CAIRO – 30 September 2017: September 30 marks the birthday of American singer Johnny Mathis, who turns 82 this year. Predating the era of rock-and-roll, Mathis survived by sheer talent and skill, enduring to this day as one of the world’s most successful recording artists.
Mathis was born on 1935 in Texas, the fourth of seven children. The first song he learned was “Blue Heaven,” sung to him by his father when he was eight years old. He also learned how to play the piano.
By the time he was in college in 1954, Mathis had already begun playing with a Jazz band at the Black Hawks club. The owner liked Mathis’s sound, and invited an agent from Columbia records to check him out.
Though Mathis was an athletic star, with potential to compete even at the Olympics, he decided to give it all up for the sake of music, a move he would never regret. However, Mathis wasn’t an instant success; inspired by Jazz, his first album “Johnny Mathis: a New Sound in Popular Song” wasn’t a hit, yet things turned around when executives suggested that Mathis try out singing romantic ballads, a niche he absolutely excelled at.
“It’s not for me to say,” one of the singer’s biggest songs, even got used in a 1957 feature film “Lizzie,” where Mathis played a bar singer.
Mathis’s claim to fame would come when he got featured on the Ed Sullivan Show, which transformed him into a wild success. His 1958 album “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” stayed on the Billboard’s charts for nince consecutive years. In 1972, Mathis earned himself a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he has performed a couple of time for various world leaders.
Mathis’s newest record “Johnny Mathis Sings the Great New American Songbook,” was released on September 29. Mathis has done what every musician dreams of, lasting on for generations and generations. His music constantly finds new audiences, speaking to the timeless mastery of his voice and songs, coming right from the heart.