Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Olivia Newton-John: Back In the Spotlight Where She Belongs

At 62, Olivia Newton-John continues to entertain her many minions with the gusto of a woman half her age. She delivered the goods at last month's Bondi Beach Pride extravaganza in NYC, and has released Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song, a covers album recorded in 2004 and just released in the States. In addition, Livi recorded a new dance mix of the classic "Physical," with proceeds going to her Wellness and Cancer Center.

Included on the Portraits collection are delicious songs made famous by Dionne Warwick, Doris Day, Minnie Riperton, Judy Collins... and the immortal Karen Carpenter. She is featured in the upcoming Advocate, talking about the album...

On Karen Carpenter: She was a very good friend... a lovely girl and a lot of fun. Most people don’t know how much she loved Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. She lived [nearby] and loved to go there. She was a kid. She had the most amazing voice. I was such a fan. I do miss her. 

On the risk of releasing "Physical" as a single: It’s funny. I had a delayed reaction. I recorded it and then had a panic attack. I called my manager and said, “You’ve got to stop it. It’s too naughty.” He told me it was too late. By that time it had gone to radio and was on its way to No. 1. So I quickly adjusted.

The video features men holding hands. Was there controversy? Oh, I’m sure there was. Brian Grant was the director and I think it was his idea. I’m actually seeing him soon for the first time in 30 years and I’m going to ask him, because I don’t remember how it came about and it was such a funny twist. It’s not so radical now, but it was then.

On upcoming movie role in A Few Best Men: I play the mother of the bride, which is interesting because my daughter is engaged to be married, so it’s art imitating life. It’s good practice, but I hope Chloe’s wedding doesn’t go like this one. [Laughs] It’s a very funny movie. It’s written by the man who wrote Death at a Funeral and directed by Stephan Elliott, who made Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The combination of those two is pretty wild.

On marriage equality: I sang at gay pride in New York the night after that was announced, so it was an incredible night to experience. The air was electric. I think love is love. You find it when you can. It’s wonderful that it can be recognized. People who have had long relationships and care about each and take care of each other should have the right to be married.

Meanwhile, Livi is featured on the cover of the Summer 2011 Living Well magazine. Read the interview here.