|April 20, 2017 ||New York Post||"Barry Manilow: 'I cannot spot a hit song - even if I write it'" by Michael Riedel|
|In 1976, just as his career as a pop superstar was taking off, Barry Manilow moved into an apartment in the San Remo on Central Park West. His neighbor was Broadway’s Fred Ebb, the lyricist who, with composer John Kander, wrote “Cabaret” and “Chicago.” Through the wall in one of his bathrooms, Manilow could hear Kander and Ebb banging out a new song on the piano. One day, a riff Kander was playing caught his attention. “Listen to this,” Manilow said to a friend. “I think they’re writing something, and it sounds pretty good.” What they were writing was “New York, New York,” which, recorded by Frank Sinatra, would become the enduring anthem of the Big Apple.|
Manilow gives the song his own swinging flourish on his new album, “This Is My Town: Songs of New York,” out Friday from Verve Records. Born and raised in Brooklyn, the former Barry Pincus, now 73, assembled and arranged the collection as a tribute to his hometown.
Not all are as famous as “New York, New York.” A haunting rendition of “Lonely Town,” from Leonard Bernstein’s 1944 musical “On the Town,” stands out, as does a silky, sultry arrangement of “Lovin’ at Birdland.” “My instinct is not to go commercial,” says Manilow, who to date has sold 80 million records worldwide.
“I developed a taste for the off-center stuff when I played piano in cabarets in New York in the early ’70s,” he tells The Post. “The good singers never sang what everybody else was doing on TV or radio. They’d find these cockamamie songs from some Broadway show that didn’t make it and then just crawl into the lyric. I cannot spot a hit song even if I write it,” he adds. “That is not my strength at all. I think the only song I heard that I knew would be a hit was ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’ -- and who couldn’t pick that one?”
“What you have to understand about Barry,” says a longtime friend, “is that he’s the guy at the piano who looks after the singer. He loves composing. He loves arranging. The fact that he become a superstar surprised him as much as anyone.”
Says Manilow: “I’m not that great a piano player, but I’m a really good accompanist. I can be a one-man band for a singer.”
His early and now-legendary partnership was with Bette Midler at the Continental Baths in the Ansonia Hotel. Midler heard about him through friends in the cabaret world, and asked him to back her up. “She was loud, she was brash, she was Bette,” says Manilow. “But I didn’t understand her talent in rehearsals. She walked through every song. It wasn’t great. And then this hurricane came out of the dressing room and all these guys sitting around in towels at the baths went nuts.”
Manilow became a star in his own right when record producer Clive Davis signed him for a new company called Arista Records in 1974. Davis debuted a documentary about his life, “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” Wednesday night at Radio City Music Hall. Manilow kicked off a post-screening concert featuring a slew of Davis superstars: Dionne Warwick, Carly Simon, Kenny G. and Aretha Franklin, among others.
But Manilow’s early years at Arista were rocky. “Clive and I fought all the time,” says Manilow. “I was a songwriter and he kept shtupping me with other people’s material. All he cared about was the hit. He kept giving me these terrible demos -- ‘I Write the Songs,’ ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ -- and I could not see the value in them at all. The only reason we stayed together was that I was a producer and arranger and he would let me make the songs my own. So I listened to that terrible demo of ‘I Write the Songs’ until I figured out it was an anthem, an anthem to the spirit of music, and that’s how I arranged it.”
“I Write the Songs” went to No. 1, as did “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It” and “Even Now.” There were a dozen No. 1 hits in all, plus 27 that appeared in the top 10 on various Billboard charts. The last hit was 1983’s “Read ’em and Weep.” And then Manilow told Davis, “I’m done. I don’t know what else to do in the pop music world. I’ve used every arranger’s trick in the trade.”
R&B had come in, making stars of Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson. Manilow’s top 40 era was over. “I’d been around so long, there was a backlash,” he says. “It wasn’t fun, but I can’t say it was the dark night of soul. I was ready for something else.” Manilow then made an album of torch songs, “2:00 AM Paradise Café,” dueting with Mel Tormé and Sarah Vaughan. Since then, he’s released a batch of acclaimed, if not No. 1, albums featuring show tunes, big band hits, Sinatra covers.
