For my full interview with Barry Manilow see below or click here.
In our conversation, he talked about being a guest coach on “American Idol”: “Most young people sing to their eyelids,” he said. “The yclose their eyes and show their voice off. I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve always needed a theatrical situation in my imagination. I think that’s what the audience is getting. They know something is happening onstage. They don’t know what or why they’re being sucked in when I sing “Somewhere Down the Road” or “When October Goes.” They know I’m not singing to my eyelids, that’s for sure. If more pop singers approached their music and performance like that, they might have a longer career.
His 2001 concept album “Here at the Mayflower” was all about a New York apartment building and its various inhabitants. Some have suggested the album might make a good stage musical. Manilow’s response: “I’d be the first person to say, `Sure, go do it.’ But I wouldn’t do it. I didn’t write it for the stage. When you write a stage musical, that’s not the way you do it. Musicals have a separate batch of rules from albums. But if someone was interested, I’d say do it.”
After he “drops these one-nighters,” as he puts it, which means finishing the series of concerts he’s donig around the country (like the one Feb. 15 in San Jose), Manilow will finish recording his “Greatest Songs of the ’80s” album with producer Clive Davis, and he’ll head back to the Las Vegas Hilton, where his Music and Passion show is a big hit. He says the show will be re-vamped after the summer. “Vegas has been thrilling,” he said. “It’s been a big learning experience. After the fans stopped coming after the first six months, they were just people. Some of them didnt’ know what the heck they were doing there. I really love it. You have to really work. If you get a standing ovation there, they really mean it. When we re-vamp the show, it will be more hit oriented. We wound up promoting the `Decades’ albums, and the audiences loved it, but it got in the way of my own music. It’ll be more hits in the fall.”
On that upcoming ’80s album: “We’ve started putting some songs down. And you know, I think I’m OK with them. I thought my style of music, my voice, would have ended in the ’70s. I think I can do these songs.”