Among the music industry’s biggest stars, few have shined as brightly for as long as Dionne Warwick. The 1970s soul sensation is second only to Aretha Franklin as the most chart-topping female vocalist in music history, nabbing five Grammys and countless other accolades along the way. Warwick even had the honor of becoming a United Nations global ambassador in 2002. On March 5, the monumental musician will be taking the stage at the Paramount Hudson Valley in Peekskill for a rare area performance. We caught up with Warwick, who opened up about her incredible past and seemingly unstoppable career.
What can audiences expect from your upcoming area show?
I’ll be doing songs that people will expect to hear and that my audiences have enjoyed over the 55 years of my career. I performed in the area many, many years ago, at what was then known as the Westchester Premier Theater.
You have contributed countless dollars to many causes, including AIDS research. Why have such causes remained so important to you?
Selfishly, I have to have healthy folks sitting in my audiences, and as a youngster my grandfather — who was a minister — taught me that God put us all here to be of service to one another, and I practice this daily.
Tell me a little about the PBS American Master’s special that is based upon your life and work.
I feel [the special] will be remembered and enjoyed for a long time. It will contain many elements of my life, seen through the eyes of those who are being interviewed, as well as a few surprises.
What is it like to work with the United Nations, and do you feel this experience has influenced your work?
I am still an ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization division of the UN. What I’ve learned is that it takes so little to do so much in the way of helping those who are not able to help themselves. I have remained who I am and have not tried to jump into any other space where I did not feel I belonged. I find it easy being me, and I kinda like me!