He can still sell out a 20,000-seat stadium, and while he tries to slip in some of his more obscure or arty songs, “I can’t do it very often or I lose the audience,” he says. “They want the songs they grew up with, the ones I did with Clive. They never tire of them. They sing them louder than I do.”
|April 18, 2017 ||People.com||"Barry Manilow Makes First Concert Appearance Since Publicly Coming Out to PEOPLE" by Dave Quinn|
|Barry Manilow was welcomed with enthusiastic cheers on Tuesday night, as he took the stage at New York City’s Town Hall for the Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!|
Performing at the monthly event -- which raises money for national organizations dedicated to protecting civil rights, women’s health and environmental protection -- Manilow appeared grateful.
"I’m so happy to be home. I’m a New Yorker, I’m from Williamsburg, Brooklyn." Manilow told the enthusiastic crowd as he took the stage to a standing ovation. "I’m here to promote an album, my love letter to New York. So this week I’m a media slut. I’m all over the place. I’m so happy to be here. There’s no place like New York."
Before performing "One Voice," he explained to the audience, "I wrote this in a dream. I don’t know how that happens. I wrote it in a dream and ran to the cassette machine. And I sang it through and the next morning, there it was."
Manilow performed three different times during the show, about 30 minutes in total. He introduced "Mandy" by joking to the crowd, "This was the very first one that was so successful. We released it in 1821."
He also performed a medley that included "Can’t Smile Without You," "Copacabana," "Even Now," "Weekend in New England," "Ready to Take a Chance Again," "It’s a Miracle," "I Made It Through the Rain," "Daybreak," and "I Write the Songs." Manilow surprised the crowd by coming out at the end of the show and performing a final medley of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "Let Freedom Ring."
|April 11, 2017 ||Forbes||"Icon Barry Manilow Talks About His New Album, His Charity And His First $1 Million Paycheck" by Simon Thompson|
|Barry Manilow is an icon. Ranked as the number one Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard magazine, the Grammy, Emmy and Tony award-winning singer-songwriter, arranger, producer and musician has had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 number ones and 27 Top 10 hits, and five of his albums were on the best-seller charts simultaneously.|
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his legacy as an artist that has spanned the course of popular music of a staggering five decades. On May 9, 2017, his legacy will be honored when he is awarded the title of BMI Icon at the 65th annual BMI Pop Awards in Los Angeles.
I caught up with Manilow, who has sold more than 85 million albums, to talk about the award, his charity The Manilow Music Project, as well as his new album, coming out in 2017 and the contemporary artist he would love to duet with.
Simon Thompson (ST): How do you feel about being referred to as an icon?
Barry Manilow (BM): I’m surprised, I didn’t start by saying what I usually say, ‘Hi, it’s the icon speaking!’. I don’t take that seriously but I do take this recognition seriously because I’ve had my share of awards over the years but this one really does mean a lot because it’s a songwriter’s award. Over the years, songwriting has been very important to me even though I’ve had many opportunities to sing other people’s songs and have a lot of success as an arranger and a producer of other people’s songs. It’s the composing that has always been very, very close to my heart so for BMI to give me something means a lot.
ST: How do you quantify your success? Is it financially or in some other way?
BM: For me, I started off just wanting to be a musician and that’s all that is important to me. The rest of it I am grateful to have, don’t get me wrong, but it’s never really been what I went after. There are a lot of people who go after fame or they go after money or they want the approval of an audience but that’s never really been my thing. All I’ve cared about is making music and it doesn’t matter whether it’s for thousands of people or for a small nightclub or even if it’s in my little studio with my computer, that’s what feels right to me.
ST: Your new album is This Is My Town: Songs of New York. How much of your success do you credit to New York?
