Johnny Mathis to Perform in Virginia on April 2

Legendary pop, soul and jazz singer Johnny Mathis brings his flair for smooth crooning to the Altria Theater in Richmond, Va., on Sunday, April 2 for his “Voice of Romance” tour.

Born John Royce Mathis on Sept. 30, 1935, the native Texan became highly popular beginning in the 1950s as an album artist, resulting in dozens of his compilations achieving gold or platinum status.

In addition, Mathis has charted at least 43 hit singles and guided 74 titles, including several Christmas releases, onto the Billboard 200.

In 1978, he recorded a No. 1 hit with Deniece Williams titled, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” and was recognized in 2003 by the Recording Academy with a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

The California-raised Mathis — the fourth of seven children — followed his father’s thirst for music beginning at age 13, with vocal lessons that included classical and operatic styles.

A frequent guest performer on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” Mathis is widely revered for a slew of signature songs that include “Chances Are,” It’s Not for Me to Say” and “Misty.”

Today, the 81-year-old singular vocalist lives in a Beverly Hills penthouse where he’s intermittently traveled back and forth while on the current tour marking the 60th anniversary of his debut album.

Cited among Mathis’ musical influences are the likes of Lena Horne, Nat “King” Cole and Bing Crosby.

“Lena Horne, I worshipped her, followed her and embarrassed myself by applauding too loudly when I was in the audience listening to her, so she had this love/hate relationship with me,” Mathis told Billboard magazine in December. “She thought I was a pest because I was always trying to see her or be near her. Nat ‘King’ Cole was my favorite singer of all time, not only because of his music but also because of the kind of person he was. [Then] there’s Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Larry Gatlin, Deniece Williams — those are some of the more contemporary ones, and that’s really what I gravitate to.”

The show at the Altria starts at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $51.

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Dorothy Rowley – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I knew I had to become a writer when at age nine I scribbled a note to my younger brother’s teacher saying I thought she was being too hard on him in class. Well, the teacher immediately contacted my mother, and with tears in her eyes, profusely apologized. Of course, my embarrassed mother dealt with me – but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion for words and writing. Nowadays, as a “semi-retiree,” I continue to work for the Washington Informer as a staff writer. Aside from that, I keep busy creating quirky videos for YouTube, participating in an actor’s guild and being part of my church’s praise dance team and adult choir. I’m a regular fixture at the gym, and I like to take long road trips that have included fun-filled treks to Miami, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi. I’m poised to take to the road again in early 2017, headed for New Orleans, Louisiana. This proud grandmother of two – who absolutely adores interior decorating – did her undergraduate studies at Virginia Union University and graduate work at Virginia State University.

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