Barry Manilow says Britney Spears inspired '15 Minutes' album
Barry Manilow recently released his new album "15 Minutes," which marks the singer's first album of new material in a decade.
Manilow said that "15 Minutes" was originally inspired by Britney Spears. The concept album follows a singer who experiences the highs and lows of fame.
"It happened when Britney [Spears] was being chased by the paparazzi," Manilow told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "Here's a young girl, a talented young girl who has got something, a beautiful young girl who has got something to say and the paparazzi was driving her crazy - we all saw it. Is that the price of fame? I kept saying, is that it? Is that what she has to go through? That's where it began for me."
Spears rose to fame as a teen star but in 2007, following months of partying, underwent a rehab stint for substance abuse and famously shaved her own head at a salon (see video). Her turmoil made international headlines. She has since rebuilt her image and made a music comeback in 2009 with a hit "Circus" tour.
Manilow has been releasing a steady stream of greatest hits album over the past ten years. He says he missed songwriting and wanted to explore the darker side of fame.
"I didn't want to stop the flow of those albums, but I'm a songwriter and I missed writing songs," Manilow said. "So as soon as I could, I put this one together and it's an interesting idea, this '15 Minutes,' it's about fame and what fame can do to you, especially, you know I looked around and I saw these young people on these reality shows and within weeks or months, they become stars! How do they handle it?"
"I know that when 'Mandy' came out, I was kind of an adult and I had done jingles and I had conducted for people and when 'Mandy' hit, it knocked me over!" he added. "What is it doing to these younger people?"
Manilow has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and has been headlining the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas since March 2010. Manilow has received two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and one Tony Award. He was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2002 and is best known for songs like "Could It Be Magic", "Mandy", "Can't Smile Without You" and "Copacabana (At the Copa)."
Manilow also talked about how other major artists handle fame, saying: "Usher is pretty great, Dave [Grohl] over at the Foo Fighters is great, a lot of people are handling it really well. "By the way, Lady Gaga is the top of the pyramid - she is great, really original and handling it just great but there are a lot of people who this fame throws for a loop and those are the people that I worry about."
Manilow, who got his start composing music and writing jingles, said that he made $500 writing the jingles for Band-Aid and State Farm Insurance and had no idea the companies would still be using them 35 years later.
Manilow appeared on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday to promote his new album and performed his song, "Bring on Tomorrow." Watch a clip below.