BM: It’s not my success, New York formed me as a human being and as a person. I was raised by my mother, my Grandmother, friends, relatives, all New Yorkers, all decent people with a sense of humor and really great morals. Most of all, when you come from New York, you are given a big bullsh*t meter and you can tell when people are being honest with you and New Yorkers will not stand for you being dishonest. New Yorkers are great people, honest people. If you get into trouble then you want someone from New York standing next to you because if there’s a building on fire they will run into the building, not away from it. It’s one of the things that I treasure about being raised in New York and that bullsh*t meter that I have in me has served me very well in this world of showbusiness.
ST: You have personally contributed over $100,000 to The Manilow Music Project. Is that something you see as much of a part of your legacy as your music?
BM: I never really thought about it like that, I just try to get musical instruments into the schools that are running out of them and if I can encourage or inspire some young people to get into music, that’s all I care about because I know what it did for me. I was a geek when I grew up, I had a few great friends but I wasn’t into sports, they really didn’t teach me very much and I wasn’t inspired by my teachers but when I found the piano I felt safe and I knew that I had a future. You put a guitar in the hands of a young guy and it might do the same thing for them.
ST: With the foundation, is it important for you to lead by example and put your own money where your mouth is and have a personal financial input?
BM: If I can, I do. I do that all over the place and all the time but the Manilow Music Project works really well on the road because in every city I go to I donate a piano and that starts off an instrument drive. We collect instruments from people that are coming to my shows, they all go to local schools and that feels great. You should read the letters from these kids. I got a picture of a little boy, he wrote to me thanking me for his brand new Tuba and he was standing next to the Tuba and it was bigger than he was.
ST: So what is the biggest investment that you have made in your career?
BM: I think I have not made as many friends as I could have because of this fame. This fame thing puts a separation between the famous person and the public. I have met people in an elevator where after two sentences I could be a friend of theirs and then they leave because they are looking at this image named Barry Manilow, they’re not seeing me, the guy. Over the years I’ve found that they have to get through being comfortable with me but there’s this bubble that stops them from actually knowing who I am. I find that’s the only problem. For me, the investment has been that I think I have lost great friends because of this fame thing.
ST: A landmark for many artists is that very first big check that they get. Do you remember getting yours and do you remember how much was it for?
BM: I do remember the very first big check I got. It was from Clive Davis, my hero from Arista Records, he was the record company President that began my recording career. I was a struggling young piano player, I played piano for every singer in New York because I’m a good accompanist, I’m not a good piano player but I’m a good accompanist and that was a week-to-week paycheck, although it was hardly a paycheck. Then we did Mandy and it was very successful but you don’t see any money from your records for at least a year so I was still struggling. Clive and Arista were having a convention, it was their first big convention because Mandy was their first big record. They were having it in San Diego and I was living in Manhattan so I bounced a check in a grocery store in order to get that plane to get to San Diego. When I got to San Diego, Clive knocked on my hotel door and gave me a check for $1 million and I’ll never forget it because that was the beginning of my career. I didn’t tell him I had literally just bounced a check that morning.
ST: What do you put the longevity of your career down to?
BM: Simon, you’ve really got to ask them (the fans) because I’ve never known. I don’t know why they are still with me, I couldn’t be more grateful, I listen to my records and they’re okay and I watch my performances and think, ‘He’s alright.’ I don’t understand why they are still with me, I don’t understand it but maybe nobody does because perhaps every performer will give you that same answer. I keep doing the best I can, I kill myself trying to make great records, I kill myself trying to do the greatest performances I am capable of doing but I don’t understand what it is that keeps them coming back.
ST: Have you ever considered a movie or a musical tracing your life and career?
BM: I haven’t but there have been other producers and filmmakers who have been interested in doing something like that. I don’t want to be involved in anything like that because it’s too creepy for me but maybe after I’m gone but not while I’m still alive.
ST: A lot of people have suggested that should follow in the footsteps of other icons such as Lionel Richie and Dolly Parton and perform at the Glastonbury Festival. Has that been discussed at all?
BM: It’s never come up but those big rock and roll festivals would terrify me. I don’t think anybody would come (to see me). I’m not a rock and roll artist and that’s what those kinds of huge festivals have, they have loud bands and that’s not me. No-one’s offered that to me.
