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24 September 2014

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Englebert Humperdinck

Engelbert Graduates

International superstar Engelbert Humperdinck was awarded a doctorate in Music by the University of Leicester. Guest writer Edward Gleave caught up with the singer at De Montfort Hall after the ceremony to find out how he felt...

Q: How does it feel to be given an honorary degree in Music?

a: I feel very honoured and privileged, especially since it’s from my home town university. It’s a pleasure.

Q: How does it feel to return to Leicester?

"I needed some kind of a name which was going to put me on a higher stage, which it did. People made fun of it when I first took it on."
Englebert Humperdinck

A: I haven’t returned really, because I live in Leicester. I have a home in Leicester, but I have another home in Los Angeles. This is one of the times when I’ve spent a lot of time here. I’ve spent a month and a half here and I’ve been waiting for this all to happen. Now it’s all happened I feel a bit more relaxed.

Q: Do you enjoy keeping links with Leicester then?

A: I’ve been keeping links with Leicester since I first set foot on this ground, and I consider it my home. They call me the son of Leicester, which is a wonderful title to have. I’m involved in many charitable organisations here as well, which is something I want to be involved in.

Q: And you’re very interested in the medical research here at the university?

A: Yes, indeed I am, but that doesn’t mean I have to get my stethoscope out!

Q: Why did you change your name years ago?

A: Success. I was struggling, and I needed something that was going to put me on my feet. I needed some kind of a name which was going to put me on a higher stage, which it did. People made fun of it when I first took it on. I took a long name like that and turned it into a romantic image. It was quite a feat, but I managed to do it. Having the name is part of my success.

Q: How does it feel to have sold more than 130 million records?

A: Actually it was stated otherwise a few weeks ago in a magazine. They had done a survey, and they discovered that I was the fifth biggest seller in the world, and I think it meant one hundred and fifty million units.

Q: So it’s not just 130 million, but 150 million records that you’ve sold?

A: More, yes. It’s one hundred and fifty. I’m not in the charts all the time, and that’s the kind of thing that makes you a constant seller. By 1974 I had sold 120 million records, so that’s a long time ago.

Q: Do you enjoy touring all year round?

A: I do 140 concerts a year, and last year I went and did concerts for the Tsunami benefit. I went to India and Manila, Sri Lanka, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, and it was very successful. I enjoy doing work like that.

I am going back but this time to see the countries a bit more. I want to have a little more time there. It was a bit hectic last time. I’ve travelled all over the world and I have done concerts all over the world. It’s a wonderful journey in my life, and I hope it never ends.

Q: Do you think you might want to play De Montfort Hall ever?

A: I have played here. I play here all the time. I enjoy coming back here. The audiences here are absolutely superb. They really cheer me on, and that’s one of the reasons I like to come back here.

last updated: 06/05/06
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Irene Rae



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