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Dionne Warwick Reveals Key to Her 60 Years of Success in the Industry

Claudine Varela
Nov 01, 2019
02:20 A.M.

Diana Warwick says people shouldn't expect her to do something she can't do as she opens up about her recording comeback and her the advice she learned from her idols.

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Coming from a five-year hiatus, Dionne Warwick is back with two albums and a Vegas engagement but the singer humbly admits, “I’m still learning.”

“I don’t know how thick my skin is. I have been in the industry now 58 years. I have a lot that I can share if asked."

Dionne Warwick performing on SiriusXM's Soul Town channel in March 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

Dionne Warwick performing on SiriusXM's Soul Town channel in March 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

A BACK-TO-BACK COMEBACK

Warwick opened up to Atlanta Black Star about her return to the music scene and the secret to her staying power while promoting her back-to-back albums.

The 78-year-old revealed she was surprised herself that she recorded two albums, one released in May aptly called “She’s Back” and a Christmas Album that dropped on October 18.

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“I had no idea that I was gonna drop a Christmas album this fast,” Warwick shared “‘She’s Back’ was because of me being accosted by people basically asking why I had not recorded in the past six, seven years. It’s a wonderful feeling to know I’ve been missed this much.”

“I am me,” she says. “I don’t try to be somebody that I know I can’t be.”

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STILL LEARNING

Warwick is humble to admit that though many look up to her as an icon, she has a long way to go to achieve the status her mentors, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sammy Davis Jr. attained.

“I still have a lot to learn — I’m still learning,” she claims in spite of close to 60 years in the industry.

She also discloses that it’s the advice of these same icons that she takes to heart in coursing through her career.

“They basically all said the same thing to me: Always be who you are. Because you cannot be anyone else. I feel like that should ring true to everybody.”

Dionne Warwick at the National Arts Awards in October 2017. | Photo: Getty Images

Dionne Warwick at the National Arts Awards in October 2017. | Photo: Getty Images

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HER ADVICE TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION

As for her own advice to other younger singers, she said,

“I don’t know how thick my skin is. I have been in the industry now 58 years. I have a lot that I can share if asked. And I don’t give advice, I give encouragement.”

In an interview with Essence earlier this year, Warwick named Beyonce as a potential icon but notes that the singer still has a long way to go compared to her older idols.

“I think [Beyoncé] an icon in the eyes of those who feel she is,” she said. “I personally feel like she's growing into that. I could not be more proud of her and her success. But when you compare her to an Ella Fitzgerald, I think it takes a little foresight."

Beyonce attending a hunger relief initiative kickoff in New York in June 2009. | Photo: Getty Images

Beyonce attending a hunger relief initiative kickoff in New York in June 2009. | Photo: Getty Images

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A VEGAS ENGAGEMENT

Apart from her two albums, Warwick landed a limited engagement at Cleopatra’s Barge in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas until March 2020. She’s excited about it.

“It’s been quite interesting,” she told Atlanta Black Star. “It’s been a joy. We’ve had wonderful audiences. They seem to be enjoying what they come to see and hear. We’ll be here quite a while.”

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STAYING TRUE TO HERSELF

Now that Warwick is swinging again with her music, she expects to record more in the future. But what fans shouldn’t expect from her is to be somebody she’s not.

“I am me,” she says. “I don’t try to be somebody that I know I can’t be.”

Warwick explains that it’s pointless to attempt to do something she can’t or reinvent herself when all people really want to see and hear is Dionne Warwick.

We couldn’t agree with her more. After all, there's no one quite like Dionne Warwick so why change her.

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