R&B Legend Aaron Neville: 'If I Wasn't A Singer, I Don't Think I'd Be Here'
R&B singer Aaron Neville celebrates his 75th birthday with a concert at the Brooklyn Bowl tomorrow. And after more than five decades in the music business, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Neville, a member of a legendary New Orleans musical family who’s known for his distinctive falsetto, released his latest album, “Apache” in July.
Here & Now‘s Eric Westervelt talks with Neville about the album and his career.
Interview Highlights: Aaron Neville
On funk influences in his album “Apache”
“A lot of my solo albums were produced by different people who had their idea of what songs I should do, and they had me doing a lot of ballads. But I do all of it. I worked with the Neville Brothers for 40-some years on the highway, and up and down since I can remember — funk from New Orleans.”
On how New Orleans’ Dew Drop club influenced his music
“The Dew Drop was the spot. Mac Rebennack would come in there. The police would come and take him to jail. He’d say, ‘Well, you better come back next week because Ray Charles is gonna be in town, and I’m definitely going to be in here.’ That was the spot. Anybody who came to New Orleans had to come to the Dew Drop.”
On how he’s maintained his voice over the years
“I just sing everyday. Try and hit notes. I’ve had problems with my throat over the years, playing with loud bands for years, and I’ve had bruised vocal chords and nodules. And I pray a lot, too. I think the Creator renews me.”
On whether he thinks his voice has changed over the years
“I’m getting better now since I’m living in a place in Pawling, New York, with no neighbors close by, so I can sing as loud as I want, as much as I want and that helps, you know. You use your voice and it hangs around.”
“I’m not the retiring kind. I’m waiting until whenever the Creator says, ‘Aaron, break it up, son. That’s it.’ Until then, as long as I can hear the note, I’m going for it. I’m still waiting for ‘Star Trek,’ where they can beam me from my house to the gig and back.”