Hello reddit. Tony Bennett here, and I'm doing my first-ever digital day here in NYC.

I am looking forward to chatting with you today. These stories and answers will all be in my own words but as I'm 87, my team and Victoria from reddit are here helping me.

Today is also a very special day for me because all of my albums are finally available digitally today on iTunes. Here's the link.

Proof! http://i.imgur.com/8ykriEE.jpg https://twitter.com/itstonybennett/status/387622445206601729


Well, to me it's been a very wonderful experience to spend so many years enjoying myself singing nothing but quality music and to be represented like this is quite phenomenal for me. It's been a great day in my life. I want to thank all of you very much for being so nice to me.

Comments: 1504 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

Habeas1346 karma

Hi Tony! Thanks for doing this AMA.

You probably don’t know me, but we are related. I am the grandson of your cousin Irene Stora (maiden name Suraci). Her daughter Judi is my mother. My grandma used to tell me stories about how you guys would hang out together, all the cousins, outside on the block in Jackson Heights. She said how great your voice delevoped when you became a teenager, and how you would entertain the family and friends on nice summer nights.

When I became a teenager, she gave me many of your records and I became a big fan. She had Mary get me a personalized signed picture of yours (which I still have). When I began collecting vinyl in my late teens, my grandma gave me a stack of promotional copies of all your vinyl LPs, which I still treasure to this day.

I just wanted to thank you for being both a great influence on me and a great cousin to my grandmother. She always had wonderful things to say about you. As you know, she passed away in 2004, and we all love and miss her very much.

As far as a question, do you have any specific memories of my grandma? It would be cool to hear a story about her that I didn’t know.

Here is a link of two pictures of you with my grandma that I found with her things. I thought you might like to see them! I also recently sent them to you in a letter, but I’m not sure if you’ve seen them.

Here’s the link: http://imgur.com/ILED0YZ

Thanks again, cousin, for doing this AMA! I hope you enjoy Reddit! Good luck with all your future endeavors!

Tony_Bennett_928 karma

Well I grew up with the most wonderful family. I grew up with them and I was always impressed with how wonderful that family was, they were beautiful to me. And I have a lot of beautiful memories of growing up with them, living in the same building that they lived in. I knew all about them and they all knew all about me, and they were just wonderful to me. Irene was so glamorous, beautiful lady, and she was a good friend of my sister Mary, they grew up close together.

greeneyedsparrow641 karma

Favorite song to sing in the shower?

Tony_Bennett_1593 karma

Singing in the Rain.

CrazyCapitalist481 karma

Hi Tony! I saw you in Vegas last year with my Mom. I think I had a better time than she did, despite the fact that she threw her underwear at you. No question really, just wanted to say sorry about that.

Tony_Bennett_682 karma

Haha! That's the end of demographics.

Bixandchicks418 karma

Hello Mr. Bennett, thank you so much for doing this! What was your all-time favorite record to make, and why?

I read in a book several years ago ("Mr. S") that Sinatra had recorded a version of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" but when he heard your record, which he believed to be far superior, he demanded that his own record be pulled from store shelves. Do you know if there's any truth to this?

I had the great pleasure of seeing you in concert this past May in San Diego and you were wonderful - beginning to end your show was perfection! I became quite misty-eyed during Fly Me to the Moon, it was magic. Kindest regards

Tony_Bennett_915 karma

I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Not only because it became the biggest song, but I still love the song. I have to perform it every night, and I never get tired of it. Being a jazz singer, I phrase it a little different every night. I love the people of San Francisco, they have been beautiful to me ever since the song came out.

About Sinatra, that story was true. He was a great friend of mine. He changed my career by saying I was his favorite singer. It made all of his fans pick up on what I was doing and I've been sold out ever since.

That's very nice.

KaylaChinga388 karma

When you started singing, there were few production "tricks" and certainly no digital enhancements to manipulate a singer's voice; you either had it or you didn't. Given that, how do you feel about the huge swing toward image management and production and away from pure vocal talent to make singers popular?

Thanks in advance, Mr. Bennett.

Tony_Bennett_975 karma

That's a tough question. I grew up in an era where the whole process of finding yourself was to become yourself. You might be influenced by some music, but you had to just be yourself, and if you became yourself you were just different than everybody else. But today everyone seems to be doing the same thing, and it hits me as a very eccentric age for music because they all look alike and are doing the same thing. But years ago, it was different, because just by being yourself you were different than everybody else.

jacobgeorge08323 karma

Who was your favorite artist to work with?

Tony_Bennett_744 karma

Well the best one I've ever worked with was Bill Evans. I did two albums with him, and they're the most prestigious albums I've ever made. Every piano player that I've ever met or interviewed all want to emulate him, trying to play as good as he plays.

paleasashes293 karma

As a fellow Bennett, I like to refer to you as Uncle Tony. I hope that's alright. :D

Tony_Bennett_370 karma


get_everything218 karma

Would you share who your biggest musical influencers were/are?

