By Kaye Foley
Before becoming a household name, Tony Bennett, born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, was a singing waiter in Queens, N.Y., dreaming of stardom. It wasn’t long before he became a legendary performer with 19 Grammys and over 50 million records sold worldwide.
Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric sat down with Bennett in his Manhattan apartment to talk about his new book, “Just Getting Started,” his incredible career and his artwork. More than just a talented singer, Bennett is also a skilled artist. He paints or sketches every day. He took Couric on a tour of his art room in his apartment. (He also has an art studio a few buildings down.)
Watch the complete interview here:
Couric and Bennett also discussed his 90th birthday celebration special airing December 20 on NBC and the companion CD, “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90,” to be released December 16.
In his new book, Bennett writes about the people who have influenced and inspired him throughout his life, including his parents, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.
“Ella Fitzgerald, Nat ‘King’ Cole, and Sinatra. … They were 10 years older than I was and they were my heroes when I was studying at the American Theater Wing at the end of the war,” Bennett said. “I gravitated toward that kind of singing. And it’s still better than anything around today.”
Bennett, who is the oldest living act to have a No.1 Billboard album with “Cheek to Cheek,” his 2014 duet album with Lady Gaga, and has continued to expand his fan base over the years.
He credits his partnership with Gaga for his appeal with younger audiences. “We didn’t plan it that way, but it worked out that way,” he said.
Bennett has had a busy year and has no plans to stop. “I love what I do. I’ve always loved it. So I have no desire to retire.”