Tom Jones: interview with a legend

The vintage star talks appearing on The Voice - and singing to the Queen Discuss this article

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The Welsh national treasure is on his way back to the UAE for a big gig at Du Arena next week. We speak to the crooner about rituals, The Voice UK and performing for HM the Queen.

What is the secret to having such a long career in the music industry?
Not taking anything for granted and loving what you do.

How has your music style changed over the years, do you think?
I am always very much ‘me’ when I sing, but in recent years I’ve been given more scope to play around with different genres and sounds and start recording music that is challenging in a different way, as well as intimate and personal. I’m also very much involved with the creation of the record – I love the musicians I sing with and we all work on bringing a song to life together.

What can we expect from this new tour?
A rhythmic mix of old and new!

What are your expectations of your time in the UAE?
That we put on a great show and everyone enjoys themselves.

Have you ever been to the Middle East before?
Yes, lots of times. I love the sun so it’s perfect for me!

Do you have any rituals while you are away on tour?
I have to get eight hours sleep so I work out my bedtime each night according to what time I have to get up in the morning.

What has been your most memorable gig – good, bad or otherwise?
I’ve had lots of memorable gigs, but a more recent one was when I played Latitude Festival in the UK. It was the first time I performed ‘Praise & Blame’ in its entirety. It was the middle of the night and it was in the woods. The crowd was great and the setting was beautiful. I also played at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert last year, right in front of Buckingham Palace and 100,000 happy celebrating people... It was a great honour to be invited and it was a wonderful day.

How have you found your experience with The Voice UK? Will you be returning next season?
I’ve really enjoyed The Voice. It’s an honour to be able to help some talented people as they move toward making singing their career.

You’ve been married over 55 years! What would you say is the most important thing in a marriage?
Being best friends and having a good sense of humour – a laugh goes a very long way.
Tom Jones will perform in Abu Dhabi on September 19 at Du Forum, Yas Island. Tickets are Dhs300-450 and are available through www.thinkflash.ae.

Famous quotes from the man himself

‘As for the music business itself, the key things have not changed that much. It operates like any business and money still keeps things moving.’

‘There’s plenty for me to do. There are more albums. I’ll record as long as I can and as long as my voice works as well as it does now and for as long as people want to hear me.’

‘Dean Martin always dressed very well, but then he was a good looking fella with a good physique so he could wear anything.’

‘I’ve always worn jewellery but for a time it went out of fashion. Like grungy and punk bands didn’t wear jewellery because it was stupid.’

‘I haven’t become an American! Having a house in LA is just where the house is. It’s just a convenience thing living there. I carry Wales around inside me. I’d consider moving back there one day. I never really left.’

‘I didn’t have to play rugby that well, and I didn’t have to play cricket that well, because I had this voice’

By Katy Gillett
Time Out Doha,

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