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A Minute With: Emin and Engelbert Humperdinck on Elvis, duets and sideburns

February 07, 2024

Reuters February 7, 2024


LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Azerbaijani singer Emin reimagines 12 Elvis Presley songs for his new album "Now or Never", which includes a duet with veteran British performer Engelbert Humperdinck.

The two singers met in Baku in 2012 when Humperdinck, 87, represented the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest.

In an interview with Reuters, Emin and Humperdinck spoke about their duet "Help Me Through The Night", performing together and Humperdinck sharing stories about knowing the "King of rock 'n' roll".

Below are excerpts edited for length and clarity.

Q: Emin, what was the idea behind the album?

Emin: “We wanted to give it all a very unified sound, very classical sound. We didn't want to rearrange the songs dramatically or make them sound contemporary. We just wanted to reinvent what's been done 50 or 60 years ago.

“...I think it's important to keep this music going."

Q: How did the duet come about?

Emin: “We were pretty much done with (the album) and Engie (Humperdinck) had a show in Los Angeles so I went to see him with my friends...we organised a dinner and I invited (music producer) David (Foster)...I think it was David who said, 'Engelbert, we...have never produced you'. He said 'yeah, it's a shame, maybe one day'. And that's me coming in, I said 'Guys, we have an opportunity, we're all in L.A. come on, let's do it'. And that's how the song came around."

Q: Engelbert, you must have shared some stories about Elvis?

Emin: “I bug Engie all the time...he's got a million stories...that include Elvis."

Humperdinck: “When you meet an artist or a star of his calibre for the first time, they usually just shake your hand but Elvis embraced me and that was the most touching moment of my life."

Q: And what about the sideburns?

Humperdinck: “I'm afraid Elvis did steal my sideburns but he was welcome to it and he made it more famous than I did."

Q: What was it like performing the song together in Baku?

Emin: “When we did our duet, it was a big surprise because it was the first time we performed 'Help Me Make It Through the Night'... Then (Humperdinck) stayed for like three or four more songs and the audience just went crazy for him."

Q: Engelbert, at nearly 88 you're recording music and still performing, you clearly love what you do.

Humperdinck: “I don't want to retire because what am I going to do, sit at home, watch television, no. I have a great following... very good, very staunch and I love them. And I'm going to keep going until God calls me."

Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Editing by William Maclean






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