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Quitting while he's ahead
SINGER, photographer, writer, and roast chicken enthusiast. Is there anything Kenny Rogers can't do? The 77-year-old will be performing his final concert tour "The Gambler's Last Deal" with a stop in Singapore on Aug 6.
Rogers, a Texas native, says: "I think the thing I'll miss most about touring will be the people. The friends I've made and my band and crew that travel with me are so unique and one day when I wake up and don't have to go to work, their companionship is what I'll miss."
The Grammy award winner will be hanging up his microphone after five and a half decades of being in the music industry, but it isn't age that is behind his retirement. During a phone interview from the US, he says: "You know, musically, I've accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish but that came at a price. I have two sons, and I haven't spent enough time with them. I regret that. So I think it's time to set music aside and make up for that lost time now."
Despite his illustrious career, his sons won't be following in Rogers' footsteps any time soon. He laments: "I kind of wish they sang, but I've realised that you can't talk someone into loving music. They either do or they don't."
He discovered his own passion for music at the tender age of 12, and his career took off in 1956 when he joined his high-school doo-wop group The Scholars. After performing in bands for a while, Rogers struck out on his own in 1977, and won a Grammy award for his song Lucille.
After that, the hits just kept on coming. Despite the toll that years of singing and aging would have taken on his voice, it might seem a wonder that he's still able to perform live.
To this, he laughs: "It's probably luck. I don't really do anything special to preserve my voice. It could just be that the songs I've chosen to sing aren't that difficult to do!"
That's probably not the case, though. He relates that he has been described by others as "impulsively obsessive". He says: "I just get drawn into something and then can't quit it until I've gotten good. That's how it was with photography as well, and now I think I've managed to take some great shots."
But in an industry that's plagued with burn-outs and one-hit-wonders, Rogers' longevity is truly a thing of marvel. He muses: "You know, I think I owe that to my mother. She always told me to be happy in whatever situation I was in, and since all I wanted was to make music, I really didn't care about much else as long as I was doing that."
He also credits his success to his duets with artists like Dolly Parton, Kim Carnes and Sheena Easton, and will be reprising that chemistry with country singer Linda Davis in his concert here. "These duets have been big moments in my career, and sometimes they add their energy to my show and make it even better. I'm really looking forward to performing with (Davis) because it's always a lot of fun."
Come 2017, he's looking forward to focusing on things other than music. "But," he adds, "I might write some songs to keep myself in the business one way or another because that's fun for me."
- Kenny Rogers' The Gambler's Last Deal is on at The Star Theatre on Aug 6 at 8pm. Tickets start at S$88 and are available for sale from Sistic.