The exceptional vocalist Dionne Warwick has enjoyed the kind of success in
2019 that would be impressive for someone whose career was just beginning to
explode, let alone a legend with six Grammy awards, 80 singles that have made
various Billboard charts since she became a star in the 60s (56 of them on the Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998), and among many other honors there’s the Dionne Warwick Institute, a school of economics and entrepreneurship located in her home state of
New Jersey. But Warwick is hardly resting on her laurels. This year she’s received a Lifetime Grammy Award, seen her recent LP “She’s Back” make the Top 3 on the Billboard R&B charts, and enjoyed a residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
“I’m just happy to still be alive, active and know people enjoy and value what I do,” Warwick said during a recent phone interview with the Tribune. She’s also just celebrated her 80th birthday on December 12, appeared at a Saks Fifth Avenue event in Manhattan last week, and even found time to record an album here in Music City. “Dionne Warwick and the Voices of Christmas” offers a wide variety of tunes done in every style from her classic pop/soul approach to country, and includes guest appearances from a variety of guests. One example is the tune “Jingle Bells,” which matches her with the Oak Ridge Boys. Ricky Skaggs, and John Rich. There’s also a soaring version of “White Christmas” with longtime friend Johnny Mathis. The album was produced by her son Damon Elliott, and Warwick says she had a great time recording in Nashville.
“It really is one of my favorite places to come,” she continued. “I had a really good time recording the album, and want people to really get into the holiday spirit. I also wanted to do a mix of things, and work with people that I felt would make good matches vocally. I’m really proud of the album.”
Warwick’s also currently doing fundraising events and benefits during the holiday season for the Institute. Fans can purchase gift baskets from her website as
well as other memorabilia items.at www.dionnewarwickinternationalfanclub.com/ store
The holiday LP makes a nice pairing with “She’s Back,” which integrates the trademark and still dazzling Warwick soprano into a range of idiomatic support that includes duets with Musiq Soulchild, Kenny Lattimore and Kevon Edmons alongside a revamped version of her 1979 hit “Deja vu,” a fresh take on the 1965 anthem “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” and newer songs “Life Is Waiting” and “We Need To Go Back.” There’s a nod to contemporary audiences with the addition of rapper Krayzie Bone from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony on “Deja vu.” But what’s most notable is the glorious Warwick voice remains strong, still providing the emphatic lyric emphasis and strong delivery that’s characterized her best tunes.
Besides the holiday album, Warwick’s also currently raising funds for the Institute. Fans can buy holiday baskets whose proceeds will go to raise funds that provide educational opportunities for the next generation of entre
Still, for those who grew up in the ‘60s, Dionne Warwick’s collaborations with Burt Bacharach and Hal David will always be their favorites. An amazing list of their collaborations that include “Walk On By,” ‘Don’t Make Me Over,” “Anyone Who Had A Heart,” “Reach Out For Me,”and “Message To Michael” (to name only a handful) featured incredible, triumphant sagas, with Bacharach’s piano support and orchestration perfectly framing David’s brilliant lyrics and Warwick’s majestic vocals. When asked whether she knew at the time they were making history, Warwick’s response was a simple one. “No. I didn’t even think about that. I knew we were doing good work. But you never think you’re doing things that will become standards or that people will always remember.”
But that’s certainly the case, and will always remain that way. Meanwhile Warwick will be returning to Nashville next year for some appearances. “I’m coming back to Nashville next year for sure,” she concluded. “I’ll be doing things in a couple of places so tell your audience to be on the lookout for me in 2020.” Anyone who loves hearing a great and timeless singer will certainly do so