LEGENDARY DIONNE WARWICK IS BACK

May 15, 2019 at 4:45 am

The five-time Grammy Award winner joins us to talk about her life, her career and how she’s helping school kids in her New Jersey hometown.

For more info on tour dates click here.

For more info on Dionne Warwick Institutes Fundraiser click here.

Aired on May 14, 2019.

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§
§ I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER FOR
YOU §
>>> JUST ONE OF THE MANY HITS
MUSIC LEGEND DIONNE WARWICK SANK
OVER HER SIX DECADE CAREER,
EARNING HER SIX GRIM MEAMMYS AN
HITS.
"WALK ON BY," ALPHIE."
THIS WEEK SHE'LL BE HON INORED
ALONG WITH CLIVE DAVIS AT A
BENEFIT FOR THE PUBLIC SCHOOL
SHE HAS SUPPORTED IN HER
HOMETOWN OF EAST ORANGE, NEW
JERSEY.
THIS LEGENDARY FIRST LADY OF
SONG JOINS ME NOW.
WELCOME.
>> THANK YOU.
>> FOR THE FIVE PEOPLE WHO DON'T
KNOW YOU, WHAT I LOVE SO MUCH
ABOUT YOU IS YOU'RE A LOCAL
GIRL.
YOU'RE DEFINITELY A JERSEY GIRL
THROUGH AND THROUGH.
>> EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, RAH
RAH.
>> TAKE US BACK TO WHEN YOU
BEGAN YOUR CAREER IN EAST
ORANGE.
>> WELL, I WAS DOING BACKGROUND
SESSIONS DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL
DAYS OVER THE WEEKENDS, FRIDAY
EVENINGS, SATURDAYS.
I'D TAKE THE 118 FROM PENN
STATION INTO NEW YORK TO THE
RECORDING STUDIOS AND DO THOSE
OHS AND AHS.
ACTUALLY FROM A BACKGROUND
SESSION IS HOW I MET BURT FIRST.
>> BURT AS IN?
>> BACCARAT.
THAT BURT.
YEAH, HE HAD WRITTEN A SONG WITH
A YOUNG MAN NAMED BOB HILLIARD
OF THE DRIFTERS.
MY GROUP DID THE BACKGROUND ON
THE DRIFTERS' RECORDING OF THAT.
AFTER THE SESSION WAS OVER, BURT
APPROACHED ME AND ASK IF I WOULD
BE INTERESTED IN DOING
DEMONSTRATION RECORDS OF SONGS
WE WOULD BE WRITING WITH A NEW
SONG WRITING PARTNER HAL DAVID.
I SAY, YEAH, AS LONG AS IT
DOESN'T INTERFERE WITH MY
EDUCATION BECAUSE I WAS
GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL GETTING
READY TO GO TO COLLEGE.
HE SAYS OKAY, NO PROBLEM.
I SAID IT WON'T BE A PROBLEM
BECAUSE MY MOTHER WOULD KILL YOU
AND ME BOTH.
HE TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD.
THAT'S BASICALLY MY INTRODUCTION
TO BURT AND HAL, DID A
DEMONSTRATION RECORD THAT BURT
AND HAL HAD WRITTEN.
THE PRODUCER DIDN'T WANT THE
SONG, SHE WANTED THE VOICE.
GET ME THAT VOICE, I WANT THE
VOICE.
THAT'S WHEN BURT AND HAL STARTED
BADGERING ME, YOU'VE GOT TO
RECORD.
I DON'T WANT TO RECORD, I'M
DOING VERY WELL.
I'M EARNING A GOOD AMOUNT OF
MONEY THAT KEEPS ME STABILIZED
IN COLLEGE.
SUPPLEMENT WHAT MY MOM AND DAD
COULDN'T DO, I WAS ABLE TO DO.
THEY FINALLY SAID, OH PLEASE YOU
HAVE TO RECORD.
I JUST RECORDED A DEMO OF A SONG
CALLED "MAKE IT EASY ON
YOURSELF," AND I FELL IN LOVE
WITH THE SONG.
I SAID,OKAY I'LL RECORD.
THAT HAS TO BE MY VERY FIRST
RECORDING.
AND THEY PROMISED IT WOULD BE.
I WAS ON MY WAY IN TO DO A
SESSION FOR THEM, HAD MY RADIO
ON.
