December 3, 2004
This brought tears to my eyes when I
received it from a friend. It's an interview
with The late Frank Sinatra, done in 1992,
and his words about me touch me to my heart.
Mr. Sinatra was my
hero. He loved and respected the songwriter,
and we loved and respected him in return.
He not only sang our
songs, he felt our music and let the
audience feel it, too.
for my song from a songwriter to a singer,
"Only the Music, Only My Song".
with his beautiful wife, Barbara, me, and
1992 - Interview
with Joy Williams
Q: What was one of the first
things you learned about singing? Do you still
adhere to it?
SINATRA: When I first started, it was my idea to
make my voice work like a musical instrument. I've
always been fascinated with Jascha Heifetz' way with
the violin and Tommy Dorsey's way with the horn.
Heifetz' constant bowing, when you never hear a
break, carries a melody line straight through, just
as Dorsey's trombone did. I tried to use my voice in
the same way as a violin or trombone--not sounding
like them, but playing my voice like them.
Q: Outside of music, what are some of your other
SINATRA: I've dabbled in oil painting and I like
photography. Over the years I've gathered a
marvelous collection of model trains, specializing
in steam engines. Many of the trains were sent to me
by fans and they're very special to me. Barbara and
I have several dogs, cats and a parrot named
"Rocky." What a greeting they give us when we come
home from a road trip! Of course, I like to
cook...learned from both my mother and father.
Q: What was your most memorable moment with Tommy
SINATRA: I was with Tommy for a little under three
years and according to my trusty little calculator,
that comes to something like 1,500,000 moments--and
every one of them was memorable.
Q: In your formula for success, what is the main
SINATRA: What formula? I never had one, so I
couldn't say what the main ingredient is. I think
everybody who's successful in this business has one
common ingredient--the talent God gave us. The rest
depends upon how it's used.
Q: What do you look for, musically, in new songs for
concerts and recordings?
SINATRA: I'm looking for the same elements I've
sought throughout my career: a melody that sings,
flows smoothly, allows me to become totally involved
and gives me room for my own phrasing and timing;
strong, poetic lyrics that are solidly related to
the music and tell a good story; fresh, imaginative
arrangements that provide a glow to the words and
music. In short, I look for outstanding
musicianship, taste, dedication and professionalism.
Q: You've been critical of the press. Yet, if you
were a reporter and were given an assignment to do a
story on Frank Sinatra, how would you handle it?
SINATRA: It's no secret I've been critical of the
press, and I feel justified. I have great respect
for responsible, professional journalists who are
objective, unbiased and report the truth. On the
other hand, there are reporters an editors who
distort, exaggerate, misquote or color the news
without bothering to check the facts. They're the
ones who give journalism a bad name, and people who
are in the public eye are often victims of
unscrupulous headline-hunting reporters.
Q: Do you think you would have had a more serene,
happier life if you had not achieved all the fame
and glory? Was it worth all the problems and the
SINATRA: More serene, perhaps, but certainly not
happier. We all have problems and pressures,
regardless of the kind of life we lead, in show
business or any other field. Has it been worth it
all? Sure it has, because I love what I'm doing and
I'm one of the happiest people I know.
Q: Who, in your opinion, are the best, most
promising songwriters in the business today?
SINATRA: There are several contemporary composers
whose talent I regard highly and they'll get even
better as they progress. I've been using, with much
personal satisfaction and fine audience reaction,
some of the best material of songwriters such as
George Harrison, Jim Webb, David Gates, Carol
Conners, Carol Bayer Sager, John Denver and Alan and
Q: You once said that if reincarnation were possible
you'd like to return as opera singer Luciano
Pavarotti. My question is, Do you prefer classical
and operatic music for your own enjoyment?
SINATRA: I like all music--opera, symphony, pop,
show tunes, etc--and I'm comfortable with most of
today's music, except the acid rock. I do, however,
admire the technique and clarity of opera
Q: What was the most memorable moment in your life?
SINATRA: There have been several, among them, the
two times that I became a grandfather, first of
Angela Jennifer Lambert, then of her sister, Amanda
Catherine Lambert. They gave me bigger thrills than
any standing ovation.
Q: Would you rather sing in nightclubs or in
SINATRA: At heart, I guess I'm a saloon singer
because there's a greater intimacy between performer
and audience in a nightclub. Then again, I love the
excitement of appearing before a big concert
audience. Let's just say that the place isn't
important, as long as everybody has a good time.
Q: Which do you like best, singing or acting?
SINATRA: I started out as a singer and I'll end up
as a singer. The acting was in between. I prefer not
to classify or pigeonhole my craft because there's a
lot of acting in my singing and my singing has
helped my acting.
Q: Did you have any training in singing or acting
prior to your first professional experience as an
SINATRA: The only background I had in singing was
with the glee club at Demerest High in Hoboken, NJ.
I had no training in either singing or acting and I
learned everything from experience. I performed at
parties, social clubs, the corner candy store--any
place people would listen to me.
Q: What is your favorite song?
SINATRA: I've sung and recorded so many wonderful
songs over the years that it would be impossible to
name one in particular as my favorite. They've all
been special for me for one reason or another.
Q: Will you go on performing for the rest of your
SINATRA: You'd better believe it!