I have written about Tony Bennett before, but I need to write about him again.
It’s August 2014, and Tony has just turned 88 (I am, of course, very proud that I share my birthday with him in the month of August, as I do with Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Shania Twain).
I recently bought his book, Life is a Gift. It is a wonderful, inspiring read. In my opinion, anybody who is still singing and performing at the age of 88, after a 60-year career in music, is worthy of emulation and study. I hope that when I am 88 I will still be performing and singing, wherever, whenever.
As I have read through the book, I have learnt much along the way, and I would like to share some of that with you, because I believe that it will help you with your music career, and also give you focus and vision for your life.
First, Tony believes in the power of longevity. Me too! I have written about this before, but one of the most important elements of a career in music is a long-term vision, that should you get to 60, you should take the view of Barbra Streisand: I am a work in progress, and I have never arrived. Go get some long-term vision.
Second, Tony has been trained in Bel Canto singing. Me too! I never knew that about him, but when I heard his tribute show on the Bandstand on 702 the Saturday evening before his birthday, I heard his early stuff. What a beautiful voice. I never knew he could sing so well, and that is the power of Bel Canto. Go and get some lessons.
Third, Tony believes that you should never underestimate the audience, and that you are there to serve them through entertainment. This is a life lesson that I am busy learning, and I always make sure that as I perform these days, my focus is on serving the people that I sing to. Go serve the people with song.
Fourth, Tony believes it takes at least ten years to know how to walk out on stage, and how to become a seasoned performer. That makes me feel a whole lot better, because when I realise that my career is not where it needs to be yet, I understand why – and that’s okay. I am that work in progress. Go do your ten years.
Take heart, young Skywalker. You have much to learn in your music career. Now go and apply…