Tony Bennett has been spending the past year celebrating his 80th birthday in fine fashion.
He won two Grammy Awards for his latest album, “Duets: An American Classic.” He was the subject of an NBC TV special, received the prestigious Billboard Century Award and appeared on the “American Idol” season finale.
But, he promises, this was no farewell tour.
“I’m not retiring in any way,” Bennett says.
In fact, he’s already working on his next project — another collaboration with k.d. lang.
“Every time we do something, it works,” Bennett explains. “She’s a wonderful person. She’s like my sister. She sings from the heart; I’m not saying she’s imitating, but she has the same sincerity of Judy Garland — she sings that well.
“And the audience loves her.”
Maintaining this level of work at 80 puts an onus on Bennett to take care of himself — his voice, particularly. But that’s not something he finds hard.
“I came out of the second world war as a foot soldier in Germany,” he notes. “I know how to handle myself musically, and it’s by being disciplined about it. I’ve maintained my voice, and I never got tired of working.
“I just love to sing and I love to entertain people and make them feel good and forget their problems for 90 minutes or so. It’s a wonderful occupation.”
Tony Bennett performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday (June 15th) at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit. Tickets are $52.50-$122. Call (313) 237-7464 or visit www. motopera.org.