We were on Arista, which was part of BMG at the time, and Clive Davis, the president of the company who knows everybody, anywhere, wanted to get us together. He called me up and said, ‘Do you want to work with Dionne Warwick?’ and you’re not going to say no, are you?
She stayed at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, but came over to my studio for about three days to record one of our songs and a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. They hadn’t worked with each other for a long time and it was the first song they’d ever written together for Dionne, so it was quite a privilege to be able to do that.
And when she arrived, it was incredible to see the glamorous Dionne Warwick in the town of Rochdale. She was lovely and we just had a really nice time.
She’s a proper lady with a beautiful nature and she makes you feel really, really comfortable
I almost had to pinch myself to see one of my idols in my home town and I just kept looking at her thinking, ‘Oh My God. That is Dionne Warwick’s voice. And it’s coming out of her in our studio in Rochdale. It’s incredible.’
She made her own tea and very much did her own thing, but we were too busy to give her a tour. I’m sure she’d love to come back, though, to see the sights and go for a kebab or a curry!
She also told me off as I smoked at the time, even though she smoked like a trooper. She smoked more than I did and kept reprimanding me for it, but it was good advice. I don’t know whether she still smokes, but I don’t and it’s helped me tremendously.
One of the highlights was getting to do backing vocals with her on the track Friends Can Be Lovers and it was quite an intimate experience. When you do backing vocals, the trick is – if you’re a good singer and touch wood I am – to look at each other’s mouths. It’s a very, very close thing to do. In the course of half an hour or an hour doing backing vocals, you completely study the mouth of that person.
You’re looking at that person’s mouth because you want every single intonation to be right. It’s a beautiful thing and it was lovely because she said I had a lovely voice and vice versa. It’s always beautiful to be told that you’ve got a lovely voice by an amazing singer.
It’s been nearly 25 years since that photo was taken, but I still feel that I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m busy recording my next album, I’m doing a load of festivals this summer and I’m just looking forward to carrying on doing what I’m doing and working with some more beautiful people like Dionne Warwick.
I haven’t seen her for a few years, though, as I think she moved to Brazil for a while. But I think she’s back in LA now and we recently bought a place in LA, so it would be really nice to see her. Perhaps we’ll get her round for another cup of tea.”
Courtesy of Express.co.uk By NICK MCGRATH