Engelbert Humperdinck has crossed the oceans many times during his 53-year career. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a couple of weeks ago, while on tour in six countries reaching from the Far East to Hawaii, the legendary international superstar once again found himself in hot water.
While his sojourn to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manilla, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Honolulu, was a massive success, performing to enthusiastic sold-out crowds who flood the stage in rock star fashion at the end of each show is a given worldwide for the beloved entertainer, who long ago was nicknamed The King of Romance by fans and press. What makes him an anomaly is that, at 83, he’s still making waves all over the globe with his velvety powerful voice, youthful looks and countenance, and dynamic stage persona. As for how he keeps the wind in his sails, so to speak, it’s all about the way he thinks – whether at home or out performing. he simply won’t “let the old man in.”
“The song ‘Don’t Let The Old Man In’ is the biggest song in my show – it gets the most applause,” Engelbert, who will be bringing his mew Angel On My Shoulder tour to the Orleans November 29-December 1, says about his new single. “Toby Keith wrote it and recorded it, inspired by Clint Eastwood, and Clint put it in the movie ‘The Mule,’ in which he was starring. But it signifies everything I stand for. It depicts the emotions and actions of my life and why it is so important to not let the old man in. My hair went gray in my 20s and I’m still dying it – if I see one gray hair, I pull it out because gray signifies age. I wear youthful clothes and I try to keep myself as youthful as possible. I exercise – I hit the bag and do other things – but the main thing is to maintain an attitude because that’s what counts. I'm a person who collects my thoughts. I keep the good ones and throw away the bad ones.”
“When I look in the mirror every morning, I want to see someone who is staying the same,” he adds. “You have to get older but you don’t have to get old. Of course, as I get older, I protect my life a lot more. I find it necessary. I can’t take chances; I have to live carefully Where my career is concerned, I keep starting new stages of it. My career keeps me going.”
One of those new stages includes a video, which is a first-ever one from him. The new vehicle accompanies Engelbert’s beautiful song, “You,” a loving tribute to his wife, Patricia, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. He also has released a new EP in time for the holidays called “Reflections,” which is a personal insight into his life. The five-track recording on OK! Good Records consists of “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” “You,” “Angel On My Shoulder,” and one of his classic hits done in new style, “Ten Guitars.” It also includes a duet with his granddaughter, Olivia, written by his daughter, Louise, and her husband, Tony, called “I’m Glad I Danced with You,” which is about how he met Patricia in a dance hall when she was 17 and their going on to celebrate 54 years of marriage together.
“I’m a more contemporary singer today,” Engelbert acknowledges. “The power of my voice is still very strong but my voice has changed. As a singer gets older, the vibrato in his voice slows down. Mine has almost disappeared. It happened suddenly. I didn’t try to get rid of it, it just left. Your mind controls your body and it controls everything you want to change. On stage, I’m more contemporary in my style. I’m also more relaxed and more professional from experience.”
That aside, Engelbert admits that he is still super-critical of his performance. He reveals that if anything goes wrong in his show, he comes off stage in a bad mood. Usually, however, it is someone else’s fault, such as a sound or lighting issue, but he gets through the situation by using pure craftsmanship,
“If those responsible don’t give me what I want, I can’t give the audience what they want,” he notes. “On the other hand, when it’s a great show, I come off stage feeling elated. When the audience is having a good time, I can feel it and it charges me even more. I always try to give them 110 percent.”
Experience aside, Engelbert says that the three mentors in his life were his father, his Colonel in the British army, and his Karate instructor and friend to this day, Mike Stone. Each of them took him through different stages of his life. And while he has worked very hard and achieved huge success in his career -- having sold more than 15o records worldwide, garnering 23 platinum and 64 gold records, four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe, and stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Las Vegas Walk of Fame and many more honors and accolades -- he admits that he feels inadequate where his education is concerned.
“I left school at 15 and I feel that’s the reason behind my downfalls in my financial life,” he reveals. “I wish I had learned how to handle corporate situations and business transactions and not just been an artist. I taught myself everything I know but I wasn’t a good enough teacher to teach myself the things I needed to know. I would advise anybody not to cut school short.”
Still, the legendary entertainer is a “thespian of music” who is constantly challenging himself. He is also always learning. In his private moments, he writes beautiful poetry and quotes filled with wisdom, which sound like they could have come from the mind of a 16th century bard like Shakespeare. He loves languages and took Spanish and knows a little bit of German but wishes he could learn more. While most audiences understand English, in Tokyo he had an interpreter on stage with him. However, there is no denying that the one thing that is universal is his music. The crowds sing along no matter what country he is in, feeling his honest emotions with their hearts.
“When I'm singing, I get lost kin the music and the lyrics," Engelbert sums up. "When I'm on stage, the facial expression of someone in the audinece can trigger an enotion in my heart but it's what’s in my heart that can trigger the emotions in their hearts. I’m very happy with my new ‘Reflections’ EP. It will help people decide on a good Christmas present. Look out for my album and look out for me.”
A new wave is coming.