Nancy Sinatra says family roots aren't made for talking
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
- She doesn't like to discuss her late, great father, Frank Sinatra.
- The boots thing is all part of her act; she prefers more casual and comfy foot attire, like sneakers.
- She's a survivor in music, and in life, and is quite her own person.
The eldest of Ol' Blue Eyes' kids (she has a sister, Tina, and a brother, Frank Jr.), Nancy with the blonde 'do, mini-skirt and white boots is a product of the rock era of the 1960s and '70s. She has eked out a modest performing career that has sustained a 40-year run.
"Oh, I'm aching to be back in Hawai'i," she said of her club gig at Gussie L'Amour's this weekend.
"I am a survivor, yes, and it's important for women of all ages, not to reinvent yourself, but to put a different little spin on who you are and what you do, so you can have a whole new beginning."
She's not hanging up her boots. Nor reflecting on her dad.
And certainly, her '60s sizzlers have been an integral part in her ability to sing, work, tour and sustain. Her newest CD may be "California Girl," but her trademark continues to be "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'."
"It's quite wonderful to know my music has survived," said Sinatra. "Forty years is a long time and a lot of music and a big body of work. Something of which I'm real proud. Even if I hardly get airplay anymore."
Indeed, she has recorded dozens of albums, and her signatures are mostly on radio stations that play golden oldies.
"I hear 'Boots' and 'Sugar Town' once in a while, and 'Summer Wine' and 'Some Velvet Morning,' too. But not much else, considering I've recorded 400 or 500 songs."
And yes, "Somethin' Stupid," a duet with her dad, also gets flashback airplay.
She's been on the road quite a bit this year, most recently in Phoenix, where she performed at Harrah's. Audiences, she said, are eclectic, particularly at rockfests in Europe.
"Some are quite young, yet they know all the words to my songs, and some are white-haired people, almost senior citizens, who were with me from way back. It's kinda scary, I guess, to think that my music has survived a few generations. Indicates my own mortality."
Turns out the boots toots has a lot on her mind:
- Her boots: "I don't wear them very much in private life; I wear sneakers. And sandals. But some boots are comfortable, the ones that are flat and the cowboy boots. But they're surely out there again, aren't they? All over the fashion runways."
- Her family legacy: "We're all trying to keep it alive; it's like running a family farm. We all have to pitch in and maintain it."
- Her show-biz background: "My roots are definitely musical; I studied classical piano for 12 years. I actually was in college, planning to master in music appreciation, and regret till today that I didn't stick with it. I fell in love and left school to get married. I wish I had stayed; music has been a huge part of my life."
- What she learned from her dad: "He wasn't big on advice. I don't know. This (story) isn't about him, it's about me coming to Hawai'i. My shows have nothing to do with him; only occasionally do I mention him."
- The joy of performing: "I miss it when I'm not doing it, and I work with a bunch of great musicians. Watching the faces of the audiences, seeing them sing the words especially of those seeing me for the first time does my heart good."
- The prospects of becoming a grandma: "I have two (adult) daughters, one's married, the other's getting married; and I'm so looking forward to having grandkids. But, oh no, I don't push. I mind my own business and stay out of it. But I would like to have grandchildren."
- Her daughters: "It's kinda scary when your own kid follows you into show biz. The daughter who's getting married is in entertainment a screenwriter, who went to USC film school, who's also a music supervisor for films. The other daughter majored in art history at Loyola. I'm lucky to have smart kids."
- Her island connections: "I have a very good friend in Hawai'i. We met there when we both were teens, maybe 14, 15. She has two daughters, too, so our lives have parallels. It will be wonderful to see her again, to step out of the airport and smell that air. And Don Ho; I called him when his daughter (Hoku) was making some noise here (in Los Angeles)."