Olivia Newton-John On Success and Giving Back
Olivia Newton-John’s life and art reflect her deep love of conservation, nature and family.
Olivia Newton-John is an icon, pure and simple.Her tremendous talent and natural charisma have brought her global celebrity, but at the same time, she has quietly, privately and selflessly used her celebrity status for the benefit of others.
For most of us, Newton-John will always be recognized for her award-winning turn as the fresh-faced young Sandy in the ’70s movie musical, Grease. For many others, she is the deepy talented singer who has engaged us for decades with her music, her award-winning performances and her genuine sincerity of expression. Her astonishing achievements include over 100 million albums sold, four Grammys, numerous Country Music, American Music and People’s Choice Awards, an Emmy, 10 No. 1 hits and over 15 top 10 singles. Her co-starring role with John Travolta in Grease catapulted her to global super-stardom.
As with any artist, there is always a beginning. Newton-John’s first hit was a Bob Dylan song called If Not For You, which launched her career as a global phenomenon. Her distinct vocal signature and sparkling stage presence continue to thrill fans to this day.
Live from the Flamingo: Olivia gives back
Today, Las Vegas audiences delight in her dynamic “Summer Nights” performances at the Flamingo—her residency began at the iconic hotel in 2014. She clearly wants to please her fans and followers, a community that reaches far beyond the people in attendance.
Many people don’t know that Newton-John works passionately behind the scenes to provide hope, opportunity and strength for those who are suffering from cancer.
As a cancer “thriver” herself, Newton-John also recently lost her sister to the invasive disease—and she is dedicated to supporting those suffering from cancer and those working towards a cure.
“I am lucky to have survived cancer, but my sister sadly didn’t,” she says. “My desire now is to use the great privilege that I have achieved for the betterment of others.”
We can find a cure
That’s not just celebrity speak. As the founder of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, Newton-John has demonstrably put her words into action. She also directs a portion of the proceeds of her continuing Vegas performances to support the wellness programs at the institute.
“I know it is within our power to find a cure,” she says. “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that each night I perform at the Flamingo, I am helping people at the centre going through their own cancer journey.”
Harmony at home
When not travelling or performing, Newton-John says she feels grounded and relaxed at home in California, where she surrounds herself with objects that carry deep personal meaning.
“My home is a journey through the life and experiences that I have had,” she says. “It’s an eclectic mix of the art, people and countries that I have been fortunate enough to know.”
A believer in the healing power of tranquility, Newton-John also co-founded the award-winning Gaia Retreat & Spa near Byron Bay, in a region known as the “healing heartland” of Australia. The spa is a stunning destination, which was named the “World’s Best Spa Hotel” (2015 World Boutique Hotel Awards), and “Best Luxury Destination Spa” (2015, 2014, 2013 World Luxury Spa Awards) to list only a couple of the spa’s dozens of awards. Safe to say, if Olivia Newton-John puts her heart into a project, good things happen.
“I wanted to create a sanctuary of peace, tranquility and healing,” she says. “It is one of my favourite places that I like to go, to refresh, renew and restore my mind, body and soul.”
“Our objective is to strengthen, clarify and provide a takeaway lifestyle that will forever benefit your health and well-being.”
Gaia: One woman’s journey
Back in 1994, Newton-John released the hit album, Gaia: One Woman’s Journey; a deeply personal album that reflected her emotional journey after a cancer diagnosis, her passionate interest in conservation, and her profound love of nature and her family.
These values, which have been central to her life and artistic expression, are clearly evident in her latest album with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky, LIV ON, which was released this fall. This collaborative, newly recorded collection is intended for those who wish to transcend loss while walking a journey toward new-found meaning and hope.
But the album is not about sorrow; instead, it’s an expression of strength and the ability to overcome.
“LIV ON is an expression of our personal experiences,” she explains. The objective of the CD is to assist people in understanding that you are not alone and coincides with the ONJ Cancer Wellness & Research Centre’s movement to create a global community of care, encouraging people to share their personal stories to help those live better with cancer and defeat it.
Photography by Denise Truscello
Wardrobe credits: Pants by Equestrian Designs