Two musical icons are coming together to give fans a taste of heaven. During an appearance on “Tamron Hall”, Dionne Warwick revealed that she and country music legend Dolly Parton are coming together for a gospel duet.
“She sent me a song that she wanted me to record. And I said, ‘OK, that sounds like a deal.’ And she’s such a sweetheart, I know her,” Warwick recalled. “And then she sent me another song, the one that we’re going to be doing as a duet. A gospel song called ‘Peace Like a River.’ She wrote it.”
“I am very excited about this, I really am. I’ve done so many duets over the years, but this one’s gonna be very special,” she added.
Hall noted the poignancy of Warwick and Parton working on a gospel song together, pointing out how Parton originally recorded the song “I Will Always Love You,” which was later popularized by Warwick’s late niece, Whitney Houston. Houston covered the song for the soundtrack of the 1992 film “The Bodyguard” and Parton has repeatedly said that the track has become “Whitney’s song.”
“It’s preordained,” Warwick observed of the upcoming collaboration. “God’s got a purpose.”
Warwick has a lot to celebrate lately — her award-winning documentary with CNN, “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over”, premiered on Jan. 1.
Directed by Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner, the film is narrated by Warwick and blends archival footage with personal photographs and newsreels of her career. It follows the course of the singer’s career from her start singing in gospel groups with family members in New Jersey, to her becoming a pop music sensation after she teamed with the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
“I am exceptionally excited, for many reasons,” Warwick said. “But the basic one is that finally people are gonna get to know me and know me through me, as opposed to old suppositions, you know? All those things that they thought or had opinions about? Now, they get the real deal.”
“Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” first premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, where it earned first runner-up for the People’s Choice Award for Documentaries and also earned Warwick a Special Tribute Award. Later, the film screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, DOC NYC and Annapolis Film Festival. It also won the Audience Award for Non-Fiction Feature at the Montclair Film Festival and Best Feature at the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival.
When asked why it took five years to make the film, Warwick reasoned that “there’s so many parts” to her story that the time makes sense.
“It was like, do we include this or do we talk about that? But I simply said the genesis of this entire thing happens to be my book and all the information you need is right there,” she added about her 2011 book, My Life, as I See It: An Autobiography. “I spilled my guts in that book!”
The difference between the book and the documentary is that Warwick was treated to the testimonies of her peers, friends and family, hearing what they feel about her.
She noted that “to see and hear how they felt about [me], it’s like, ‘Oh, boy. really?’ It was wonderful.”
And the most surprising element of the film to her was looking back on her years singing gospel music. “At a very young age, I think I was 18 years old, we did that footage of the choir and myself singing. I think that probably was one of the most moving parts of it was like, ‘Oh, I forgot all about that.’ You know and all of a sudden here it is. Those are my roots,” she added.