Olivia Newton-John

Photo by Denise Truscello

BY TERRI BRYCE REEVES

Ahead of the Florida part of her tour, we caught up with the iconic Australian singer and asked her about her life now, nearly four decades after Grease hit the movie theaters and launched her to stardom. Since then, the four-time Grammy winner, singer, actress, activist and breast cancer “thriver,” has sold more than 100 million albums. Recently, she scored another #1 hit on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart with a song performed with her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi. She’s 68 and happier than ever.

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your tour?
A. This tour gets me and my band across the USA again, so it’s a lot of fun and very exciting. This year we have about 30 shows from Florida to the West Coast. As for my show, it’s basically a journey through my life with my music — everything from my early country hits to my pop and rock songs including numbers Grease and Xanadu. I will also be doing something from my latest CD, Liv On.

Q. Are you still a resident of Florida?
A. Yes! We have a home on the beach in Florida. In fact, I’m here right now for some R&R between tour cities.

Q. At a time in life when many may be content to rest on their laurels, you are touring, acting, singing and championing favorite causes like breast cancer awareness, cancer research and the environment. Can you speak to the importance of remaining active and engaged as it relates to successful aging?
A. I’m very lucky because as someone in the public eye, I can use my celebrity to bring
awareness to causes that are very important to me. Being engaged in life keeps you young. And taking care of yourself and remaining active helps keep you balanced in body, mind and spirit. I am the happiest I’ve ever been!

Q. We enjoyed your 2015 stint as a judge on Dancing with the Stars. Any plans to become a contestant?
A. That was a lot of fun and I have so much respect for those dancers but, no, I wouldn’t consider doing the show as a contestant. I’m very flattered that they have asked me, but, it’s such hard work. Besides, I have danced with Gene Kelly (Xanadu) and with John
Travolta (Grease) — that was “my” Dancing with the Stars! (Laughing.)

Q. We remember you in spandex in your 1982 video for Let’s Get Physical. What do you do these days to stay healthy?
A. Today I love to go on long hikes with my husband and my dog, play tennis and work out as well. I use meditation and yoga as ways to stay grounded and balanced. I also try to eat organic foods as often as I can. I love veggies, drink lots of water and limit alcohol to an occasional glass of wine now and then. I also laugh as often as I can — and often at
myself (Laughing).

Q. You are big into the environmental movement, spreading the word about rain forest preservation along with your husband, John Easterling, “Amazon John,” (ACEER.org). You co-founded National Tree Day in Australia and One Tree, One Child, an international school initiative. With Earth Day coming up in April, can you advise our over-50 readers how they can best help their grandchildren become good stewards of the Earth?
A. I think the best thing anyone over 50 can teach their grandchildren is to have respect for and cherish the planet — it’s the only one we have. We must educate our children about the consequences we face if we don’t protect the trees, water and wildlife. Plant a tree together and teach them to turn the water off when they brush their teeth.

Q. In May 2013, you lost your sister Rona to brain cancer. Has music helped you deal with your pain?
A. Losing my sister was a terrible shock – she was a very healthy, fit person who exercised every day and ate well. She died very quickly and it put me in a spin for about a year. Amy Sky, a wonderful singer and songwriter from Canada, and I realized that there really isn’t any music out there specifically made for people going through loss or grief, so we created “Liv On” with our friend Beth Nielsen Chapman. All of us have lost loved ones to cancer. We sat down with our notepads and cups of tea and started sharing experiences. We laughed, we cried — it was therapeutic. Ultimately we created songs with a message of compassion and hope for those grieving a loss or on the journey to health and recovery. We encourage people to share their own stories at ONJCancerCentre.org, the website for
my Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia.

Q. Any exciting plans and projects for the future?
A. Well, in addition to touring solo this year, I will be doing more “Liv On” concerts with
Amy Sky and Beth Nielsen Chapman. Later this month I am making a movie with my daughter Chloe, a talented actress and singer/songwriter!

An Evening with Olivia Newton-John
April 20, 8 p.m.
Capitol Theatre, 405Cleveland St., Clearwater
727-791-7400 • RuthEckerdHall.com

April 22, 8 p.m.
Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee
506 First St., Immokalee
239-658-1313 • seminoleimmokaleecasino.com

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