As a singer who’s spent more than half a century in front of a microphone, Darlene Love knows a thing or two about show business.
She recently shared her hard-earned wisdom with The Tribune. Here are some of her thoughts about how to make it in the music industry.
Q: What are some of the lessons you learned as a background singer?
A: I learned so much from all the people that I’ve worked with – Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, (Frank) Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.
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(I) learned something from each one of them – how to take care of business, how to carry yourself on stage, how to know your audience is with you. …
If you’re willing to learn, you never get old to learn. Take it from the big shots. They have an attitude about themselves when they walk on stage: “This is my stage. This is who I am.”
Q: Were you nervous about making the transition from background singer to star?
A: Most entertainers, when they first walk out on stage, they’re nervous … because they don’t think they belong out there. Are they going to remember their lyrics? Are (they) going to trip? Are (they) going to fall?
Once I realized that’s all a part of doing a live show (I felt better). That’s what people come to live shows for – to see the real you. …
I laugh a lot with my audience. I tell jokes. I tell life stories, things that have happened to me over a years. People love it. They get to see who I am. That indeed is taking control of the stage, my show.
It took a while. I was very uneasy about it at first. But you have to do it. If you’re not going to do it you’re never going to get used to doing it.
Q: What advice would you give to singers who are just starting out, and to folks who have been doing it for a while?
A: I never stopped working. I kept working, whether it was in a club with 20 people or it was in a theater with a thousand people. You have to keep working; that’s the only way you can hone your craft.
The longer you do it, the better you get at it. Now I enjoy it so. I have never once got out of my bed knowing I was going to work and said, “Oh no, I don’t want to do this today. I don’t want to go.”
Whenever I know I’m going to work, I’m ready to work. … When I get on the stage, I’m ready. I have prepared this day to get up and go to work and give my audience what I think they want.
8 p.m. Saturday
Cohan Center, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
$28.80 to $66
805-756-4849 or www.calpolyarts.org