Tuesday, November 29, 2011
For more than four decades, OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN has captivated the world over with her talent, charm and numerous acts of humanitarianism. She is a fine actress in many hit movies, a four time Grammy Award winner and has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. Today, Olivia continues to record, appear in movies, and support her favorite charities. Her short December tour comes to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on December 8th. I was thrilled to speak with Olivia prior to the start of this tour!
MICK: I'm sure you've been very busy since last October with Breast Cancer Awareness month and your other projects. Did you get a chance to rest at all?
OLIVIA: I made a movie recently so I've been promoting that. I've always been an advocate of self exam and breast cancer awareness for a long time. I do get to rest when I can!
MICK: Please tell me about your first book "LivWise: Easy Recipes For A Healthy, Happy Life" (Murdoch Books) that was recently released in Australia!
OLIVIA: It's a cook book that will be coming out in America next year at some point. The money raised from the sale of the book will go to my cancer wellness center in Melbourne, Australia that will be opening next year as well. This book is a healthy look at eating and as I'm not a gourmet chef of any kind, I asked some friends to contribute to my book. Gaia Retreat & Spa is a spa that I'm a part owner in Australia. We have the most amazing chef and we have our own garden to grow amazing food. They contributed some recipes. Another friend of mine who contributed is Karen Inge, who is a nutritionist in Melbourne (which is where my hospital is). She will be advising us at the hospital. Another friend is Kristine Matheson who heals herself through food. She talks about growing your own sprout and things like that. I also include a few of my own recipes. They've made a really pretty book out of it and it did really well in Australia. We are hoping is does well in America too. Again, all of my money from the book goes to the hospital!
MICK: Your new CD "Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song" was produced by Phil Ramone. What was it like working with him?
OLIVIA: He's great! He's an old friend of mine. I've known him for a very long time. In fact, the first movie I ever made was a movie called "Tomorrow" in the 1960's. Phil was the musical director so I've known him since then! Its time we got to do an album together. This was done a number of years ago so this is a re release.
MICK: How did you choose the songs for the CD?
OLIVIA: It was all women that I've admired. Their songs or their singing affected me in some way so I picked all of the women whose songs that I loved.
MICK: In your amazing life, what would you consider your biggest thrill up to this point in your life?
OLIVIA: Having my daughter! Nothing compares to that!
MICK: And how is she doing?
OLIVIA: She doing quite well thank you!
MICK: Do you keep in touch with John Travolta?
OLIVIA: Yes we do keep in touch!
MICK: In 2007, your holiday recording “Christmas Wish” was a big hit. Is Christmas your favorite holiday?
OLIVIA: I do like Christmas because people do get together at that time of year. When I lived in Los Angeles, my house was the place where we would do a lot of the traditional things on holidays like Easter. I used to love Easter when my daughter was small because we would have all the kids over looking for Easter eggs. But Christmas is a lovely holiday because people make an effort to get together.
MICK: You and your husband John Easterling are very big on spreading the word about saving the rain forest. Have you seen more progress in this movement?
OLIVIA: It's hard to say. I think the more awareness and education, the more improvement will be and the word eventually gets to paths of people who really care. My husband is very optimistic about this and he believes there is change happening. I'd rather be on the edge of optimism because I think we can turn things around before its too late. My husband's company gets herbs from the Amazon rain forest and these herbs have amazing healing qualities. Most of our pharmaceuticals are based on research they done on these pharmaceutical plants. I think that when they realize if we lose the rain forest, we will lose all of these keys to healing. It is incredibly import to save!
MICK: How did you meet your husband?
OLIVIA: I met my husband about 18 years ago through my friends Nancy and Jim. They went to a health and wellness convention and he was demonstrating his herbs to people.
They took the herbs and felt so amazing that they went back the next day and became friends with him. Then they introduced me to him when I went to a talk about the rain forest. That was almost 19 years ago, right after I had breast cancer. I ended up giving him a puppy because he loved my dog so much. That dog just passed away last year. We were friends for a long time and then four years ago, he invited me to the rain forest and we fell in love!
MICK: 2012 already looks like a very busy year for you with the new movie and the new CD. What's coming after that?
OLIVIA: It's going to be a real incredible year because the first section of my hospital in Melbourne will open. The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre which is something I've been working to help raise money for the last eight years. The building is almost complete and we will be opening the first part of it in June. That's really exciting! The culmination of many years work! I'm also doing a tour in Australia with a symphony and we will be raising money for the hospital.
MICK: Which of today's artists do you like?