ALL OF A SUDDEN I HEARD THIS
RASPY VOICE COMING OUT OF MY
SPEAKERS SINGING "MAKE IT EASY
ON YOURSELF."
IT WAS JERRY BUTLER.
I WAS NOT A HAPPY CAMPER, TO SAY
THE LEAST.
I KIND OF LET THEM KNOW HOW
UNHAPPY I WAS.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, MY FIRST
RECORDING WHICH IS CALLED "DON'T
MAKE ME OVER" IS WHAT I TOLD
THEM THEY COULD NEVER DO TO ME.
IT WAS MY VERY FIRST RECORD.
>> OH MY GOODNESS, THAT IS SUC
A GREAT BACK STORY ESPECIALLY
WE'RE IN A PERIOD NOW WHERE
PEOPLE TALK SO MUCH ABOUT HOW
YOUNG WOMEN HAVE TO ADVOCATE FOR
THEMSELVES.
EVEN THEN YOU WERE LIKE DON'T
PLAY ME LIKE THAT.
>> YOU KNOW IT.
>> IN BUILDING YOUR CAREER, THE
OTHER THING THAT I FIND SO
FASCINATING ABOUT YOUR STORY IS
THAT EDUCATION WAS STILL A VERY
IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
IT WAS PRIMARY.
MY MOTHER WAS A STICKLER.
YOU WILL GET YOUR EDUCATION, I
DON'T CARE WHAT GOES UP OR DOWN,
MISSY.
OKAY.
MOMMY, NO WORRIES WITH ME.
>> CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT WAS
YOU WERE THINKING OF BECOMING
HAD YOU NOT BECOME A SINGER?
>> I WAS GOING TO BE A TEACHER.
>> THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL.
>> MUSIC EDUCATION WAS MY MAJOR.
>> THAT SEEMS TO FIT BECAUSE ONE
OF THE MANY PHILANTHROPIC THINGS
YOU'RE GONE TO DO IS THE DIONNE
WARWICK SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND
ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
>> OYES.
IT WAS KNOWN AS LINCOLN SCHOOL
WHICH WAS MY GRAMMAR SCHOOL.
ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO THEY DECIDED
TO DEDICATE THE SCHOOL TO ME.
I AM SO PROUD OF THAT.
I'M PROUD OF NOT ONLY MY NAME
BEING ON THAT BUILDING, BUT MY
BABIES THAT ATTEND THAT SCHOOL,
THE TEACHERS IN THE SCHOOL, HOW
MUCH CARE AND LOVE AND GENUINE
YOU CAN DO, YOU CAN DO IT, YOU
CAN DO IT.
AND THESE BABIES ARE THRIVING.
I'M SO PROUD OF THEM.
IF NOTHING ELSE EVER HAPPENS
THAT'S --
>> I WANT TO TALK ABOUT "SHE'S
BACK."
>> IT WAS BROUGHT TO MY
ATTENTION.
I DIDN'T REALIZE I HAD NOT
RECORDED IN ALMOST 5 1/2 YEARS.
I SAID REALLY?
I WAS GENUINELY BEING ACCOSTED
BY PEOPLE, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO
RECORD, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU.
OKAY, OKAY, OKAY.
WHOA, I DIDN'T KNOW YOU MISSED
ME THAT MUCH.
SO THE TITLE OF MY CD IS GOING
TO BE "SHE'S BACK" AND THAT WILL
SHUT EVERYBODY UP.
SHE'S BACK, OKAY?
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO FOR YOU.
>> YOU GOT A CHANCE TO ALSO DO
SOME DUE TS WITH A LOT OF
CONTEMPORARY ARTIST.
>> YES.
AND THE STORY THEY SHARED WITH
ME WAS OH MY MOTHER FELL IN LOVE
WITH THIS SONG AND THAT WAS ALL
I HEARD WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL.
AND I DIDN'T KNOW YOU RECORDING
THIS SONG TOO.
>> YEAH,O
RECORD THAT ONE, BABY.
>> YOUR PRESENCE IN POPULAR
CULTURE HAS BECOME SO UBIQUITOUS
IN SO MANY OF OUR LIVES THAT
IT'S GOT TO BE SOMETHING THAT
PEOPLE PERHAPS TAKE FOR GRANTED,
