Hard to believe but it’s been 45 years since Grammy Award-winning music legend, Judy Collins released one of her most recognizable hits, “Both Sides Now.” The celebrated performer, who once lived in Storrs and has overcome a path of life challenges including bulimia, alcoholism, tuberculosis and depression over the years, is still recording and writing and touring in between. On Friday, she will be the guest speaker at The Connection Fund’s Fourth Annual “Connecting with Hope Gala” at the Courtyard by Marriott, 4 Sebethe Dr.,Cromwell. The event, to money for the 40-year-old non-profit agency that provides services to children and adults, Collins will speak on her career, her personal life and sign copies of her book, “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes,” and her new album, “Bohemian.” But before she heads to Connecticut, she took some time to Spill the Beans with Java.
Q: It goes without saying you are a music icon, but after more than four decades of singing and creating, have you done all you want to do career-wise?
A: Oh, no way! (laughing) I just wanted to do everything I can. I still have ideas. Enough is never a word used by an artist. People don’t understand how hard I work. I am thinking about new areas. I am working on a Broadway show. I have my new book and my new album. I am always creating something. Nature doesn’t stop. Neither should we.
Q: I didn’t realize you have some UConn roots. Explain?
A: I lived in Storrs while my husband at the time, Peter Taylor, when he was getting his PhD and teaching through a fellowship there. I was only there for a couple of years in the early 1960s but was performing and did sing at some private gatherings there, I think. The marriage was unraveling at the time and I wasn’t there that long.
Q: You have recorded so many memorable hits. Your favorite?
A: I like all the new ones on “Bohemian.” The one called “In the Twilight” is my favorite, it is for my mother and for baby boomers. I’ve had 50 years worth of hits so asking me to choose one is like asking to choose a favorite child.
Q: Where have you not performed but would like to?
A: I’d like to perform in China and in Cuba.
Q: Who are some of your favorite contemporary singers?
A: Adele is a great singer and songwriter. I am performing at a fundraiser next with some of my other favorites, Jimmy Webb, AniÖ DeFranco, Chris Bailey. I also love Tom Morello. There are so many.
Q: You were such an outspoken activist. Now?
A: It’s like Wisconsin. There is never a moment when there is not something unacceptable going on. I have always been singing about life in glory and agony. I make a difference. Art makes a difference. I
Q: What would you go back and tell your 19 year old self if you could?
A: I don’t give advice and I don’t take advice. I have had exactly the past I needed. People cannot give rules to each other. School doesn’t amount to much. I was raised on books, continue to be raised on books and my education will never be over. I am currently reading the new Johnson biography by Bob Caro and that has led me to go back and read all his books on Johnson. I recommend the book to anyone who wants to know what really going on then.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?
A: Being here. Getting up this morning.
Q: Your biggest regret?
A: I have no regrets. I don’t utilize the past to beat myself up. That is one of the ways to maintain one’s mental health. I look back but I don’t stare.
Q: Now the important question. You have gorgeous hair and always have. What do you use on it?
A: I go to the George Michael Salon in New York City. The same woman who took care of my hair in 1964 still takes care of it today. The salon is a long hair specialist. I use their products exclusively.
Q: What is something no one knows about you?
A: I weigh and measure all my meals. I don’t eat junk, no sugar, no carbs, no grains, no in-between eating. It’s not discipline, it’s desperation. It works.
The “Connecting With Hope Gala” begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $125, and available by calling 888-824-1972, or visiting www.theconnectioninc.org (advance tickets necessary).
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