Inland Empire Business Journal had the unique opportunity to engage in a short Q&A with American Legend — Tony Bennett.
By: Inland Empire Business Journal- January 23, 2020
IEBJ: So you’re 93 years young! Most people are retired at this age, but, you’re still going strong. What inspires you to keep singing?
TONY: I have always wanted to make people happy by entertaining them – it’s that simple. So when I perform I pick the best possible songs that I can find and surround myself on stage with master musicians and I during my show I hope that the audience has a chance to just enjoy themselves, and forget about their own worries and problems for a little while. If they walk out of the theatre feeling good that makes me happy.
IEBJ: You are one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and now in the first two decades of the 21st century. What are some of the keys to your success?
TONY: This April it will be 70 years since I made my first recording with Columbia Records and back then my premise was to try to achieve a “hit catalog” and not just go after hit songs that might make it big for a few weeks and then fade away. I think if you stick with quality then no matter what you are doing for a living it will click with the public. I was taught never to underestimate the audience and to give them the very best performance and material that I could present. I love what I do and I honestly feel like I have never worked a day in my life.
IEBJ: If you could record one last duet with someone, who would it be?
TONY: Well, I always love to work with Lady Gaga – we have such a wonderful time singing and performing together. She can do it all and has a very very long career ahead of her.
IEBJ: Who’s your favorite musician today?
TONY: Of all time it might have to be Louis Armstrong – he really taught us all how to sing. For a contemporary artist, I think Stevie Wonder is a genius. I remember when we recorded “For Once In My Life,” for the DUETS album, we had some time in the studio before they were ready to record and he was at the piano and started to play this magnificent jazz solo and I thought it was Oscar Peterson. I would love to do a piano jazz album with Stevie.
IEBJ: Here’s an off-topic question. You’re a World War II Veteran; Some think World War III is upon us — what say you?
TONY: During my time in WWII, I came home a pacifist with the belief that violence is the lowest form of human behavior. I am still hopeful that we will see a world where wars are a thing of the past as we have more in common with each other than we have differences. My neighbor when I lived in Los Angeles was Ella Fitzgerald and she used to say to me, “Tony, we are all here.” And she was absolutely right so we need to take care of each other.
Tony Bennett’s life and philosophy is the embodiment of the Great American Story. Having celebrated his 92nd birthday on August 3rd, 2019, his career as the pre-eminent singer of the 20th and 21st centuries is unprecedented. He continues to be embraced and loved by audiences of all generations.
Folks can see Tony Bennett in concert on Sunday, January 26th, 2020 at 7:30 pm at Pechanga Theater in Temecula. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.