Engelbert Humperdinck talks about his new duets album “Engelbert Calling”

Engelbert Humperdinck is an international bestselling artist. He has numerous hits including “Release Me”. His latest venture is a duet album, called “Engelbert Calling”, singing classics along with Elton John, Olivia Newton-John, Il Divo, Willie Nelson, Gene Simmons, Wyonna Judd, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Mathis, and Neil Sedaka to name a few. Media Mikes had a chance to chat again with the legendary singer to discuss the new album and how it all came about.

Mike Gencarelli: We first spoke back in July of 2011 and you mentioned you were working on the album; how does it feel to final have this album available to fans?
Engelbert Humperdinck: Good to speak with you again Mike. Yeah, can you believe it has taken that long? It has taken just over three years to complete this particular album. Thank God for internet for being able to send these tracks across the world to each of the artists involved with this album. It was a lot of work and I am glad that it is finally available to my fans to enjoy!

MG: Pretty ambitious having a 2 CD, 23 track debuts CD; how did they idea come about to do a debut album?
EH: You know, Elton John was responsible for starting this off. I was listening to one of his live albums and on one song he says something like “This song I wrote many years ago as a struggling artist, living in a flat in London and was waiting for an Engelbert Humperdinck to call and take it off my hands and make it a hit”. So I finally called and told him I was listening to this album and it gave me a great idea. I asked him to sing a debut on my next album and he said “Yes”. So, once you get someone like Elton John, he is the honeycomb, everyone else is just drawn to it.

MG: With “Spinning Wheel”, it seems like you and Gene Simmons had a lot of fun with this song; how was it in the studio with him?
EH: Gene was great in the studio. He really brought a lot of pizazz into the studio. He was very loose and very charismatic. They took a photo of half of each of our faces and we really do look alike [laughs]. Overall, it was great fun working with him.

MG: So besides Gene, who else did you record with in the studio?
EH: Elton John was the other. Those were the only two and the rest were done via the airways. Technology has made it possible to do things that are impossible in real life. This album was done in England, London, Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, South America and Europe. At least, I was in the studio with a couple of them. Sinatra wasn’t in the studio with any of his artists for his “Duets” album [laughs].

MG: Tell us about the title “Engelbert Calling”? I picture you going through your contact list and calling out all your friends.
EH: Yeah, the biggest challenge was putting it all together and making my wish list of people I wanted to work with. Johnny Mattis is one of my favorite singers of all time. I love his work. Kenny Rogers was great getting to work with. I mentioned Gene Simmons already, which was a highlight. When I called Willie Nelson, he recorded his part in Nashville, I told him that I was so thrilled to have him on the album, especially singing a Bob Dylan song. Along with signing, I also asked him to play guitar since he has such a great unique style. He was so accommodating and after he recorded it called and made sure it was ok. So that was really great.

MG: Your debut with Elton John for “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” is an amazing way to kick off the album?
EH: With total respect for Elton and since he was the first, I had to put him right at the top of the list. He is the person that started the whole ball rolling.

MG: How was it singing with your kids, Louise and Bradley on this album?
EH: Yep, that is my son and daughter at the end of each disc as a bonus track. I was thrilled to have them there. I wanted to show the world, since this is a world release record, that my children can sing and also pay tribute on my album.

MG: “I Need You Know” with Lulu is one of the newest songs that you covered; what made you choose this song?
EH: I had to have Lulu on this album. Many years ago, when my single for “Release Me” came out, she was on a show in England called “Jukebox Jury”. There were four people on the panel and Lulu was the only one who voted my song a hit. She did a super job on this song. It is a great duet song, so it was easy picking. Plus it suited her voice very well.

MG: After such an amazing album like this; how do you plan to top this?
EH: For the people that didn’t make it onto this album, we will make sure that they make it onto the next one called “Engelbert Redialed”. But that is down the road and preparation is the hardest work.

MG: In your current touring, do you plan on covering any of these duets?
EH: Oh, it is already in the show. I do a virtual debut with Elton John. It is going over absolutely fantastic and people are loving the idea of it.

