Beyoncé may have won 23 Grammy Awards and made history last year as the first black woman to headline the Coachella Valley music festival, but according to one of the music business’ last living legends, the former Destiny’s Child frontwoman has more work to do.
Dionne Warwick released her 39th studio album “She’s Back” last week and shared her thoughts about the global superstar during a recent interview with Essence.
The 78-year old “Walk On By” chanteuse doesn't believe that the groundbreaking Queen Bey has reached “icon” status just yet.
Warwick, who said she has “great admiration” for the “Irreplaceable” performer, admitted that she's not yet convinced that Beyoncé can share the same status as fellow legendary entertainers, past or present.
"Watching her grow has been quite refreshing,” the East Orange, N.J., native said. “It’s wonderful to see how she’s been able to create what and who she wanted to be and who she is…very proud of that, I really am.”
"Now, sustaining and becoming a big icon that a Gladys Knight, or a Patti LaBelle, or a Johnny Mathis, or a Frank Sinatra, or a Sammy Davis Jr. is? I doubt (it). I really do,” she added.
“And I love her to death and I can appreciate her talent but that iconic status that I mentioned [like] those names, (but) it’s a long road to hoe,” she said.
An icon is defined as a person or thing that is revered or idolized by Dictionary.com.
Some may argue that Beyoncé has achieved that — and then some — even before she launched her platinum-plated, solo career in 2003 with the “Dangerously In Love” opus.
One of the most awarded artists in history; the Houston native has won numerous MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards, and Soul Train Awards. With a total of 23 awards and 66 nominations from the Grammy Awards as both a solo artist and member of Destiny's Child, she is the most nominated woman and the second-most-awarded woman in Grammy Awards history.
She also has a rabid fan base, The Beyhive, that has become a formidable presence on social media.
That could explain why Warwick took to Twitter on Thursday to clarify what she said in the earlier video interview with the longstanding black women-focused media brand.
“What I said is in quotes,” she wrote on the social media app. “What @Essence said is not. It takes a long time to reach and achieve iconic status. That’s not to say that Beyoncé isn’t well on her way. She is a gifted performer. That was a reach from Essence.”
Warwick started her career in the late 1950s when she co-founded the group The Gospelaires in 1957. With her solo pop hits such including “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Warwick became a mainstream superstar in the 1960s and paved the path for many entertainers in her wake.
She followed that success up in the 1970s with and the Barry Manilow-produced power ballad “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again” and the Isaac Hayes-penned “Déjà vu” in 1979. (Coincidentally, Beyoncé had a Top 5 pop hit with her own song, “Déjà Vu, a duet with Jay-Z in 2006.)
Warwick hosted the syndicated variety show “Solid Gold” in the 1980s and in 1986 recruited pals Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Knight for the chart-topping, Grammy Award winning AIDS benefit anthem “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Clearly an icon, she even became the face of the Psychic Friends Network, a popular infomercial that became a late night television staple during the 1990s.
With countless songs that are still heard on radio stations today, Warwick knows a classic when she sees one.
Those have been few and far between when it comes to today’s music acts.
She chuckled when asked if she believed today's music has classics, but firmly replied, "Not yet."