Just a minute with: Barry Manilow on his new album

Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:08am EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Barry Manilow, the piano man who didn't write his big hits despite proclaiming otherwise in "I Write the Songs," is back in stores with his first album of original material in a decade.

"15 Minutes," a guitar-driven concept album he co-wrote with lyricist Enoch Anderson, details the rise, fall and possible redemption of a young musician. There are traces of Manilow in the storyline, but he says it can apply to anyone trying to make it in their chosen field.

The album debuted in the top 10 of the U.S. pop album chart last week, and is at No. 20 on the current UK chart. It will be released in Europe in September.

Q: This record indicates to me that you're a closeted rocker?

A: "Aha! I wouldn't call me a closeted rocker. I would say that I'm crazy about all sorts of styles of music. My only weak spot is singing them because I don't consider myself a singer. I've sort of fooled the public into thinking that I really could sing. Luther Vandross is a singer, George Michael is a singer. But I was able to get through because I can act the lyric. I can perform a song, and I think that was good."

Q: What parts of you do you recognize in the character?

A: "I didn't start off wanting to write an autobiographical story, but I had gone through just about every experience in every song except for the very last two cuts, which is when he's really down and I'm imagining him in a hotel room saying, 'What happened?' Thank goodness I didn't go down that far, but everything else I experienced."

Q: What's the closest you've come to derailing?   Continued...

<p>Barry Manilow performs at the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo December 11, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>