Tony Bennett on Lady Gaga collaboration: We're 'like brother and sister'
Stars and Stripes September 5, 2013
TOKYO -- Even at 87, Tony Bennett is planning his next ascent up the pop charts.
Following the success of his album Duets II, which in 2011 made him the oldest entertainer to top the Billboard Pop Chart, Bennett talked Wednesday about recording a full album with pop superstar Lady Gaga. He’s in Tokyo ahead of his performance Saturday at the 12th Tokyo Jazz Festival.
Like Bennett’s two duet albums, which featured several modern popular singers, the album with Gaga will include standards and jazz classics.
“She’s the Picasso of the entertainment world,” Bennett said. “She’s a very talented person. We’re just like brother and sister together.”
The duo’s last collaboration proved quite popular. Their 2011 take on the 1937 classic “The Lady is a Tramp” had drawn more than 11 million views on YouTube as of Thursday.
Bennett views his recent success as proof that entertainment corporations don’t need to single-mindedly market to the under-21 crowd. Although he’s happy to have younger support, Bennett said the music business should try to be more inclusive.
“If it sounds good, people are going to buy it,” he said.
This is Bennett’s first trip to Japan in 13 years. Although his hometown of Astoria, N.Y., remains his favorite spot, he marveled at Tokyo’s energy and appearance.
“It’s beautiful to see a city so busy, and yet so clean,” he said.
Bennett doesn’t like to slow down –- performing keeps him in shape, he said.
After Tokyo, it’s off to five more Asian cities and then Hawaii for the singer Frank Sinatra once called “the best in the business.”
“But what did he know?” Bennett said, bringing laughs from the crowd.
This year’s Tokyo Jazz Festival runs from Friday through Sunday, with Bennett performing on Saturday. Tickets are still available. For information in English, go to http://www.tokyo-jazz.com/index_en.html.