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Dionne Warwick Says Beyoncé Is Not an Icon Just Yet: ‘It’s a Long Road’

  • May 24, 2019
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Dionne Warwick doesn’t believe Beyoncé is an icon — just yet!

During a recent interview with Essence, Warwick, 78, raved over the “Formation” singer, 37, but questioned whether or not her career will reach the level of success that “classic” musicians from the Sixties have.

“I have an admiration for Beyoncé Knowles, Carter now. Watching her growth has been quite refreshing. 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,” Warwick, who released her new album She’s Back earlier this month, told Essence.

“Now sustaining and becoming a big icon that Gladys Knight, or Patti LaBelle, or Johnny Mathis, or Frank Sinatra, or Sammy Davis Jr. is? I doubt that,” Warwick said.

She continued, “And I love her to death and can appreciate her talent. But that iconic status? It’s a long road [ahead].”

A rep for Beyoncé did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Dan MacMedan/Getty Images; ason LaVeris/FilmMagic

RELATED: Why Dionne Warwick Will ‘Never Forgive’ Those Who Accused Her Sister of Molesting Whitney Houston

“I don’t know if 10 years from now, anybody can actually sing the songs of our babies today. That’s not, as you guys say, ‘throwing shade,’ it’s looking at it with reality,” Warwick explained to Essence.

Nonetheless, Warwick is impressed by this generation’s talent.

“The youngsters are doing it,” Warwick told the publication.

Born in New Jersey, Warwick began her career at only 19 years old. By 1964, she had two top singles: “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “Walk On By” — both written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

She would later go on to release the hits “Michael to Michael” and her version of “I Say A Little Prayer,” in 1966.

In 1968, Warwick won a Grammy Award for “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”

Despite receiving one of the highest honors in music, Warwick says she still isn’t crazy about the song, which was also written by Bacharach and David.


“I did not want to sing or record ‘San Jose,’” Warwick previously told PEOPLE. “It was not one of my favorite songs that David wrote. I just couldn’t imagine Hal writing a lyric that had ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa….’”

“I said to him, ‘How could you?’” she adds with a laugh. “I sang it because of the affinity he had for the song and cried all the way to the bank. What can I tell you?”

RELATED: Dionne Warwick on ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ and How She Got President Reagan to Say ‘AIDS’

Warwick’s collaborations with Bacharach and David on her plethora of beloved records all became classics and made Warwick a star. One of the world’s most recognizable voices, she’s still identified by them — no matter who else has sung them.

“They’re definitely my songs,” she said. “Even with the multitude of others singing those songs, they still know whose song it really is.”

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