Denise Truscello / WireImage / DeniseTruscello.net
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 | 2 a.m.
Flamingo headliner and Grammy Award-winning singer Olivia Newton-John joined forces with singers Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky to use their vocal and songwriting talents to create “Liv On,” a collaborative, newly recorded 11-song collection.
The CD will be available Friday, June 10, and was recorded at Studio at the Palms with Olivia’s band from the Flamingo. The inspiring new project grew out of the three artists’ experiences with loss and illness, which they all survived to “Liv On” and celebrate each day with gratitude.
The labor of love stemmed from the trio sharing their stories together and expressing their deepest feelings from the most difficult to most celebratory. It’s the hope that this music can uplift hearts burdened by grief while at the same time bring comfort to the listener.
“As a group, it’s our intention with this album to create songs with a message of compassion and hope,” said Olivia. “They are for anyone facing a time of challenge in their life, whether it is grieving a loss or on the journey to health and recovery. ‘Liv On’ means “to thrive, to have hope and to remember.”
Olivia continued: “Loss and grief occur for many reasons, whether it’s losing a loved one, relationship, one’s health, pet or job, to name just a few. It’s important to remember that each person’s grief is as individual as his or her DNA, and there truly is no timeline for healing from loss.
“With the fast-paced society we live in, we are often forced to ‘get over things.’ However, for every individual, grief has its own clock.”
Having just watched Celine Dion miraculously perform at Caesars Palace so soon after the death of her husband Rene Angelil, I asked Olivia why music is so soothing to the soul in times of grief, pain, illness and loss. She told me:
“Music touches the soul. It heals us. They use music to help grow plants, to soothe babies. Sounds are a part of life, the universe. Music also reminds us of events in our life and takes us back there in our minds. A bird’s song, the wind, the human voice, these things that are common to us all — connect us.”
Olivia, Beth and Amy called upon their experiences in creating the collection of songs to aid, uplift and comfort those working their way through the maze of grief and loss. Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 the same weekend her father died from liver cancer.
Her older sister died in May 2013 from brain cancer. While taking into consideration the many causes of grief, they hope to provide the ability for those in need of support to heal through this music.
With songs such as “Don’t Know What to Say,” “My Heart Goes Out to You,” “Immortality” and “Stone in My Pocket,” the lyrics express phases of the recovery process while validating the experience so the listener can heal and soar.
Additionally, each artist revisits songs that have brought love and light to many of their fans. The album includes new interpretations of “Grace and Gratitude” (Olivia), “Sand and Water” (Beth) and “I Will Take Care of You” (Amy).
Asked why the CD is so important, Olivia replied: “It’s estimated that approximately 76 million Americans and tens of millions more globally are set to enter into the end-of-life care continuum either as patients or caregivers. At no time in our country’s history have we seen such an unprecedented need for bereavement care."
Now on a hiatus from her Flamingo headliner engagement, Olivia has just flown to her first concert appearances ever in Brazil. She debuted Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro, then it’s Thursday in San Paulo and Saturday in Curitiba. Next Tuesday, she flies onto Argentina, then winds up her South American tour in Lima, Peru, on March 17 after stops in Chile and Ecuador.
Longtime friend Olivia told me: “I am so looking forward to meeting the people in each country. To learn about the places I visit, to sample the different food and wines from each region and, of course, see the sites and the countryside. I love nature. I’m only taking two cases. Not bad, eh?
“My husband John Easterling has been to South America many times, and I am excited that he will be my guide. He knows all the best places. I have several Brazilian fans who come back regularly to see me in Las Vegas at the Flamingo. They are such delightful people.
“This is my first-ever tour in Brazil, although I have been to Rio twice before — once for Carnaval. It was so amazing, and once to represent the United Nations as the Ambassador for the Environment to the Rio Conference. But this will be my first concert there.”
Olivia returns to the Flamingo for her “Summer Nights” residency July 5 through 16, with another Aug. 9-20, Oct. 18- 29 and Nov 22-Dec. 3.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.