
David: Actually, she has recorded some other songs that you’ve done. She did a version of “Walk On By” and she did a few other things, “April Fools”. She’s done a few other things, but this song nonetheless is still of course primarily associated with you, as it should be because it was a massive hit. Am I right that it was also your first Grammy?
David: Second Grammy. When you first heard the song, when it was first presented to you…
Dionne: I loved it.
David: So you loved it from the get go, as they say?
Dionne: Absolutely. The reason it was written gave it more emphasis to me. It was written during the Vietnam War and these are words that Hal David wanted to send to our babies over there fighting for our lives. As a matter of fact, I’ve had so many of the veterans tell me that this song…including Colin Powell, he told me this song got him through a lot of danger while he was over there fighting. So, it served its’ purpose. It let the guys know that we were all thinking about them. That we loved them, and that we were praying for them.
David: Yeah, probably not accidental that that song is actually on the album called THE WINDOWS OF THE WORLD, the original album. Okay, so your choice to do it is kind of pretty obvious, to re-do it I should say, and you did it as you mentioned before as a duet with your son, David. You two have been singing that song for quite a long time together.
Dionne: Yes we have. We’ve been singing it for seven or eight years now, and I felt it was time to record it, and let people who have not seen us perform it together listen to his voice, which I’m so proud of and feel that he did an incredible job.
David: One of the things I’ve remembered from seeing you in different places in the world – I’ve seen you and David perform this several times – and one of the things I always find funny and great is at the end of the song, when you’re like encouraging each other.
Dionne: Call-and-response, it’s called.
David: Call-and-response, and I remember particularly, I don’t remember where, but I remember one night after you finished the song, you had the last note, and David, the expression on his face was like, ‘Okay, I can’t go anywhere now. I’m done. I’ve done the best I can.’ It was just a funny look. It was just amusing to look at his face. It was like, ‘Okay, okay, you had the last note. Hey. ..’
Dionne: On the album, he has the last note!
David: He does? Okay. Well, here is the final song on the album, NOW. The CD, NOW. It’s “I Say A Little Prayer”. Dionne featuring her son, David. Here it is.
David: Okay, that was “I Say a Little Prayer”, Dionne with her song David Elliot. Great guy.
Dionne: Wonderful guy.
David: Wonderful guy. Yes, I concur. If you ever go to a Dionne Warwick show, and he’s on there, he as you mentioned opens and does some great songs including a wonderful version of a song called “Besame Mucho”. That’s my favorite song of his.
Dionne: Mine too.
David: Alright, Dionne. Let’s just wrap up with just your overall thoughts about this entire project. How do you feel about this album? You’re one of the few people, few of your peers, who is actually still recording in 2012. Now, that’s for probably a variety of reasons that other people are not, but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is you are. So, how do you feel about the fact that you have a brand new album in 2012? Fifty years later…
Dionne: Sensational. As I said, I’m celebrating fifty years in this business of recording, and to be able to celebrate it through music and through a CD and share it with those who may not be familiar with not only the songs, but Dionne Warwick, I’m kind of opening up some ears to some great music, great songs. I would say that if I were not recording, and someone else was recording them, these are great songs. They should be exposed and younger ears should have an opportunity to hear them. So, here it is.
David: Did you have fun recording?
Dionne: Absolutely. It was a joy, being in the studio and it was basically the same kind of recordings that I’ve done in the past, live musicians and live background singers.
David: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Dionne: Oh, absolutely. That’s the only way I record. The tracks, they’re etched in stone. There’s nothing you can do with the track. Once it’s recorded, it’s recorded. When you are in the studio with live musicians, things happen, wonderful things. A drummer might do something that the bass player might pick up, the bass player does something that causes the piano player to do something wonderful, which sparks something in me during the recording session itself. So, it was an absolute joy to record.
David: Fantastic. And I know that the CD you had out a few years ago was also done the same way? The Sammy Cahn project. So, you’ve actually gone back to the way you first started.
Dionne: I never left the way I started. I don’t record unless there are live bodies in the studio with me making it happen. That’s really how you make a recording happen.
David: That’s fantastic. So, just final thoughts…. obviously we know the CD’s out now in the U.K. It’s about to come out in the U.S. I know you are on the road. Actually, Have I ever known you to not be on the road? I’m trying to think. There was probably a little short minute or month or two months or somewhere! Probably somewhere in there, but not for any length of time. So, do you have many more places to go on this particular tour?
Dionne: Absolutely. There’s a full world tour and we’ve done three continents already. We have three more to go.
David: So, you’ve got Australia and all of that?
Dionne: And Asia and Africa.
David: So those three. We’re coming up to the end of 2012, so I assume they’re going to be part of 2013?
Dionne: Yes, well, that’s the 50th year.
David: There you go. Fantastic. Well, Dionne, it’s always [a pleasure] ...[Now with the CD], buy it, download it, do it right!
David: Please! She said ‘Please,’ there you go. So, thank you as always for giving me some time and just let’s relish and enjoy this great new recording.
David: Okay, thanks again.
Dionne: Thank you.
David: Take care now, bye.
About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of SoulMusic.com and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create SoulMusic.com Records as a leading reissue label.