Singer Clint Holmes

The singer discusses his latest album, Rendevous.

Clint Holmes is more than just a remarkable singer. He is a consummate entertainer, performer, recording artist, and one of the country’s finest vocalists. Whether he is singing selections from the Great American Songbook, contemporary classics, or stirring original pieces, every performance is a one-of-a-kind mesmerizing and unforgettable experience.

For a limited engagement, Holmes dazzles audiences with his vast repertoire of all genres of music including some of his originals at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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TRANSCRIPT

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Announcer: And by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

Pleased to welcome Clint Holmes to this program. We’ll kick things off tonight with a performance of “Stop This Train” from his album, “Rendezvous”. Then we’ll come back for a conversation. So here now, Clint Holmes.

[performance]

Tavis: My man, Clint Holmes, still sounding good. Good to have you on, man.

Clint Holmes: Good seeing you, man.

Tavis: Tell me about “Rendezvous”.

Holmes: Well, you know, it’s a little bit autobiographical, the CD is, and the actual title, “Rendezvous”, comes from this club that my dad used to take me to when I was a little kid, when I was about 12.

You know, my dad was a jazz singer and the actual name of the club is the Colored Musicians Club and it’s still in Buffalo and it’s now a landmark in Buffalo. But I called it the “Rendezvous” because I couldn’t rhyme Colored Musicians Club [laugh].

So the idea is that’s where music became really important to me is when I saw what it did to my dad, his demeanor. He was totally a different man than the man who worked three jobs and was tired and angry and then he’d walk into this club and light up. I walked in with him and went, oh, this is what I want. This is the world I want to live in.

Tavis: So you didn’t have a choice, really.

Holmes: I didn’t, I didn’t, man.

Tavis: But you could not have had the talent, though. You could have wanted to do that and not have the chops to do it.

Holmes: I suppose so. I never — yeah, well, thank you, because as I say to my kids, “I don’t know how to do anything else. This is it.” Thankfully, people actually pay me to do what I love to do the most, you know. But my mom was an opera singer too, so it was just there. My sister’s a singer, you know.

Tavis: Given that your mom and dad, I mean, obviously loved music and had eclectic tastes, but your mom was in one genre as an opera singer, your dad was in jazz. How did this end up being the lane that you would run in?

Holmes: I say this onstage. I say, “My mom taught me how to sing correctly” because she did. She gave me the technical lessons which have let me have a long career, but it was my dad’s music that I found joyful.

So when I went out into the world and started performing, you know, a lot of it would be a matter of where I was, if I was in Vegas or I was — but it always had a kind of a little bit of a jazz edge to it because that’s the music I fell in love with, my dad’s.

Tavis: Why has Vegas been so good for you? I mean, you’ve been great to Vegas, but why has it been such a great platform for you, a great place for you to play?

Holmes: Because I came up an entertainer. You know, the younger entertainers now don’t have places to play where they learn — many of them don’t have places to play where they learn the craft. You know, I played those seven shows a night things, five shows a night, your first show is at three in the afternoon and there’s nobody there, so how do you entertain the bartender and the waitresses?

All that stuff, I did that, and so did a lot of people who came up when I did. People like Sammy and Harry Belafonte, those people who did that, and that was my era. So I came up as an entertainer. That’s the point.

And in Las Vegas, you have such a cross-section of people sitting out in the audience that you better be ready to entertain everybody, you know, because you don’t know what music they like. Sometimes they come in because somebody gave them a two-for-one and they think Clint Holmes is a country singer, you know [laugh]. So I got to find a way, you know.

Tavis: But you could do that if you wanted to, though. You could do it.

Holmes: I could if I do, but I don’t [laugh]. Yeah, so I came up learning how to entertain people in the setting that I was given, so that serves me well in Vegas.

Tavis: When you say Sammy and Harry, Mr. Belafonte is now 90. Sammy Davis, God rest his soul, is gone. So you’re not a spring chicken, but you look amazing. How old are you now, Clint?

Holmes: You had to ask.

Tavis: I had to ask.

Holmes: Well, it’s easy to…

Tavis: Because the audience won’t believe this. I know, but the audience won’t believe this.

Holmes: I just turned 71.

Tavis: 71.

Holmes: Yeah, I just turned 71.

Tavis: How do you do this [laugh]?

Holmes: Ow! It hurt! It hurt, but I can still do it.

Tavis: How do you do all this stuff? You take care of yourself.

Holmes: I do take care of myself. You know, genetics, man. You know, my mom was 95 when she passed and, up to 90, she could hit her high C, you know. So it’s genetics, but I do take care of myself because I love — man, I love what I do.

And I look at Tony Bennett and Tony said to me — he gave me a cassette tape of his vocal exercises one time because we played tennis when he was playing in Vegas when he was there. He said, “I want you to learn to do this because I’m gonna be singing when I’m 100 and I want you right beside me.”

I took it home and I put it in the player and it was too hard. Seriously, it was too hard to do [laugh]. But I look at Tony, you know, and he’s 93 and he’s singing in the same keys and he’s doing great. So I would like to sing for as long as somebody wants to come hear me, you know.

Tavis: Well, there’ll be lines for a long time.

Holmes: Thank you, brother.

Tavis: I could talk to you for a long time, but I want to shut up and make room for this other song that you’re going to perform. The new project from Clint Holmes is called “Rendezvous”. We are fortunate tonight that he’s going to do another song for us alongside a wonderful talent named Ledisi.

The song is called “Say Something”. again, from the new project “Rendezvous” by our friend, Clint Holmes in Vegas at the Golden Nugget.

Holmes: At the Golden Nugget, man.

Tavis: There you are. Clint, good to have you on, my friend.

Holmes: Always, Tavis.

Tavis: That’s our show for tonight. Thanks for watching. As always, keep the faith. Here comes Clint Holmes.

[performance]

Announcer: For more information on today’s show, visit Tavis Smiley at pbs.org.

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Announcer: And by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

Last modified: June 29, 2017 at 1:47 pm