Known for her legendary voice, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dionne Warwick has sold more than 100 million records. But after a painful divorce and raising two boys on her own, the energetic octogenarian relied on faith and a family maxim to show her a new way to use her voice … and leave a legacy of lasting love.
Do you remember when?
At 81 years young, Dionne Warwick has worn many hats in her lifetime, including that of singer, actress, TV host, and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
But for the legendary hit-maker, being dubbed the “Queen of Twitter” is one of her most thrilling accolades to date.
“I love it!” Dionne gushes of her pop-culture icon status.
“After seeing the things that were being said on Twitter, I thought, It’s time for a grownup to let these kids know there is another way to do this!”
Still, as Dionne shares, Twitter isn’t the only thing keeping her busy these days. In fact, she’s launched a Las Vegas residency and is delving into the world of tech with a Theta Network NFT — a digital file that can be sold and traded — of the song “Smile” to benefit Operation Smile. In addition, fans will soon be able to see her in the Dionne Warwick: Legends Metaverse Concert Experience, a groundbreaking virtual reality performance. Saturday Night Live also has a recurring skit about the diva — and the crowd went wild when she was on the show last year.
For Dionne, prioritizing this kind of fun has been paramount to enduring the highs and lows in life, which included a divorce that left her a single mom. “We all go through times where everything isn’t hunky-dory,” Dionne says. “But my family always said, ‘Take the bitter with the sweet.’ I believe everything that happens is supposed to happen, so enjoy yourself. You have the right to be happy!” Here, uncover more of Dionne’s wisdom for living to the fullest, at any age.
1: Rely on faith and love for strength.
“My strength and confidence come from my family, the way I was raised and the things I was taught,” Dionne shares. “I come from a loving family, and that has sustained me for all these years. That, and I believe in God. I pray all the time, and I truly believe God put me here for a purpose. And whatever it was that He put me here for, I must be doing right because God’s still having me do things.”
2: Say it with a smile.
“In my opinion, not being nice to people is not the way to go in life,” Dionne divulges. “I’m pretty straight up, so if you ask me a question, I’m going to give you the answer that I feel will do you the most good in the long run. But the key is that I always end every conversation with a smile. If you have to say something, say it, but always end with a smile. It works every time and makes everyone feel good!”
3: Let honesty reign.
“Raising two boys as a single mother was the biggest challenge I faced in my life,” Dionne admits. “There were some white-knuckle times answering questions, but when I learned how important it was to be open, it got to the point where there was nothing they couldn’t ask me. And though they’ll always be my babies, they are my best friends now. They are grown men with their own families, and I’ve got seven grand babies — which is wonderful! Being open and honest is the key to any relationship.”
4: Find joy in giving.
“I’m working with Operation Smile these days,” Dionne says. “These incredible doctors are giving babies born with cleft lips the opportunity to smile. I think everybody deserves that. So, I’m working closely with them and doing benefits for them, things that will help raise money … it brings me so much joy!”
5: Unwind with peaceful crafts.
“I do needlepoint,” Dionne shares of her go-to relaxation method. “My grandmother taught me when I was 10 years old, and it’s so relaxing, especially once the product is finished. I did chair covers for my dining room one time, and I still remember that they were beautifully done and I was so proud of them. Being able to look at the finished product and say, ‘Yeah, I did that!’ —there’s nothing better!”
6: Remember that there’s only one you.
“My grandfather was a minister, and he used to say, ‘You can only be who you are. You can’t be anyone other than that, so always be you, tell the truth and carry a smile,’” Dionne recalls. “That’s where I get my smile from. He also said smiling keeps wrinkles from you, so I smile constantly.”
Don’t miss Dionne’s latest song!
Produced by her son, Damon Elliott, Dionne says she is over the moon about her new single, “Smile,” which she is dropping as a digital NFT with Theta Network and NFT Vibez to benefit Operation Smile. “I am thrilled to be recording a song for such a worthy charity,” says Dionne. “It’s something new for me, but I’m excited to be releasing it on this platform!” For more information, visit Theta Drop.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.