Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Covering Bases from 'Grease' to Grieving

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Covering Bases from 'Grease' to Grieving

Article excerpt

Olivia Newton-John. Has she ever been mellow? Has she ever tried? To find a comfort, from inside her?

Those are more than just the lyrics to one of her first major easy-listening hits from the 1970s. They are pertinent questions, given what her upcoming album is about.

"It's for people going through grief and change and how to be OK with being in that place and move on. It's a powerful album. And I think everyone can relate," she says.

Certainly Newton-John can. "I lost my sister, a few years ago. And my friend Amy lost her mother. We've all been dealing with grief. And so I just kind of came up with this idea, and it kind of grew. It's a beautiful album."

Newton-John, Grammy nominee Beth Nielsen Chapman and Canadian singer/songwriter/producer/actress Amy Sky are lending their talents to create the 11-song CD, titled "LIV ON". The collaboration, designed to help give people who have suffered losses new found meaning and hope, will be available June 10.

Newton-John's speaking voice sounds just as sweet as it was when she played Sandy in "Grease" almost 40 years ago, despite a bad cellphone connection while talking from her California home. "I'd get on my land line but that's even worse," she says, her Australian accent coming through the bad connection loud and clear when she says "wooorse."

Meanwhile, audiences at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, where Newton-John appears Saturday, can expect to hear "songs from my country days, from the movies, a few oldies," she says.

She says she feels more at home on stage than ever before. "I enjoy it, now. In fact I didn't enjoy it as much when I was younger because I was so nervous that it limited my joy," she says. Her audience, she says, appears to be "pretty multi-generational."

With occasional tour dates this spring every where from Atlantic City, to Singapore and Taiwan, Newton-John will then have periodic blocks of her show, "Summer Nights," at the Flamingo Las Vegas from July through December.

The rigorous touring schedule demands that she maintain her instrument. There's a lot of daily upkeep involved. "I do a warm-up every day with my vocal coach for an hour and a half. The voice is a muscle you have to exercise, like anything else. …

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