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Tom Jones reads online comments: ‘You’ve got to listen to the people’

Welsh singing icon Tom Jones, 83, is very much aware of what fans are saying about him online.

“You’ve got to listen to the people,” he tells The Straits Times in a Zoom interview ahead of his concert at The Theatre at Mediacorp on March 10.

“I always read reviews of my shows, especially from the fans themselves, the people who have been to the shows, how did they enjoy it? And so social media, in that respect, is very good because you get feedback much more easily now than when I started.”

In a music career that has spanned over six decades, the singer has been prolific and constantly puts out new music.

In 2021, he released his latest and 41st album, Surrounded By Time, that featured renditions of songs by other artistes such as American troubadour Bob Dylan (One More Cup Of Coffee) and American jazz singer Bobby Cole (I’m Growing Old).

At the upcoming Singapore show, there will be some songs from the album. But a Tom Jones show will always have his signature hits from past decades, What’s New Pussycat? (1965), Green, Green Grass Of Home (1966), Delilah (1967) and Sex Bomb (2000).

“When people go to shows, if you don’t do songs that they’re familiar with, I don’t think that’s right. I like to mix it up, I like to put some new things in there that maybe they haven’t heard me do before. But those are the big hits that I’ve had. I may change the arrangements a bit, but I keep those songs in there because they’re very important and I think people deserve to hear them.”

Famous for his booming voice and sex symbol status, Jones is still going strong. The Singapore show is part of a global tour that includes shows in countries such as Australia, Argentina and United Arab Emirates.

“You know people say, ‘Well, where do you go to retire?’ I mean, I would hate to retire. I wouldn’t like that at all,” he says.

“I remember thinking when I was a child, if I could do this, make a living from singing, then that would be perfection. And that’s what I’ve been doing since 1965, when I had my first hit record. I’ve always gone out to the people. Every year, I’ve always gone and done shows and I like to travel and like to see different countries.”

Sometimes, health issues get in the way. In 2010, for example, he had to cut short his gig in Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa after he fell ill.

Jones says the memory of that incident is still fresh in his mind. “The doctor called it reflux; the stomach acid came up and got on my vocal cords.”

The concert was rescheduled to a week later while he rested in Singapore, but it was eventually cancelled because he was still not well. “I remember waiting for my voice to recover, you know, but it was a lovely time (in Singapore), even though I couldn’t sing.”

He later made it up to the fans here by performing at The Star Theatre in 2016.

Besides recordings and live shows, Jones also keeps himself busy as one of the coaches on British reality television singing show The Voice UK (2012 to 2015, 2017 to present).

The advent of technology may have led to big changes to the music industry, but there is one thing that has remained the same in show business, he says.

“When I do The Voice UK, I am listening to people that are on the stage live, with a live band. You still have to get on stage and deliver, and thank God that hasn’t changed.”

Tom Jones: Ages & Stages Tour In Singapore

Where: The Theatre at Mediacorp, 1 Stars Avenue
When: March 10, 8pm
Admission: From $108 to $318 via Ticketmaster’s website ( and hotline (tel: 3158-8588)