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How crooner Johnny Mathis has kept his voice silky smooth for his seven decade career

Johnny Mathis performs at the Golden Nuggter

It turns out the early bird doesn’t just get the worm. He also gets to keep a career that’s still going full-bore at age 82.

“I get up at four in the morning, and I go to the gym at six and usually work out for an hour,” says crooner Johnny Mathis during a recent phone call in advance of his Saturday night performance at Golden Nugget Atlantic City. “I’ve been doing it for over 30 years or so, and it agrees with me. It’s just a process I’ve gotten accustomed to. It’s helped me keep my weight down, of course, and probably [helped] keep my stamina up.”

Stamina and weight are well and good, but it’s Mathis’ silky, vibrato-inflected vocal style that has endeared him to millions over the course of 62 years and more than 70 albums. All the workouts in the world won’t matter if the voice is no longer up to the job, right?

Johnny Mathis' Jaguar crushed as hillside collapses in front of Hollywood  Hills mansion - Irish Mirror Online

“I was very lucky,” says the genial Mathis, who punctuates many of his remarks with hearty chuckles. “From the very beginning, my dad loved to sing, but he also instilled in me the idea that if I wanted to sing, I was gonna have to sing properly, even though I thought I knew how to sing.

“And so, we looked around my hometown of San Francisco and finally found Connie Cox, a wonderful lady over in the East Bay area who taught me vocal production from the time I was about 13. We studied for about eight years and I learned how to produce the tones that were necessary without harming my vocal cords, which has been a godsend over the years.”

Mathis added that as a member of a family with seven children, paying for those lessons wasn’t possible. “It was all done out of the goodness of her heart,” he says, “and I shall be eternally grateful to [Cox]. I worked at her studio. I cleaned her studio and ran errands for her, and that’s how I paid for my voice lessons.”

Today, he added, “I do physical exercises. You get the blood flowing to the vocal cords. I do, [sings] ‘Me, me, me’ — everything is okay.”

Mathis says that out of his entire repertoire, only “Misty” has been lowered to a more accommodating key (a common ploy for singers of a certain vintage). “The rest of them are the way they are. If I can’t sing [a song] to the end, I’ll sing as much as I can.”

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