Dionne Warwick on Twitter, Gospel and Staying True to Yourself


From hits like “I Say a Little Prayer” to “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”, Dionne Warwick has inspired many throughout her musical career, which spans over 60 years. The pop and R&B singer began singing with The Gospelaires with her sister Dee Dee, before releasing her first solo single in 1962, “Don’t Make Me Over”, a song that foreshadowed her lifelong commitment to stay true to her. -even. Today, the Twitter community welcomed 80-year-old “Aunt Dionne,” celebrating her wisdom and witty tweets. Here, Warwick talks about his life in the music industry, the power of confidence and happiness in his skin.

You are absolutely hilarious on Twitter! Did it offend you when people started to think you weren’t writing your own tweets?

No. You know, of course they’re going to think that. I want to have as much fun as anyone, and that’s what I do on Twitter.

And you certainly make it a good time for us too.

Awesome! This is the important part.


As a child, was it your dream to become a singer, or did it just happen?

If I quote my mother, she says I went out singing. I come from a gospel-
singing family, and you know the old adage “The apple does not fall far from the tree”? Well, that turned out to be true for me and for everyone else in my family.

let's be realistic, 2021, by danielle mckinney

Let’s be real 2021, by Danielle McKinney


How was your childhood?

My childhood was full of love, laughter and music. Like I said, I come from a family that sings gospel music, so I have spent most of my life in church. My grandfather was a minister. So that’s all I ever knew, and that’s all I guess I ever want to know. I had a normal childhood like everyone else – went to high school, walked to school with my friends and got the little scratches that we all get every now and then when we’re young , and I have the marks to prove it.


What was it like to be a young black woman in the music industry when you were just starting out?

Coming from East Orange, New Jersey (Come on the Panthers!), What I experienced early in my career and in the very first tours I did in the southern region of our country – saw a lot things that I didn’t even know existed because I didn’t experience it where I’m from. I lived in a neighborhood that I now call virtually the UN. We had all races, colors, beliefs and religions, and we interacted with each other on the basis of who we were, not who we were.

So it was interesting to see what is unfortunately still going on today with the prejudices and this nation of people being stupid. I guess that’s what I would call it, utter stupidity, because the color of my skin isn’t to your liking. I used to joke with some of my white friends: I would tell them, “How stupid you’re going to judge me by the color of my skin, and every summer you smear yourself and lie in the sun.” for my color? I never quite understood that. And now with everyone plumping up their butt and their lips and wanting to look like me, all of a sudden it’s like, Whoa, wait a minute, what’s going on? What happened?

Of all the songs you have composed, which do you think is your favorite and why?

I don’t have a favorite among the songs I’ve sung; these are all my favorites. Each of them that I grew up with as they grew up with me lyrically. Someone’s words have an effect on you. When I was 19 they wanted to say one thing, and when I was 27 they wanted to say something else, and every decade they wanted to say something else.

You’ve broken down so many barriers for African American women in the entertainment industry. Do you think that today’s female artists have preserved this heritage well?

I refer to my babies, this is how I refer to all of them — these are all my babies. But their recordings are intended for ears younger than mine. A part of [their lyrics] I’m very offended by — I have to say this — and I’ve expressed it time and time again with these artists in particular. However, I don’t listen to artists much today, really not. I listen to my peers; I listen to the music that comforts me.

I think as my babies get a little older and older and have kids of their own, maybe they’ll start to realize that, Oh, wait a minute, maybe I shouldn’t express that as freely as I am.

I said to Snoop, “You know, you’re gonna grow up and you’re gonna find someone you’re gonna fall in love with, and guess what?” You’re going to get married and you’re going to have children, and you might have a little girl. And this little girl is going to hear one of your songs one day and say, ‘Daddy, are you saying that?’ What are you going to tell him?

I said, “Your ears will grow larger, so will your mind and your heart, so be very careful.” I learned a long, long time ago that we are messengers, and we have to be very, very careful about the message we give to people.

You have a tour planned. What do you still love about the show?

First of all, the fact that people want to hear me sing. They always put their butt in the seats, and that’s very important. As long as I am able to give the best of what I can give and I am convinced that it is the best that I am giving, this is the length of time that I will give it. When I feel like I’m fainting, that’s when Dionne hangs up her ballet slippers and says goodbye to her.

You have a very beautiful energy, a great spirit within you. What’s the secret to staying young and energetic?

My parents instilled in me and my mentors throughout my career: Be who you are. You can’t be anyone other than yourself, and I really believe that, and actually, I like myself, so I have no reason to want to be anyone other than me.

What do you think it means to be successful?

Happy in your skin, I think. Knowing that you are doing exactly what you are about to do. Your aspirations are being met, and if they are not, then you have other things to do. And you have no reservations about doing so. And when you’ve finished something, you say, “Oh yeah, that’s a good thing. Then move on to the next one, and you never stop. I never stop. I have so much left to do and I can’t wait to be there.

lift every voice logo


Dionne warwick was interviewed as part of Lift Every Voice, in partnership with Lexus. Lift up every voice records the wisdom and life experiences of the oldest generation of black Americans by connecting them with a new generation of black journalists. Warwick interviewer Mariah Campbell is a journalism student at Texas Southern University. The Complete Oral History Series premieres on Hearst Magazine, Newspaper and Television websites around June 17, 2021. oprahdaily.com/lifteveryvoice for the entire portfolio.

Turn inspiration into action
Consider donating to the National Association of Black Journalists. You can use your money for scholarships that support the educational and professional development of young aspiring journalists.

Also support the National Caucus & Center on Black Aging. Dedicated to improving the quality of life of older African Americans, NCCBA’s educational programs equip them with the tools they need to defend themselves.

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