Engelbert Humperdinck talks about new song and the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest

Engelbert Humperdinck is an internationally loved and respected singer, who has been in the business for over 45 years.  He was recently chosen to represent the UK in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with his new song “Love Will Set You Free”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Engelbert again about Eurovision, love songs and his constant touring.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s talk about how you came to represent the UK in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012?
Engelbert Humperdinck: Actually, it all came down to the BBC in the UK. The big bosses came together and picked me out of a hat. They figured I’ve been in the business a while and I am a great embassador for the country. I was very honoured to be chosen to represent my country.

MG: Tell us about the origin of “Love Will Set You Free”?
EH: The two guys that wrote the song are very well known. Sacha Skarbek is an Ivor Novello Awards winner and Martin Terefe is the number one producer in England at the moment. Martin plays guitar…and bass on the song. I also just made an album with him about four months ago. He is so laid back and unbelieveable to work with. What happened with the song is that BBC setup everything. They found the writers and the song. They heard it, loved it and passed it on to me and I loved it. I have had a trendous success with waltzes. This is a Viennese Waltz. “The Last Waltz” was a big hit for me and I am thrilled about it.

MG: What do you think makes a great love song?
EH: A great experience I suppose. The writers must have had a great experience. It resonates to the listeners who also can relate to an experience. Good lyrics. Good melody. Good message. That is what it is that makes up a great song. Waltzes last a life time. Maybe one day they will be dancing to this song on “Dancing with the Stars”.

MG: I watched your concert at Northern Quest Resort & Casino last month presented by Front and Center, how do you feel that you are now streaming your shows to the internet?
EH: It is a whole new market. It is a great way to get the masses. Once it catches on, it will be great. Of course there is nothing like a live concert. If they watch it online they will get a chance to see what it would be like live. We have had a wonderful reaction to this concert, especially with the ability to chat with other fans via Facebook comments.

MG: Do you plan to do more concerts like this in the future?
EH: I am sure in the future we will be doing this again soon!

MG: You are always touring all over the world, how can you feel that touring internationally differs from the U.S.?
EH: I am touring more world concerts now. I just finished in Dubai, Sinapore…I am everywhere. It was great to go countries like Russia that do not even speak the language but they are still singing along. How do they do this I do not know? But it is just amazing.

MG: You are very involved with your fans, any words of wisdom to share with them?
EH: Not wisdom but gratitude. Thank you for supporting me for the last 45 years. They have been nothing but terrific.

MG: With Eurovision and constant touring, has this delayed the progress on your new album?
EH: It should be released right after Eurovision and it is a collabaration album. I can’t say who I will be collaberating with yet since you know how record labels like to keep things in the bag waiting for a suprise [laugh].

Concert Review: Engelbert Humperdinck at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, April 29th 2012

Engelbert Humperdinck
Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Airway Heights, WA
April 29th, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Engelbert Humperdinck has been entertaining for 45 years and shows no signs of slowing down. While watching his perform, he just looks like he is having the time of his life during every song. He never stops strutting his stuff and dancing throughout the show. He also not only engages his fans with amazing stories in between but he even invites them up on the stage. For a man that is 75 years old, he acts half his age and puts to shame many of our current performers that have forgotten what is it like to perform live. Overall he just has this wonderful stage presence and it comes through with his fans and through this music.

I wasn’t able to personally attend this show but thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to be their watching it live from the comfort of my home. Thanks to Front and Center for setting up this fantastic streaming concert. The concert played perfectly without a hitch and did not encounter any streaming issues. It wasn’t just one boring camera angle either. There was numerous cameras constantly changing covering the whole stage. The sound quality was also very impressive, especially for streaming internet.

The concert ran from about 90 minutes and he really covered all of his classics. In this show he covers classics like “Quando, Quando, Quando”, “The Last Waltz” and “Release Me”. I also really enjoyed his new song for Eurovision 2012 and also currently #1 on the charts in the UK, “Love Will Set You Free”. Engelbert even covers classics like “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and Bryan Adams’ “When You Love a Woman” along with his great guitarist Yohan Frank. What I like most about hearing him life is that he sounds exactly like he does on the album. Engelbert’s voice just sounds fantastic and he is not afraid to belt out some big notes.

Engelbert is one of the last great entertainers and he puts on what a great show. I also really enjoyed his video clips including a funny comedy act from Eddie Izzard and a rare performance with Engelbert and Dean Martin. I have never had the privilege of seeing Engelbert in person, which I hope will change very soon. You here that Engelbert…come to the Orlando FL area soon!!

Interview with Engelbert Humperdinck

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.