Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis (Courtesy photo)

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Legendary pop, soul and jazz singer Johnny Mathis brings his flair for smooth crooning to the Altria Theater in Richmond, Va., on Sunday, April 2 for his “Voice of Romance” tour.

Born John Royce Mathis on Sept. 30, 1935, the native Texan became highly popular beginning in the 1950s as an album artist, resulting in dozens of his compilations achieving gold or platinum status.

In addition, Mathis has charted at least 43 hit singles and guided 74 titles, including several Christmas releases, onto the Billboard 200.

In 1978, he recorded a No. 1 hit with Deniece Williams titled, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” and was recognized in 2003 by the Recording Academy with a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

The California-raised Mathis — the fourth of seven children — followed his father’s thirst for music beginning at age 13, with vocal lessons that included classical and operatic styles.

A frequent guest performer on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” Mathis is widely revered for a slew of signature songs that include “Chances Are,” It’s Not for Me to Say” and “Misty.”

Today, the 81-year-old singular vocalist lives in a Beverly Hills penthouse where he’s intermittently traveled back and forth while on the current tour marking the 60th anniversary of his debut album.

Cited among Mathis’ musical influences are the likes of Lena Horne, Nat “King” Cole and Bing Crosby.

“Lena Horne, I worshipped her, followed her and embarrassed myself by applauding too loudly when I was in the audience listening to her, so she had this love/hate relationship with me,” Mathis told Billboard magazine in December. “She thought I was a pest because I was always trying to see her or be near her. Nat ‘King’ Cole was my favorite singer of all time, not only because of his music but also because of the kind of person he was. [Then] there’s Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Larry Gatlin, Deniece Williams — those are some of the more contemporary ones, and that’s really what I gravitate to.”

The show at the Altria starts at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $51.

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