Tony_Bennett_506 karma

Well, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

aperfectfailyour208 karma

Hey tony, what was your relationship with Frank Sinatra back when both of your careers were at there peak?

Tony_Bennett_613 karma

It was wonderful. I was pretty frightened, I was given a summer replacement for Perry Como on television, and I was left with kind of a bare stage and a very small orchestra and very few special guests. And it was the first time I took a chance and met him backstage at the Paramount Theater for the first time. He heard that I was one of the new singers on the block, he was 10 years older than I was, but I was a big fan of his, and I took a chance on meeting him. When I went into his dressing room at the Paramount, he said "What is it kid" and I said "Well I am very nervous, I don't know how to stop being nervous."

And he gave me great advice that lasted my whole life so far. He said "The public if they see that you're nervous, they will support you, they will reach out to you, and when they reach out to you, just reach out to them." Never be afraid of an audience. If they are nice enough to come see you, they are fans. And he taught me that your fans are your friends, so that helped me so much that I was able to go through with it. And it stopped my being frightened of the audience. That was when I was brand new at the game.

homescribe192 karma

Congratulations on last night's benefit for Exploring the Arts. What would you say to school districts that are cutting arts education because of funding problems?

Tony_Bennett_430 karma

I consider that horrid. We're trying to do the opposite, my wife and I. We started with one school in Astoria, but now we have seventeen schools in the United States sponsoring arts programs. We hope to have them in every public school in the country eventually. Someday if we have more artists in the United States than anywhere else in the world, I think it would be very beneficial. The fact that our country will stay that much more healthy. The bottom line of artists is the search for truth and beauty, and by having that prevalent with our morals, that will keep our country very healthy.

TheSkipjack179 karma

Hi Tony, Quick question and huge fan.

On your most recent collaboration CD, you sang a duet with the late Amy Winehouse. Is there one thing that you wish you could of said to her before her passing?

Tony_Bennett_402 karma

Well it was amazing how wonderful she sang. She was truly a great jazz singer. She was very popular in Europe. And listening to her recordings, she was very authentic and truly a great jazz singer. And my favorite story about that is that while everybody was mourning her death, I ran into her mother, who was a very small sweet little woman, and she said "I'm a little different than everybody about my daughter's death because she always had a dream of becoming famous. So even though she had a short life, she was always content because she acquired her goal."

danme168 karma


Tony_Bennett_402 karma

I couldn't believe it, one day I got a message (this was when I was living in Los Angeles) that i got a message that Fred Astaire had written a song called "Life is Beautiful" and wanted to meet me and have me record it.

All of the songs that were written for him by Gershwiin and Porter and Berlin, and they wouldn't make a move without Fred Astaire introducing their songs, and then he wrote a song and asked he could meet me. I got to meet him at my home and it was the most unforgettable experience I ever had meeting another individual.

NubaSlaya163 karma

What has been your favorite experience as a singer thus far?

Tony_Bennett_274 karma

Singing at the Metropolitan Opera. It was a wonderful night. I was always wondering, I had full anxiety about performing there, and yet it went over so well that it was the greatest moment in my life onstage.

radcula154 karma

You are the man and I've been a huge fan my entire life. You wear suits like a king. Any tips on buying formal wear and looking sharp in general? Thanks and keep up your lovely work!

Tony_Bennett_351 karma

Have a clean white shirt and black pants if you're a man, and you always look well-dressed. Bathe every day.

Barnabam130 karma

What's your favorite memory of working with Dave Brubeck?

Tony_Bennett_198 karma

Well the fact that what I love about that performance was that it was completely spontaneous, we had no rehearsal. I even told the audience on the recording that we hadn't had the chance to rehearse! The audience reaction was just so wonderful. A group of people that had just graduated from colleges all over the country had filled the lawn at the White House, and they were so enthusiastic, you can hear their excitement. It was wonderful doing this performance for President Kennedy.

tibo941122 karma

What is one song you've always wanted to do a cover for?

Tony_Bennett_285 karma

I wouldn't want to do it because it was so good, but Sinatra made a record called "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and I would rather listen to him do it than anybody else.

adb2009109 karma

Are there any artists that you haven't already worked with that you would enjoy collaborating with?

Tony_Bennett_227 karma

Well I wish I had recorded with Louis Armstrong. I never got the chance to do it, but he influenced every jazz musician. One of the great quotes of all time from Dizzy Gillespie was "without Louis, there would be no me."

Neutrahl97 karma

What did you have for breakfast?

