*Chances are you’re going to be as stoked as I am to check out this interview that the legendary Johnny Mathis did with The Associated Press recently.
The 78-year-old singer is up to some pretty interesting stuff. He’ll drop a 13-CD box set of unsuccessful commercial albums recorded from 1963 to 1967, when he left Columbia Records and went to his own production company; he talks about trying yoga for the first time, and even doing a stint on “a show called ‘The Simpsons.'”
And wait until you hear what he has to say about shows like “American Idol.” From the sound of it, don’t expect to see this legend sitting behind the table telling young folks what they should do!
Anyway, it’s classic. It’s the iconic, very elusive, Johnny Mathis. Talking! Yippee!!!
Mathis left his longtime record label, Columbia Records, and headed to Mercury Records, then Global Records, his own production company. On November 17, he will unleash some of the music he made during that time as “The Complete Global Albums Collection.”
The release will consist of 10 digitally mastered albums; an unreleased album of Broadway show tunes and two albums of other unreleased songs and non-album singles.
And don’t think this brother has any problems staying relevant, you can catch him at any of the two dozen live shows he is set to do this year.
Check out the Johnny Mathis interview below.
AP: What was it like when you left Columbia for your own label in the ’60s?problems staying relevant at 78. He is already booked for two dozen live shows this year!
Mathis: I didn’t have the luxury of a producer and it kind of shows on a lot of the stuff, but it was a good adventure for me. I did get a chance to meet Quincy Jones and become really good friends with him because he was at a high-level position at Mercury Records.
AP: Did you enjoy the responsibility?
Mathis: I did some good stuff at Mercury, but I was kind of lonely and didn’t have the checks and balances that I have at Columbia, so after about two years I kind of exhausted all my energies, but I’m very happy that I did something earlier on in my career that made me realize that nobody, and I mean nobody, does anything in this world by themselves. You need a lot of help.
AP: Are you working on new music?
Mathis: I just recorded a couple of Christmas songs. One with David Koz, a wonderful friend of mine and great saxophone player, and I sang with the Count Basie Orchestra.
AP: Since you’ve had a long career, would you ever consider mentoring young talent on a show like “American Idol”?
Mathis: I’m a little ambiguous about shows like that. Giving advice to someone on such a short notice … I think it’s kind of good publicity for the celebrity who is sitting there … You can’t be really too sure of yourself when you’re seeing someone sing one song. I realize it’s a great outlet for anyone who wants to perform … but it can be a little disheartening … It’s kind of good, kind of bad. I don’t watch it. I cringe when these so-called celebrities tell these people what they should do.
AP: How was life been outside of music?
Mathis: I’m trying to figure out how much exercise I need … Someone said, “Have you ever tried to do some yoga stuff?” … I’m torn between starting a whole new routine of exercises or sticking with the ones I have. That’s the thing that happens I think with performers who get a little older and wonder how they can keep their appearance up.
AP: How’s the yoga going?
Mathis: This is my third day. I need a little bit more time. I’ve seen it and I know people who do it and I thought: “Let’s try it. Let’s see.” Because it’s very good for breathing, I know that and that’s a very big, big part of what I do onstage. … I get up at 4:30 in the morning to go to my gym classes and I have been doing that for a very long time … but the yoga thing is about a week old and we’ll see how long that lasts.
Visit Black Press USA to read about Mathis’ goals and more.