Interview: Dionne Warwick

Abigail Saltmarsh Singing legend. Music icon. They're descriptions that are routinely overused, but they're truly fitting to the legendary soul icon Dionne Warwick who is about to make a rare visit to Norwich.

Abigail Saltmarsh

Singing legend. Music icon. They're descriptions that are routinely overused, but which are truly fitting to the legendary Dionne Warwick who is about to make a rare visit to Norwich. ABIGAIL SALTMARSH speaks to the singer whose career spans four decades and countless hits.

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Q: Tell us about your beginnings as a singer?

A: I was doing a background session with the Drifters, performing 'Mexican Divorce' by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard. Burt approached me to do more background work, and demonstration records of songs that he was writing with Hal David. I agreed, and that's how it all began. I've always been a singer - it was predestined. I come from a singing family.

Q: What can audiences expect from the show?

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A: You'll be getting my life story through my music. From the beginning to now! “It's basically giving you my life story thus far, through my music. Some misnomers are going to be corrected. There's music and there's talk, giving you the real deal about Dionne Warwick! I think people should come out and hear it!

Q: How do you enjoy touring?

A: I'm been blessed to be appreciated at home, as well as abroad, and though the touring can be quite tiring, the performing makes it all worthwhile.

Q: To what do you attribute your success?

A: Success rarely comes easily. Sustaining a career in the music business requires hard work and drive as well as talent. I've been very lucky too!

Q: Have your relationships with Burt Bacharach and Hal David been important?

A: Our special relationship was down to something very simple - we're friends. I've known them for 47 years of my career. Todays songwriters don't even come close.

Q: Which is your favourite Bacharach/David composition?

A: I love all of them - they are like my children and I cannot have a favourite child as I have more than one Forty years on these finely crafted classics have been updated and brought into the 21st Century , but primarily you'll be getting them as they were first recorded. I still enjoy singing them. They're a big part of me.

Q: Which other musicians and writers have been important in your career?

A: As well as Bacharach and David, I've also loved working with Barry Manilow and the brothers Gibb (The Bee Gees), Jerry Ragovoy, Quincy Jones. I've worked with Luther Vandross and the list goes on and on. They all have been quite instrumental in the development of what I am and who I am.

Q: Can you tell us about your latest CD release, Why we Sing, a collection of 12 new gospel recordings?

A: It's music that I grew up with and have a love of. Gospel is and always has been a large part of my life. I'm in love with it. There are some very special moments in it. I'm delighted with my last album Why We Sing. I think it's a wonderful rendition of songs so people can get to know where I come from musically.

Q: As well as your singing, do you have any other projects?

A: I do have other interests: I have a skincare line and an interior-design company. But music will always be a part of my life.

t Dionne Warwick performs at the Theatre Royal on November 9. More information on 01603 630000,