Tony_Bennett_231 karma

I didn't have breakfast for the first time in my life today! I woke up very early to get here.

jabberwocky_89 karma

My grandfather passed away this past June and was a huge fan of yours. In the most recent years, your albums were the only ones he purchased and listened to constantly in the car. Growing up, my grandfather’s musical tastes (jazz, standards) have carried through to us. Thinking about musical influences, what kind did your family have on your growing up and how did it shape the music you’ve made throughout your lifetime?

Thanks for being a musical beacon of hope for my grandfather.

Tony_Bennett_159 karma

Well my biggest influence, my father was a great singer. Not well-known but in the family, he was the family psychologist and everyone would go to him with their problems, and that inspired my brother and myself to become singers.

There was a legend that in a little town in Italy, Padogini, he would sing on top of a mountain top and the whole valley would hear him sing. And that inspired my brother, who at the age of 13 was singing solo spots in the Metropolitan Opera. And to this day, I'm very impassioned about trying to improve at what I do.

scrayjay87 karma

What is your alcoholic beverage of choice?

Tony_Bennett_194 karma

I like a couple of glasses of wine at supper.

CanadianGladiator80 karma

Mr. Bennett, you've had a legendary career spanning multiple decades and generations. What's your biggest regret?

Tony_Bennett_208 karma

I don't really know. I really feel very content with my life. We all have ups and downs throughout our life, but it all resolves itself sooner or later if you're doing the right thing, and I've been blessed with such a passion that the fact that I'm sold out all over the world no mater where I play makes me very content with what I'm doing.

2feetorless75 karma

Your music fills my home over the holidays! Is there any new stuff that you will be releasing?

Tony_Bennett_133 karma

Well there's a very nice song, "All I want for Christmas Is You", I hope it becomes a standard someday during the holidays. But it's kind of tough to top "The Christmas Song," which is just so beautiful.

mxer98168 karma

Tony! What's your daily driver?

edit: Sigh Should have been more specific that I was talking about a car. Still got an answer from him!

Tony_Bennett_189 karma

Well it's not that i want to do it, I have to do it. I've been blessed with a very strong passion. I'm 87 years old and no one believes me when I say I'm just starting out, there's a lot to learn yet.

danisnotfunny62 karma

Hey Tony, just wanted to say you were great in your cameo in "Analyze This."

Tony_Bennett_110 karma

That was fun! With Robert De Niro, yea.

Paulagmusic59 karma

Hi Tony,

In your opinion what are the three most important qualities every artist should have? What skills do you think are to be learned?

Tony_Bennett_132 karma

Number one, staying healthy.

Number two, enjoying it.

Number three, to keep learning.

One of the skills I've found out is learning what to leave out, not what to put in.

Liberadots56 karma

Tony! How's your other art going? I never knew that you were a painter and sculptor and was quite surprised when i found out.

Tony_Bennett_110 karma

Well I have two Masters; one is Everett Kinstler who is one of the greatest portrait painters in America, and Charles Reed, one of the finest watercolor artists in the world. And those 2 people have been teaching me for the last 35 years. And they are just incredible.

What I've learned is that the more you learn about art, the better the artist you become. So you never stop learning. The more you learn about it, the better the artist you become.

There's a wonderful quote from Duke Ellington:

"Number one, don't quite. Number two, listen to Number One."

leadfoot32352 karma

You're an icon in the music industry, what is your opinion on the current state of the business? Is it better than ever, or is it in decline?

Tony_Bennett_144 karma

Well, the way I look at that is that there's room for everybody. It's a hard question to answer. I'm just concerned that all the music starts sounding alike. I grew up in an era where if you didn't sound like yourself, you weren't successful and now I worry that everything is very repetitive.

UptownSound47 karma

Who is your favorite living pianist?

Tony_Bennett_87 karma

Bill Charlap.

noscopejoel46 karma

Hey Tony, So along with a massive musical career you've also had your fair share of tv appearances/cameos. Which was your favourite?

Tony_Bennett_90 karma

I just did one recently that I loved very much for a tv show in England, they used a lot of film clips with my work with Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse and Judy Garland and it was a wonderful interview by a group of the audience, who were all artists who had recently graduated from college. Very nice group of people and one of the best TV shows I've ever been on. It's a new show premiering in November called Sky TV Talks Music.

halgoobs45 karma

If you were not in the music business, what would else would you like to do?

Thanks for all the great music!

Tony_Bennett_77 karma

Well my whole life has been about singing and painting, so I paint every day as much as I consider performing every day.

redgreentao44 karma

Your quartet arrangement of "I could write a book" is my all time favorite. How and when did you decide on your signature reverb effect? I have never noticed another singer's voice be so consistent throughout their career. Putting your own talent aside would you credit anyone else for "your" sound? Have you been working with the same sound engineers?

