Dubbed amongst the 40 biggest hit-makers of the entire rock era, and the second most-charted female singer of all time, Dionne Warwick stands as one of the highest-honored, well-known and celebrated iconic stars of our time.
Teaming up with songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, 56 of Warwick’s singles made the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1962 and 1998, and 80 singles made all Billboard charts combined. Songs include “That’s What Friends Are For,” “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Alfie,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and an endless stream of others.
Born Marie Dionne Warrick into a gospel family, she began her musical destiny at age 6 at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating high school and obtaining a scholarship to Hartt College of Music, she spent much time recording background vocals with her group The Gospelaires, comprising her sister Dee Dee and aunt Cissy Houston, mother of the late Whitney Houston.
At a Drifters session while working on a song called “Mexican Divorce,” she was discovered by Burt Bacharach. During her career she won five Grammy Awards and countless other awards, enough to fill the pages of a dictionary.
She has been named the United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization and a United States Ambassador of Health.
In a powerful and explosive performance at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2017 Life Ball—the largest and most opulent charity event in the world – Dionne and her granddaughter, the beautiful and talented Cheyenne Elliott, sang a heart-warming duet of “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”
On Aug. 15, 2017, Warwick was honored with an induction into the Apollo Theater Walk of Fame, and in recognition of her contributions in health at the Harlem State Office Building with multiple proclamations and a citation during Harlem Week.
In November she will again be honored for her outstanding contributions to the HIV/AIDS crisis with the esteemed Marian Anderson Award.
Congratulations on being honored for Harlem Week; I can’t think of anyone more deserving. However you certainly are no stranger to being honored, having received nearly every award known to man, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Grammy Hall of Fame, Billboard Music Award, ASCAP Lifetime Achievement, Women’s World Awards, United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization and many in between. Does this newest honor that you recently received have a special meaning?
Absolutely. Each time I am thought of to receive recognition by ones who thought me worthy is a very special event.
When the top of the pop crop can’t seem to stay relevant for more than 50 seconds, how is it that after 50 years you still remain relevant?
I’ve been fortunate to have had two of the premier composers write songs for me that have had the ability to grow with me, and my listening audience keeping me, and my music as fresh today as when it was first recorded.
Do you think that if you had started your career today, with all the free streams and downloads, and the state of the music industry, would you have had the supreme success that you had back then?
That is difficult to say.
With everything that you have accomplished in your career – singer, actress, ambassador, mother, grandmother, top 40 biggest hit maker, etc. – is there anything that you still wish to achieve?
The Oscar, The Emmy and the Tony…not necessarily in that order.
Do you recall the proudest moment of your career?
I’d have to say winning my first Grammy.
If you believe that music can change the world, which one of your songs would you use to change it?
“What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love.”
Do you have an idol?
Too many to mention.
Can you pinpoint a moment that changed the entire trajectory of your life?
There have been many that have taken me to different levels.
I know that you strongly support your beautiful and extremely talented granddaughter, Cheyenne. Since I was first to interview her, and have been following her career, I’m wondering, what was the best piece of advice you have given her, or what advice would you give any new artist for that matter?
I don’t give advice; I encourage. I just told Cheyenne to be herself, as she couldn’t nor should want to be anyone but herself.
What do you most want to be remembered for?
My music, I think, will be most remembered, and that will be just fine.
Are there any new projects on the horizon?
I will be recording soon, so keep your eyes and ears open!