Happy Birthday, Tony!

tony-bennett-bh01.jpgToday is Tony Bennett’s birthday. He’s 81, and I am so in love with him.

I’m listening to him now. He’s singing, “Keep smiling at trouble, for trouble is a bubble, and bubbles will soon fly away…”

Sing it, Tony! You are the MAN!

Why am I so in love with Tony Bennett? Maybe because as a singer who is now 50 years old, I find it extremely encouraging to hear someone sing so damned well at age 81. But it’s more than that.

He has a charisma that isn’t showy, over-the-top, or confrontive. He just is who he is, humble, sweet and so in love with what he is doing. He lets the song be the star, not him. Though there are those moments when he’s belting the bejeebers out of the final phrase of “For Once in My Life.” By the way, you MUST check out the duet with Tony and Stevie Wonder on the Duets CD. It is unfreakin’ believable.

All of that and he sings so beautifully. As he’s aged, his voice has gotten a little husky around the edges but it only makes him sound more real, human and believable. But hey, I am sooooo biased. An infatuated fan.

But my infatuation aside, Tony teaches us that being real without any flash, pomp or antics is what real charisma is all about. Authenticity is the essential ingredient in charisma, otherwise it’s just superficial shenanigans. He also is a great example of someone who is so in love with his “message,” which is every song he sings, that he always bows to the meaning and nobility of each song, letting that be the thing that comes above all else. Just like your message, your offering of information or even entertainment needs to be the focus or “the star” of your speech or show.

Or maybe I just needed an excuse to share with you my crazy love for Tony and so I’m trying to make it relevant to the subject of this blog. But I don’t think so. I don’t fall in love too easily. And there is a reason why Tony Bennett is still selling records and singing to sold out crowds.

Happy Birthday, Tony! Thank you for the music. And the lessons in real charisma.

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