Tony_Bennett_90 karma

Well I had a wonderful teacher right on 52nd street, her name was Mimi Speer. She told me to don't think like any other singer, but to learn how to phrase from musicians, learn how musicians phrase. And by doing that, you get your own style. And that's what happened, I found Art Tatum, one of the great piano players from the world, and I found Stan Goetz, and I formed my own style.

phryes40 karma

Tony Bennett, what an honor!

What has been your favorite duet and why? I have always loved your music, especially your duets. Keep on crooning!

Tony_Bennett_91 karma

You know, I love the way k.d. lang sings. And when we make records together, it's just so beautiful. She just has such a natural feeling for the music it becomes very honest. So I like singing with her a lot.

Thinkalternativ339 karma

Hi Tony! Thanks for doing an AMA!

One question: Song you'd love to cover that you never have?

Also I just wanted to say thank you. I frequently joke (mostly. It's pretty true) that I want to be Tony Bennett when I grow up. You just seem like such a great person, doing what you love and loving what you do. Keep up the good work of being an awesome human being.

PS. I love your paintings!

Tony_Bennett_56 karma

Thank you very much.

iluvmcarod39 karma

Mr. Bennett, it is so amazing of you to be doing this! I wanted to let you know that your holiday album is quite spectacular. Truly a gem!

I really loved the duet you did with Mariah Carey on "When Do the Bells Ring For Me." What was it like working with her?

Tony_Bennett_60 karma

It was very nice. It was at her home, and she was pregnant, and we had a beautiful time recording that night.

PositronCollider34 karma

Hi Tony, who is your favorite classical composer?

Tony_Bennett_88 karma


duke8272200931 karma

How was it working with Michael Buble?

Tony_Bennett_65 karma

Very good, we have a lot of fun together, and he's going to be around a long time. He's a wonderful entertainer.

robint8830 karma

Hello Mr. Bennett.

What is your favourite movie/musical?

Tony_Bennett_77 karma

My Fair Lady.

hooshtin29 karma

What's a guilty pleasure of yours? What's your #1 comfort food?

Tony_Bennett_88 karma

I don't have any bad habits. That all went away with age. I'm finding out about food that less is more, it makes me feel better to not overeat. But my favorite food is pasta. I'm Italian-American. Any kind of pasta is okay in my books.

kat_without_a_hat24 karma

Oh, I developed a love for you after my grandmother would play your CDs so loud while she cleaned that they would resonate throughout the house and she would just sing her heart out with you. Your music has nothing but happy memories for me, and I love how you've embraced the next generation--Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood--on your Duets album. I wanted to say thank you for the memories, and would like to know what else you have in store for us as well as who would you love to duet with, either for the first time or again.

Tony_Bennett_66 karma

Well January 1st of next year I am putting out an album we have done already with Lady Gaga, and I am very excited about the album, I think it will be very well-accepted when it comes out.

CopperCam22 karma


I plan to raise my newborn son (by the way he was born during your visit to Ravinia IL that we had planned on attending, but you know...babies) on legends such as yourself, Dean Martin, Frank, Mercer, Bassie etc etc. As the years pass, in your opinion, where do you think music is headed and do you have a theory of what it will be?

Tony_Bennett_41 karma

Well, I personally think in the long run when something is wonderful it lasts. So it will get better and better through the years.

thisisfuckingawezome22 karma

Hi Tony! You've recently been in the Philippines but unfortunately, we weren't able to catch your show. Would you please please please come back? And in behalf of my parents who are huge huge fans of yours. Could you say hi to Joe and Amy? It would mean the world to them!

Tony_Bennett_50 karma

Well once I get over my jet lag, I will go back there someday. I say hello to you.

patrickjmcd22 karma

What would it take to get you to perform at my wedding?

Tony_Bennett_98 karma

Lots of money! All joking aside, have a good wedding.

danme19 karma


Tony_Bennett_52 karma

Caruso. Caruso.

Lkvb17 karma

Hi, Mr. Bennet!

I've got a question. How can I improve singing and become as good as you?

Tony_Bennett_69 karma

Keep practicing.

Rainsylvania7 karma

Hello Mr. Bennett, Thank you so much for doing this AMA! I grew up listening to your records and all the classics with my father, and I had the great pleasure to see you in concert twice in the Cape Cod Melody Tent, one day before my football practices began (we won states both years, so I credit you for the wins!). My question for you is, who would you say influenced the crooner style the most in those beginning days? Thank you again!

Tony_Bennett_21 karma

Louis Armstrong.

Toaster_Bath7 karma

If you had to choose; who was your favorite member of the Rat Pack?

Tony_Bennett_28 karma

I didn't like the Rat Pack. I liked the members, I didn't like that they called themselves the Rat Pack. I liked Bing Crosby before them. He invented the art of popular singing and taught us all how to make a living.

GotDatBlanca5 karma

Mr. Bennett, what was the turning point in your career when you realized that you had "made it?"

Tony_Bennett_10 karma

When I played Carnegie Hall the first time.