Make way for the Rocket Man

Elton John has played in Singapore six times since his first show in 1993.
Elton John has played in Singapore six times since his first show in 1993.PHOTO: CARL STUDNA

Elton John still gets a buzz from making music and will perform here during his world tour this year

Rocket Man Elton John is still firing on all cylinders five decades after his debut.

His most recent album, The Diving Board, was released in 2013 and reached No. 3 on British charts and No. 4 in the United States on Billboard, making it his highest-charting solo album in the US since Blue Moves in 1976, according to Internet reports.

Moreover, he is touring this year at a rate that would fell younger men - he has engagements throughout the US and in Spain, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. His stops in this region include two nights in Singapore on Dec 1 and 2 at The Star Theatre.

What keeps him going, the Englishman says, is "performing and creating new music".

"It is what got me into this career in the first place. It is what has given me my extraordinary life and it is what keeps me going. I still get buzzed when I am in the studio writing a new song or collaborating on someone else's track," John, 68, tells Life in an e-mail interview.


    WHERE: The Star Theatre, 1 Vista Exchange Green,

    WHEN: Dec 1 and 2

    ADMISSION: $148 to $488 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to starting July 27. VIP packages are available for $600 each

"I have been touring for more than 41/2 decades and it is still as exciting and invigorating as it was at the beginning.

"I just love being on stage and losing myself in the music. I must admit the whole band is playing better than ever, it is a real joy to be out on the road doing concerts."

Even better, unlike other veterans who might prefer the music of their youth and pooh-pooh current music trends, he seeks out and champions the most promising singers of today.

Indeed, for this reason, he loves helming his show Rocket Hour on Apple's international radio station Beats 1, which was launched last month. "I am having the best time and am so grateful to Apple for allowing me the chance to share my love for all kinds of music.

"Listening to the show is like listening to my stereo when I am at home or on the road," he says.

The pop singers whom he is excited about these days are "all right there in the playlists".

"The new Florence And The Machine is superb. Obviously, Ed Sheeran, but it's not like I am alone in having that opinion. Sam Smith - I could go on and on," he adds.

"I hope people will listen to the shows on Beats 1... you will hear what music I am the most keen on from week to week. I've played everyone from Tupac to Patsy Cline and that is not something you can usually do on radio."

More than that, though, he would love for his fans in Singapore to attend his two shows here in December.

He says he has performed six times here since his maiden gig in 1993 ("March 23", he recalls) and still gets excited about coming to Singapore.

"It is always a thrill to play in places I never dreamt of going to, let alone performing in, when I was young," he says.

John, who married Canadian film-maker David Furnish last December, still sounds grateful that the National Parks Board named an orchid after him at the World Orchid Show held here in 2011.

"I was blown away that they named a local orchid after me," says the singer, who also expresses his appreciation of the beauty of Singapore and its architecture in this interview.

"My band and I always seem to find that extra gear when we see our fans and friends in places like Singapore - and you can expect some crackerjack playing from all of us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Make way for the Rocket Man'. Print Edition | Subscribe