This Is My Town: Songs of New York is the album Barry Manilow was born to make. A native New Yorker, Barry's been in love with the rhythms, melodies and music of the Big Apple since childhood. Now, with the release of his new album, out on April 21 on Verve Label Group, he's "saying thanks to the city for giving me my ambition, my sense of humor and my decency" with a thematic song-cycle celebrating his home town.
"I'm grateful for having been raised there because I've always felt grounded," he says. "One of the things I'm most proud of is that having gone through the hurricane of success, I feel I'm still the same guy that took the subway every day to work in Manhattan. And I attribute that grounding to being raised in New York."
More than a year in creation, This Is My Town: Songs of New York premieres ten new Barry Manilow studio recordings with the songs evenly divided between new original Manilow compositions and standards evoking the spirit and energy of New York City. While writing his own songs for the album, Barry made demos of the classic New York-inspired songs he loved to sing.
"I didn't want to do a full original album," he says. "It felt like it would be cheating the public to not give them the old songs that they knew. I must have done 50 demos of standards as I was writing the original songs. That's what took the longest: to choose the standards. And, of course, to write the originals."
The title song, "This Is My Town" sets up the album's musical journey through New York's five boroughs. The track was co-written by Barry Manilow "with my brilliant, long-time collaborator, Bruce Sussman. I'm very proud of the production, arrangement, orchestration and melody. And listen to Bruce's brilliant lyric. Only a New Yorker could have written that lyric."
According to Barry, "the album is like a melting pot – just like New York is. We take you from Brooklyn to Broadway to Birdland. We even wind up in Coney Island. Take a look at the titles and it really does look like you're going from place to place to place. There are different styles. There's pop, there's a little rock and roll, there's jazz, there's a little R&B, and Broadway. That's what I think of when I think of my home town and of New York."
Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time bestselling recording artists. He's had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits and is ranked at the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.
He has been nominated for a Grammy Award in every decade since the 1970s and, in addition to winning the Best Pop Male Vocal Performance Grammy in 1979 (for "Copacabana"), is an Emmy, Tony and American Music Award winner three years in a row.
Barry Manilow was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and has his own Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1978, five of his albums were on the best-seller charts simultaneously.
This Is My Town: Songs of New York is co-produced by Barry Manilow with David Benson. Except for "Coney Island" was co-produced with Michael Lloyd.
This Is My Town: Songs of New York Track listing:
1 This Is My Town
2 New York City Rhythm / On Broadway
3 Coney Island
4 Lonely Town
5 Lovin' At Birdland
6 Downtown / Uptown
7 On The Roof
8 I Dig New York
9 The Brooklyn Bridge (Virtual Duet with Mel Tormé)
10 NYC Medley