Dionne Warwick may be turning 83 in December, but she shows no sign of slowing down! With a new book, a television show in development, an album in the works and an ongoing tour, the youthful, energetic singer stays very busy.
‘Life always excites me,’ the musical icon told HELLO!, at jazz pianist Todd Hunter’s release party at Burbank’s Urban Press Winery in California last week for his latest album, Postcards from Brazil, Volume Two
"Waking up in the morning and listening to music gives me incredible inspiration," she enthused at the event. "I love life! It’s just who I am!"
Dionne serves as a guest vocalist on Todd's new album, and he also plays piano with her on tour and is her musical director. "It’s such a good title for an album! I lived in Brazil for 25 years, I go back there every other year,” Dionne explains. “Brazil is home for me. There are beautiful musicians and incredible recording artists there."
On Postcards, Dionne sings "New Beginning," a new English translation for the Ivan Lins hit, "Comecar de Novo." "I am truly thrilled to be a part of this album, and happy to be singing this song, which is written by one of my favorite artists."
Todd describes the experience of working with the legendary singer,as "fabulous, fantastic, amazing and masterful. It’s an honor to share the stage with the iconic Dionne Warwick – every show is a lesson in greatness."
Dionne feels immense happiness the moment she gets onstage and starts singing.
"Music is a healing force. I can’t imagine living in a world without music," she raves. " it takes you to places that you have never been…It makes you happy, it makes you sad, all the qualities of life, that’s what music is….I love looking into the audience and seeing smiles, I love when an arm goes around the shoulder, or grabbing each others’ hands or singing with me. That means I am doing something right!"
Even more delightful for Dionne: performing with her granddaughter, Cheyenne Elliott, who just did three shows with her.
"She is my biggest mentor and one of my best friends!" Cheyenne told HELLO!. "She inspires me all the time! I love her very much and support her too!"
Dionne has also started working on a new book, tentatively titled "What the World Needs Now: Messages of Love and Hope (But No Advice Cause No One Listens Anyway)," that she hopes will make people feel good.
"It’s full of anecdotes, things that I’ve learned, things that are yet to be learned and a lot of giggles. It’s an inspirational book, not too heavy, it’s going to be fun to read."
In addition, Dionne has been working on developing a television series in which singer/actress Teyana Taylor would play her younger self.
"We are creating a series, which is based on my autobiography, My Life as I See It.
It’s the most amazing thing in the world; my son sent me a photograph of her and a photograph of me, side by side. I thought I was looking at me! I finally got to meet her, she is so much like me it’s scary!" she marveled. "She is very excited about it and is a wonderful actress. And she is a good singer too! It’s going to be a joy working with her."
Just in time for her birthday, Dionne will be celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors, which tapes in December and will air on CBS at a later date. "I think it’s wonderful that I am being recognized finally by the Center. I performed for several of the honorees at different times. I am very very excited about this."
In speaking to Dionne, one can’t help but admire her confidence. "I like me, I am who I am and will always be. I know my skin very well. I was brought up that way, we were brought up to be who we are, and taught all the protocols, be kind, be generous, be honest, prayerful–all those things we were taught from the cradle and I carry that with me… I don't look for joy, joy is a part of me."