Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Johnny Mathis

Posted on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Photo by Becky Fluke
  • Photo by Becky Fluke
Critic's Pick Release Date: 2011-01-05

Native Texan John Royce “Johnny” Mathis has recorded more than 130 albums (73 of which made the Billboard charts) and sold more than 350 million albums worldwide. After his family relocated to California, Mathis, then 13, traded odd jobs for voice lessons, learning both classical and operatic skills. At 19, Mathis was discovered at a jam session that led to gigs at San Francisco’s Black Hawk Club. One such gig was attended by jazz producer George Avakian, who wasted no time in sending a telegram to Columbia Records that read, “Have found 19-year old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.” In the following two years, Mathis recorded some of his most beloved romantic ballads, including “Wonderful! Wonderful!” and “Chances Are.” With a voice that’s still silky smooth at 75, Mathis is by no means retired: Let It Be Me ? Mathis in Nashville, a foray into county music, earned Mathis a Grammy nomination in 2010. Trivia: Although quoted in 1982 as saying “Homosexuality is a way of life that I’ve grown accustomed to,” alleged death threats have silenced Mathis on the topic for more than 20 years. Also an avid golfer, “the velvet voice” has been hosting a charity golf tournament in Belfast since 1985 as well as a Johnny Mathis Invitational Track & Field Meet in San Francisco since 1982. $40-$90, 6pm, The Majestic Theatre, 224 E Houston, (210) 226-3333, majesticempire.com, johnnymathis.com. Also on the bill: Gary Mule Deer, who’ll perform a “unique blend of family-friendly comedy and music” between Mathis’ sets.

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