In her illustrious 45-year career, music legend Dionne Warwick has had more than 60 chart hits, including "Walk on By," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and "That's What Friends are For." The Grammy winner's latest album, My Friends and Me, was produced by her youngest son, Damon Elliot. Gayle talks to the mother-son duo about their recent work together, the future of music and the importance of family.
Dionne's son, Damon, has made quite a name for himself in the music industry as an acclaimed producer. So how does Damon feel about working with his legendary mother? "She's sung these songs probably a few million times, and I grew up with the music, so it was very, very easy," he says.
Dionne says working with her son was wonderful. "The only difference in working with him and any other producer was that he called me 'Mommy,'" she says.
Growing up, Dionne says she was fortunate to be exposed to all kinds of music, from Nat King Cole to the Beatles. My Friends and Me is a diverse album that features duets with artists like Mya, Cyndi Lauper, Debra Cox, Kelis, Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton-John, Gloria Estefan and more.
Appreciating that "music is about change," Dionne says she regrets the direction that some popular music is taking. "Today you hear one recording and the rest of them sound exactly the same," she says. "It's like they are cloned."
In addition to her work with her son Damon, Dionne collaborated with other relatives on the song "Family Comes First," from Tyler Perry's movie Daddy's Little Girl. The song is truly a family affair, featuring Dionne's aunt Cissy Houston and first cousin Whitney Houston, as well as her nieces, nephews and six grandchildren.
"It's a song that solidifies the feeling of family," Dionne says. "We're always there for you, regardless of what goes up or what goes down."