Lifestyle and music site So So Gay has published a new interview with Patti where she looks back on her first solo tour and chats about what the future could bring.
Below is a transcript for the archive as always, but do check out the original post which comes with photos and videos!
‘Let’s see what trouble we can get into at 50′: Patti Russo chats to So So Gay
6 June 2014
By Jazz Tangcay
She’s spent most of her career singing as a backing vocalist for the biggest names in music; Meat Loaf, Cher and Queen to name a few; but now Patti Russo has decided to spread her wings and fly solo. So far 2014 is going in the right direction for the woman, who’s often described as having powerful pipes or being a firecracker on stage. She’s just finished her first ever solo tour across the UK and her solo EP XO!! has just been released.
We were lucky to be treated to an afternoon in Russo’s company, where she spoke candidly about ageing, singing for Cher, alongsid revealing a secret talent. Russo has her mind set on solo success and there’s just no stopping her!
So So Gay: You’ve just turned fifty last Tuesday, did you wake up and say ‘OH MY GOD’?
Patti Russo: It’s really happening. I actually woke up to hearing the doorbell ring, the dog barking and flowers being delivered to me. I could not believe it. I was in a great mood.
You don’t look 50…[chuckles] Smoke, mirrors and spakel.
Let’s go back, You’re often described as having powerful pipes, when did you discover you could sing?
It’s in the blood. My mom has a great voice. My great uncle could have given Pavarotti a run for his money. He’s 95 years old and still sings up a storm.
Was Meat Loaf your first professional gig?
Right before him I answered an ad in a magazine. Dick Clark was doing a show called USA Music Challenge, which was like an early version of American Idol and that put me on Network TV. I ended up sending that video to the Meat Loaf audition.
You’ve played at some big stadiums and some great venues around the world, were there any one that made you go WOW?
It was Madison Square Gardens. A friend reminded me of that, someone I was writing with. I had never set foot in Madison Square Gardens and I said ‘The day I ever walk into that venue, Madison Square Garden, I want to be on stage,’ and the day it happened, it was with Meat Loaf. It was a big moment. We were doing ‘Two out of Three Ain’t Bad Enough’. It was February and there was a huge storm in the city. I looked out and everyone was there, friends, family and my mum. Everybody had taken the train in from upstate New York. I started getting really emotional. That was huge.
That, and playing Wembley, but I have to say Madison Square Gardens because it’s New York. It’s big and to be on that stage.
You’ve got great song writing skills, is there any song you wish you could have written?
I admire Annie Lennox, Stevie Nicks, Freddie (Mercury) and the boys, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Diane Warren and Jim Steinman.
The song I wish I’d written? I would have to say ‘Cold’ by Annie Lennox, it just came into my head.
Would you like to work with Diane Warren again?
I would love to. I’ve been doing ‘I’d Lie For You’, which she did. She had wanted me to re-record ‘Not a Dry Eye in the House’, which she gave to Meat Loaf. I’d like to do that. Let’s Twitterise it.
Are you planning on doing any shows in the USA?
Yes. I would love to. I just need to put a band together- I’m still a bit scattered with this.
Fingers crossed. I wanted to be here to do this. A- I love England. B- I know I’m going to end up having a lovely cottage with horses, chickens, cats and dogs.
Are you an Anglophile?
Yes. I love it here. I have wonderful friends. I love it here. I even love the weather.
Going back to turning fifty, I didn’t know how else to say it. I feel like I’ve crossed over something and I can breathe. It’s like a milestone marker. I turned fifty. I honestly feel that everything is going to be just fine and let’s see what trouble we can get into at fifty…good trouble.
Do you have any pre show rituals and does it change for a solo gig versus being a back-up singer?
The guys I did the tour with – The SAS Band, they have a song they do. For my own self, I just take a moment to check out the voice. I throw in a vocal thing from ‘Another One Bites The Dust’. I do a little bit of Annie Lennox. And I thank God.
What was it like singing for Cher?
I couldn’t believe it. From the moment she walked in, to the first rehearsal, I was like, ‘Holy shit, it’s Cher!’.
Did you get to spend any moments alone with her?
God, I wish I did, but there’s always so many people around. She did tell me though, when she heard that my birthday was also 20 May, that I needed to realise we were f*****g crazy!
Did you ever do your Fran Drescher impression for her or Fran Drescher? (Russo can do an uncanny impression of American comedian Fran Drescher and is often asked to do it).
No, I did not. But I did do my heavy New York accent. She had just finished a show and was off to the Palms to present something for David Foster and I said, ‘How you doin’?!’ and she said, ‘Eh, how you doin’?’
I haven’t done it for Fran, but I should because a friend of mine is dating a girl who’s very good friends with Fran and he went to dinner at her house. He said he kept hearing me everytime she spoke.
You’ve just finished your first solo tour, how was that?
I was like ‘now what?’ I was so excited, I wanted more dates, I wanted more. I want it all and I want it now.
What’s next then?
Well, I’m at the Isle of Wight festival on 15 June, playing in the Strongbow Carling tent.I have a huge bucket list. I’m hoping to do a bit more writing. I need to get in the studio. I’d like to get an album and get out there and go. I need to be on this side of the pond. I’d like to go to Germany. I’d like to write for other artists. I’d like to put together my own variety show with comedy skits, all the bells and whistles.
Sounds like it’s going well.
It is a constant work in progress, but I’m just moving forward.
Would you love to do a musical again?
I actually got a phone call from someone in Germany last week asking just that. I will keep you posted.
What’s your favourite musical?
Oh, I just went to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I love the movie. I thought it was funny, good. They change the storyline a bit, but I enjoyed it. There wasn’t a lot of big scenery changes, but what they did with it was great. The music and talent were awesome and fun. I’m not saying that because my friend’s husband is in it. Ha!
Are you going to watch Miss Saigon?
Do you know, that was the first musical I ever saw, and I saw it here in London. My friend Hugh Maynard is in it. Yes, I do hope to see it again.
Tell us something no one knows about you.
I’m not going to tell you things I’m petrified of. I’m a creative person. I can put tiles up, I can do plaster work. I did my home design. I can redecorate. I’ve done friends homes. I’ve done mine.
@susan_den wants to know, Why are you so awesome?
You have to ask my mother that. Why am I so awesome? [chuckles].