ST: You’ve done a lot of duets in your time but is there anyone around at the moment that you would like to duet with? I thought that perhaps you and Ed Sheeran could be an interesting pairing.
BM: Yeah but I think I would choose Bruno Mars because he’s right up my alley. He’s a crazy performer, he comes from the kind of performing family and I just love him. That would be so great if he were interested. I met him once and it was great, we both gushed about each other but nothing has ever come out of it.
ST: You recently came out and have had an overwhelmingly positive response. You were concerned about how fans might react but did you expect quite the show of support?
BM: No, I didn’t but I should have because the people have always been so great so I should never have doubted them. When I said that quote, what I really meant was that if I had done something like that in the 80s I don’t know whether it would have been accepted as easily and beautifully as it has today because things have changed. Being gay is no big deal anymore, thank God, although [it’s] a big deal to a lot of families and a lot of young people. Overall, I do think the tone of accepting gay people is more accepting than it’s ever been. Garry and I have been together for going on 40 years, I could have done it any old time but I think it would have been a very negative explosion and I didn’t want that for my fans because they stand up for me. Every bad review I’ve ever had, I just pull the cover over my head and feel sorry for myself but the next day the newspapers are filled with letters from people standing up for me. I adore them so much and I am so grateful and I didn’t want to put that burden on them. During those days I wasn’t the golden boy, believe me, and I wasn't as accepted with my music as I am today. I have been open about this forever to everybody and I have never hidden this and I couldn’t be more proud to be a gay man or to have a partner of 40 years, it’s never even dawned on me to hide it but People magazine, bless their hearts, needed a big headline but it really wasn’t a secret in my family or amongst my friends, my band or people that know me. All the fans knew, it was never hidden, but perhaps the public at large might be surprised, although I don’t think even they were very surprised. Simon, I’m 73 years old, I’m not married to a woman and I love Judy Garland so you do the math!
Barry Manilow’s latest album, This Is My Town: Songs of New York will be released on April 21, 2017
You can find out more about The Manilow Music Project here
Barry Manilow will be playing a number of concerts across the U.S. in May
|April 6, 2017 ||People.com||"Barry Manilow Sings Classic New York Songs in New ‘NYC Medley’ — Find Out Why He Cried Covering Alicia Keys" by Jeff Nelson|
|Barry Manilow returned to his roots for his latest album. The pop icon will release his upcoming LP, This Is My Town: Songs of New York, on April 21. The collection includes original tracks and standards, as well as a mash-up of timeliness tunes. PEOPLE has an exclusive first listen to “NYC Medley,” on which he covers classics (“New York, New York”) and contemporary hits (Jay Z and Alicia Keys‘ “Empire State of Mind”).|
A New York City-native, Manilow, 73, says recording the Big Apple-inspired songs in his Palm Springs home studio was a poignant experience. “When I was doing these songs, I found myself welling up more often than I anticipated,” he says. “Stuff like ‘Native New Yorker’ and even ‘Empire State of Mind’ — these lyrics hit me so hard, and I just didn’t expect it to. There’s some beautiful writing in ‘Empire State of Mind’! I am a native New Yorker, and I didn’t expect it to be emotional, and it was. I had to keep stopping singing because I kept welling up.”
The star, who grew up in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, says the lyrics took him back to his early years, when he was writing famous jingles and collaborating with Bette Midler in the city. “Every time I would get to another line, I’d be, ‘Yeah, that’s me: I was there. I believe what these lyrics say.’ Bright lights, sidewalks of New York; I was there for all of my young life,” Manilow adds. “When I got to sing them, they really hit me in the gut, and it was a very emotional recording session. I thought, New York doesn’t have one style to it — New York is a melting pot of people and different styles.”
