Today’s Pop Youngsters Should Focus On The Brand, Not The Hype Says Paul Anka

Submitted by: Justin08 Bieber

There’s almost anything you can ask Paul Anka, but he says the Justin Bieber comparisons are getting stale.

“These goddamned articles keep comparing him to me, but don’t tell me how hot you are, tell me how long you’ve been around,” says Anka, from his ranch in Monterrey, California. “I’ve been preaching that to (Michael) Buble. In the beginning, you get a little attention, but a career’s not about these little increments; a career’s about becoming a brand.”

The Paul Anka brand, built first in 1957 with “Diana,” arguably the world’s first teen pop smash, shows no signs of slowing down. In Toronto Thursday night to open the festival for Canada’s Walk of Fame, Anka’s also working on an album, managing an all-girl rock band, writing his memoirs and trying to make peace with Michael Jackson’s estate.

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“I told them, ‘Look, I’m not going to f— with you, just give me 50/50, let’s be fair,'” Anka says over the controversy surrounding This Is It, a song released by Jackson’s estate posthumously last October and marketed as an original Jackson song. (It turned out the record was co-written with Anka in 1983.)

“With Thriller coming out, he’d gotten very eccentric, but I had no idea that he’d steal our tapes!” says Anka, who claims he recorded the song with Jackson for his duet record, Walk a Fine Line. “I liked Michael and knew all the Jacksons as kids, but this business is crazy. There’s been two or three times you could’ve danced on my grave.”

Anka, 69, and in what he says is the best shape of his life, has written songs covered by Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra, and he says he’s learned how to avoid making some of the same mistakes as his peers.

“I used to sit with Elvis and say, ‘Elvis, what’s this with aluminum foil in the windows?’ But people, they get caught up,” says Anka, whose good humour has twice been on display on American Idol and once on The Gilmore Girls. “Fame, it can destroy. Let your talent speak for itself, because the audience is smarter than you think. The audience knows.”

The Ottawa-born singer received his own Walk of Fame star in 2005, and though he owns homes in California and Las Vegas, he’s still a proud Canadian and even owns a bit of the Ottawa Senators hockey team.

“There’s a different vibe about us compared to Americans,” Anka says. “Maybe it’s something to do with our education or our background, but I’m glad I have it, whatever it is.”

Anka stays abreast of today’s Top 40 and released a record called Rock Swings, which featured cover songs of Nirvana, R.E.M. and The Cure.

“I stay current, but when I listen to Lady Gaga, I wonder what the hell happened, the lyrics make no goddamned sense,” he says. “All she does is talk about sex, but the lyrics sound like they were written by a 10-year-old.”

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