Engelbert Humperdinck is a legend in the international music industry for the last forty plus years, with over 150 million records sold. He is best known for his hits including “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)”, “After the Lovin'” and “The Last Waltz” (“The Last Waltz with You”). Engelbert is currently on a world tour with next up to be at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with the legend about his love for music, his tour and his friendship with Elvis.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your latest album “Released”?
Engelbert Humperdinck: I had a great arranger Paul Wilshire, who came from Australia. We recorded here in Los Angeles. We had some great tracks on there and some great writers. It was great working with Grammy Award-winning producer Rudy Perez. The album is really great and there are some great songs on it. We did a song with James Blunt called “Goodbye My Lover”. I think that people are really liking this one. I want to tell you though, right now I have just signed with a new record label in London called Conehead and they have a new project coming out for me. I do not even know the title of it and it is really under wraps. But it is something I have never done before in my whole career and it will definitely surprise my record buying public.
MG: How do you feel that your music has changed since the 60’s, if at all?
EH: Music changes, of course it changes. You have to go with the flow and what is happening in today’s world. There is some great music in today’s word. There are some great writers and singers around us, like Adele. She is writing all of her own stuff, which is unbelievable. I am hoping that my next album is going to have same the caliber of music that those songs have.
MG: How does it feel to be returning to Las Vegas to perform at the Paris Hotel?
EH: Vegas has been very good to me over the years. I started working in Las Vegas in 1968. During that particular time, I had Dean Martin put on the marquee of one of his hotels “Dean Martin Presents: Engelbert Humperdinck”, which is something he never did before for any performer. He took a shine to me and liked me very much. I did his show several times. He even gave me The Golddiggers to take on the road with me. That only happened in the early days of Las Vegas. Since then I have played at the Hilton Hotel where Elvis used to play. I had the good fortune of even using the same suite as him. It has been an amazing journey for me. I went from there to MGM and then also Bailey’s. Now I am at Paris, which is unbelievable. I hear that all of the cabs in Vegas have my name and billboard on them. It is really blowing up in Vegas right now, as far as my return. So I am very excited.
MG: You are not only visiting Vegas, you have a world tour planned. Tell us about the tour and what you have planned?
EH: My upcoming tour is taking me all over the world. In August, I am going to do a festival in Singapore. I have been all over the world and that is what I want to do with my life. I want to go to all the places around the world and sing. In 1967, I had a hit called “Release Me”, which was number one around the world and it gave me a global audience immediately. I was able to visit all these lovely countries. Now I am going back there and spending time around the world and giving my music to the people.
MG: What gets you excited most about going out on stage night after night?
EH: I get the same feeling every night before I walk on stage. I have been in this business over 40 years now. I still get excited before I walk on stage. I am nervous, my hands are cold and I still get butterflies [laughs]. When I walk out there though to the audience and I get the amazing reception from them, it just picks me up charges my batteries and off we go with a great show.
MG: What is your favorite song that make sure to always since at concerts?
EH: Well it has to be my signature tune, the one that started my life “Release Me”. As you know, it stopped The Beatles from having their 15th number 1 with “Penny Lane”. That is my big year for me, it all happened in 1967.
MG: Tell us about your friendship with Elvis Presley?
EH: We were good friends. I had seen his many times. He told me “I have got all your songs and I have bought all of your albums, as a matter of fact I am going to record some of your songs”. I told him “In that case Elvis, I am going to record some of yours”. It was just amazing. He was a wonderful wonderful man. By the way, we both had the sideburns but I was the first one with the sideburns [laughs]. I told him “You stole my sideburns” and Elvis says “If it looks good on you…then it looks good on me pal!”.
MG: After this world tour, what do you have planned next?
EH: In between tour dates, I will be doing the album. Of course it all starts in August, which is when I start recording and I should be finished by the end of September. It should then be released in early October.