OLIVIA: Oh gosh there's so many talented people! I love Pink! I love Beyonce. There's so much talent out there, I'm always blown away! The standards of the singing and writing are just fantastic!
MICK: Do you still live in Australia?
OLIVIA: I have a place in Australia and my husband and I are based out of Florida now. I moved from California to Florida because that's where he is. That was a whole change of life but it's been wonderful.
MICK: Is there anybody you would still like to work with that you haven't worked with already?
OLIVIA: Yes tons of people! I'd like to work with Rod Stewart again sometime. We something together around 30 years ago. Of course you always want to sing with a Beatle so I'd love to sing with Paul McCartney. I'd also like to work with Eric Clapton. There's so many talented guys out there and some amazing girls too!
MICK: You are coming to Westbury on December 8th. What can your fans expect to hear?
OLIVIA: They will hear the songs they expect to hear from what I gather from my fan mail and when they write to me. They will hear my hits, plus I'll put a smattering of new things in like from the movie I just made. I do a new song for that so that will be in the show. I will probably do some Christmas songs because we are close to Christmas! And a song off of "Portraits". It will be a mixture of my whole career.
Olivia Newton John comes to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury
in Westbury NY on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 08:00 PM
For more on Olivia,
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The Naked Cowboy has been a New York City institution for many years. Now there is a sexy and feminine version of the cowboy and she is CINDY FOX, also known as The Naked Cowgirl! Cindy is quickly becoming very well known herself and you will be hearing much more from her in the very near future! I had the great pleasure to speak with Cindy recently...
MICK: How did it all begin for you as the Naked Cowgirl?
CINDY: Since I was in high school, I was a fitness trainer and personal trainer. I went to school to become a gym teacher. I got married, had three kids. When I got separated, I needed something to support myself. I went back to school for two years to become an Xray tech. At that point, I didn't know anything about a Naked Cowboy or anything like that. All I had time to do was go to school, study, training clients, teaching classes and taking care of three little kids. About eight years ago, I was working in a gym in Secaucus, NJ (which is where I grew up). I was on an elliptical machine with one of my clients and in between us was Robert Burck, who is the Naked Cowboy. At that point, I had never heard of him. She introduced us. We started to see each other often at the gym when we worked out and became friends. I eventually started dating him. I still had no idea what exactly he did by playing guitar in his underwear. I started asking people and went to Times Square to see what he did. I thought is was his way of getting attention to himself to become famous or become a rock star or something like that. We lived just thirteen minutes outside of New York City so I assumed only people from NYC and Secaucus knew who he was. After five months, I went to the Mardi Gras with him. We went down to Bourbon Street and he started doing his thing in his underwear. He was getting mobbed by people down there! That's when it hit me that he was famous! It was overwhelming to the magnitude of his celebrity. While we were there, I was wearing jeans and bought a cowboy hat. People would see me with him and say "How come you're not in underwear too?" or "Is this your Naked Cowgirl?". He would get hired to appear at places all over the world and I started wearing outfits that were cowgirlish. Not a bikini but little skirts or little tops. That started around seven years ago but only when we were out of the area. My children were young and my oldest son, who was 15 at the time, had a hard time dealing with me dating The Naked Cowboy. The people in my town loved Robert and they thought it was the coolest thing. My youngest son thought is was great. His friends thought is was cool. Robert always gave him money for stuff. My daughter thought it was cool just because her friends did. So the idea of doing anything remotely close to home was totally out of the question. I would only do it when we were out of state or out of the country. Eventually when we were in Tokyo, Japan, he was making an appearance for Japan's Match.com and while we were there, I asked him to teach me to play the guitar. So he showed me some chords. But it took a long time to learn. I was busy going to school, working all these jobs. There was a part of me that wanted to do it but it just wasn't realistic at that time. I was also involved with my fitness work, producing videos, choreographing, being featured in the videos. From Robert, I learned a lot about networking and marketing. Prior to me becoming the Naked Cowgirl, there were two others before me. There was this young free spirited girl who decided she would be the Cowgirl. She knew how to play the guitar and would be there in the summer. She got a ton of publicity and articles as the first Naked Cowgirl. But she would leave for the winter and come back in the summer. She got caught up in the whole party life in NYC and disappeared for two years. Then Sandy Kane, the second Naked Cowgirl, came into the picture. This all got me kind of angry because they knew I was out on the road as the Naked Cowgirl with the Naked Cowboy. Because The Naked Cowboy is trademarked, Robert's manager said the Naked Cowgirls would have to sign a licencing agreement if they wanted to make money with that.
