“I plan to keep on singing as long as I can walk a straight line without a cane!” says 62-year-old, five-time Grammy-winner Dionne Warwick. With a career that has not only spanned, but flourished, over four decades, one would be hard pressed to believe otherwise. To this day, the timeless Warwick continues to traverse the doing what she loves most: performing.
Warwick is currently in the midst of a world tour, revisiting each continent and major city that she has performed at over her career. Warwick offers “The tour is really a big ‘thank you!’ to all those places that have allowed me to do what I love for the past 40 years.” Earlier this year, she performed in Australia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong in addition to several stateside venues and will be visiting Holland, Spain, and the United Kingdom this summer. She is currently performing several dates in Germany, co-headlining with her cousin Whitney Houston and Natalie Cole.
Warwick has just recently published her first book, “My Point of View,” a coffee table book. The book features over 200 never before seen pictures and accompanying true stories as well as a brand new CD. In the book, Warwick shares anecdotes and inspiration collected from family, friends, strangers and life in general, all from her point of view. The book will be released in the United States this fall, and is currently available for purchase through her website, www.dionnewarwick.info.
Later this year, fans of Warwick will be able to purchase their choice of several new albums. First up is a Christmas album, featuring Warwick singing classics and carols alike, due out this fall. Warwick is also in the process of rerecording all of her hit songs from her 40-year career. However, the most anticipated album being produced is a duets CD scheduled for a Valentine’s Day, 2005 release. The album will feature Dionne singing alongside musical superstars young and old, from all musical genres, including such artists as: Gladys Knight; Elton John; Natalie Cole; Gloria Estefan; Mya; Pink; and Destiny’s Child among others.
Warwick was recently in Bangkok, Thailand for “The 15th International AIDS Conference.” More specifically, she and such world-renowned celebrities as Bill Clinton, Bono and Oprah Winfrey will lend their voices to Nelson Mandela’s “46664 – The Message” Campaign event. The event, which will be hosted by Mandela in a rare public appearance, will continue to promote the development of prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS victims around the world. Warwick is one of several “46664 Global Ambassadors.”
In June 2004, Warwick was one of 12 women that received a World Award at the first annual Women’s World Awards in Hamburg, Germany. Presented by President Mikhail Gorbachev, the Women’s World Awards are the first global prize for women whose unique achievements have contributed to a better, more humane and peaceful society. Warwick received the “World Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement” and performed her hit “That’s What Friends Are For” alongside her cousin and fellow honoree, Whitney Houston.
Born Dionne Warrick (she changed her name to “Warwick” after a misspelling on her first album) in East Orange, New Jersey in December of 1940, Warwick was exposed to music at a very young age. Her father worked as a gospel music promoter for Chess Records and her mother managed the Drinkard Sisters, a gospel group composed of her relatives. Her aunt is the famous Cissy
Houston, the mother of superstar Whitney Houston. Warwick occasionally sang as a soloist and fill-in voice for the Drinkard Sisters, and later she and sister Dee-Dee formed another gospel group called The Gospelaires.
The year 1962 brought Warwick’s big break. Session work with the Gospelaires brought her to a studio to sing back up on The Drifters’ “Mexican Divorce.” Burt Bacharach was conducting and when he heard her beautiful vocals he decided to have Warwick sing on a demo he was working on with Hal David. The demo landed at Scepter Records, but the only thing President Florence Greenberg was interested in was Warwick’s smoky voice, beginning her 12-year association with the label.
Warwick, with the team of Bacharach and David, created over 30 hit singles and nearly 20 best-selling albums throughout the 1960s. She became known as the artist who “bridged the gap,” her songs transcending the racial and cultural boundaries that marred the turbulent decade with their blend of rhythm & blues, pop, and gospel.
In 1968 Warwick won her first Grammy with the single “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?,” followed with another Grammy in 1970 for her best-selling album I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, and hit the top of the charts for the first time with “Then Came You,” a million-selling duet with The Spinners in 1974. Three years later, she teamed up with Isaac Hayes for 1977’s highly successful “A Man and A Woman” world tour.
In 1978 Warwick signed with Arista Records. Wasting no time, she climbed the charts again with her 1979 release Dionne, her first platinum-selling album. Her singles “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and “Déjà Vu” both earned Grammy’s, making Warwick the first female artist to win both Best Female Pop and Best Female R&B Performance Awards. Hot on the heels of her renewed success, Warwick began her first stint as host of the television show “Solid Gold.”
Warwick continued to crank out hits throughout the 80s. Her 1982 album Heartbreaker became an international chart-topper and her 1985 album Friends reached gold status. In 1985, Warwick reunited with producer Burt Bacharach and teamed with longtime friends Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Elton John to record the instant classic “That’s What Friends Are For,” with profits donated to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR).
Warwick collaborated with many more of her musical peers throughout the 80s, including Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, and Luther Vandross. Working with Stevie Wonder, Warwick was the music coordinator for the 1984 film and Academy Award-winning soundtrack album THE WOMAN IN RED.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, Warwick toured extensively with Bacharach, winning rave reviews from press and fans alike. Her final album for Arista was 1994’s critically acclaimed Aquarela Do Brasil.
Over the course of her career, Warwick has won numerous accolades honoring her musical and societal contributions. In the spring of 2002, she was honored by the American Red Ribbon AIDS Foundation and later that year she was honored by the Recording Academy with the 2002 New York Chapter’s Heroes Award. In November 2001, she was named “History Maker” by the History Makers Organization in Chicago. In 1998, The National Association of Record Merchandisers gave Warwick the Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement. Warwick can also boast her own star on Hollywood’s prestigious Walk of Fame.
In addition to her many musical contributions, Warwick is a tireless humanitarian, continuing to work with various organizations dedicated to empowering and inspiring others. In 1997, she was awarded the ‘Luminary Award’ by the American Society of Young Musicians and the same year she joined General Colin Powell in celebrating the tenth anniversary of the “Best Friends” Program, an abstinence and character-building program for young women. In 1990, she joined forces with a number of her Arista labelmates to raise over $2.5 million for various AIDS organizations at the star-studded “That’s What Friends Are For” benefit at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. In 1984, Warwick was one of the key participants in the all-star charity single “We Are The World” and performed at “Live Aid.”
As she looks forward to another decade of great music, Warwick says she still has some personal goals: “As I’ve said over the years, I still want the Tony, the Oscar and the Emmy!” With no signs of slowing down, nothing seems out of reach for Dionne Warwick.