De zwarte Amerikaanse crooner Johnny Mathis viert vandaag zijn 85ste verjaardag…
Mathis was born in Gilmer, Texas, United States, the fourth of seven children. The family moved to San Francisco, California. His father had worked in vaudeville, and when he saw his son’s talent, he bought an old upright piano for $25 and encouraged him. When he was 13, voice teacher Connie Cox accepted him as her student in exchange for work around her house. He is one of the relatively few popular singers who received years of professional voice training that included opera.
Mathis was a star athlete at George Washington High School in San Francisco. He was a high jumper and hurdler, and he played on the basketball team. In 1954, he enrolled at San Francisco State University on an athletic scholarship. At San Francisco State, Mathis had become noteworthy as a high jumper, and in 1956 he was asked to try out for the U.S.Olympic Team that would travel to Melbourne, Australia, that November. Mathis had to decide whether to go to the Olympic trials or to keep his appointment in New York City to make his first recordings. On his father’s advice, Mathis opted to embark on a professional singing career. His LP record album was released in late 1956.
Johnny Mathis is typisch een zanger die zijn verkoopsuccessen opbouwt door “long time selling”. Echte “hits” heeft hij dus niet gehad, of het zou zijn versie moeten zijn van de Erroll Garner-klassieker “Misty” in 1959.
Mathis is openly gay. He first ‘outed’ himself in a 1982 Us Magazine article, where he was quoted as having said, “Homosexuality is a way of life that I’ve grown accustomed to.” However, he made no further comments on this, and Us Magazine later retracted the statement. In 2006, Mathis revealed that his silence had been because of death threats he received as a result of that 1982 article. (Wikipedia)