Rogers' farewell tour

Country musician Kenny Rogers, 77, has enjoyed a squeaky-clean image throughout his career.
Country musician Kenny Rogers, 77, has enjoyed a squeaky-clean image throughout his career.PHOTO: PIPER FERGUSON

Singer Kenny Rogers wants to retire from touring to spend more time with his 12-year-old twins

If veteran country music star Kenny Rogers has one regret in his life, it is not being able to spend more time with his older children while they were growing up.

This is why he plans to retire once his current world tour winds up.

"I have two boys who are 12 years old and I have accomplished everything I set out to accomplish and I really want to spend this time with them now," the 77-year-old says in a telephone interview with the press from Singapore and the Philippines.

His two youngest sons are from his current marriage, his fifth, with former production assistant Wanda Miller. He has three older children.

"I have two older boys and I didn't spend time with them and I regret it. My purpose now is to go out and say thank you to everybody and then spend some time with my kids."

His gig tomorrow at The Star Theatre - a stop on his The Gambler's Last Deal farewell world tour - will be the last chance for fans here to see him perform live.

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  • WHERE: The Star Theatre, 1 Vista Exchange Green

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $88 to $228 from Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

The Gambler refers to what is arguably his most famous song, which won the Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1979.

It also spawned several television movies from the 1970s to the 1990s, with Rogers playing the titular character.

With his silver hair and beard, Rogers is one of country music's most familiar faces, an artist whose music has sold more than 120 million records worldwide in a career that spans nearly six decades. His long list of hit songs include Grammy-winning country staples such as Lucille.

In 2013, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Country Music Association Awards.

Throughout his career, he has had a squeaky-clean image and nice-guy reputation. He credits his scandal- and drug-free career to his mother.

"I think (it was) my upbringing with my mom. She was very religious and she warned me against that - don't get into that stuff and stay out of trouble."

Reflecting on his long and successful career, he adds: "I've just been really lucky. I don't do anything special. I just go out, sing and come home and run around with my boys. Maybe the songs I've chosen aren't that hard to do - that's the only thing I can think of. But I've been lucky with them."

Outside of the entertainment world, his name is synonymous with his global chain of restaurants.

Best known for its chicken, the first Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant opened in Florida in 1991. Today, the chain includes outlets across Asia, including in China, Indonesia and Singapore.

While the restaurants serve hearty American fare, Rogers says he himself is adventurous when it comes to eating.

"I try to enjoy the flavours of the country I'm in because they are so uniquely different and it's good to get out and do that. You can learn a lot about the people as well and their food is wonderful and totally different from anything over here," he says.

While his oldest son Kenny Rogers Jr, 52, briefly followed his father into show business, neither of his two youngest sons has shown interest in it. But he does not mind.

"I learnt a long time ago, you can't talk someone into loving music - they just love it or they don't. I don't think I decided until I was about 12 or 13 that I knew what I wanted to do with my life."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Rogers' farewell tour'. Print Edition | Subscribe