|April 5, 2017 ||People.com||"Pop Icon Barry Manilow Looks Back on His 50-Year Legacy: 'I’ll Keep Going Until They Stop Me!'" by Jeff Nelson|
|Looks like he made it! After 50 years in showbiz, Barry Manilow sat down exclusively with PEOPLE in his home recording studio at his Palm Springs estate to reminisce on his career, enduring legacy and private world ahead of the April 21 release of his latest album, This Is My Town: Songs of New York. From his humble beginnings in Brooklyn and collaborating with Bette Midler to becoming one of the bestselling artists of all time, the pop icon looks back on how he became the man who writes the songs that make the whole world sing.|
Born Barry Alan Pincus in 1943, Manilow grew up with his single mom Edna Manilow in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood; he took her name after his estranged truck-driver father, Harold Kelliher, left. And while he started playing instruments (accordion at 7, piano at 13), it wasn’t until he met his stepfather Willie Murphy that he found his first love: music. “When my stepfather came into my life and brought with him a stack of albums that may as well have been a stack of gold, some of the greatest music you’ve ever heard -- jazz, Broadway scores, great singers with great arrangements,” recalls Manilow. “He changed my life with just that little stack of records. My mother was very, very musical. So there was always great music in my house.”
He wasn’t the most popular teenager -- “I was miserable in high school!” he says with a laugh -- but Manilow found his place among fellow musicians. “When I found the orchestra class, then I became Mr. Popular, really,” says the Eastern District High School alum. “I was voted best musician of the year, I formed my own band ... but before that, I really didn’t know what to do because it was all about sports, and that’s not who I am.”
Marriage, Bette Midler - and His Big Break: After graduating, Manilow married his second love -- high school sweetheart Susan Deixler -- and pursued a career in music in Manhattan. But the young artist’s dreams put a strain on his relationship, and they split after a year. “I was in love with Susan. I just was not ready for marriage,” says Manilow, who (now married to longtime manager Garry Kief) maintains he wasn’t struggling with his sexuality at the time. “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats - I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.” But sacrificing his personal life paid off for his professional one as he worked with up-and-coming singers, accompanying and arranging music for them.
Manilow made a name for himself writing jingles (he’s the brain behind such beloved slogans as “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” and “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand ‘cause Band-Aid sticks on me”); headed up music for Ed Sullivan at The Late Show; then, in 1971, began collaborating with one Bette Midler at the gay hotspot the Continental Baths. “Barry Manilow was a driving force,” says Midler of Manilow, who produced her first two albums. “He did a great job arranging, and he had a great sense of how to move a song along; he just knew how to inject a song with excitement.” Midler’s career skyrocketed, and his followed suit.
A Hesitant Superstar: Following a lukewarm debut album, Manilow caught the break of a lifetime when famed record exec Clive Davis acquired his contract after seeing him perform for the first time in Central Park. “I was knocked out,” says Davis, who urged his latest signee to record a rock song that he’d discovered called “Brandy.” So Manilow took the track, slowed it down, and turned it into a dramatic piano ballad and retitling it. Soon after, “Mandy” became Manilow’s first No. 1 hit in 1974. “I didn’t know I was making the first big pop-rock ballad,” says Manilow, laughing. “But when it did get on the radio, I listened to what was around me: ‘Kung Fu Fighting,’ ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie.’ I thought, ‘These people need me!’”
Although he’s beloved by his devoted “Fanilows” as a singer, songwriter and performer, Manilow actually prides himself most on his arranging abilities. “As an arranger, you take a rock ‘n’ roll song and make it into a ballad with three chord changes and key changes and an emotional ending. That’s what I do,” he says. “Yes, I’m a songwriter. I’ve written a handful of songs that have become hit songs. But that’s not really my forte.”
Still, after the success of “Mandy,” Manilow released hit after hit, from “Could It Be Magic” and “Looks Like We Made It” to “Copacabana (At the Copa)” and “Can’t Smile Without You.” “Barry’s a terrific showman. But he’s so modest about his performing talent and, to some extent, self-deprecating,” says Davis, whose inaugural pre-Grammys party (an award season staple) was thrown in 1976 to celebrate “Mandy.” “I mean, the combination of the number of songs that are now part of, clearly, the musical culture? They’re standards. And so the hits that we have enjoyed together are really part of the new Great American Songbook.”
