Many people think they have an understanding of Marie Dionne Warrick. Surprisingly, this second most-charted female vocalist of all time, with 69 singles in the Billboard Hot 100, consistently recreates herself as a performer and business woman. An amazing vocalist, whose career has spanned for more than four decades, Dionne Warwick takes her artistry to many altered levels and arenas.
In speaking with Ms. Warwick, I was astonished of the accomplishments that she has achieved as well as the strides she continues to make. Coming from a musical family firmly entrenched in gospel; it is not hard for one to understand her soar to stardom. After high school, Ms. Warwick landed her own record deal after collaborating with song writer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David. Musical history was being made.
Still, there is so much more to Dionne Warwick. She became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health. She is a philanthropist, interior designer, author, grandmother and owns her own skincare line.
RM Ms. Warwick how and by whom were you appointed to be a UN Ambassador?
DW The attorney general of the FAO division in Rome Italy appointed me as an ambassador to that division in the early part of the 1990’s. The highlight was the fact of being chosen to be a part of the UN in an ambassador’s position.
RM As a philanthropist/humanitarian is there a cause or issue that you are dedicated toward at this time?
DW I have just been made the National spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation and I am still very much involved with the ongoing fight against A.I.D.S.
RM You are a writer of two children’s books. What are the titles?
DW “Say A Prayer” and “Little Man”. I’d like to write another children’s book and will put more thought into this when I can free up enough time.
RM I’ve heard that you are also an Interior Designer?
DW Yes I am. I have been for 20 some odd years and I made a decision to let everybody else know about it. It’s a matter also of getting out and showing people. Finally we decided to put up a website which we’ve worked on. Everyone can take a look at the website. We are based wherever the job would be.
RM Do you have a particular style of design?
DW The style is whatever the client wants. That’s the success of an Interior Designer, definitely. Every client that we have had; we have done a client analysis of them to get information of a myriad of things before we start a project. We also let the client know that what they want, we will provide them, because they have to live there. We don’t force our opinions on clients. Clients kind of guide us.
RM Was interior design always something that you did or had a knack for?
DW Yes, I think every little girl in a point in her life, during her growing years decides – that I want to change my room and make it blue, and take the option to do so. Once I got involved with my partner Bruce, I made a decision to liken my design prowess to my music. They walk hand in hand, music has different hues, different colors. There’s cool and there’s texture and there’s interior design. It evolves into what I would do in any event. I have a fragrance and I have a skin care line. I think people are aware but it’s just about getting it out to their eyes and ears to let them know it’s available.
After more than four decades the melodious saga is still being created, renewed and transformed by Ms. Warwick. In 2012, the 50th anniversary of Dionne Warwick’s illustrious career was celebrated with the commencement of her album called “Now”, and her new CD was released in October.
RM What is the name of your new release?
DW The CD is titled, “Feels So Good”. It says something and it is a CD of duets from my songbook.
RM You have a very distinct sound that’s not easily categorized. It’s a fresh style. What would you call the genre of your music?
DW That’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. Whatever the listener decides what it is.
RM I am pleasantly enlightened to know you are still going strong. Do you have any aspects of this CD that are different from the others?
DW I think the difference is my duets. We do quite a few genres of music. There’s Country, there’s Hip Hop. There are some Pop renditions, so it’s a cross section of everything. The songs were chosen by my duet partners. We sang what they wanted to sing. The songs were very special renditions.
RM With Hip Hop how does it resonate with you to have come back full circle to the most youthful type of music genre?
DW I certainly understand what you are saying. Recording or performing with the babies, as I call them, like Neo, Ruben Studdard, you kind of walk in their realm and accommodate them. They just pick songs that they want to sing and they knew my music and they wanted to put their spin on it. This allowed me to go into their realm, which was a lot of fun.
RM Coming from a musical family, are you going to be performing with some of your relatives?
DW Sure, my son has been on the road with me for many years and my granddaughter on occasion comes with me. Yes, we do perform together. My son’s name is David Elliott and my granddaughters name is Cheyenne Elliott. (Ms. Warwick’s other son; veteran music producer Damon Elliott produced Feels So Good).
RM Will you be performing in the States next year?
DW Absolutely, we are getting together the show tour for next year of course. We plan to go overseas. My first tour will be Africa. We are going to Cameroon.
RM On the overseas tour will your duet partners joining you?
DW I would love to have my duet partners perform with me and I will do everything possible to make that happen, according to our schedules, because we all are flying in different directions. They might be available to come and join me, I certainly will put out a call to them and hopefully they will be able to perform the song that we had on the recording itself.
RM I was able to see the play Promises Promises, (which has Burt Bacharach’s musical score) on Broadway. How did you feel seeing (and hearing) the music that you made so popular, on Broadway?
DW The first Broadway show was in the 70’s. So it was a magical evening with everybody there and to know that Bacharach/David inspired the music and lyrics and every song that was being performed, it was quite rewarding.
RM Have you ever done opera?
DW Yes, well I have done Opera, a show in Japan seven or eight years ago. They asked if I would be willing to participate. It was a Japanese Opera.
Opera performer, entrepreneur, vocal stylist, former Ambassador and now National spokesperson, Ms. Warwick regenerates and defines her own path in the music industry. Her new CD, Feels So Good, is a wonderful collaboration of duets with incredible songsters that lend their expertise to imaginatively reintroduce Ms. Warwick’s bevy of timeless musical renditions.
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