With the recent release of Duets II, Tony Bennett is not only making headlines but has also achieved his first no. 1 album on the Billboard 200. He has done so by staying true to himself and charting a path created with his son and manager Danny Bennett. Yesterday I wrote about Danny Bennett's approach to helping his father rebuild his career through the 90s at a time when the music industry was undergoing radical change. Today I skip to the release of Duets II to take a look at how the Bennetts have continued to relate to the times while maintaining a timeless musical outlook.
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga - The Lady Is A Tramp
With Duets II, an album pairing Tony Bennett with a variety of well-known younger acts including Lady Gaga and the late Amy Winehouse, Mr. Bennett continued on the path he and Danny blazed together presenting Tony Bennett in a manner relevant to a broad audience that includes many young people.
Danny says that with Duets II he wanted to expand Mr. Bennett's international presence and so he did with international debuts that included no. 2 in Canada, no. 3 in Australia and no. 5 in the U.K. Such success was due, in part, to international promotional activities and appearances that began early in the process and still continue. I received a list of promotional events from August through November and the range of activities is quite impressive, some of which are included in this press release and in the news section of the new Tony Bennett website.
With Duets II, Danny also focused on increasing digital sales. This desire is supported by the new site where Danny will also be able to further his belief that if someone cares about an artist they should be able to go to that artist to access his work. Mr. Bennett is in agreement and appreciates seeing the creation of deep archives including memorabilia. The site includes annual membership powered by Ultimate Access.
After my interview with Danny Bennett, I also chatted a bit with Nathalie Levey of Cornerstone. Though publicists typically stay behind the scenes, I found her comments regarding the focus given to each duet by both Tony Bennett and Danny to be particularly telling. Each song was recorded with both artists in the studio and was truly about the meeting of two artists. She also noted that throughout the creation and promotion process, Danny's ability to work closely with each artist's team was an important part of the album's success.
Danny has a lot of insight and my single interview really just scratched the surface. However, I took the opportunity to ask if he had any advice for young artists and he said, "Don't do it unless you're absolutely 100% passionate and have no choice." He feels that you really have to love what you're doing to handle the incredible amount of work involved in making music a career.
He also emphasized that Mr. Bennett was always interested in improving and says, ""My ambition is to show people that as I get older I get better". Danny feels that this mindset is important whatever one's age. Given today's emphasis on singles, it's also worth knowing that Tony Bennett desired a hit catalog rather than a hit single.
The success of Duets II is not only a great victory for Tony Bennett in a world that is often quite happy to abandon older artists. It is also a victory for Danny Bennett who has successfully navigated the disruptive changes of the last 30 years from the introduction of the CD to that of the World Wide Web.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and also blogs at This Business of Blogging. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.