Photo courtesy of Paul Anka Productions

In describing your upcoming show at The Ridgefield Playhouse, you’ve mentioned Frank Sinatra influenced you more than any other artist. When did this influence begin and how did it inform your music/career?

PA: He is one of the biggest influences. Pop music was in its infancy stage and we didn’t know what was on the horizon as kids were looking to mature. All we had to look up to was the Rat Pack and Elvis Presley. Obviously, the cool image — stylistically and musically — was Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. Then, my tastes were pop music and R&B that surrounded me as a kid.

You’ve certainly made your mark as a musician/actor in your life-long career. Even so, you’re still performing! What is it about performing/touring that keeps you wanting to get back on that stage?

PA: I don’t look at myself as an actor, though I have done some film work. I look at myself as a singer, songwriter, and entertainer. Very simply, any of us who have passion … a core, and a consistent love for what we do will find they need it in their life. At my age and my experience level, it’s not just work. It’s when I get to interface with my audience who are so full of love and loyalty — you can’t not have that dynamic in your life if you’re fortunate enough. 

COVID had affected people in different ways across the globe. How has this unprecedented time been for you? What do you like to do when you’re not under the spotlights?

PA: I look at it as the glass is half full in my circumstance. But, it was an unfortunate redirect for all of us like we’ve never experienced. My number one occupation became my health and I got more quality time with my family. I sat down and wrote a lot of new songs which culminated with my album Making Memories.

Any plans for your future you’d like to reveal to your fans?

PA: I have no more goals, just to continue touring. I am in the midst of working with a production company on a documentary about my life, and I’m working on another album to come out during Christmas time and for Valentine’s Day. I am at a point in my life where I don’t have expectations, nor have I lived burdening myself with expectations. All things in life, no matter what age, come to an end. That’s just the way it is. Right now it’s about growing old gracefully with those I love. Not thinking I am getting old, but getting older.

Your career began in your teens; what advice would you give to the many young music/theater students in our area who want to pursue a
similar career?

PA: Become an accountant first!  But seriously, know your business. Theoretically, in anything that you do, do something that has the quality and the meaning that will keep people coming back for more. Also, do not listen to the last person or anyone who tells you that you can’t do it because in show business, for the most part, nobody really cares. It’s a tough business. Believe in yourself and have a passion for what you are doing and put in the mileage. It doesn’t happen overnight. Keep in mind, good is the enemy of great! Be a kind person because “karma has everyone’s address” to quote my new album.