THAT THEY DON'T REALIZE HOW
INFLUENTIAL YOU'VE BEEN OVER THE
YEARS.
>> I DON'T LOOK AT IT ME BEING
INFLUENTIAL, I THINK IT'S THE
MUSIC I'M ASSOCIATED WITH THAT
INFILTRATED, HAS HAD THE ABILITY
TO SPEAK TO PEOPLE.
I WAS TOLD MANY YEARS AGO AND I
DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT AT THAT
POINT IN TIME BUT I DO NOW.
SOMEONE SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW,
YOU'RE A MESSENGER.
I AM?
YEAH.
YOU'RE SENDING MESSAGES.
WHEN YOU SING A SONG YOU SING
ABOUT LOVE, YOU SING ABOUT HOPE,
YOU SING ABOUT TRUST, YOU SING
ABOUT PROSPERITY, YOU SING ABOUT
PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT DOING THAT
WELL, YOU SING ABOUT JOY, YOU
SING ABOUT TEARS BUT YOU'RE
GIGIVE
ING THE MESSAGE THAT PEOPLE
SOMETIMES FIND DIFFICULT TO GIVE
TO THEMSELVES.
>> I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU'VE
RECORDED A VERSION OF "WHAT THE
WORLD NEEDS NOW," WHICH FIRST OF
ALL THAT SEEMS LIKE SUCH AN
APPROPRIATE SONG FOR THIS
PARTICULAR MOMENT.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> LOVE SWEET LOVE.
>> NO DOUBT.
>> DID YOU CHOOSE THAT SONG FOR
THIS ALBUM?
>> SPECIFICALLY, YES.
>> WHY?
>> THOSE WORDS NEED TO BE HEARD
AGAIN.
NO BETTER TIME.
WE LIVE IN SUCH A CHAOTIC TIME
AND IT'S SENSELESS WHAT WE'RE
GOING THROUGH.
THAT WORD LOVE IS THE ONLY THING
THAT CAN DEFEAT ALL THIS
MADDENS.
IT
MADNESS.
IT HAS A WAY OF DEFEATING IT.
AND IT'S A LOT EASIER TO GIVE
YOU LOVE THAN TO HATE YOU.
HATE GIVES YOU WRINKLES.
I'M NOT GOING.
>> OKAY.
ONE OF THE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS
LOVE TO ASK PEOPLE PARTICULARLY
WHO WERE AROUND FOR AT LEAST THE
FIRST TIME WHEN THAT SONG CAME
OUT, WHICH I WASN'T HERE, BUT DO
YOU SEE -- WHAT IS YOUR
COMPARISON BETWEEN THE STRUGGLES
THE COUNTRY WENT THROUGH AT A
TIME LIKE '68 AND THE EARLY '70s
VERSUS WHERE WE ARE NOW?
>> SAME THING.
IT'S THE SAME THING.
WE ARE TAKING 25 STEPS BACK.
>> WELL, I THINK THE SONG "WHAT
THE WORLD NEEDS NOW" COULD NOT
BE MORE APPROPRIATE.
>> FOR ME IT HAS A RELIGIOUS
CONNOTATION TO IT BECAUSE I
BELIEVE GOD IS LOVE AND WE NEED
THAT TOO.
>> OKAY.
ALL RIGHT.
WELL, MISS DIONNE WARWICK I
COULD KEEP YOU HERE FOR AN HOUR
IF THEY'D LET ME.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
I UNDERSTAND "SHE'S BACK" WILL
BE RELEASED --
>> THE 17th.
>> HOPEFULLY THAT WILL BE THE
SONG OF THE SUMMER.
LORD KNOWS WE NEED.
>> YES, WE DO.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US.
IT WAS SUCH A PLEASURE TO HAVE
YOU ON THE SHOW.
>> MY PLEASURE.
THANK YOU.
>> FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE
DIONNE WARWICK INSTITUTE OF
ECONOMICS AND SBRE
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND HER NEW
ALBUM "SHE'S BACK."
>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY --

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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