Indeed, Manilow says he’s still wrapping his head around his pop star status. “I started out not loving the job because it was a big surprise,” he says. “I never thought about being a performer or a singer or any of that - maybe a composer or producer, anything in the background. But when I wound up on the stage singing and trying to talk to an audience, I was terrible; I was really terrible. I was an amateur. I got up from the piano, and I didn’t know what to do with my legs. And as the years went by, I’ve figured it out and become comfortable with it, and the audiences have stayed enthusiastic and wonderful.”
Over the course of his decades-spanning career, Manilow has released dozens of albums, become one of the bestselling artists of all time and won a Grammy, an Emmy (which he uses as a makeshift doorstop!) and a special Tony. And while his fan base is as fervent as ever, he bid adieu to his touring days last year.
“Forty-five years of room service is enough!” Manilow jokes of his retiring from touring. “Going away from home for weeks at a time, I just couldn’t do that anymore. I wanted to be home, to really have my life back. You know, there’s this joke: Like the prostitute says, it’s not the work, it’s the stares. That’s me! It’s not the work; it’s getting there that got me eventually, it just got me. So it was the last couple of tours I kept saying, ‘I think this is it.’ And then it wasn’t. It was so exciting: another album, another reason to go on the road, another television thing. But eventually, it just got me, finally. “It’s the end of the road - but it’s not the end.”
The consummate performer gets to spend more time with husband Kief at home in Palm Springs these days. “The reason I chose Palm Springs: My life is so filled with noise - great noise and the noise of airports and streets and going in and out of concert halls and music and applause,” he says. “I needed to be able to come home to a place where it was peaceful. It’s peaceful here. It is the absolute opposite of what my 45-year career has been.” That doesn’t mean Manilow is retiring, though: “I tried it. I was so bored, I was driving myself crazy,” he says.
Sure enough, the legend is keeping busy making new music, as This Is My Town drops later this month. “There’s always the next thing,” he says. “A lot of the people that I started out with are not making albums. There are still record companies that are interested in me and audiences that are still interested in what I have to say. I’m just one of the lucky guys that are able to keep going. I’ll keep going until they stop me!”
|April 5, 2017 ||People.com||"Barry Manilow Reveals Why He Didn’t Come Out for Decades" by Jeff Nelson|
|Pop legend Barry Manilow opens up for the first time about coming out, finding love, and surviving showbiz for 50 years. For decades Barry Manilow gave the world timeless hits, while keeping his own world a total secret. Now at 73 years old, the music legend is opening up about his life, struggles and, for the first time, his sexuality.|
Fiercely private, the pop icon recently welcomed PEOPLE into his Palm Springs home for an exclusive interview and photo shoot with his manager husband Garry Kief — and talked for the first time about their nearly 40-year romance. Says Manilow, “I’m so private. I always have been.”
Born Barry Alan Pincus in 1943 and raised by his single mother Edna Manilow, in Brooklyn, Manilow knew early on his first love was music. His second love was his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler. “I was in love with Susan,” says Manilow of the woman he married after graduating high school, “I just was not ready for marriage.” The star maintains he wasn’t struggling with his sexuality at the time of their one-year matrimony. “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats — I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
Indeed, Manilow’s personal life took a backseat as he pursued a career in music, writing jingles to pay the bills (State Farm, Band-Aid and others still use them today) and in 1971, taking a gig arranging music for and accompanying a young Bette Midler at the gay hotspot the Continental Baths. He produced the diva’s first two albums and when her career took off, his followed suit.
After skyrocketing to fame in 1974 with his pop-rock ballad “Mandy,” the Brooklyn native’s star only got brighter with the release of classics like “Looks Like We Made It,” “Copacabana (At the Copa)” and “Can’t Smile Without You.” Then in 1978, he met Kief — a TV executive and Houston native — and “I knew that this was it,” says Manilow. “I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”
Soon after, Kief became Manilow’s manager, a role he still holds today, in addition to being President of Barry Manilow Productions. “He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life — and a great guy, too,” Manilow says.
