VACAVILLE — From the days of sitting next to his mother as she played the piano to his most recent travels to the Republic of Georgia and Poland, singer Al Jarreau feels he’s been abundantly blessed.
The 73-year-old even has a new little jingle to start his day: “Percolatin,’ syncopating, celebrating, gettin’ up in the morning and getting busy.”
Life is much better, looking at the good in your life, not the funk, he said. With an attitude of gratitude one has a “beautiful fertile field for new, good stuff,” Jarreau said. “If you have a field full of woe, that’s all you can produce.”
Jarreau, the winner of seven Grammy Awards, will stop in Vacaville Oct. 11 for a show at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre.
A sort of homecoming albeit he’s never performed there, but he has at other venues in the area. The show, as well as others in the state, are a way for the singer to say thanks and a chance to look to the future, Jarreau said.
A native of Milwaukee, Jarreau’s college courses were focused on working as a rehabilitation counselor. That was a back-up plan.
“If I couldn’t have my fantasy dream (of a singing career), I wanted to work in a helping profession,” he said.
Performing gave him that chance, just in a different venue.
“It’s a healing thing,” he said. “I’m not curing cancer, but people walk away after having a great night. It does something on the cellular level.”
A pretty big accomplishment for a man who said he was a bad student, struggling in high school and college. Overcoming those challenges prepared him for the future, he said.
They also shaped his definition of success.
“I’ve learned that you can be successful and that it doesn’t mean you have to end up with bazillions (of dollars),” he said. “I’ve gotten a few recognitions from my colleagues, but I have to go to work tomorrow or they (the bank) will get my house in two years. Working hard, therein is the joy. It’s in the process.”
Three years ago, Jarreau ended up in French hospital on tour. Now, he jokes about his guest room being home to “Dr. Heart,” “Dr. Foot” and others. He’s thinking about adding some Eastern Chinese medicine to the mix in hopes of getting energy flow back into his lower back and legs.
“Maybe I’ll add an acupuncturist to my staff,” he said. “I’m looking for things to keep me strong and healthy.”
In 2001, Jarreau got a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
In the past 13 years, he’s released a record project about every 18 months. Last year, he released “The Metropole Orkest,” which is based in the Netherlands. He looks forward to more international dates.
“People are hearing the music they listened to in the closet,” he said in reference to the former Iron Curtain countries. “Back then (prior to open communication between the United States and these countries), anything from the West had to be exorcised. I’m really enjoying their appreciation for all this American art form.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.