Finally, I decided if I did this in Times Square, this would give me the publicity and recognition to help me with my fitness programs too. I would be the first, officially licenced Cowgirl. I knew I'd get a lot of heat from my kids. It was a slow start but that's how it all began.
MICK: Are you out there in the winter too?
CINDY: When I started going out there in Times Square last year, people would often ask me that. Sure enough, when winter came, the other girls were long gone as soon as the temperature dropped below 60. I wanted to prove this to people that I could do it, even if it was only for a brief time out in the cold. I would do this a few times a month throughout the winter. When we had that huge blizzard last year at Christmas time, I was sick as dog that whole day. I was just starting to feel a little better and we decided to go to Times Square for a few minutes and get a few pictures. Robert's manager and his wife were visiting NYC from Nashville and we told them to meet us in Times Square with a camera. Visibility was very bad as we drove in from New Jersey. We got there and it was brutal outside. Robert warned me because he's been out in that kind of weather. I went out there and they started taking the pictures. My fingers were frozen and I couldn't even hold the guitar pick. After about two minutes, which seemed like forever, I walked back to the garage. We got some great photos!
MICK: I saw you on CBS with the Pro Football picks. You did great!
CINDY: That was beginners luck! I stayed up cramming the night before like it was a final exam, trying to figure out who has injuries and what their stats were. I didn't want to look stupid going in there! So I just said what I knew and gave my own opinion. I got all of my picks right! That was amazing!
MICK: You have the new single out " Ride It Like A Cowgirl". It definitely sounds great! What kind of response are you getting from it so far?
CINDY: My manager Lori Michaels wrote and produced my song along with Giuseppe D. of "Hothead Productions". In the beginning, it wasn't doing that great because we only did a soft release on it. Lori wanted to make the Cowgirl dance a new sensation, something you will hear a weddings and other parties. Lori's choreographer, Courtney Lynch, put the whole dance together. It's very upbeat and hip hoppish! I think my biggest fans right now little kids because they just love the beat!
It was a slow year but like starting a business, it takes time and starts to snowball. I'm finally now at the point where everything is coming in with people wanting to come take photos, do interviews, a lot of charity events (which I'm all about doing). It's all great and fun!
MICK: Please tell me about Cindy Fox Fitness!
CINDY: It's my own company officially called Cindy Fox LLC. It's personal fitness training, whether it be in person or on videos. I have my own trademark which is a fox logo. I have that on tee shirts and different products. I work out of several gyms with my fitness training. I go to people's houses if it's worth it for me and not too far away. I do so many things that I try to schedule them back to back.
MICK: Do you and Robert work out together still?
CINDY: We do sometimes. My schedule is crazy and his is less crazy. He has more time in the day than anybody I know actually so he goes when he wants to. I teach the fitness classes and still work at the hospital so I go when I can.
MICK: What has been your biggest thrill so far as the Naked Cowgirl?
CINDY: Just being out there in a busy crowd is a rush. There are days where I've taught a class, went to the bank, cleaned my house and then head into the city. I could be so not in the mood to do this and feel like just staying home to relax. But by the time I leave the parking garage and walk to Times Square and the crowd starts coming around, I'm smiling for all of the photographs being taken and I'm in a great mood! You totally forget that you weren't in a good mood just before! One particular big moment happened with someone I did some networking with. He wanted to come to the city to meet me and get some photos with his family. He said his little daughter actually loved my song! He said his daughter was 3 years old and I forgot how much a small child is capable of knowing things. So when the day came, I was out there playing and they came up. It was him, his wife, a baby in the carriage and little Michelle. She was very shy and I started talking to her. I started singing my Cowgirl song to her and she really lightened up. She was in awe! Her dad said "You don't understand. She has about five songs on her CD player and you're song is one of them. You're right up there with Lady Gaga! She knows every single word to your song and plays it over and over!" My own kids don't even know my song! That moment is up there!
MICK: How long do you think you will be doing this?
CINDY: I don't know. There's a lot of possibilities with this. Robert has been doing it for 15 years now. There's been many times when he hasn't felt like being out there but he is consistent, no matter what weather. He prides himself on that. He gets booked for all kinds of appearances and they use his image for advertisements. He now has Naked Cowboy Oysters that's put out by Blue Island Shellfish Farms out on Long Island. So now most of the oysters pulled from the Long Island Sound are called Naked Cowboy Oysters. They are in restaurants all over the United States. That's just one example of residual income. The name will carry on.
"RIDE IT LIKE A COWGIRL" now on iTunes