Adds longtime friend Suzanne Somers: “There’s Barry Manilow the performer, and then there’s the Barry ‘machine.’ It takes enormous savvy and know-how to book and market complicated arena tours, choreograph promotion, direct the entire team and make it look effortless, and that part is Garry’s domain. A major career takes two. Between them, there is enormous comfort and trust.”
Not that it was always easy for the pair. Early on in their relationship, Kief went to a Manilow concert. Afterward, “I got into the car with him, and [the fans] were rocking the car,” Manilow recalls. “He was like, ‘I can’t handle this. It’s not for me.’ I’m glad he stayed.”
And the couple has stayed together for 39 years, all while remaining mum on his sexuality — an open secret to some in his long-devoted, mostly female fan base, a shock to others - and even stepping out and living with once-rumored love interest Linda Allen during his relationship with Kief.
Manilow,who will release his new album This Is My Town: Songs of New York on April 21, admits he’s always been hesitant to discuss the relationship — and to come out publicly, even after he finally married Kief in a clandestine ceremony at their 53-acre Palm Springs estate in April 2014.
In 2015, news of their marriage and Manilow’s sexuality made headlines, something the legend calls “a blessing and a curse.” Considering his fans, “I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,” says Manilow. Turns out, “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy. The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”
|April 5, 2017 ||People.com||"Inside Barry Manilow’s Secret Wedding to Longtime Love Garry Kief" by Jeff Nelson|
|Barry Manilow can’t smile without him! In the new issue of PEOPLE, the pop icon, 73, opens up for the first time about his 39-year relationship — and 2014 wedding — with longtime manager Garry Kief.|
After breaking out in 1974 with his pop-rock ballad “Mandy,” Manilow skyrocketed to fame with hit after hit, from “Looks Like We Made It” to “Copacabana (At the Copa).” The performer says the attention was alienating. “When you’re that big, you don’t meet very many people,” says the pop icon, who will release his new album, This Is My Town: Songs of New York, on April 21.
So when Manilow met Kief — then a TV exec and Houston native — in 1978, his life changed completely. “I knew that this was it,” says Manilow. “I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that ... Garry didn’t know what I did, even though I had all these records out. He was a guy, and I was a guy, so we could just deal with each other like two normal people, not like a superstar and a person.”
Manilow and Kief, 68, have been together ever since, romantically — and even professionally, as Kief has managed the star for nearly 40 years. “He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met in my life — and a great guy, too” says Manilow.
Adds Suzanne Somers, a longtime friend of the couple: “It helps that Garry is devastatingly handsome. I still see Barry looking at him with his sparkling, periwinkle-blue eyes, and it’s clear their decades-long love is here to stay.”
Manilow likely gave Kief that same look of love in April 2014, when they exchanged vows in April 2014 in an intimate, private wedding ceremony at their 53-acre Palm Springs estate. “I didn’t think it was going to be that emotional,” recalls Manilow. “It was deeper than we thought it was going to be, looking at each other, saying, ‘I love you’ in front of people.”
Still, Manilow says their nuptials were more of a formality than anything. “We’ve been married all these years. It’s just that it became legal,” says Manilow, who was previously married to high school sweetheart Susan Deixler for a year before they split. (“I was in love with Susan ... I wasn’t ready to settle down,” he adds, maintaining he wasn’t struggling with his sexuality at the time). Adds Manilow: “We took a look at our wills and made sure that everything is in proper order. Getting married was the right thing to do.”
Like any couple, Manilow and Kief faced some challenges over their years together. The showman says his fame put a strain on their relationship early on after Kief went to a Manilow concert. Afterward, “I got into the car with him, and [the fans] were rocking the car,” Manilow recalls. “He was like, ‘I can’t handle this. It’s not for me.’ I’m glad he stayed.”
After nearly four decades together, though, the couple is happier than ever. “Thank goodness we’re still together,” Manilow says, “and we’re in good shape, too.”